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Sixth Sunday after the Epiphany

February 17, 2019 Speaker: Murray Keith Series: Epiphany

Passage: Luke 6:17–6:26

†††In the Name of Jesus†††
Pastor Murray Keith
Text: Luke 6:17-26
Date: February 17th, 2019; Epiphany 6; Series C
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
  • During this season of Epiphany, the divinity of Jesus has been revealed in many ways. 
  • First, there was the star in the sky pointing out that the Saviour, the King of the Jews, had been born. 
  • Then Jesus was baptized in the Jordan River, where the Father spoke about his beloved Son and the Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus in the bodily form of a dove. 
Jesus is then rejected in his hometown of Nazareth as the fulfillment of Scripture, and even though the people wanted to kill him, he walked through their midst and went away to perform miracles of turning water into wine, casting out demons, healing various diseases, and bringing in a large number of fish.
  • While those on the receiving end of these miracles were blessed by Jesus, these miracles are not the primary reason why the Word became flesh. 
  • The miracles of water turned into wine, boatloads of fish, healings - these are here-today-and-gone-tomorrow gifts.  They are temporary gifts.
  • All of the wine was eventually consumed.  All of the fish were eventually eaten.  All of those who were healed - eventually died.  
  • And so it is with the gifts that we have and enjoy today.  They don’t last.  They fade away.  They are temporary.
  • Our houses will eventually be knocked down and demolished.
  • Our cars will eventually end up in the junk yard.
  • Our vacations come to an end.
  • Our bodies don’t stay healthy forever.
  • To be sure, we should be thankful for the daily bread that God provides for us and enjoy these gifts.
  • But woe to those whose faith is only in earthly gifts - as Jesus warns us in our Gospel lesson for this morning.
  • Jesus warns against putting our faith in our temporal gifts such as money, food, laughter, and good reputation. 
  • They are here one day and gone the next.  They are fleeting.
  • Yet, we often make these worldly gifts to be most important in life.
  • We focus our time and energy on these things hoping that they will fill and satisfy us.
  • And they might for a while.
  • But as Jesus warns, “Woe to you who are full now, for you shall be hungry.”
  • Maybe you have experienced this like I have - you take things way too far at a buffet - that last egg roll, or scoop of mashed potatoes, or piece of pie crosses you over the line from being full to feeling sick and unwell.     
  • You end up so full that you say, “I’m never eating again!”  
  • And yet, after enough time passes - the hunger returns and we are ready for our next meal. 
  • “Woe to you who are full now, for you shall be hungry.”
  • This is true for food and everything else the world has to offer.  It won’t last.
  • And yet, we often make the things of the world most important in this life.
  • In our epistle lesson, St. Paul speaks of what should be of first importance: God and his gift of salvation.
  • He wrote to the Corinthians, “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins…that he was buried, that he was raised on on the third day…”
  • Christ died for our sins.
  • Your sinful nature, all of the deplorable things that you have ever thought, all of the hurtful things you have ever said, all of the sinful things that you have ever done - all of it - has been buried with Christ.
  • He died for it.  You are forgiven.
  • Your relationship with God is restored.  You are in good standing with God.
  • You are in good standing with God because Christ Jesus shed his blood for you.
  • Although it’s tempting, it’s a mistake to judge our standing before God by the worldly gifts that we have, or do not have.
  • The worldly gifts that we have, or do not have, are simply not important in regard to our standing before God.
  • You might have terrific health and wealth, things might continually fall into place the way you want them to, you might be feeling like you are on top of the world.  
  • But that is not important in regard to our standing before God.   
  • Having worldly things does not mean that God has given you extra favour or you have a special spot with him.  
  • Likewise, you might have terrible health and absolutely no wealth. The pain just won’t go away.  There is no cure for your disease.  Bad things just seem keep happening - what else could possibly go wrong? 
  • But that is not important in regard to our standing before God.
  • Bearing crosses in this life, being without, does not mean that God has abandoned you or you are somehow cursed before God.  
  • The worldly gifts that we have, or do not have, are simply not important in regard to our standing before God.
  • What is important, what is of first importance - is the death and resurrection of Jesus.  
  • Being in good standing with God has nothing to do with what you have or don’t have - it has everything to do with the gift of salvation won for you by Jesus.
  • And unlike the things of this world, this is a gift that will never fade or perish.
  • God’s gift of salvation for you isn’t temporary - it’s eternal.
  • For richer, for poorer, in abundance or in hunger, in suffering or in rejoicing - Christ and his kingdom are yours.
  • Don’t listen to the world that tells you that you are blessed because of what you have or cursed because of what you don’t have.
  • Listen to God’s Word that tells you that you are eternally blessed in Christ.
  • Remember your Baptism that assures you that you are a child of God - no matter what is happening in your life.
  • Receive Christ’s true body and blood that forgives you, strengthens you, and gives you eternal life.
  • Beloved, no matter what you’re going through in this life, at this moment or the next, Jesus is with you. God is with you. 
  • The God who created the heavens and the earth has promised never to leave you or forsake you. 
  • He has written that promise to you, not with money, food, happiness, or fame - but in the blood of his Son. 
  • In him, we have the certain promise of forgiveness, life, and salvation. 
  • In him, we have a promise that does not fade, change, or decay with time - but a promise that remains sure and firm forever. 
  • In fact - Christ has been raised from the dead.  
  • And as long as the Son, the eternal Word, lives - you shall live.
  • Dear friends - this is of first importance.  Amen.  
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The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus unto life everlasting. Amen.

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