THEME: While we eagerly await the blessing of Christ's second Fifth Sunday in Lent
coming, we can live eagerly for the blessing of each new Our Savior Lutheran Church
day in this life. Pagosa Springs, Colorado
TITLE: "Great, Eager Expectations" March 21, 1999
(What's more appealing than the thought of bounding out of bed each morning, excited and eager to greet each new day with boundless enthusiasm? Isn't that what we each really want in life? To be joyously and intensely involved in life and living each and every day? It would be really great to life like that, wouldn't it? Instead, it seems that life wears us down and somewhere along the line we can feel defeated by life. Sometimes it seems like a chore, not a joy, to get out of bed. Sometimes the endless lists of things to be done outstrips our time to do them and we enter that personal "never, never land" known as burn-out. How can the joy of life be regained? How can we experience the enthusiasm for living that God fully intends for us to have? Let us hear the words of St. Paul as he tells us that life in Christ can restore us to our great and eager expectations.
LET US CONSIDER THE EAGER EXPECTATION OF THE CREATION ITSELF.
This world in which we live, with all thing animate and inanimate, longs for the day when the sons of God will be revealed.
Why such longing? - Because until then the very creation is reflective of the fallen estate in itself.
The crush of sin has affected everything in the creation negatively.
The death curse, dog-eat-dog, of nature was not God's design.
The rampages of ruinous weather were never a part of God's plan.
The world our Creator had made was perfect, without any flaw.
Yes, even the rock and trees yearn longingly for the revealing of the sons of God for that day with also be the day of liberation from the twisted effects of fallenness in this world.
Then things will be again, the way they were meant to be.
Eden will be restored and we shall see the perfection of God's creation as never before.
The sons of God will be seen also in our true, Christ-like glory.
The true nature of unbelief will be seen in all its terrible ugliness.
Likewise, the glorious nature that God give us in Christ will be known and celebrated by all creation!
With eager expectations, we await the revelation of all who will appear in that blessed life.
When I was a child...
Thought I would be sort of cheated out of something in life.
What I didn't know was that I would only be "cheated" out of suffering, pain, and uncertainty.
As St. Paul says, we now see through a glass darkly, then we shall see clearly.
We have difficulty understanding our true glory in Christ as we daily struggle with our own sin and the sin of others.
ILLUS: imagine the clearest most glorious Rocky Mountain spring morning you have ever experienced...and consider it as though it were the worst day you've ever experienced...On the Great Day of revelation multiply the difference by factor unimaginable...such glory will be ours!
CONSIDER THE GREAT, EAGER EXPECTATION OF A RESURRECTED BODY.
Perhaps part of the wisdom gained with age is the realization that the bodies we have are truly and irreversibly wearing out.
That which was designed by God to last forever, is no subject to disease and death.
ILLUS: Only two things certain in life -- death and taxes.
Now we must work harder simply to slow the inevitable slide to the grave.
Time and again, older people tell me they are weary of going to the funerals of friends and family members.
On the Day of Resurrection, the evil that has been a part of us will be gone!
As surely as the Holy Spirit indwells us, so sure will we be raised to life!
No longer shall we desire to sin.
No longer shall we fear anything, for in God's presence there is eternal security, and total protection.
GOOD NEWS! Even now we may live according to the Spirit rather than the flesh!
(I Cor. 10:12-13)
GOOD NEWS! We are no longer slaves of our sinful nature! (vv. 14-15)
CONSIDER WITH GREAT AND EAGER EXPECTATION THE LIFE WE NOW LIVE!
We live as the forgiven and redeemed eternal heirs of God in Christ Jesus.
Through His strips on the cross, we were redeemed from the final result of sin... hell!
It is no longer a fear for Christ has already endured our punishment.
We know what awaits us on the other side of the grave...heaven itself.
As an inheritance, eternal life in heaven is our present, not merely our future possession!
Why shouldn't we bound out of bed each morning singing the praises of God in our lives?
Why shouldn't we embrace every sacred moment life brings to us? Is not each breath we take further evidence of the mercy of God?
Ah, but still there IS suffering:
Notice how Paul never denies this reality, but puts a whole new "spin" on it:
First, compare our current hardships with the glory which is to come.
Secondly, understand that even suffering permits us the honor of sharing the very suffering of Christ Himself.
Suffering is a passing thing of this passing world.
II Corinthians 4:17-18
What is the object of our focus in the midst of such suffering?
Today, many are driven by a search for meaning in life through the gaining of personal glory, personal power, and personal influence. That is a search of vanity whose end is destruction. Rather, as God's people, let us find our great and eager expectation as we live in the glory and power of God. Then, whether it is a "good" day or a "bad" day, every day is yet another measure of the blessing of God in Christ Jesus. Every day is a gracious gift from the hand of our Heavenly Father. Every day is a day closer to the revealing of the children of God in the glory of Christ the crucified and risen! Amen.
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