A sermon by Adam Barcott
Septemer 1, 2019
Welcome! Glad you are here as we continue to pray and ask for God’s mercy in anticipation for the impending hurricane Dorian. Our gathering around God’s word and sacrament are the safest places to be before, during and after the storm. So let’s began our time of worship by engaging the idea of daily repentance reorianting to repentance as a way of life. Remember repentance is where God recreates the broken world we live in whether we did something to deserve it or not, of course non of us has done everything we can in loving God or each other, we are all in need of his mercy and forgiveness. So prepare your hearts and minds to recieve God’s protection, provision and presence as we enter into a time of repentance Lord, I haven’t done enough and I’m not going to do enough to deserve love to deserve good things in my life, to deserve protection from the storms around me. However I believe that Jesus Christ as Lord of heaven and earth freely gives what we do not deserve by faith in his name, for it is the power of the Gospel proclamation for salvation to all who believe. The righteous shall indeed live by faith, so it is with these truths written on our hearts by the resurrection power of the Holy Spirit that we confess together as a church. God we have sinned against you in thought word and deed by what we have done and by what we have left undone. Receive the word of God, I have given you my son. It’s for his sake. Your sins are forgiven. Thank you Lord.
We receive your work and love and seek to align our hearts with the psalmist today. Reading Psalm 131 oh Lord, my heart is not lifted up. My eyes are not raised to high. I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me, but I have calmed and quieted my soul like a weaned child with its mother like a weaned child is my soul within me. Oh Israel, hope in the Lord from this time forth and forevermore. Father, we just are like a weaned child. Thankful for everything we have and at this moment gathered around your alter and the place where you promised to be with us. We’re just going to rest now. Rest in your word and your love and your son.
So here our worship now and be pleased. Be pleased in everything we’re doing here as we grow in appreciation for everything you’ve done and continue to do for us. In Jesus’ name. Amen. Thank you Lord.
Father we abide in you. We ask for you to give us the nutrients and the watering that our souls and our bodies need. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
You May be seated. So we have two readings today. One will be from Joshua. The first one will be in Joshua chapter one verse one through nine. It’s found on page 102 if you want to follow along. The next reading will be a continuation of what we’re talking about in Hebrews. But the old testament reading from Joshua starts with kind of a crisis. Moses has died. So what are we going to do after the death of Moses, the servant of the Lord.
“The Lord said to Joshua, the son of nun, Moses’s assistant. Moses, my servant is dead now therefore, arise go over this Jordan, you and all this people into the land that I am giving to them, to the people of Israel. Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon. I have given to you just as I promised to Moses from the wilderness and this Lebanon as far as the great river, the River Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites to the great sea, toward the going down of the sun shall be your territory. No Man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life, just as I was with Moses. So I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you. Be Strong and courageous for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers, to give them only be strong and very courageous.
Being careful to do according to all the law that Moses, my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go. This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night so that you may be careful to do all according to all that is written in it. For then, you will make your way prosperous and then you will have good success. Have I not commanded you? Be Strong and courageous. Do not be frightened and do not be dismayed for the Lord your God is with you. Wherever you go.
This is the reading of God’s word, praise be to God. A wonderful passage. We’ll refer to this passage as we as we talk about what God has for us from the scriptures, but turn with me to Hebrews chapter 13 verse one through 17. The author or the preacher, since this is a sermon spoken to people has already broken down what it means to be saved the Gospel. Law and Gospel, and now we’re at a very practical section, so here we go.
“Let brotherly love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. Remember those who are in prison as though in prison with them and those who are mistreated since you also are in the body. Let marriage be held in honor among all and let the marriage bed be undefiled. For God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous. Keep your life free from love of money and be content with what you have for he has said, I will never leave you nor forsake you, so can confidently say the Lord is my helper. I will not fear what man can do to me. Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you, the word of God, consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Do not be led away by diverse and strange teachings. For it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by foods which have not benefited those devoted to them. We have an altar from which those who serve the tent have no right to eat for the bodies of those animals whose blood is brought into the holy places by the high priest as a sacrifice for sin are burned outside the camp, so Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through his own blood. Therefore, let us go to him outside the camp and bear the reproach he endured. For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come through him. Then let us continually offer up sacrifice of praise to God. That is the fruit of our lips that acknowledge his name. Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have for such sacrifices are pleasing to God. Obey your leaders and submit to them, obey your leaders. Submit to them . (why?) For they’re keeping watch over your souls as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning. For that would be of no advantage to you.
This is the reading of God’s word. Praise be to God!
This passage, very practical, but the way we’re going to approach it is through one word today. I’m going to give you exactly what’s on God’s heart and what He wants us to hear today and then we’ll work through it. Here is what he wants us you to hear today; faith will produce courage.
Courage is the ability to stand or move forward in the face of fear. So when you are scared to do something, courage is the thought and action that says “I’m going to do something that scares me.” Courage isn’t something that you have to muster on your own. Courage is never the starting place as if you realize that you have courage and you say to yourself, now I’m ready to act courageously. No. Courage is something that happens as a result of faith. Faith produces,works. Faith and works are one coin. It’s like heads or tails on a coin.
It’s faith and works. When you have faith in something it will produce an action to do something. We all had faith in the Weatherman, so we all worked out of that faith by destroying the water section at Publix super market. It’s very simple. We operate by faith. Every day we go to work, we expect and hope for the paycheck later, you’re operating on a daily basis out of faith. They pay me in the past, they’re going to pay me on Friday, but I’m going to work Monday through Friday out of faith because that faith motivates action. So don’t believe the hype of faithless and godless people who say faith is powerless. Their cry to just do something can be understood and responded to, (with all grace and love of course) by recognizing that apart from faith in God, their desire to just do something is actually putting faith in either something unknowable or their own limited capacity to control thmeselves, others and the world. World, well meaning person…you just don’t know what you’re putting your faith in. But the followers of Jesus Christ do know where their faith is located and this is the source of all courage to move forward in doing something.
I want you to be courageous in your faith. Don’t back down because people are challenging and accusing you and God of being responsible for all the failure and brokeness in the world. The faithless demand answers because they are grasping for any hint of life in an existence that is overshadowed by the reality of death. Often our faith is conftonted with the question, Oh, where’s your God now, after a tragidy or traumatic moral failing. The question is not sinicere but is intended to accuse God for all the bad in the world. However here is the answer in the face of horrific events and debilitating brokeness. God is with you. And I’ll tell you how we get courage to face, disappointment, to face debilitating anxiety, to face poverty, to face death, and how do we become the people of courage. Courage is not from us, it is for the people of faith. For the people of faith, the question is no longer am I good? Am I going to do good? How do I do good things? That’s not your question anymore. We’re going to explain this, but your new question is; God, are you going to be with me in this?
Are you going to be with me?
See, naturally in the brokeness of the world we want to know from God am I good? Should I take the job there? Should I marry this person? Should I do this? Should I leave? Should I stay? Will we be safe in the storm? Tell me what to do so I can know that i’ll be comfortable, safe, happy. And God has said, I don’t give you the future. We don’t play that game where I give you the future and now you’re safe. That’s not the game of God. God says, no, I don’t make those predictions to you so that you can manipulate Me for yourself. I am God. Let me be God, I’m in control of the future. But I give you something great that will produce more courage than anybody else on the face of the earth. It all begins in the question; God, will you be with me in this? And he says, yes, yes, yes. That’s the one thing. Over and over and over, God says, I will be with you.
Be Strong and courageous. Well how? God says, because I’m with you. Jesus in the resurrected body says, I have all power and authority and I’m with you forever and ever. Jesus says that. God’s saying, go across the river and take a land full of giants. “But we just lost our leader.” Yeah, go ahead Joshua. You’re number two. Everybody went to the Church and Moses for Moses, not for Joshua, and now Joshua is preaching? Oh boy, we’re doomed. Be Strong and courageous. Why? Because the Lord is with you. And this is what produces the kind of courage that has you up in the face of fear, has you acting more brave than you could ever have been? Not because you are brave, you’re scared, but because you’ve got your big brother behind you, you’re surrounded by God.
God’s with you. The creator of the universe is with you. Strong and courageous. You guys have him. He has you. So now we have to go into this passage. This is what the preacher in Hebrews is saying. How do you draw courage? I want you first and foremost to know when you said, God, are you with me? He says, yes, I’m with you.
We have to understand these two words and maybe you’ve heard them before. Let’s break them down. Justification and sanctification. If you mess up justification and sanctification, if you put them out of order, you’re doomed. You’re doomed to a life of crushing failure and hardship. If you mess up the order of Justification and sanctification at best, you’ll be a pharisee. We mess these up frequently and as a result are burdened by Christianity and full of fear, anger and anxiety.
So just to be clear, justification is where the God does all the work and gives it to you. Justification is what happens on the cross. When Jesus Christ does everything, he gives it to you, he offers it to you and you don’t reject it. You say, oh, thanks, and you’re receiving. It’s all his work and you are saved by faith in Christ. That’s justification. That means you’re in the family. You’re like one of our children in the household. Done. So the question of Am I good? Am I doing good? Those are good questions before you were brought into the family. But now they are answered by the death and resurrection of Christ. You are in the family by the washing and regeneration of your baptism into Father Son and Holy Spirit. The question of being good enough in light of your baptism would be like a sweet 5 year old child asking it’s mother, “am I good enough to still live in your here and stay with you?” How crushing would a question like that be from one of our children? Any parent would answer that sad question with a loving and affectionate, “of course youre still in the house, you are with us forever you are my child!
First justification, you are in the family of God. You don’t need to worry about that. And when you do, you remember your baptism, you remember what God did for you, it’s done. But there is another level. But there’s something more because God created us to interact with Him. He actually has relationship with us and we don’t just have babies and then let them go. We want to interact and raise them and see them grow into maturity. This is sanctification and so there is a point for you to cooperate with God in sanctification. This is where you start to engage doing good things. Again, we don’t do good things to be saved. We don’t do good things to become good. Jesus already did that.
We do good things because our heavenly father created us to grow up and enjoy life. I want you to be a true human. A true human, loves God and loves others and doesn’t use others to prove how good they are or use God to prove how good they are. That’s insecurity, orphan living, and we have done that too often in our lives. We do something good and we used it to say, I’m good. Wrong. No, you’re good because Jesus died for you. Now you’re just actually being a human. You’re actually in the will of God, which is heaven and earth are meeting in you because Jesus has heaven and earth in him and it’s in you and now you’re able to love people in a moment. You give it to them.
Here’s another way to describe what I’m saying. Justification, we got that. Sanctification though thats a different story. On Tuesday, because there’s no school, our beloved children will say to us, I don’t know what to do. Nothing to do. And you know what a good parent will say, just like the stuff that the preacher says here. Oh, you need something to do. You could clean your room. You could get ahead on homework. You could do some yard work. You can play with your sister. And what does the child say? Nah, I’m all right. Or better yet. Same example, different words. Ah, can I have some chips? I’m hungry! No sorry. But I’m so hungry. Well, no, not right now, but you can have an apple. We have some fruit. The child responds no, I’m not hungry anymore.
This is a sanctification issue. You’re in the family. But what’s happening in that moment? What’s the real parent say back? If you don’t want an apple, then you’re not hungry. Oh, if you’re bored, then you’re choosing to be bored. Or what I heard growing up, was so mean, “there’s no such thing as being bored, just boring people.” And I was like, okay, I’m boring. I’m sorry. So harsh in the eighties, just went right to the core back then.
Now, but here’s where we get to the sanctification question because here’s what you need to know with courage. Okay, I am safe in my justification. But you do have to engage God and cooperate with him. This is not intended to crush you and make you feel bad, like you’re a bad friend. This is intended to teach you to grow into maturity and to become a full human. Who loves God and loves one another. So the question though is for all of us, okay, what do I do? What do I do to become a mature Christian?
Here’s what the preacher says. Cool. Let brotherly love continue. That as the church, we’re brothers and sisters, and one of the hallmarks of Christianity is that we love each other.
Break it down this way. If I want to help you, but my own personal family is starving and I’m not taking care of my kids or my wife, do you really want my help? I hope Joe would say to me, maybe you should feed your family first before you help mine. And the hallmark of Christianity is not that we’re called the save the world, rather Jesus Christ is here to do that. We got to grow up in loving each other first. Now when you become a full human, you’ll be able to go out there and just like my children go out there and get a job and love God and people because that’s just who you are, thats just the family you grew up in.. But let’s start in the family first. Let’s grow up. Okay? Before you get the big boy career, you’re not ready for, learn to do the little things in your discipline. Grow up! This brotherly love. How we love each other matters. You want something to do. You don’t know what to do. Love one another or how about this one?
Do not neglect to show hospitality. Open up your home, throw a meal. Some people entertain angels. I do want to say, uh, we have biblical reference to angels being entertained and they were unaware of it at first with Abraham and lot. And there are angels. We’ve talked about angels on Tuesday night especially, but here it could be anybody who’s bringing the word of God. An angel just means messenger of the word of the Lord. So entertain people who are about the faith, carrying the word of God. Open up your home, taking care of them. We’re on the verge of doing that during a hurricane. You know, if something bad happens to your houseyou have this group of people that say, come stay with us. We’ll take care of you at least for a couple of days, and then when you wear you’re welcome out we will pass you on to one of our other brothers and sisters. That’s very brother and sister, okay, you’re annoying me so now its time to go to Joe’s house. Okay, we can do that. We’re brothers and sisters.
Then there’s the prison. You still need something to do? Go, visit those in prison. Here’s what this means,
The first, 200 years of Christianity, Christians are being at some points hunted for sport. In fact, one of the emperors at the time, Trajan has to write an edict that says, please don’t hunt Christians for sport anymore. If you find them worshiping, then and only then can you kill them. This is found in Eusiebius an early church historian. Wow, so visit the people who have been in prison because of their faith. We know Paul was in that situation. That’s just love.
Oh, you want more to do? Okay. Let’s see if we make it simpler. Love your wife. Love your husband. Be Faithful. Okay, let’s get a little bit more. Don’t love money. Work on not loving money. “Im so bored, what do I do? Well my Christian, work on not loving money….”never mind, I’m not hungry. I’m okay.”
So here’s the thing. It takes courage. All these new ways of living in the household of faith are coming from the pastor as our dad. These are the things that you can do on any giving day when it feels like theres nothing to do in your Christian life. There’s stuff to do. There’s ways to grow, but you know why this stuff is scary?
I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to love somebody. It’s scary. It takes courage to show brotherly love because you’ve been rejected and that hurts. It takes courage to show hospitality cause people might ruin your house or not repay you or take things that you needed for yourself. It takes courage to visit somebody in prison because now I’m going to be aligned with them. Like I’d love to visit you Kevin, but if I go, they’ll know that I’m with you and then maybe I go to prison as well…. Sorry Buddy.
It takes courage. It takes courage to stay in a marriage when the thought that maybe I’d be happier somewhere else starts occuring to you. It takes courage to say no, not going to be happier over there. I’m going to trust the Lord and be engaged with my wife before God. Whether it’s hard or happy or not, it’s hard and it takes courage to not trust money. I want you to look at this verse again. It’s so good. Verse Five, Keep Your Life free from the love of money. You’re allowed to have money but don’t love it.
And then he gives more. He says, be content with what you have for. He said, I’ll never leave you nor forsake you. “God will you be with me while trying to love other people?” Yes.
Will you be with me while trying not to love and serve money and forgive me? Yes, I’ll be with you. And in fact, he says, the Lord is my helper. I will not fear, what can man do to me.
Will you be with me in trying to figure out my job, which is so stressful and difficult. Yes! Will you be with me in a hard decision to leave something that might be good or I don’t know what to do. Will you be with me? Yes,! I’ll be with you. I’ll never leave you nor forsake you.
Even if you mess up in these things, so you’re free to mess up. You’re free to love, but not perfectly. Oh, I should have played that differently. I really was mean. It’s no longer about doing good or bad makes you good or bad. It is now, I’m a child learning how to do chores, learning how to grow in maturity. This is sanctification. So where you mess it up, you’re forgiven, but at least you’re moving. There’s things to be doing and growing, so be strong and courageous! You aren’t the orphans, God is your helper. But here’s where we draw our strength and our courage from is that Christ did this perfectly. He went before us, right? The author goes on to say, AH, remember the leaders who spoke the word of God to you? Remember those guys who are trying to protect the true Gospel
At this point in time in history, there’s better stories. So the Jews are rising up nationally and they’re saying, hey, why are we were being persecuted, lets rise up! But then the Christian Jews are saying, hey, you should go back to doing Jewish things, temple worship. And that’s why the author gets into it about sacrificing food, about what alter you go to and it took courage just like it takes courage today to go to the altar that God has given us, his son, Jesus Christ. So don’t be swayed by new ideas like, oh, you want to be a better Christian and you want to do these things. If it changes from the story of Christ, let it be anathema. That’s what Paul says in Galatians. He says, if even an angel shows up and gives a different message than Jesus Christ crucified, throw it out. Why? Because Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever. The story doesn’t change. It’s never gonna Change. And so take your courage in that it’s not gonna change. So don’t get wrapped in that. Remember the guys who preach the true word of God and hold on to that.
The question for you to ask God is, where are you now in this hard time? He says, I’m where I’v always been. I’m at the altar. I’m here with you.
I’m here with you. Be Strong and courageous. Take your courage from the alter, the death and resurrection of Christ.
I’ve been reading these biographies. I read a new biography on Luther and one on Bonhoeffer, if you’ve never read Bonhoeffer, the story of his life is pretty amazing. I was looking for the next one. And a lot of these biographies are about, powerful people, right? So there’s one on Rockefeller, Einstein, Steve Jobs, like these are the top 10. And everybody writes a review. It’s like, oh, I learned a lot of things for business and for success. And and it’s funny, I didn’t see a biography on Jesus Christ. You know why? Because the guy worked for three years and at the end of it, he was crucified by his peers. Can’t wait to get my hands on that biography. What is the secret? That’s why we have to be strong and courageous because our leader lived in poverty, was rejected, died. Yet, had the peace of God. He had the healing words of God, and actually healed people, and for the joy set before him endured the cross? This is our leader. And so it takes courage and faith to trust him. But he gives you that when he gives you your faith, he gives you new sight. So when you can see what’s ahead, he gives you some courage.
When you know you’re not alone and someone’s fighting besides you, it gives you courage. When you can see what Christ has done it gives you courage. When you can know the word of God, the promise of God is I am with you. This is all building courage. And again, courage is just being really scared going forward.
That’s all it is. I’m not saying you’re going to feel courageous. When I look back at the biggest courageous movements moments in my life, I’ve left jobs several times for nothing. Wow. How courageous and bold are you Adam? No. At the time I was completely devastated and scared and hurt and confused and I didn’t know what to do, but all I knew was I’m not happy here, Lord, and yet will you be with me in the next place? He says, yeah, and that’s all I knew. Now, I’m thankful.
But now there’s more places to go cause we keep growing and learning. It’s like, what’s going on now? Will you be with me in the future? Yes. Will you be with me in the dreams that I have that feel so far away? Yeah, I’ll be with you in those dreams. I’ll be with you. But I’ve, I’ve wasted opportunities. I’ll be with you. I’ve ruined relationship. I’ll be with you. You want to repair those. That takes courage. I’ll be with you. Be Strong and courageous. The Lord is with you. He’s gone ahead of you. He’s besides you, he’s with you. And he will be always.
So what are you going through, check in with your own heart? We all have things that we’re trying to make big decisions on and fear is always opposing faith. Just know those are the two that work in you. Fear is protecting what you have. I’m going to lose it. I’m going to lose it. Faith is hope for something good is coming.
Faith and fear. So what right now is testing those feelings in you? Whatever it is, the fear of the future. Fear of the past. Fear of right now, whatever it is, go to the Lord, you have faith and that faith will produce courage. You go to him and say, will you be with me if this happens? And hear him say, he says it over and over in scripture. So I knew the Holy Spirit will say this to you. It’s no mystery. The Holy Spirit will speak to you cause he has through his word. He has through his alter. And he will say to you, yes, I will never leave you or forsake you. I will be with you through whatever you go into and you have enough to give away and share, and you have enough energy to love people while you’re there to show hospitality, to visit those who are being persecuted. You are the person who carries that so be strong and courageous.
All your courage comes from the altar of Jesus Christ who went before you and goes with you now. So can you get a little worked up for that, at least for right now. And then as soon as you leave and you’re debilitated by the stress and the freaked outness of what you can’t control, promise me. Remember this; God, are you going to be with me? What does he say? Yeah. Okay, you guys, you’re going to struggle this week. Is God going to be with you? Is God going to be with you? Yes! Is God gonna be with you though that? Yes, yes, yes, yes.
In Christ. It is. Yes. And that’s all you need to know to be strong and courageous. That’s all you need to know to be scared and go. Okay, let’s pray.
Father, thank you for your word to us. Give us the strength and the courage of Jesus Christ. Minister to our hearts and our minds right now. Lord, we don’t need you to bring to our mind the fear we already have that, pretty close to the surface. So we ask Holy Spirit, would you speak that Yes to us personally right now? Will you be with me if everything bad happens? Will you be with me this decision that needs to be made? Will you be with me in the unknown? Will you be with me? And in the rejection, trying to love people. Will you be with me in being foolishly generous. Thank you lord. We love you. Thank you. And we ask that you continue to make us,,grow the faith you started in us that might produce courage in Jesus name. Amen.