A sermon by Adam Barcott
August 18, 2019
Good morning, glad you are here! I invite you to prepare your hearts for worship, lets begin with prayer. Father, thank you so much for promising to meet us here. You meet us at the places where two or more are gathered around your name, around your word, around your promises, through the sacraments in your people. Thank you for this unity to you and to your church. And we praise you. We thank you for what you’ve done in our lives and what you’re doing. Thank you for providing yesterday and today. and we come with expectation for what you’re doing for us even tomorrow. We worship you. We thank you. We lift your name up and rest in your mercy towards us. In Jesus name. Amen.
Turn with me to page D in the song book, where we will begin by engaging our corporate confession and absolution in Jesus Christ. Recieve the Lord’s forgivenes and know that The Lord is happy and pleased with all who repent and trust in Jesus for the forgiveness of our sins.
We get to be honest with God and say, I’m not perfect and hear his voice say you don’t have to be, my son’s been perfect for you. So let’s pray. The prayer of confession saying…”Most Merciful God, we confess that we have sinned against thee in thought word and deed by what we have done and by what we have left undone.” And then I as the pastor get to announce to you, not on my authority but on the authority of Jesus Christ and God the Father, “Almighty God in His mercy has given his son to die for you and for his sake forgives you all your sins.
Amen. Let’s respond to God’s word to us in Christ Jesus by reading together from Psalm 99:1-5:9. Please stand up and we’ll read it together. “The Lord reigns. Let the people’s tremble. He sits enthroned upon the Cherubim. Let the earthquake. The Lord is Great in Zion. He is exalted over all the peoples. Let them praise your great and awesome name. Holy is he the king in his might loves justice. You have establish equity. You have executed justice and righteousness in Jacob. Exalt the Lord our God. Worship at his footstool. Holy is he. Exalt the Lord our God and worship at his holy mountain. For the Lord our God is holy. Amen.” You just confessed the goodness of our God with all the angels, all the heavenly hosts. Amen!
The First Gospel Reading for today is found in the book of Luke Chapter 12. We’ve been reading through the gospel of Luke as going along with the preaching series. These are the words of Jesus in Chapter 12, verse 49 through 53 of the book of Luke. It’s interesting passage today, not one that many of you have quoted to somebody I’m guessing. Jesus says
“I came to cast fire on the earth and would that it were already kindled. I have a baptism to be baptized with and how great is my distress until it is accomplished. Do you think that I’ve come to give peace on earth? No. I tell you, but rather division from now on in one house there will be five divided, three against two and two against three. They will be divided father against son and son against father and mother against daughter, daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.”
Did you know these are the words of Jesus,, I came not to bring peace. Isn’t that Weird. I think so. What is he talking about? He’s talking about the natural division of the Gospel. The Gospel is a political movement personally and nationally because it always claims a different king. So as much as we try to make Christianity not a political thing, it is.
That’s why we just can’t Crown Jesus in our culture. I’ve asked myself why can’t our nations just let people believe in Jesus? Just pray. How is this bad, for people who don’t believe it could just be added on as extra protection for our country. But the nations can’t do that because it’s a political move, it is a subversive claim against the ultimate power of the existing authorities when we say Jesus is King. Jesus say’s I’m going to be walking through a baptism of death and it’s going to cause division in households because whole households won’t want to bow to Jesus. So it’s going to require faith for God’s people. Faith in Jesus as the ultimate authority on earth as it is in Heaven. And that faith is what we’re talking about during this season. We’ve looked at the work of the Holy Spirit and now we’re looking at how faith works. And so we started in Hebrews chapter 11 with the hall of faith, got halfway through it last week, and the idea there is faith works a whole New Vision. You start to see, you can see the Jesus who’s not readily seen. You know, on the surface Jesus should just be about peace. How is he about division? Well with faith, You start to see that when peace comes, it comes with judgment and salvation. That when I’m being saved or when my team is winning, when my guy throws the long bomb for the touchdown, I’m excited! But you should know that there’s someone else that is devastated at the same play. Good news is always judgment and salvation. When our team beats your team, salvation, when your team beats mine judgment, it’s how it goes. So Jesus knows that and he says it’s hard, but I give you my faith that can see the invisible because the visible was created by the invisible, God spoke things and they were created. His word is more eternal than what you see. It is more real than what you see and feel because God created it with his word. And so we look to his word and he says, have faith.
So lets read in chapter 11 of Hebrews verse 17 through chapter 12:1-3.,
Hebrews 11:17-40; Hebrews 12:1-3
“17 By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was in the act of offering up his only son, 18 of whom it was said, “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.” 19 He considered that God was able even to raise him from the dead, from which, figuratively speaking, he did receive him back. 20 By faith Isaac invoked future blessings on Jacob and Esau. 21 By faith Jacob, when dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, bowing in worship over the head of his staff. 22 By faith Joseph, at the end of his life, made mention of the exodus of the Israelites and gave directions concerning his bones. 23 By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden for three months by his parents, because they saw that the child was beautiful, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict. 24 By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, 25 choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. 26 He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward. 27 By faith he left Egypt, not being afraid of the anger of the king, for he endured as seeing him who is invisible. 28 By faith he kept the Passover and sprinkled the blood, so that the Destroyer of the firstborn might not touch them. 29 By faith the people crossed the Red Sea as on dry land, but the Egyptians, when they attempted to do the same, were drowned. 30 By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they had been encircled for seven days. 31 By faith Rahab the prostitute did not perish with those who were disobedient, because she had given a friendly welcome to the spies. 32 And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets— 33 who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, 34 quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. 35 Women received back their dead by resurrection. Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life. 36 Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. 37 They were stoned, they were sawn in two,[a] they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated— 38 of whom the world was not worthy—wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. 39 And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised, 40 since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect. 12 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.3 Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.”
Amen. It’s the reading of God’s word. Praise be to God.
That was a big passage, but I want you to hear it. This hall of faith. These are just normal people living 80 years and having some great moments and notice how all the moments are different. From Jericho’s walls coming down to Rahab protecting the spies, to Isaac getting giving a confused blessing to Jacob, to prophets being martyerd. The greatness of their faith was the fact that they just believed the promises of God and what makes all that faith, all their believing in God worth it is that today, some 10,000 years later in certain cases, we’re still proclaiming the same faith. We just believe the promises of God. Faith yesterday and today and forever works joy.
Faith works Joy. Look at look at chapter 12 verse two. You have to look at it to believe it because if I just say it, you’ll be like okay, I get it. Sounds like church speech, but it’s actually amazing. The middle of verse two, looking at Jesus the founder and perfector of faith. We’ll get there, but it’s this part where the preacher says, “who for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross despising its shame.” So this is about Jesus and His faith. Who for the joy set before him endured the cross? What was that joy? What joy could there be in being Mocked, going through poverty, being humiliated, friends being killed, challenged, serving, serving, serving? What joy is Jesus motivated by? What could motivate Jesus Christ to endure this? Here’s the answer
I know it’s absurd because I know you, you’re cool, but not walking through poverty, enduring mockery and dying for Cool.
You might be a little out of my league, but not me dying for you out of my league, but the Gospel is the joy that Jesus had. You are the motivating factor for the faith of Jesus. See, faith has a motivating factor. You have faith because there’s some motive for joy. There’s something pleasing and fun, opportunity for happiness that motivates faith. Often you do things now, for the joy that comes later. That’s why you do them. And I’m telling you the Gospel that we announce on behalf of God is… You are the motivating joy for Jesus. He lays down his divinity. He has all the power and he lays that aside to become a human. He then endures the cross humiliation for you. Why? Because he knows how much joy it’s going to be when we live in a new creation together. When you are exactly who you were created to be, and he gets to be who he is and we get to be together on the earth. Having an earth combined in the new creation is so exciting for Jesus that he is motivated to come for you. That even though he walks through the most intense suffering we can imagine, he does it because he’s motivated by the joy that it’s going to bring us, that promise of the joy of being united overwhelms whatever suffering must be endure now, it’s worth it. Can you imagine that? It’s hard to believe, but we’re the people of faith and it’s for the joy of knowing you. You and I are motivating Jesus Christ. God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit want to be with you at any cost.
Do you remember the song? But I would walk 500 miles,And I would walk 500 more, Just to be the man who walks a thousand miles,To fall down at your door. That’s the part I remember cause that’s the fun part! God sings to us… I’d walk 1000 miles. You have to start thinking, being a Christian, is about Jesus.
Everything for you is a bonus, the perfect creator, all powerful, all loving, all generous mastermind of everything is interested in you. And he’s not saying, I hope you’re good enough for me. I’ll give you a shot. He’s dying for you. He’s like, it’s gonna be so fun together and I would walk five thousand miles for you and he has.
This is how he feels about you, and it’s very easy to imagine division, happens all the time. The intense love of God is harder to imagine. But I’ve told this story before, when I was in college, a friend of mine owned a roofing company in South Carolina and in September in South Carolina is very hot. I’m very fair skinned. The last place my skin type should be is on a roof at the end of summer in South Carolina. I shouldn’t be there. But why was I there struggling to lift these pallets of shingles? Why was I there? The joy set before me for what? The only reason I was up there, was because I had this faith. My faith said if I could marry this girl Val, my life would be happy and full of joy, so I need money for a ring.
It was for just the idea of the joy of my life with Val that I endured roofing in South Carolina and I’m not good at it. It was awful. It was so hard, but for the joy of the possibility and I had no idea if our marriagne would bring me happiness at the time, (it has, and more than I could have imagined) It’s all faith, right? I didn’t know if I would be good at being married. I don’t know if she’s nice. I don’t know. I’ve only known her a couple of years. That’s a lot of faith to marry someone forever and do all this, but I did it and we all do those things. We all do what we want when we think the joy is gonna outweigh whatever the suffering is. That’s the only reason you’re all holding babies today. Why else would you have a baby or a pet, a dog, why? There’s so much love you’re putting into because the joy of having something that you raised that you’ve loved, there’s this hope and faith of joy and it motivates us doing crazy things.
And this comes from our savior. Jesus does this, he endures the shame and he says, you’re the motivating factor for me coming. And now I want to give you this joy. Joy only comes from a life of faith. It doesn’t come from anywhere else. We try to get joy in things, but everything else we look for is always a dead end. We get a little bit of joy. Many will prepare for a sporting event by sitting in the heat cause we think the joy of the soccer game is worth standing in the heat and being out there all day and it kind of is. It’s nice, but nothing is compared the joy that we have in Christ, he’s has joy in us.
So what does this mean for us? The author of Hebrews is saying, I have three things for you. I want you to lay aside every weight that’s holding you back. I want you to endure that this faith that you have and this joy that’s motivated, it is required and it’s a marathon. It requires endurance, and it requires keeping your eyes on the prize, keeping your eyes on Jesus, the author, the founder, the perfector of your faith. So the first idea is to lay aside some things, he says up in chapter 12 verse one, since we have this great cloud of witnesses, lay aside every weight and sin which clings so closely.
Have you ever felt when something is weighing you down or something is wrong, have you ever felt that way with another person when you walk into a room with joy and immediatly sense something is wrong. Even though you ask, is everything Ok, people still have a tendency to say yes were fine… There’s something wrong. Tell me what happened. And then five hours later it’s like, I just wish you’d, wash the dish you just used. Oh yeah. If I had known that you could have told me that right away and we could have gotten on the same page earlier. And that’s what makes Jesus so great is he knows something is wrong and that we screw it up all the time and he’s like, I’m still excited about being with you. Lay aside everything. And here’s the thing about the faith of joy that we get in this faith in Christ, you know the Holy Spirit has given you this faith and you know that there’s joy, that Jesus has found joy and he’s giving us joy in this faith. And now once you know that, once you know something, you can start to lay aside the things that aren’t helpful. So once you know you’re going to be on a diet and you have your goal, You know what you can and can’t eat. Knowing is half the battle. GI Joe taught me that. So the thought with a diet is if I lay aside the things that are not on my diet, I’m going to feel so happy when I’m skinny.
That’s a worldly example. And you kind of see how silly it is because being skinny will never equal happiness. That’s a tangent. We’ll talk about that later. But the point is I’m able to lay aside things that are hindering me when I know where I’m going, I’m able to say no, lay it aside, there is something better. Once you have come to understand the Joy that Jesus has set before you lay aside the sin that leads to death, isolation, regret and sadness.
Lay it aside. Jesus lays aside all of his glory for you. The saints have laid aside all their hope and things, and so now we lay aside with joy because the joy promised us is worth it. It’s worth moving towards, but then once you know where you’re going and you’re feeling good about it, if you’re like me, I know Jesus and I’m happy, and now, oh no, I’m sick. Things are not going well. We are the people who cry out to Jesus to fix it! You will find there is a call for patient endurance that the life of faith is a marathon that begins at your baptism and it ends at your funeral. It’s a marathon.
And so it calls for striving with endurance. The best way I can think of it is, you know, when you go to the beach and you set up your umbrella and everything right here. So the author says we are in a race run with endurance, but we’re not racing each other. We’re not trying to be like, who’s the best Christian? It’s not like, that we are in a race or we’re in competition with the world. And the world naturally just goes towards no faith in Christ. It naturally goes towards only believe in what you can see and use your reason to secure identity security and meaning that’s what the world does. And so I think of it like the current at the beach. Have you ever been in the water when the current is really strong.
So you set up your stuff right here and you’re playing around with your kids and you’re like, okay, having fun and then all of a sudden you notice your umbrella is half a mile to the left and no longer in front of you? Somebody in the Party always says, guys, we’re kind of drifting. Let’s go. Let’s swim back this way. Am I the only one that does that? I’m always that guy. Guys were getting away from the umbrella. And so it takes some striving. It takes some intentionality. If the little kids are going to swim, you’re going to swim this way now because we’ve been drifting, swim this way and now we’re back. But let’s get a little bit over here. Good. And then over a couple of minutes you’re still drifting? Because there’s a current and I’m telling you, and you know it. There is a current under this life. It’s always pulling you. It’s pulling you into trusting yourself. It’s pulling you into trusting other people and things. It’s pulling you into fear and anxiety. And all it does is highlight the fact that you don’t have much control over anything.
It’s a very disappointing reality. We want to have control because we are created to have some dominion with God. So we long to have our house in order, our hearts in order, our world in order and the current of the world is disorder.
It’s always something, work, car, health whose current is pulling you to order things yourself. So you are constantly to strive with your faith or rather exercise your faith. God, I love you. I’m worshiping you. I know you’re in control.
Lord, I love you. You’re in control. You made all this. Wow, okay, I’m feeling good. I’m going to walk straight. That’s the race we’re up against. That’s why he says you gotta run with patience and daily, it’s what we do. You know, that’s a marathon, takes time, effort, and focus.
Think about your faith. The Joy. Jesus will meet you and give you faith and give you joy now, but the motivating factor is we’re going to live with him because he wants to live with us and he does have power over everything and he’s generous and he doesn’t want slaves. That’s why he doesn’t just fix everything right now for you or make us a Jesus robot. He loves you the way you are and it is worth the striving. The problem is we don’t love ourselves and we don’t have the patience with ourselves that Jesus does. So patiently endure.
And then verse three says, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith. Consider him who endured. We keep our eyes on Jesus. So as you’re running and working out your faith and struggling and being forgiven and trusting that God loves you because he saved you. Now this is the work of sanctification. This is where we’re being set apart, and that requires us cooperating and walking with God because again, he loves us and we’re growing in this real relationship. But he says, keep your eyes on Jesus. He created this faith and he will perfect it. He started it and he will end it, but keep your eyes on him. And so think of the beach. He is the umbrella. That’s where you’re lining up. Keep your eyes on him the whole time, right there. Keep your eyes on him and you’ll know this is happening. It’s just like any relationship, the way my week goes. Ah, there’s some, it might go three or four evenings in a row where I don’t see val very much just because band practice and being out with a small group and then doing youth group and, and Thursday night or something, it’s like, Oh hey, what do we need?
We need to get on the same page. We need facetime. Like I need to talk to her and go, how are we doing? What’s up? You okay? Yes. Okay. You’re not okay. Good. We have to look at each other. And so you keep our eyes on Jesus. How do we keep our eyes on Jesus? We go to the place where he says, I’m going to be, my wife says I’m going to be here on Thursday night and you’re not going out are you out Adam? No, I’m not going out. We’re going to meet each other here. Jesus Christ says, I set up the church to be the place where you know, I will meet with you as often as you get together. I will meet with you in my word, the Lord’s supper. Baptism, the fellowship and I will meet with you. We need some facetime.
Otherwise you’ll forget the joy of this relationship. You’ll forget what’s motivating you and get sucked into the current of I have to take care of myself and I either have to save people or I’m waiting for people to save me. And all that produces is anger. That’s why the author ends, don’t grow weary. You are the people of faith. I love you all. You come, you worship Jesus. You know you’re not perfect and you don’t have to be. But keep asking God to grow this faith. I guarantee you, it’s Gospel. The faith in Jesus Christ. It’s worth striving after, what’s coming is worth it. And even now, the faith will give you joy where there ought not to be any joy in your life. So keep going. Keep getting back to your umbrella and trust. You’re not alone. There’s a cloud of witnesses, Jesus Christ and all the saints who’ve gone before us and all the saints right here. You are the joy of Jesus. He’s doing it for you because he loves you. It’s not a fake thing. It’s not a guilt thing. God actually likes like he can’t wait to be with you. That’s mind blowing,
It’s true. So rest in that. Let me, let me pray. Father, thanks for your word. Apply it to our hearts and minds. You know where we are at today. I have some energy today but I didn’t yesterday and so there’s many today who don’t have energy and are tired, confused. I pray that your Holy Spirit would minister to them the truth that they could hear the word of God, which is I love you. I’ve sent my son for you to die for you. You will rise again and we will live together. If that’s what you want it, you can rest assured it’s what I want. Lord, I think of the words of Peter when you said, Hey Peter, do you want to leave? He says, I don’t know where else to go. You alone have the words of life and I pray that you administer that to us today. We only know you have the words of life. And we give you our hearts, our minds, our soul, our will, and we trust you with it. And we love you and praise you.
In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Let’s respond by confessing our faith. If we’re exercising our faith, we say it together. Today I want to do two things. I want to do the apostle’s creed, and a time of offering. This is our reaction time to the goodness of God. But I also want to do the Lord’s prayer together before we do the Lord’s supper. This is how we exercise our faith by saying these things together. So stand with me as we prepare our hearts for offering and just confess together what it is we believe. What is this faith that promises joy?
What do you believe? I believe in God, the Father Almighty, maker of Heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, his only son, our Lord who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried.
He descended into hell. On the third day, he rose again from the dead. He ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty. From there, he will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Christian Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting. Amen.
You may be seated. So we give our hearts and our minds and we support the work of God’s Word on earth as it is in heaven. So I know we, uh, online we have online giving to so many of you do that. But during this time, use a minute or so here to pray. We also have a prayer board in the back where we will pray for your request during the week. But this is where we say thank you God for everything you’ve given us.
We’d give back to you and your word and your work on earth as it is in heaven. So receive our offering, our gift back to you. Thank you. In Jesus name, Amen. Father, thank you for all that you’ve given us. We praise you and we’re learning more and more how we are connected to the spiritual hosts. The heavenly host and the Earth are under your reign and rule and we worship you. We say worthy is the lamb who was slain to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and glory and honor and blessing. We worship you with our hearts and our souls and our minds and everything we have. We thank you, and then we thank you that our lives have worth and are valued because you value us. Grow this faith in us, bless our families and our home and bless all of us who are dealing with sickness.
Pour out your healing, pour out your forgiveness that we might forgive ourselves for the mistakes we’ve made, that we might receive your forgiveness. We might be spiritually, physically, emotionally healed by the touch of Jesus Christ, that you’d bless our families and friends in our homes and our work and our future. We trust you and ask for you to bless. Thank you lord that you hear us. Thank you. Put Your eyes and your ears upon us. You’ve given us your name, and we respond with faith and we love you. And now we pray together the Lord’s prayer, the prayer that you taught your disciples to pray, saying together, “Our father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen”.
So Jesus, knowing that his beloved humans were created to engage, created things. So Jesus and God is not trying to take away our humanness and make us something else. He’s resetting us to what we were supposed to be. So he uses things like water, bread, wine, the flesh. Jesus is all spiritual and all, all human. And he maintains the humanity of it. But it’s the word of God. And so it’s not a surprise that God can speak through a burning Bush. It’s not a surprise that Jesus then sets up and says, I’m giving you something created, bread and wine, but my word is making it something heaven and earth uniting. I’m making it something United and I’m uniting you to my body and I’m in uniting my body. All of you to each other. Cause see, Jesus loves you. He loves you so much.
It motivates him to die and suffer. So that’s why he hates it when we’re mean to each other. Just like I would hate it if you’re mean to one of my kids or my wife, I’d be like, get out. Right? That’s why he hates it when we’re tearing each other apart, especially in the church, because every one of us is loved by God, He is in love with us and all of our faults. He’s made a way to figure that out, that when we’re mean to each other, it’s not acceptable. And so this meal is set up to say, I’m United to the earth. I am for it. I’ve come forward to say that, and I’m for you and all your fleshiness, you are now made new spiritually. So come and be United to Jesus, be United to his body and be assured that you’re forgiven and that you have a hope. You have a future that is now being seen and starting to be seen right here when we’re being remade. So as you come forward, the outer ring is wine. The inner is grape juice.
The bread that Jesus set apart, it was the night before he was betrayed. He takes the bread and he blesses it and he says, this is my body, which is broken for you. In the same way, he poured the cup, pour the wine out, and he said, this is my blood, a new covenant for you, for the forgiveness of sins. This is my body. This is my blood. Take and eat of it. In the name of the father, son and Holy Spirit. We set these basic elements of bread and wine apart and apply your word to them and by faith, bring your people forward to receive the assurance of salvation, of forgiveness, of hope, of being United to you and to your people. We thank you Jesus, for being here at this meal, inviting us for paying for it, for blessing us, nurture us and strengthen us. Root us in the faith of the Lord Jesus Christ. We pray.
Receive God’s blessing. May the Lord bless you and keep you. May The Lord be gracious upon you. His face shine upon you. May He look upon you with favor and grant you peace now and forever. Amen.