Second Sunday After The Epiphany
Passage: 1 Corinthians 6:12–6:20
†††In the Name of Jesus†††
Pastor Murray Keith
Text: 1 Corinthians 6:12-20
Date: January 14th, 2018; Second Sunday after the Epiphany; Series B
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.
What are you worth?
How do we determine the value of a person? How do you determine your value?
Some will determine their value by their occupation and income. What I do makes me valuable.
Some determine their value by counting up all of the “stuff” they have – the value of their home, cars, investments. What I have makes me valuable.
In fact we spend time adding up our assets and subtracting our liabilities to figure out our “net worth”. This way we can attach a concrete amount to what we are worth.
Forbes magazine puts out an annual issue of the wealthiest people – they are ranked based on their net worth. Those who are on the top of the list are revered and respected.
We often value people based on what they do. We determine their value based on how much money they make and how much stuff they have.
I remember when I had just started my studies in seminary someone asked what career I was studying for and how long it would take.
When I responded that I was studying to become a pastor and would be in school for a total of 8 years - he responded, “Wow, if you had spent that much time in school for any other profession, you could have been really successful!”
You see, he valued a person and their success on how much money they make.
What are you worth? How do you determine this?
Typically we try to determine our worth by looking at ourselves – “well, I do this, I do that, I don’t do that – I have this, I have that.”
But keep looking…look a little bit deeper…and what do you find?
Often we do not like what we find when we take a deep and honest look inward.
We become aware of our failures and short-comings.
This is especially true when we look into the mirror of God’s Law - then we get a clear glimpse of the truth that we are “sinful and unclean”.
We can try and trick ourselves into believing that this is not true – maybe right now you are thinking to yourself, “I’m not that bad – I come to church pretty regularly, I give to charity, I am generally kind and nice to people…”
But, this is not good enough for God. He demands perfection. He demands that you live perfectly according to his will – without one slip-up.
The truth remains for each and every one of us – “I am a poor and miserable sinner.”
What are you worth?
How does God answer this question?
In our Epistle lesson St. Paul says that, “You were bought with a price.”
That’s interesting, isn’t it? “You were bought with a price.”
What price? How much was God willing to spend on you? What is your price? How much are you worth?
Dr. Martin Luther provides a great answer to this question in his Small Catechism.
He says regarding the second article of the Apostles’ Creed, “I believe that Jesus Christ, true God, begotten of the Father from eternity, and also true man, born of the virgin Mary is my Lord, who has redeemed me, a lost and condemned person, purchased and won me from all sins, from death, and from the power of the devil; not with gold or silver, but with His holy, precious blood and with His innocent suffering and death, that I may be His own and live under Him in his kingdom and serve Him in everlasting righteousness, innocence, and blessedness, just as He is risen from the dead, lives and reigns to all eternity. This is most certainly true.”
I know that was a bit of a mouthful, but did you hear the answer?
You weren’t purchased with mere gold or silver – you weren’t even purchased because of what you can or cannot do – you were purchased with the holy, precious blood of Christ. You were purchased with his innocent suffering and death.
This is the price God paid for you. This is what you are worth to him.
And God didn’t wait for the value of your stock to go up.
He didn’t wait until you built up your net worth to a certain point.
He didn’t wait for you to get your life in order.
He didn’t wait for you to get cleaned up and presentable.
In his letter to the Romans, St. Paul tell us that, “God shows his love for us in that while we were sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).
You were bought with a price.
The price was the very blood of the Son of God.
The price has been paid - and that means there is nothing left for us to pay.
It is paid in full. It is finished.
The grace and mercy that God has shown us through his Son is given to us fully, completely, and freely.
Our salvation is a gift.
But while it is a gift, while it is free – our salvation is not cheap.
St. Paul tells us that we were bought with a price, so we are to glorify God in our bodies.
Being bought by the blood of Christ does not mean that we are now free to sin.
It means that we have been set free from sin to live according to God’s will.
We glorify God by living faithfully as his people - not to increase our value, or worth, before him.
No, we do it because he paid the ultimate price to redeem us - and now this is simply who we are!
Brothers and sisters in Christ, never has a transaction occurred in which a bigger price was paid.
He took on our sin and punishment and death - and in return he gave us his righteousness, his forgiveness, and his life.
It makes gold and silver, homes and cars, investments and net-worths, seem pretty trivial in comparison – doesn’t it?
What are you worth?
Don’t look to yourself, or to your stuff, to figure this out. You will find little value.
Look to Christ. There you will find that you are worth everything that God has to offer.
You are his creation, made in his image, and he loves you.
In God’s eyes, there is nothing of more value than his loved and redeemed.
There is nothing more valuable to God than you and me.
Regardless of what stage of life we are in, regardless of how much we have, regardless of what physical condition we are in, or what we can or cannot do – we are all worth everything to God.
So, most precious people of God, I remind you, “You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” Amen.
The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus unto life everlasting. Amen.