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SERMON AUDIO

Pentecost 9 2019 Proper 14
Immanuel Lutheran Church, Hamilton, Ohio
Pastor Kevin Jud
August 11, 2019
Genesis 15:1-6, Hebrews 11:1-16, Luke 12:22-34

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itunes:                         bit.ly/pastorjud
Full Service Audio:    bit.ly/ImmanuelWorship

It really is not hard, and yet you can get so confused.  The simple truth gets easily obscured by the clouds of life’s worries.  And this is dangerous because you need to know the truth.  You need to know the truth because the day is coming.

The day is coming when you will stand before the judgement seat of God to answer for your life; to account for all of your sins.  You will stand there unprotected by all your go-to excuses.  There will be no more pretending your sin is not important.  No more rationalizations.  No more blaming others.  It will be you there before the throne of God having to answer for all your sins.  You face a big question.  How am I saved?

You have two options.  You can appeal to your achievement and success in life as demonstrated by your earthly treasures; your awards, your titles, your bank accounts and investments.  Or you can appeal to Jesus Christ on the cross for you; Jesus risen from the dead for you.

Judgement day is coming.  You will stand before the throne of God.  What is your choice?  Will you appeal to money or to Jesus?  It is an easy choice.  Money or Jesus?  Which has eternal value, treasure on earth, or treasure in heaven?

You all know the answer.  When it comes to “THE BIG QUESTION” you all know the answer.  The answer is Jesus.  Jesus is the one who has given you the robe of His righteousness that covers over all your sins.  Jesus is the one who gives you eternal life in the Kingdom of God.

Do you trust money or do you trust Jesus?  You know the answer.  Luke 12:33 (ESV)  33 …. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys.[1]

The answer is simple and clear, and yet how easily this clear trust in Christ alone can get obscured by the fog of life.  How easily you can lose sight of the truth of Jesus in your day to day life struggling to deal with all that life throws at you.  Because life is indeed hard and it is full of trouble.  Life is not easy now and it is not going to get easy.

One thing that may contribute to frustration in life is the sense that if you can just get through this current phase of life and on to the next, then life will be easy.

Elementary school students can’t wait to go on to middle school and high school and then everything will be easier.  High school students cannot wait to graduate and go on to college, or trade school, or work, or the military where everything will be simpler.  College students cannot wait to graduate and get to work because things will be easier.  Workers in their careers look forward to retirement when everything will be easier.  But life never really gets easier.  Life is always hard.  Each phase of life has its struggles and in this life you are never going to arrive a station marked “Easy Street”.

            The answer is simple and clear, and yet how easily this clear trust in Christ alone can get obscured by the fog of life.  How easily you can lose sight of the truth of Jesus in your day to day life struggling to deal with all that life throws at you.  Because life is indeed hard and it is full of trouble.  Life is not easy now and it is not going to get easy.

Each day is a struggle to do all the things that you are supposed to and do them well.  In the hustle and bustle of your day-to-day struggles you can lose sight of what is most important.  There is so much stress and anxiety and worry about money and health and children and parents and family and work and school and sports and activities and housing and cars and food and exercise and safety and so many other things.  It is far too easy to find the dark cloud of worry settling down over your life and getting you to start to believe that those things are the most important things in life.

Worry is powerful.  Worry is an amazing example of the mind-body connection.  Worry is essentially a thought that takes on physical manifestations.  Worry begins with that little nagging inkling that moves into a headache, neck ache, grinding teeth, tense shoulders, churning gut, aching stomach.  It can lead to loss of energy, insomnia, high blood pressure, heart disease and so many other things.  Stress is dangerous and Jesus knows the futility of stress.  Luke 12:25 (ESV) 25 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?[2]  Worry and stress actually bring harm.  They can move your focus in the wrong direction.  Jesus is the remedy for stress.

Life is hard.  But as much as the world pushes you to forget the truth, the truth is that you belong to Jesus and Jesus says, Luke 12:32 (ESV)  32 “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.[3]

Life is difficult and confusing, but remember, you know the answer to life’s greatest question.  You know Jesus is the Way.  You are a baptized child of God.  You are in the Kingdom of God.  You have Jesus’ promise to save you.

Jesus knows that there is a great temptation to trust in money and worry about money because money is a big part of life.  When I do pre-marriage preparation there is an exercise the couple completes to see how each thinks about money.  Do they view money as status, or as security, or as enjoyment, or as control?  I took the survey and came out highest as view money as security.  Money is powerful.  Money is necessary.  Money is a tool of life.  But do not love money.  St Paul writes in 1 Timothy 6:10 (ESV)  10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs. [4]  We hear in explanation of the Parable of the Sower, Matthew 13:22 (ESV)  22 As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful.[5]  The deceitfulness of wealth; the lies about money choke out the truth of God.

Loving money…trusting in money is dangerous.  If you find yourself falling into the love and trust of money Jesus provides and antidote in our reading today.  Luke 12:33 (ESV) 33 Sell your possessions, and give to the needy…[6]

If you are beginning to love money then sell something and give the money away to those in need.  Consistently exercise the gift of generosity to avoid falling in love with money.

This is one of the great benefits of making a regular, sacrificial, gift to the Lord’s work here at Immanuel.  For me, giving ten percent off the top helps to have a healthy view of money.  Giving off the top to the Lord helps keep money in perspective.  Giving money that you will miss helps you realize that money is not the answer to the most important question; money is not the most important thing.

In last week’s reading from Luke Jesus tells the parable of the rich fool in which a man gets caught up in the pursuit of wealth and a life of ease but then suddenly dies.  He thought money was the answer, but he was dead wrong.  In the reading which immediately follows our lesson today Jesus warns about His return for judgment.  Luke 12:40 (ESV)  40 You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”[7]

So stay ready.  The day is coming.  Stay prepared to stand before the judgement seat of God.  Trust in Jesus.  Remember Jesus’ promise to save you and do not let the dark cloud of day to day worries and anxieties obscure the eternal kingdom truth, “Jesus gives you eternal life.”  You know the answer to the question, “What is most important?”  Jesus is most important.  You know the answer to the questions, “How am I saved?  The answer is, “Jesus saves me.”  Don’t worry.  Trust in Jesus.  Amen.


[1]  The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. Wheaton : Standard Bible Society, 2001

[2]  The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. Wheaton : Standard Bible Society, 2001

[3]  The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. Wheaton : Standard Bible Society, 2001

[4]  The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. Wheaton : Standard Bible Society, 2001

[5]  The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. Wheaton : Standard Bible Society, 2001

[6]  The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. Wheaton : Standard Bible Society, 2001

[7]  The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. Wheaton : Standard Bible Society, 2001

 

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