II Corinthians 1:18-20
|Selected Text (LWML)
17th Sun. aft. Pentecost
Our Savior Lutheran Church
Pagosa Springs, Colorado
October 8, 2000
(The popular new quiz show, “Do You Want to Be a Millionaire?”, has certainly captured the attention of our culture. It seems rather clear to me that the question itself is rhetorical. The answer is obviously “Yes”. We all want to be millionaires, don’t we? But as we watch the program there is a phrase used on that show which has captured our attention. Regis Filbin always asks, “Is that your final answer?” Today, as in every era past, people are looking for a final answer. As we all struggle with life and particularly with our personal failures – which are an inevitable part of life – we’d like to know the final answer to our sin. We all know that we’ve failed God, our families, our employers, and ourselves. So now what? As we examine our text, God’s final answer to our failures becomes clear. God’s final answer is Jesus! And no other answer will do.
I. IN THE “REAL WORLD” LIFE ISN’T WORKING VERY WELL.
A. Few are the people who are truly satisfied with their lives.
1. ILLUS: Armando’s great escape…
2. All of us at one time or another seek a new life:
a. We go on diet after diet and exercise program after exercise program.
b. Play the lotto in the vain hope of suddenly having a new life.
c. We take dietary supplements like they are some kind of fountain of
B. Sometimes our perception that we need a new life are quite accurate!
1. We constantly come face-to-face with our own failures.
a. We see our own faults and are amazed that we keep repeating them
over and over and over again.
b. We see the faults of others (often more clearly than our own), and
are amazed that others keep on doing them again and again.
2. We see crime, cruelty, and madness is the world around us and we know that,
indeed, the whole world needs a new life!
C. Our problem, of course, is sin.
1. Sin stops us from having a new life, because we cannot change who we are.
a. Since from the Fall, we are sinful creatures, our condition is
unchangeable by human effort.
b. That is precisely why we keep doing the stupid things we do.
c. That is exactly why we continue to war with one another.
d. That is precisely why we suffer from diseases, natural disasters, and
calamities of human cruelty.
2. Denying sin’s reality will do us no good, we are what we are because of our sin.
II. TO BE SURE, THERE ARE LOTS OF HUMAN ATTEMPTS TO THE NEED FOR A NEW LIFE.
A. Just listen to the cacophony of human conjectures about how to obtain a new life:
1. “Just do the best you can.”, is the minimalist approach.
a. Of course the question about how good must you be remains unanswered.
b. It is a “just-get-by” approach that presumes that a majority of good will win over a minority of bad.
2. Other insist that we can visualize our way into a new life.
a. This presumes that you can create reality by perceiving it.
b. It also presumes that all we need is inside of us…it is a very humanistic
philosophy that fails to recognize the reality of sin.
3. Still others suggest that we call the Psychic Hotline and consult the stars to get a
a. For some strange reason, people trust other people to tell them about
their lives because of a certain arrangement of stars…illogical.
b. Other seek a new life through so-called revelations from decks of tarot
cards and palm readers without any shred of evidence that there is any credibility to any of it…which, of course, there isn’t.
B. All of these attempts are just man’s vain hope of manipulating his own future.
1. Gone is any thought that humanity is its own biggest problem.
2. Gone is any notion that there is a Creator who has a will that cannot be thwarted,
who does not change, and who holds all power to Himself.
3. Instead, we try our little tricks to manipulate life, to exercise personal power, to
arrange things that are quite beyond our arranging…and we fail to obtain a new life after all.
II. IN THE MIDDLE OF ALL THIS MISGUIDED INFORMATION AND EFFORT COMES GOD’S
FINAL AND ONLY ANSWER…JESUS CHRIST!
A. Nearly 2000 years ago, St. Paul visited the City of Corinth.
1. Corinth was as secular a city as any that now exist.
a. It was the capital of Roman hedonism and decadence.
b. Even their religion was corrupted by temple prostitution.
c. It was a city whose goals were the obtaining of both money and pleasure
d. Sounds a lot like our culture does it not?
2. Paul came with a message about how to find a new life.
a. It was straight forward and unmistakable in its clarity.
b. it offered what no other message of man-centered philosophy or religion
had ever brought before.
B. Paul said…God’s final answer is Jesus, the Savior!
1. Not Jesus, the new philosopher…not Jesus, the great example…not Jesus the
enlightened Guru…not Jesus the wizard of the stars and tarot cards…BUT JESUS THE SAVIOR!
a. Jesus is the Father’s “YES” to man’s “No” of sin!
b. When sin proclaimes that we cannot have fellowship with the Father
because we have violated His righteous holiness, the Father’s answer is, “Yes, you can in Jesus Christ.”
c. When Satan, (the accusing one), wags his crooked finger at us pointing
our failures and shortcomings…the Father’s answer is “Yes” in Jesus Christ.
2. Why can the Heavenly Father say “Yes” in Christ, when our sins say “No?”
a. Because the man Jesus fulfilled the perfect Law to which he demanded
full and complete compliance…Jesus answer is “Yes” the Law is fulfilled!
b. Because the justice of God demanded full and eternal payment for our
sins…and Jesus’ answer is “Yes”, the payment has been made in full by
c. Because the triumph of death and the conquest of the grave resounds
with the Savior’s “Yes” on Easter Sunday morning and we know that death has been destroyed!
3. This is LWML Sunday
a. The work of the LWML is to issue God’s “Yes” to the world both near and
b. Theirs is the voice of the Church as we “Go and make disciples” of all
c. Thank God for the women of the LWML, the men of the Lutheran Laymen’s League, the work of Lutheran Bible Translators, and all the other organizations that proclaim God’s “Yes”, to those desperately seeking a new life!
CONCLUSION: Do you want a new life? God has already prepared a new life for you in Jesus Christ, His only Son our Lord. When Christ returns to bring us to our eternal home, His “Yes” will resound throughout the universe and echo across the millennia. Here is life when all hope is gone! Here is life when death is at the door! Here is life whose abundance knows no end and whose “yes” will last forever in Christ Jesus! Amen.
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