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The Second Sunday after the Epiphany

January 17, 2021 Speaker: Murray Keith Series: Epiphany

Passage: 1 Corinthians 6:12–6:20

†††In the Name of Jesus†††
Pastor Murray Keith
Text: 1 Corinthians 6:12-20
Date: January 17th, 2021; Second Sunday after the Epiphany; Series B
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.  Amen.
  • This pandemic that we are in has forced us to ask some difficult questions and make some hard decisions.
  • One of the major challenges has to do with so-called lockdowns. 
  • Many health professionals advise that restricting group gatherings is important for slowing the spread of Covid-19, which in turn lowers the amount of deaths caused by this terrible disease.
  • “Stay home and save lives” is a common slogan these days.
  • But of course, it’s not that simple. 
  • Restricting our gatherings has a huge impact on our lives in many ways - one of which is the impact on the economy. 
  • All kinds of businesses are struggling right now because the restrictions are preventing their customers from consuming their goods and services. 
  • And so there is a financial cost to this effort of slowing the spread of the virus. There is a financial cost to this effort of saving lives.
  • Now, this is a very complex issue and it’s not my intention to dive into a discussion about what is the correct course of action.
  • I bring it up only as an illustration to show how society assigns value to life.
  • We also see this in matters like abortion and euthanasia. 
  • Do the lives of the unborn, or those in the last stages of their life, have worth and value?    
  • How do we determine the value of a person?  How do you determine your value?
  • Some will determine their value by what they contribute.  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 it.
  • We often value people based on what they do.  We determine their value based on what they have.
  • But looking at what we do, and what we have, to determine our worth is very dangerous and it’s superficial. 
  • What is your value? What are you worth?
  • How does God answer this question?
  • In our Epistle lesson St. Paul says that, “You were bought with a price.”   
  • What was the price?  How much was God willing to spend on you? 
  • 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.”
  • Did you hear the answer?  
  • You weren’t purchased with mere gold or silver or anything else that the world can offer.
  • You weren’t purchased because of what you can or cannot do, or what you have – 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 tells us that, “God shows his love for us in that while we were still 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 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, forgiveness, and 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 body.
  • There is nothing more valuable to God than you.  
  • Regardless of what stage of life, or physical condition we are in - regardless of what we can or cannot do – we are 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.

More in Epiphany

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The Transfiguration of Our Lord

February 7, 2021

Fifth Sunday after Epiphany

January 31, 2021

Fourth Sunday after Epiphany