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Love to Tell the Story (CC)

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Let us rise for the reading of this morning's sermon text recorded for us in the 1st Letter to the Corinthians where we read from Chapter 9, beginning with Verse 16: YET WHEN I PREACH THE GOSPEL, I CANNOT BOAST, FOR I AM COMPELLED TO PREACH. WOE TO ME IF I DO NOT PREACH THE GOSPEL! IF I PREACH VOLUNTARILY, I HAVE A REWARD; IF NOT VOLUNTARILY, I AM SIMPLY DISCHARGING THE TRUST COMMITTED TO ME. WHAT THEN IS MY REWARD? JUST THIS: THAT IN PREACHING THE GOSPEL I MAY OFFER IT FREE OF CHARGE, AND SO NOT MAKE USE OF MY RIGHTS IN PREACHING IT. THOUGH I AM FREE AND BELONG TO NO MAN, I MAKE MYSELF A SLAVE TO EVERYONE, TO WIN AS MANY AS POSSIBLE. TO THE JEWS I BECAME LIKE A JEW, TO WIN THE JEWS. TO THOSE UNDER THE LAW I BECAME LIKE ONE UNDER THE LAW (THOUGH I MYSELF AM NOT UNDER THE LAW), SO AS TO WIN THOSE UNDER THE LAW. TO THOSE NOT HAVING THE LAW I BECAME LIKE ONE NOT HAVING THE LAW (THOUGH I AM NOT FREE FROM GOD'S LAW BUT AM UNDER CHRIST'S LAW), SO AS TO WIN THOSE NOT HAVING THE LAW. TO THE WEAK I BECAME WEAK, TO WIN THE WEAK. I HAVE BECOME ALL THINGS TO ALL MEN SO THAT BY ALL POSSIBLE MEANS I MIGHT SAVE SOME. I DO ALL THIS FOR THE SAKE OF THE GOSPEL, THAT I MAY SHARE IN ITS BLESSINGS. This is the Word of our Lord. Let us pray: This is the day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it. Amen. [Text taken from THE HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, 1973, 1978, 1984, used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers] Dear Followers of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ: One thousand seven hundred, twenty-eight - give or take a few. It's about the number of sermons that I have preached in my ministerial career to date. 1,728. Almost half of those in this building. I think what is so amazing to a lot of people is that they didn't think there were probably going to be 50. Or maybe even 10. And probably a greater surprise was to me myself! That there has been that many! Or that there was even one! Because growing up, being a minister was the farthest thing from my mind. Being someone whose job it was to proclaim the Gospel, and to work in a church was NOT what I wanted. I did not see that in my future at all. And through an odd set of circumstances the Lord hit me over the head with His hammer and said: I ... am the One who wants you to do this. I called you to be My child in the waters of baptism. That happened in my family's living room because my family went to church two times a year ... if we were lucky. Easter was always "iffy" ... depending on when it fell. So I was baptized in my living room on the bowl that we always had popcorn in on Saturday night, on a card table. But the power wasn't where it happened. The power was in the Word of God. The Word of God connected with that water that was applied to me in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, making me a child of God. Miraculously bringing me to faith when I had no desire to be one of God's children. And yet it was God and the power of His Holy Spirit that kept me in that faith. That kept me hearing His message. Because He was the one who had a plan for me. And His plan for me was to preach the Gospel. And I had to learn that. People, the people that were in my family, the people that I grew up with, the people that knew and knew what my hopes and dreams were, also had to realize what God's plan was. And from that respect we can relate to the Apostle Paul, who being a missionary was the furthest thing from his mind growing up. Being tutored in the Law of God. Being embedded in that Jewish faith and Jewish tradition; having the sole purpose and goal in his life to destroy those who followed after Jesus Christ. To proclaim Jesus to be the Messiah who was saying that He was the One that God had sent. That God had given to this world as the sacrifice for sin. It was his goal and his purpose to to put an end to that young church and it didn't bother him that he took women and children and put them into jail and put them to death. And yet, he comes to the church in Corinth after the Holy Spirit brought him to faith creating in him that knowledge that Jesus Christ was his Lord and Savior. God preparing him to proclaim Christ! And here we hear him telling the church in Corinth that he is compelled to preach Christ. Compelled to tell others the wonderful news that he appreciated so well. That he, on the road to hell and damnation, being outside of the knowledge of Jesus Christ and his Lord and Savior was turned around and redirected to heaven. That God, in His love and in His mercy, came to Saul to save him. And Saul understood that knowledge and Paul is the one who heard that knowledge and lived out that life of faith doing ... what he knew he had to do ... proclaiming the Gospel. Because it was the thing that mattered in his life. It was the thing that brought him all comfort, and all peace, and all reassurance. It is what he put his feet upon and firmly believed. And that is the same knowledge that has come to me and it has come to you that we were snatched out of the fires of eternal hell and condemnation because God loves us! And He chose us to be His own! He has saved us! He IS our Lord and Savior and He changes the way we view our life. Our life in this world is not ever going to be easy and we know that. We heard Job's words in our Old Testament Lesson: Life is NOT always easy. Sometimes our days seem futile. Some nights seem so long because we just can't sleep. There is pain. There is sorrow. There is illness that racks our bodies and ravages our lives. And this life is NOT where we're going to find all of our comfort and hope and glory. It is ONLY in Jesus Christ. And ONLY in the knowledge that Jesus Christ IS our Lord and Savior. That God sent His Holy Spirit to us to cause us to believe that. To trust that Jesus IS our Lord and Savior. That this world is not the end but awaiting each of those who believe in Jesus Christ is the heavenly mansion of God, where we will sit at that great banquet feast in heaven. And be cared for and attended to throughout eternity by the God who has loved us and called us to be His own. THAT is what compels us each and every day of our life. To wake up once again with that knowledge, not of: Oh no ... it's another day of the same thing that is ahead for me. There's nothing in this life, nothing in this day that I want. But we wake up rejoicing in the fact that we have another day of God's grace. Another day of His blessing in our life and we are compelled in our life to live it thankfully. To return to Him with joy for what He has given to us. For His presence; His very presence in our life. For the daily bread that He gives us. For the companions that He gives us all our life to thank Him. To give Him praise that He comforts us over and over again with His Word. And that's how we preach that Word. How we preach Christ ... how we proclaim that Gospel with our very lives. Because God has made a difference for us. He ... saved ... us. And then we take that knowledge, just as the Apostle Paul said; you take that knowledge and you proclaim Christ, by preaching. You look at the world in which you live and you see those people who are so hurting, who are so harried they are outside of the love of Christ; who are just aimlessly wandering in the darkness of sin and wallowing on a path to self-destruction and eternal damnation. And you see them and what do you do? As a child of God you remember what Christ did for you. And you share with them that message of Jesus. The Word of God. That you preach and proclaim Jesus Christ. That you get in with them in their life and you know them. The Apostle Paul said you become like them so that you can understand them and so that you can proclaim to them a message that they will hear. Jesus did not sit in the temple and wait for people to come to Him. He went out to them and proclaimed to the people. He dealt with the sick. He healed them. Those people who were demon- possessed, He drove the demons out. He came to them with the important message that He WAS their Lord and Savior. That great message that has come to us. That message that we can proclaim to others. But sometimes I think we sit back and think that THEY have to become US before they'll hear the Word. Instead of realizing that in compassion and in love, we can take them where they're at. And befriend them and talk to them ... and encourage them with the Gospel. To live that Gospel in our life. To proclaim to them what God has done. To share those wonderful experiences that God has caused in your very own life. How God has supported you and helped you through the darkest times to share that. To teach them who Jesus Christ is. That is what should compel us each and every day. To look on the people around us with eyes of compassion and love and understanding. And preach to them. To tell them. Preaching is just sharing the Good News. One-thousand, seven hundred and twenty-eight sermons. How many of those do I remember? Four ... five ... that I think were probably really good. If you take half of those ... how many of those do you remember? The ones that the Holy Spirit used to touch your heart. And to touch your mind, and to get you thinking about what God's Word has to say. And that's what's important. Realizing what God has done for each of us and how that then compels us to live. To become ... proclaimers of God's Word. To talk about our Lord and Savior. To just share that Gospel Message. Because the Lord will bless it. The Lord will bless it in accord with His Will to produce in those people what He desires to accomplish. And we know what God can accomplish. All we have to do is look in the mirror. And look in our hearts. He saved us! Let us preach Christ. Amen. Let us rise. Now may the peace of God which goes beyond all of our understanding, keep your hearts and your minds, and especially your lives in the one true faith unto life everlasting. Amen.

Video Details

Duration: 16 minutes and 31 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
Producer: R & M
Director: Jesus
Views: 51
Posted by: hischild on Feb 10, 2012

Life is not always easy. We are reminded in sharing the Gospel that God does remember us and expects us to tell others of His unfailing love for all mankind in sending Jesus to earn heaven for us.

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