Have you ever met someone before who just didn’t get it? Now I’m not talking about the people that have a tough time with math or spelling or those people with whom logical thought just seems to allude them; I’m talking about the people who spiritually just don’t get it. You’ve explained and explained what God’s Word says until your blue in the face and yet they just absolutely refuse to believe that Jesus is the one for them and that Jesus is the only one to believe in for heaven to be theirs!
Back in the day that used to be something that really frustrated me, it really infuriated me, it really led me to shake my head and throw up my hands in disgust. Nowadays, it simply breaks my heart. My heart breaks for them. Because I know what they could have, and they just don’t want. Today through Paul God reminds us to check where our hearts are when it comes to reaching out to those we care for around us with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. You know what God wants for everyone, you know what God wants for you, today is simply a day to check on that- to evaluate yourself with you and God as we get a great heart-check from God.
1 I speak the truth in Christ—I am not lying, my conscience confirms it through the Holy Spirit— 2 I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. 3 For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my people, those of my own race, 4 the people of Israel. Theirs is the adoption to sonship; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises. 5 Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of the Messiah, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen.
Paul knew that too.
Paul had a “Jew of Jews” background…if there was anyone who should know, it was the Jews, and yet what did he say? I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. What did Paul know? He knew how many were lost because of their rejection. And it broke his heart as he knew it did God’s. But could God say the same thing for us?
Think about it…what do you know about Christ? If there should be people in this world that know Christ, it should be us, right?! The Lutheran faith is one of the most head knowledge Christian churches in the entire Word. We have been filled with the information of God since when, birth? PreK? K-8? High School? For some of us it’s even up through graduate school! So let me ask you this then, “Why do you sin?”
Well, Pastor, all sin and fall short of the glory of God! Sure, but do you use that as a reality, or as an excuse? We go off on Paul and the Jews saying, “Man, they had everything!! How could they be such idiots?!” YOU HAVE EVERYTHING! How could YOU?! You have more than the Jews- you don’t just have the promise of the Messiah, you have the Messiah fulfilled! God over all, forever praised! So why do we not exude praise?! You have Christ, why do you fight with your wife? Why do you not trust your children? Why do you not think the leaders of the church can really lead? Why don’t you respect your parents? Why don’t you think that God can really work through our government for our good?! Why?! I’ll tell you why, because deep inside we’re no different than the Jews Paul mourned for. Deep down inside, and not so deep at all a lot of times, we see what we fight every day. 2 chapters before our text for today when Paul mourned for the Jews, he mourned himself and said,
21 So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23 but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? And then comes the kicker. Then comes the heart-check of GOD and then Paul spoke words that separated him from the Jews who rejected. Then Paul spoke the words that we believe that separates us from those who reject… Paul said, who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? 25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!
You want a heart check friends, then check out the heart of Christ. Oh, he knew the weaknesses of those around him. He knew the struggles of faith. He knew how the storms of this world and relationships and government, and you name it affect the hearts of His people, he even saw it first hand in Peter, right- as those waves and that wind pounded in his face- he knew it all. And he simply said, you of little faith, why do you doubt? And he reached down and rescued him. Just like he reaches down and rescues you. Not by offering you a hand from the water, but when he offered his hands on the cross. When he paid for you sin and rescued your very soul from the clutches of death and hell. When he forgave you full and free blotting out your sins and swallowing the power of the devil to damn and replacing it with the grace to live- now and forever. Our Savior Jesus has cast your sins as far as the East is from the West (I drove through South Dakota and Minnesota last week- trust me, East to West is super far!!) Indeed, Oh for a faith that will not shrink… May we join with the disciples in shouting out every day, I do believe, help me overcome my unbelief!
It’s a great day for a heart-check, right?! But what day isn’t? That’s my prayer for you this week and every week after. That God gives us the ability in faith to check our hearts of faith and see our Savior staring back at us. God, help us when the times of weakness come to live you. Jesus, precious Savior, help us when those times of anger and resentment and disrespect and fear and you name it sin come knocking at our door to slam it in its face and check our hearts of faith and follow you. Check our hearts of faith and trust you. Check our hearts of faith and thank you, for every grace and blessing you heap upon us. Today and until eternity. To you alone be the glory. Sola Deo Gloria! In Jesus’ name. Amen.