Twenty-third Sunday after Pentecost
Order of Service Printed in Today’s Bulletin
Listen to Today’s Sermon:
The one who makes men holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers. – Hebrews 2:11
Children sometimes act up in public. Perhaps you have experienced it. I was at a restaurant recently when children act out. Children begin to cry and complain and draw all sorts of attention to themselves. As the noise increases, parents get a look on their faces that cries out, “I don’t want to be here.” I wonder when they will take their child out of the restaurant so the others can eat in silence.
There are times we can imagine that God would have the same look on his face as the parent whose child is acting out. After all, we tend to act like children. We gripe and complain when our selfish hearts do not get what they want. When things don’t go our way, we cry, “No fair!” We jump around in the puddles of sin until we are covered with guilt. And when God calls us to account for all the filthy sinfulness that we splashed all over us, we really don’t have much to say.
But Jesus, “the one who makes men holy,” steps in on our behalf. He washed our dirty hearts with his precious blood. He robed us in his holiness, and God declared us to be free of sin’s guilt.
The amazing result is that Jesus doesn’t get that look on his face that says, “I don’t want to be here.” Instead, he loved us so much to wash us clean of sin’s stain and is now not ashamed to call us his very own!
Prayer: Dearest Jesus, I praise you for the sacrifice you made to wash away my sins and free me from their guilt. Help me to live more obediently according to your holy will to show my great thanks for making me a member of God’s holy family by faith. Amen.
Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it…by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. – James 3:13
I remember being in a pastor’s office. He was a man I admired greatly. He was the man I would want to mentor in my own ministry. You can imagine a place full of books, papers, study materials; a room with a desk, chair, reading lamp and computer. What especially caught my eye, however, was something framed on the wall. The image was an odd one. It was simply an image of a turtle sitting on top of a fence. I asked the pastor about the photo, he answered, “It reminds me of a saying I learned a long time ago: ‘If you see a turtle sitting on top of a fencepost, you know that he had some help.’” He went on to explain that every time success starts going to his head, he looks at that picture and remembers that he is just like that turtle.
That’s humility. But it’s not the kind of humility that flows out of weakness or fear or hesitation. Rather it’s the kind of humility that comes from wisdom.
Because of the sin that infects each of us by nature, our chances of finding peace with God are less than the possibility of a turtle climbing a fencepost. But out of a love you and I can’t fully grasp now, God sent his Son to rescue us from ourselves, to wash us clean of all our wrongs, and to place us in a right relationship with him.
And so we are forgiven, embraced and cherished by God himself. However, we “turtles” possess these things not because we had anything to do with achieving them. We possess them because the God of grace has chosen to give them to us through faith in Jesus Christ.
When we remember that, it’s much easier to fill our lives with “deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom,” as God’s Word says. That wisdom is knowing what we have in Jesus and how we are so blessed to have it.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, empower my humility to flow from the wisdom of knowing how overwhelmingly blessed I am in your Son. Amen.