Walk by the Spirit

There can only be two masters. One is good and the other is not. The entirety of the human experience is summed up in this: you are either born of the Spirit and walk by the Spirit or you are not and are caught up in transgression. The human heart is either aligned to a religion of Law or it is called to the religion of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Either you are on your own, pleasing the flesh and the manifestations of your own heart… or you are redeemed and washed by the living God who is Jesus Christ.

One who sows by the Law will also receive the harvest of the Law’s demands. There can be no escaping the Law’s stern requirements and accusations. Do not depend upon the Law to save you, it is no respecter of persons, and you are incapable of meeting the demands it sets before you. It’s a sharp sword and will cut you open and leave you for dead.

However, the heart will convince you that you are actually fulfilling the law and you are pleasing your false gods…even as the world delights in providing you pleasures and sweet nothings. Your focus is upon yourself and your envy is for things…whether they belong to others or not. Instead of bearing burdens and loving the neighbor, there is deception, envy, and strife. But the day of harvest will demand instead of provide. He who sows by the flesh will reap by the flesh. The wages of sin can only be death.

But the one that sows to the Spirit will reap from the Spirit eternal life. It is the Lord Jesus who has paid for your sin. Cast your cares and your worries on Jesus. He is the true master that rescues and restores, he creates new and buys back from death to give life and salvation.

The world and our sinful flesh will grow weary of doing good. But the Spirit of God does not weary. You have been created for Good Works. There is much to be reaped as the burdens of the neighbor become your own. What does God do to your focus? He redirects it from within to your neighbor and to love that is given and shared.

One master sacrificed on the cross to give everything to you. He also is no respecter of persons. His blood covers all —even you and me. He did fulfill the law completely so that he could give you all of the Gospel. The life of a Christian is one of testing and discipline. We give and help and bear the burdens of those around us. We love because the Lord Jesus, our true master, became a servant and loved us so completely that he died and shed his blood. Shed blood as the payment for your sin and mine. The wages of sin are paid.

So put your worries and cares on him. He will care for you. What will we do? What will we drink? What will we eat? What will we wear? It is all prepared for you. It is all ready. Come, recline at table. Wear the robe of Christ’s righteousness, eat his body, drink his blood, and live.

Galatians 5:25–6:10

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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.