The 18th Sunday after Pentecost (C)
Sermon Text: 1 Timothy 2:1-15
Peace be unto you from our Triune God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.
Dearly Beloved of the Lord,
In the early 1970’s, a man by the name of Art Fry was a member of a church choir in St. Paul, Minnesota. Mr. Fry, however, was frustrated. Not by the choir, but by his hymnal and the fact that bookmarks he placed on the pages of hymns the choir was set to sing, kept falling out.
But then, Mr. Fry remembered that a few years prior, a colleague of his by the name of Spencer Silver had developed an adhesive that was strong enough to stick to surfaces, but left no residue after removal and could be repositioned and reused.
Fry took some of Silver’s adhesive and applied it along the edge of a piece of paper. His church hymnal problem was solved. Oh, by the way, both of these men worked for the 3M Company and this was the beginning of the now famous “Post-It Note.”
Chances are, you use them almost every day. They are a great way of marking a page, of making a note to yourself and others serving as great reminders in that you can stick them in places around your home, on your calendar, in your car, etc. where you are sure to see them. Or where you are sure your husband will see them. (Oh, did I say that out loud?)
In our epistle text, Holy Scripture reminds us,
“There is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all.”
(1 Timothy 2:5-6)
This statement and the truth it declares should go on a Post-It. It should go on millions of them and placed everywhere for everyone to see, take notice of… be reminded of and believe.
Why? Because we live in a religiously pluralistic and pantheistic society. That’s a fancy way of saying we live in a world with more religious beliefs and more so-called “gods” than one can number. It is true. You can make a religion out of anything and the same goes for a god… that which becomes your god.
Hey! Wait a minute. Forget about those “Build a Bear” stores in the mall. What about a “Build a God” where you can go to and from various stations in the store and choose your god’s characteristics and make your own image and idol of him, her or it. For an added fee, you can have a second set of images made just in case your male god feels like being a female god at any given time and vice versa. When you are all done, you can have your god neatly wrapped and packaged for you… something small of course that will fit in your back pocket until needed.
Sound ridiculous? Have you not seen or heard what our society and this world is up to? How they continue to live a lie… actually many lies that they cling tightly to. Why? Because it gives them some semblance of peace and comfort, albeit fake and fleeting.
By creating their own religion and gods, people can make the same, form and fashion the same, to suit their purposes, their lifestyle, their thinking, their actions and behavior. Their so called religions and gods are “tailor made” and fit them to a “T.”
But then we have this Post-It… an indeed “divine” Post-It. “There is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all.”
We read this, hear this and we are again and again reminded that none of this is our doing. We did not create God. We did not form and fashion Him in our image. On the contrary, He created us. He formed and fashioned us in HIS image… the image of His holiness, righteousness and purity… that which that we lost in the fall into sin… the image that now, thankfully, is being restored in us here on earth in Jesus Christ… through our ever-growing faith in Christ and will be fully restored in heaven… when we are with our Lord in paradise.
“There is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all.” Post it my friends where you can see it and take true comfort and peace in it every day.
Take comfort in the fact that there are no other gods but the one True, Triune God… Father, Son and Holy Spirit… that there are no supernatural beings at work, unseen forces and powers that you need fear and this includes Satan and his demons, the whole lot of them.
Take comfort also in the fact that there is one true mediator between God and you, the man Christ Jesus. The cold, hard fact is, at one time there was no way for we poor miserable sinners to approach, to communicate and be in communion with our perfect and righteous God.
But then the very Son of God… the Holy One of God… Christ Jesus… came into this world… He who humbled Himself and became Man all for the purpose of being our substitute…
… To take our place under the Law of God and keep it perfectly for us… something we could never do.
… To endure upon the cross the divine punishment due us for our sins… to pay the immense ransom by which our souls were won back from sin, death and the devil.
And we know, don’t we, exactly of what that ransom consisted… that which likewise should be on its own Post-It note, namely Luther’s explanation of the second article of the Apostle’s Creed, where we confess over and over again:
“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; [here it is} 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.”
(Luther’s Small Catechism)
You know, maybe it is the company I keep or the people I meet in the course of a day or week, because I have yet to find a person where everything in their life… all aspects of their life… be it work, home, health, family, relationships, finances, etc. is all going well.
The same, I am sure holds true for you. And here I am not only talking about the people you meet. I am talking about your own life… the life you left out there to have some precious moments in here… in the sanctuary of the Lord… the life you will all too soon return and continue on.
It is challenging, to say the least. And all the more reason to look at the Post-It… “There is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all.”
There is one God and He loves you so. There is one mediator, Christ Jesus. Call to Him. Pray to Him unceasingly… Look to Him for help and guidance. He who sits at the right hand of God the Father always pleading and interceding for you before the Father.
He, Jesus, who has ransomed you for all that is evil, hurtful and harmful.
He, Jesus, who will be with you all the days of your life, to the very end of the age.
He, Jesus, who through His blessed Word and the Holy Sacraments fortifies and gently leads you to the very gates of heaven.
He, Jesus, who will confess you before God the Father saying of you “This is my beloved child, my own, for whom I died.”
He, Jesus, who will open His arms wide and say to you,
“Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.”
(Matthew 25:34 NKJ)
Be strengthened, my friends, in the truth and certainty of all of this. Amen.
May the peace of God which surpasses all understanding, guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus, unto life everlasting. Amen.
“One God, One Mediator, One Ransom for All”
9/18/16 The Rev. Mark H. Hein
St. Paul’s Ev. Lutheran Church, Lockport, IL