January 20 – Life Sunday 2019
by Pastor Pete Scheele
Read Isaiah 46: 3- 13
Grace and peace to you as you let God’s love be the center and motivation of your life, from God, our Father, Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
‘O God, our help in ages past, Our hope for years to come, Our shelter from the stormy blast, And our eternal home.’ Those are the words that we just sang, just before the video that we watched from Lutherans for life and Bethesda. Are we fearfully and wonderfully made as psalm 139 said or we are on our own in this world, as many in this world believe? That’s the question we all have to ask ourselves as we live and function in this world. Oh, our old sinful self, the world and the devil wants us to answer that we are on our own in this world. That we are in control of our destiny, but then we run into the forces of this world that we can’t control, like the Israelite did in our Old Testament reading for today. In the Old Testament, we are told what happened to them in their lives and why it happened to them so that we would know that we are not in control of their lives and the world around us. But do we listen to God’s Word, do we learn from the past, so that we wouldn’t have to experience it in our lives also?
The Israelite’s of Isaiah’s time had made their own gods and worshiped them and felt that they were in control of their future. Because they had abandoned God and made their own gods and did what they wanted instead of what God wanted and showed them was the truth, God let them have their ways and the Babylonians conquered them and took the wises and best of the people of Israel to Babylon to be slaves to the Babylonians. As the people saw their capital city, Jerusalem burn down, they were being lead to Babylon. Along the way, they remembered the words of the prophet Isaiah that predicted this would happen if they didn’t turn from their sin filled ways back to God.
This past week we have seen several marches in Washington DC, Denver and other places in the United States. Some of those who came to march, came to use this incredible freedom that God has given to us, to show their concern for the life that God has given to us from conception to death. Others came to march for their right to be their own god and to be in control their own life. It’s interesting to see how from age to age the world stays the same. Our sin filled human nature wants to be in control, to look out for me first. That happened in the age of the Israelites of the Old Testament and it is happening in our age also, it’s the same everywhere. There are those who listen and learn so that they can truly have life as God their creator wanted them to have and there are those who don’t want God to be in their life and instead find their lives filled with terrible things rather than the love that God wants to give to them.
God through the prophet Isaiah told them, as He tells us, “Listen to me, O house of Jacob, all the remnant of the house of Israel, who have been borne by me from before your birth, carried you from the womb; 4 even to your old age I am He, and to gray hairs I will carry you. I have made, and I will bear; I will carry and I will save.” (Is. 46:3-4)
[Have already set up seven different sizes and shapes of glasses setting in glass trays on a table, with three large pitchers of water.]
God hasn’t changed through the ages, He’s still the same in every way and it doesn’t matter who you are or what shape or size you may be, God has known you before you were born into this world and He has had one desire for each and every one of us. God’s goal in this life is to fill each and every one of us with His love till we are overflowing with it. [Fill three of the glasses with water till over flowing.] God created each and every one of us and is carrying us along in this world so that we can live and grow in His love. God’s love is given to us through His living water by His Word and Sacraments. There is no other god that we make up in our mind or in this world who is like the True Triune God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
God reminds us of this as He says through the prophet Isaiah, “To whom will you liken me and make me equal, and compare me, that we may be alike? 6 Those who lavish gold from the purse, and weigh out silver in the scales, hire a goldsmith, and he makes it into a god; then they fall down and worship! 7 They lift it to their shoulders, they carry it, they set it in its place, and it stands there; it cannot move from its place. If one cries to it, it does not answer or save him from his trouble.” (Is. 46:5 – 7)
What kind of idols do we make in our time? You might say, “We don’t make Idols anymore as it was done by the ignorant people of the past.” I would have to disagree with you and agree with you. For in our time most of us do not make metal, stone or wooden figure that we worship, but we do worship things of the world, technology, money, possessions and even our own status in this world, they all become our gods. I love this definition for God, ‘God is the being that created everything there is.’ For there is only one God who created all of us and all the universe and that is the Triune God of the Bible, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Why did God create us and all this world that we live in? To share and live with us in perfect love, peace and joy now and forever.
God says to us through Isaiah, “Remember this and stand firm, recall it to mind, you transgressors, 9 remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, 10 declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,’ 11 calling a bird of prey from the east, the man of my counsel from a far country. I have spoken, and I will bring it to pass; I have purposed, and I will do it.” (Is. 46:8 – 11)
From the time that we transgress against the love that God wants to give to all of us He has been at work in our lives to bring us His love once again. We call this redemption from our sins. The Old Testament is all about God incredible love for us and how He shows that love to the world through the Israelite people. The people of the world of that time who were wrestle with God and His Word. The Israelite people wrestle with God in the same ways that we wrestle with God today. Yes, from age to age it has always been the same. God gives us His Word and sacraments to guide us on the path of righteousness to live with Him in love and we rebel and try to do it on our own, but God’s counsel still stands and gives us the only way to the perfect love, peace and joy that we desire in life in this world and for eternity. In the process of accomplishing God’s will of bring us to His perfect love, peace and joy he calls in the birds of prey to show us our transgressions and men of counsel to show us the ways of God’s love once again.
In the New Testament He tells us about the ultimate price that God paid for each and every one of us to give us His love now and for all eternity. That price was paid by His Only Son, Jesus Christ, who came into our sin filled world not only to live a perfect life according to God’s will, but to take all our transgression upon Himself and accomplish God’s purpose by paying for all our sins on the cross of Calvary, suffering hell and death for us and then rising again to life on the third day to give each of us the ability to live in God’s perfect love, peace and joy now and forever.
[Fill three more glass with a little water and then put a plastic top on the glass and pour water over them and the three full glasses.]
This Good News of what God has accomplished through His Son, Jesus Christ is being share throughout the world and many people are receiving a little of this living water, but then they are looking to the world, science and technology to give them the full love that they are looking for instead of the living water given to us through God’s Word and Sacraments. How are you receiving the living water that the Holy Spirit is pouring in to your life?
[Turn the seventh glass upside down and once again pour more water over all the glasses.]
God says to us through the prophet Isaiah, “Listen to me, you stubborn of heart, you who are far from righteousness: 13 I bring near my righteousness; it is not far off, and my salvation will not delay; I will put salvation in Zion, for Israel my glory.” (Is. 46:12-13)
God’s love is given to all the people of this world just as God has given His love to all the world ever since He created it, but that doesn’t mean that everyone receives the Love that God wants to give to us. Through God’s Word and Sacraments, we can be filled with God’s Word so that it is pouring out of us upon this world, but that doesn’t mean that everyone is allowing the Holy Spirit to work in their lives through God’s Word to give them the love, peace and joy that God want to give to them.
[Take the lid off one of the glasses and pour water into it till it over flows.]
As we open ourselves to the living water of God’s Word we will be filled to over flowing with the Love, peace and joy, that’s God wants us to have and that will enable other to receive God’s Love, peace and joy that will lead them to life instead of death. Let the living Water of God’s Word and Sacraments over flow from your life and out into the world around you.