Monday, October 26, 2020

The Bethany Bullet Sermon Message - Week of October 25, 2020




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Link to Bible Discovery Resources for 10/25/20 – HERE

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V  V  V


Message: “Certainty in Uncertain Times”

Text: Philippians 4:4-9


When we began our fall series we quickly realized that the apostle Paul’s desire expressed in his letter to the Philippians is that though we are not Philippians we (Christians, Lutherans, Californians – we are all of those things) will Grow Through What We Go Through.   Though we are at the end of our fall series, we are not at the end of that which we are going through; and thus we will continue to grow through the same.  One of the ways we will grow is by embracing and understanding Paul’s call to “Rejoice in the Lord, Always!” 

Of course, it is hard to rejoice when things are uncertain, unpleasant or utterly unpredictable.  We live in uncertain times!  There is no denying that reality.   I must confess that in these uncertain days I’ve done as much recoiling as rejoicing and as much lamenting and exulting.  You too?  It’s important to examine the words of Paul once again!  Paul does not say, “Rejoice…in male pattern baldness.”   The apostle does NOT tell us to rejoice in…separation from co-workers, class-mates, family members or fellow worshippers brought about by pandemic.  The mouthpiece of the Master does not instruct us to rejoice in societal chaos or the collapse of polite public discourse; we are not commanded to rejoice in an anti-social, social media driven agenda.  Nor are we told to rejoice in how it is driving us further apart from one another.  Rejoice in isolation and loneliness not in the text.  Rejoice in lost employment, lost income, lost relationships, lost hopes, nope.  Rejoice in global upheaval all around us or a spirit that is downcast within us is not what He says!   Say it with me, “Rejoice IN THE LORD ALWAYS…again I’ll say it, Rejoice!”  WHY?   Because, “THE LORD IS NEAR!”  

This truth moved the Reformers to proclaim and confess this Scriptural promise in their days filled with uncertainty.  Yes, they also lived in uncertain times. They endured a pandemic of their own, the black plague, their society was collapsing and wars were raging, the social media of the day (wood cuts) were often far from flattering of their opponents, excommunications and threats abounded, the days of the Reformation were uncertain.  

Yet, the Reforms said all the certainty needed God has provided in His Word.  How certain, in the midst of such uncertainty, were the Reformers?   Their anthem answers that question, “Were they to take our house, goods, honor, child or spouse, though life be wretched away, they cannot win the day, the kingdoms ours FOREVER!”  Now that is certainty in an uncertain world.  

We, children of the Reformation, have a certainty midst uncertain days.  It rests not on a nail that held words to a church door; but in nails that held the Word made flesh to the cross.   Rejoice THE LORD IS FOR YOU!  Rejoice this same Lord is NEAR YOU!  In an uncertain world, the annual celebration of the reformation calls us to take a stance of certainty ourselves on the Word of God, incarnated (Jesus) and “inscriputrated” (The Bible).   


Of this one thing you can be sure, this is utterly dependable, God is pleased with you in Christ, though undeserved God has drawn near to you in Jesus, though unworthy of the gift our of pure grace and love God has bestowed on you a name (Christian) a title (child of God) and a Kingdom (His) without end. 


That is all we need to find ourselves “Rejoicing in the Lord Always!”  And the more we do so midst the uncertainty of life the more we shall find ourselves Growing Through All We Go Through


-          Pr. Kevin Kritzer


Worship Resources for Sunday, November 1st will be up on Bethany’s website by midday Saturday, October 31st.


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