14th Sunday aft. Pentecost
Our Savior Lutheran Church
Pagosa Springs, Colorado
September 1, 1996
(We like to measure the things around us. When we talk about our jobs, we often measure them by income. When we talk about our families, we usually ask how many children we have. When we talk about where we live, we speak about the population or the elevation
of the mountains next to our valley. Every year the Rand-McNally Corporation measures the top places to retire. Our epistle today speaks about measuring God. Paul makes it quite clear that we can't begin to do it. But that certainly hasn't stopped people from trying.)
WE WANT GOD TO MEET OUR STANDARD OF MEASURMENT.
We tend to want God whittled down to our own size.
We'd prefer to have God look a bit more like we do.
We insist that He be smaller than He really is!
We really would like it if He thought like we think and do what we do.
Let's just dress God up in 20th century clothes and make sure that He conforms to current thinking.
He should really be more broadminded than He is:
He really shouldn't condemn those who don't believe in His Son.
He shouldn't get so upset over:
"Get up-to-date, God!"
We want God to simply solve the world's problems and get upset when He choses to let us suffer the consequences of our own actions:
Come on, God, you should't permit so much suffering in this world.
Wars, natural disasters, white collar crime.
Injustice, and cruelty should simply be banned.
"Why don't you do your job, God?"
"Please God, don't be such a Neanderthal...so out-moded!...so intolerant.
What we conveniently forget is that our transgressions of God's will bring us pain because that is precisely what sin does in our lives.
It is conformity to the revealed will of God that brings us joy and fulfillment in life.
It is the very things we humans seek to find by violating His statues that He gives us through faith in Christ and in a life in harmony with His Word.
Psalm 119:97-99 reflects this valuable insight.
FACT: We really don't want a God who is bigger than we are!
If He is beyond what we conceive Him to be, then we can't control Him.
If He is beyond what we conceive Him to be, then we can't be like Him.
If He is beyond what we conceive Him to be, then we owe Him obedience... He is, in fact, vastly superior to us.
This is Rally Sunday: Kick-off week for a new annual cycle of Sunday School and Adult Bible Class.
These are activities designed to help us take the measure of our God.
Not according to human notions of what we think He ought to be.
Rather, according to His revelation of Himself in the inerrant, perfect Word of God.
This is a process of learning and growing without end!...Lifelong and better and better the farther it goes.
CONSIDER THE REAL MEASURE OF GOD. (It is for this reason we have Sunday School and Adult Bible Classes to augment our worship...That we may learn of God.)
Consider the riches of God:
God cannot receive anything from us that is not already His.
We sing, "We give Thee but Thine own."
He is the source of all that is good in our lives and the continuing "owner", while we are the temporary "caretaker" of what He owns.
Even though we deserve nothing, God gives us everything we need.
Perhaps we do not receive everything we want.
Trust in the wisdom and knowledge of God to be satisfied with His provision.
Consider the wisdom of God:
When faced with a difficult decision in life, we often seek advise from human sources; a friend, a pastor, a lawyer; sometimes good, sometimes aweful.
Paul makes the point: No one is able to council God.
It is God who considers and judges all things.
The very nature of wisdom is His and He graciously shares of His wisdom with people.
It is God's unmatched wisdom with which He judges the hearts of us all.
He knows our heart-of-hearts.
When we are measured against His Law, (a perfect expression of His wisdom), we are found to be disobedient.
What shall we do? How can we please a God whose perfection, riches, wisdom and power are so complete?
In response, Paul points us to the knowledge of God.
First a word of warning: Don't try to substitute our knowledge for His.
Sometimes we attempt to answer unanswerable questions.
Leave room for faith; Let the magnificence of God show through.
God leaves some question unanswered precisely because He wants us to trust Him when there is no answer.
We can trust that He does have the answer.
We can honor Him by submitting our intellect to His...Let God, be God!
It is exactly through His perfect knowledge, wisdom and power that He brings us to Himself:
In His knowledge, He knows who we really are!
Our need for salvation is totally clear to Him.
His compassion on us is totally and freely given to us.
In His boundless wisdom, He has chosen to give us His only Son to release us from our imperfection.
No human plan of self-help.
Here God gives our penalty to Jesus, His innocent Son.
It is Christ Jesus, our Savior who rearranges God's knowledge of us.
Before faith was given, we were known by our disobedience.
Now, God sees us differently.
Now we are His children.
Now we are washed clean in the blood of Christ at our baptism.
Now, when He looks at us, He sees Jesus, the Crucified One the final and acceptable sin offering for us all.
Now we can see the amazing Grace of God!
Yes, our God is too big to measue with the human mind. So too is His giving for us too big for us to comprehend fully. Therefore, let us respond in the faith that He has given us. Let God be God and as His children, let us continue to grow in knowing God today and everyday.
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