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Pentecost 12

August 7, 2016 Speaker: Murray Keith Series: Pentecost

Passage: Hebrews 11:1–11:16

†††In the Name of Jesus†††

Pastor Murray Keith

Text: Hebrews 11:1-16
Date: August 7th, 2016; Pentecost 12; Series C

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

We all like to have stability and security in our lives, don’t we?

We like to feel like we have everything under control and all of our ducks are in a row.

Sometimes we might even feel like we have achieved this – you know those times when you have that feeling of contentment? Like all is right in your life and in the world?

Maybe some of you experience that regularly. Maybe it has been ages since you felt that way. Maybe you never have.

There are many different ways that we try to achieve this sense of contentment.

In our society, I would suggest that the most common place people turn is materialism.

Our lives seem stable and secure when we have a nice house and car and when we have enough food for the next 6 months stockpiled in our cupboards and freezers.

I am convinced that one of the main reasons we are seeing less people in church today is because we are so spoiled. Who needs God when things are going so well? We’re doing just fine, thanks.

It’s tempting to put our faith and trust in the things of the world, to turn to our “stuff” for contentment and security.

But as the wise King Solomon said, it’s all vanity.

The things of this world never satisfy. We are left always wanting more. We are always left empty.

As the great hymn puts it, “On Christ, the Rock, I stand; all other ground is sinking sand” (LSB 575).

We know this is true. When we honestly give it some thought, we find that the things of this world offer no lasting contentment or security at all.

It seems everything is going well at home one day, but the next we find ourselves in the midst of great turbulence.

There’s a big disagreement. There’s lots of arguing. Someone we love betrays us. Someone we love is living in a way that is destructive to themselves and everyone around them.

Our home becomes more like a war zone than a peaceful sanctuary. Insecurity creeps in.

In our own lives it might seem like everything is under control, but then we find ourselves waiting anxiously by the phone for the doctor to give us the tests results.

All of the sudden our sense of security is gone.

What about the world around us? We have no idea what the future will bring. Things are moving and changing so quickly. Life seems to be more and more frantic. What’s the world coming to?

One minute we feel that everything is fine. The next minute everything has collapsed in around us.

And then there’s the truth that we are all sinners who do sinful things. We hurt others and they hurt us.

Maybe there’s a particular sin that bothers us and we question if God will forgive us for that one.

But here is a place where we do have complete security.

We know that we are secure in our relationship with God because his love and forgiveness does not depend on our goodness - but on his.

It does not depend on our holiness - but on his faithfulness to his Word of promise.

We remain his redeemed people, not because we deserve it - but because Christ gave his life for us.

We are God’s baptized and he assures us that he will never cast us off. Of this we can be absolutely certain. Of this we can feel completely secure.

Only God can bring us true security, peace, and contentment. Nothing else, or no one else, can.

I‘m sure Abraham had his share of anxiety and insecurity, yet with him we see a great example of one who had faith in things hoped for, who had the conviction of things unseen.

Abraham was an old man when God called him to leave his home and begin a journey to a strange land.

Abraham was well set up and ready for retirement. He was quite secure with the things of this world.

He had great wealth - servants, land, livestock, silver and gold.

Surely he had earned the right to settle down and enjoy all that he had in his retirement years.

But God didn’t see it that way.

God called him to leave the security of his home, of his stuff, and begin a journey filled with unknowns.

Abraham had faith and trusted God, even though he had no idea what the future would bring. He went out, not knowing where he was going.

And we have been called to do the same.

For us, this life is a pilgrimage. We have no home here. We have no security here. There is nothing permanent here. We are strangers and exiles on the earth.

Our only security, our only true roots, are in the promise of our eternal home.

Our eternal home is described in our reading from Hebrews as “…the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God” (Hebrews 11:10).

It’s true that our future in this world is uncertain.

The things we have and enjoy, and our very lives, are by no means secure.

But in the face of whatever comes our way - we have God’s promise of forgiveness and eternal life.

Nothing can change that.

Nothing can take that away from us.

It is in this truth that we receive all of the comfort, security, and contentment we need. It is in this truth that we have faith.

This is why God sent his Son into the world.

This is why Jesus died on the cross on our behalf.

This is why Jesus rose from death to life and ascended into heaven.

To restore us. To save us.

Soon our pilgrimage on this ever-changing world will come to an end.

Soon grief, pain, and all sorrow will be a thing of the past - and love, joy, and peace will be permanent.

Soon we will be reunited with all of our loved ones who have gone before us in the faith.

Be still my soul; the hour is hast’ning on
When we shall be forever with the Lord,
When disappointment, fear, and grief are gone,
Sorrows forgot, loves purest joys restored.
Be still my soul; when change and tears are past,
All safe and blest we shall meet at last. (LSB 752) Amen.

The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus unto life everlasting. Amen.