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JANUARY 13, 2013 1ST SUNDAY AFTER THE EPIPHANY SERMON TEXT: TITUS 3:4-7 Let us rise for the reading of this morning's Sermon Text, recorded for us by the Apostle Paul in his letter to Titus, where we read from Chapter 3, beginning with Verse 4: BUT WHEN THE KINDNESS AND LOVE OF GOD OUR SAVIOR APPEARED, HE SAVED US, NOT BECAUSE OF RIGHTEOUS THINGS WE HAD DONE, BUT BECAUSE OF HIS MERCY. HE SAVED US THROUGH THE WASHING OF REBIRTH AND RENEWAL BY THE HOLY SPIRIT, WHOM HE POURED OUT ON US GENEROUSLY THROUGH JESUS CHRIST OUR SAVIOR, SO THAT, HAVING BEEN JUSTIFIED BY HIS GRACE, WE MIGHT BECOME HEIRS HAVING THE HOPE OF ETERNAL LIFE. This is the Word of our God. Let us pray: Glorious and gracious God, may the words of my mouth and the meditation of each of our hearts be acceptable in Your sight, our only source of hope and comfort. 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: When Jo and I were living in northern Wisconsin, there weren't a lot of activities that went on in a town of 750 people. But one of the things that we usually did on the weekend was that we would go and attend auctions. We'd look in the paper and see where there were going to be certain auctions, and travel. It's kind of fun! We knew a lot of people that went to these things and we'd even sometimes bought some things that we came home with at a great deal. So one Saturday morning, we went to an auction. Just a household auction. A lady had died and her family had put up all the contents of the house for sale at the auction. And it ... everything was going pretty normal. And all of a sudden the auctioneer brought out a lamp. It was just an old lamp. And the bidding started. And everyone was thinking probably starting at fifty bucks. And one lady in the audience said: A hundred dollars. And immediately another lady said: Two hundred. And it went: $300 -- $400 -- $500 -- a thousand. And everyone was just kind of lookin' around because all of a sudden it's not this item that's for sale that's the big story. But who are these two ladies that are bidding on this lamp? The two ladies were the daughters of the woman who died. And one sister wanted the lamp and the other sister didn't want it. But she didn't want her sister to have it. So no matter what the one sister who wanted bid, the other sister ALWAYS was bidding more. Thousands of dollars for a lamp. But so much more in that war that went on on that Saturday morning. But why is it that when someone dies, and they are dealing out their estate, that it just seems the worst comes out in people! Out of how many people die every day and their wills are read and their families are content and happy with how the estate has been distributed ... those we don't hear about. But we hear about all of those contentious or weird requests that people make in their wills. You know, including everyone in the family except the one child that was, you know, rebellious. So he gets none. Or the wealthy people who give their children one dollar to teach them how to be their own person to be able to go out and make their own money and not become soft. Or just the people who leave all of their money to their cat. Interesting, isn't it? How we get all tied up with what we're going to get when someone dies. And yet before us today we hear the Apostle Paul telling us the greatest thing that we have received because someone died. Because God saved us ... we are heirs of eternal life! We know what is ours. We know what is coming to us because of what God has done for us. Jesus Christ appeared in this world with one goal and one purpose in mind ... TO SAVE US! He came here to be the One who would take us from the depths of eternal condemnation to save us from eternal death. To remove from us the sin that punishes us so that we could be God's own! No longer enemies and foreigners and aliens of God, but His sons and His daughters! And there is God's amazing and tremendous love! That He came into the world TO SAVE US! Not because of anything righteous that we had done. Not because of anything good that we had done, but because of His abounding and astounding LOVE for sinners! That God the Father took that love and showed it to the world in His Son Jesus Christ. And as the Prophet Isaiah reminded us this morning ... not just for the people of Israel. Not just for that chosen nation. That would be too small of a thing for God the Father to do! So He did a huge and large and awesome thing because His Son came to save everyone! To sacrifice His life so that people could have life. People like you and me who daily disregard God. Who daily sin against Him by our thoughts, by our words and our deeds. How could we even begin to think that there would be something that was so good in us; so righteous in what we would do, that God would look out of heaven on all of the people on this planet and say: Now there is the good person; the one example of who I should reach out and let into my kingdom. God looks out of His heaven on humanity and sees the sin that is there and knows that everything condemns people to hell. The wages of sin is death, but God in His love sent His Son into this world to be its Savior. To live the perfect life that none of us could live. That God could look on His Son Jesus Christ and say: This IS my Son in whom I am well pleased. Because He KEPT the commands of His Father. He DID His Father's will. All of His actions reflected the love of God. All of His words spoke the truth of God. All of His thoughts were centered on what is Godly and what is right. And in His life, Jesus LIVED in accord with God's will ... PERFECTLY, HOLY, and He died that death taking on all of the sin and the punishment of sin, for people who COULD NOT, CANNOT, and WILL NOT live according to God's plan. How great is that love that Jesus has for us; that He saved us by His life and His death. And we have the certainty of knowing that we are heirs of God's heavenly home. Through Jesus Christ we know that our eternal life will be lived in the mansion in heaven in our adoptive family's house because of what God has done for us. And that gives us confidence and it gives us understanding in this world. It gives us a reason for living but it also gives us hope to look ahead to know what is there. It is not as if we are going to die and we are going to show up in some lawyer's office. And he's going to pull out the will and read it and we're going to wait and see whether we get anything or we don't. Whether we're going to be blessed or we're going to be cursed. At that moment of death, we know that Jesus Christ is coming to take us to live with Him in God the Father's eternal home. THAT is the knowledge that we have. THAT is the reason that we have for rejoicing and knowing that we are the heirs of God. And we know that in our lives in our baptism each and every day remind us of that fact. The Apostle Paul wrote to Titus about how important that baptism is. That renewal from the Holy Spirit. That washing with water and God's Word. That is not just symbolic. It is not just some act that we as the Church do, hoping and praying it's going to make some difference. Or to have people feel good about their life and about bringing their children to God and presenting them to Him. Baptism has power and strength because it has been commanded by God Himself as a way for us to go and make disciples. A way for us to have the Holy Spirit work in someone's heart and in their life by the strength and the power of God's Word. That simple act of taking plain water and applying it to a person in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit ... creates faith. That individual believes by the power and the strength of God Himself. And God is big enough and He is large enough to accomplish what He says and tells us that He will do. That faith is created. That faith that can then be nourished by God's Word; fed so that it grows and is strengthened. Being kept in the Word that has that strength and power for us being renewed daily by the Holy Spirit who lives with us and works with us to show our faith; to keep us in the faith. To remind us every day of how we have been saved. That in our baptisms we were put to death with Christ buried with Him so that that sin is dead and we rise with Him to eternal life. To live in that newness of life and the power of life each and every day by the Holy Spirit of God. We live as the children of God ... heirs of eternal life. We are no longer those people who oppose Him and His will. But we live in that grace mindful of the blessings that are ours. Rejoicing in what God has done and what God has accomplished. And also living that faith ... in that confidence. In that hope of knowing with certainty that heaven is ours. And it is SO important especially when we start dealing with that topic of death. Because no matter when it comes, it always seems to catch people off-guard. The surprise in death is if someone gets hit in a car accident and dies. Or the person who has had a lingering disease that has gone on for weeks or months or years. Still when they draw that last breath there is a finality to it. But we, as Christians, need to come back to that strength and that power that is ours. That God creates life; God has saved lives by the power of baptism and He is going to call people home at the time that He wants them to come home to Him ... when everything is prepared and ready. And as Christians we live with that knowledge because we are God's children. And we trust Him. And we hold onto Him. And we share that great knowledge with the families of those who have lost loved ones in the faith. We come back and assure them that that person is now enjoying heaven and the blessings of God. And that tempers our sadness. It doesn't remove the mourning. It doesn't take away the tears immediately. But it IS the comfort that sustains us through those dark and difficult days. But we live with that strength. And we live with that power. And we live with that knowledge. So that in those dark days we don't forget how God has loved all of us. That He saved us. And how wonderful it is to be heirs of His eternal life. To hold onto that blessing. To daily remind ourselves of what is ours through our baptismal waters. That faith that is so precious to us. That we nourish it daily. That we work with the Holy Spirit to live in our faith and show our faith ... to act as children of God so that others may see that Good News. So that others may notice what is different about us. So that we have an opportunity to share with them. To bring them to the Word of God. To bring them to God Himself so He can do His amazing work. To make them children and heirs as well ... with us, and with His Son Jesus Christ. So remind yourselves today, and every day, how blessed you are because YOU are an heir of eternal life. 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: 17 minutes and 20 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
Producer: R & M
Director: Jesus
Views: 41
Posted by: hischild on Jan 16, 2013

Saved by God's undeserved love and His mercy, we are heirs of eternal life all because of Jesus, our Savior.

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