Enter into the Joy – A Sermon for November 16

The day is surely drawing near…so Jesus gives us a parable concerning the last day.

For some reason or another we have constructed a safe zone between us and God. We think that we need to be kept safe from HIM — his coming in and his going out…We’ve made him out to be a hard man: reaping where he does not sow, and gathering where he scatters no seed…and that he is somewhere far far away – a journey perhaps – but definitely not in Keller, Texas, let alone in our homes, at our work, and in the midst of our lives. We have made him out to be what he is not.

It my own fault; it’s your fault. We are really good (all of us) at putting God where we want him and really good at ignoring where he actually is and what he has done and keeps doing for you and to you.

It really could be the world projecting upon us its opinions about God or maybe it could be Satan’s scowl, fierce as he will – the daily whisper of his fowl demonic breath upon our ears…but actually we’re willing accomplices of both the world and the devil. One little WORD can fell them all, but we’ve locked that WORD up, buried it beneath the dirt…because we were afraid, NOT of the world, or of the devil…but of God.

But each of us a servant, each already working for the master – called out of darkness! That’s you. He’s saved you from death and the devil. He’s marked you as one redeemed by Christ the crucified. His Holy Spirit has created faith in you and taken up residence in your heart: his holy temple.

So how could WE determine that God is a hard man, reaping where he did not sow and gathering where he scattered no seed?

We expect good things from God, but we want that GOOD by itself, apart from where God gives it – apart from the rest of life, the GOOD we feel entitled to. We want it like the world seems to get it. We see sickness, illness, trials, persecution, and the like in a vacuum…and we expect God to answer our prayers the way we have already answered them in our heart. But God isn’t a respecter of persons…whereas the rain falls upon just and the unjust alike, his love and his mercy only come through Jesus Christ. We receive the forgiveness of sins in the preaching of the Word, at the font, on bended knee.

We can only think God a hard man because we have not known him, we do not listen to his Word, and we do not partake of his gifts. BUT Pastor Cholak, you say… “I here, you’re preaching to the choir. It’s the members of Christ’s church that aren’t here that you need to preach to…AND yet, it is we who have sat in these pews and have ignored his Word, refused to forgive our brothers – breezing past the Father’s vast forgiveness and love to hold on to our own grudges, to get what we want at the expense of others, to fulfill some requirement on a Sunday all the while ignoring God all the week long. Our prayers have faltered, we have not loved our neighbor as ourself, and we’ve kept God in our safe zone even within these sacred walls.

Repent. Your Lord and Master is at hand.

Even behind locked doors and sealed rooms, your Lord Jesus finds you. Even buried under the dirt, with large stones blocking the way He walks into the midst of your life. You’re here because His Holy Spirit has called you. Jesus has sent his gifts to you by way of that Spirit…you are a servant of the most high God because Jesus loves you and gave himself up for you.

The talents in the parable weren’t play money and they weren’t things to handle. On the one hand, He gives you responsibility from His Kingdom only as your ability allows. He’ll come back and want you to give an account. But on the other hand, you will encounter things in this world that you can’t handle. More than you can bear. He gives you crosses and pain. There will be sorrow and tears, your prayers will not always be answered the way you think they should. And it may from time to time all seem unbearable – and harsh…and it will be impossible for you.

These things are impossible for mere men like you and me. But take heart and do not fear. Jesus declares, “My peace I leave you!” Fear not that Godman from heaven — for all things are possible with him. The man, the master, has gone away, but he is not gone. He comes to you again today. His sweet and pure Word he speaks into your ears, straight into your heart.

This day Jesus has bridged our chasms, walked into the midst of our safe zones, and bids you come, kneel and receive food from heaven, the very body and blood of Christ who died upon the cross that you would have life. It is medicine of immortality. Christ your Lord unites with you this day. Come, for all things are ready, come, enter into the joy of your master and live. AMEN.

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