Going Deeper 12.07.2020
An excerpt from yesterday's message...

My primary message could have concluded with the use the words of our second reading from 2 Peter which asks this question: “What sort of persons ought you to be in leading lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set ablaze and dissolved, and the elements will melt with fire?” Or I could cite any number of other texts, including words St. Paul and from Jesus Himself, which point to the need for good works to follow our faith. Yep, I could really put the pressure on!

However… my understanding as a Lutheran theologian is that the primary use of the Law as pronounced throughout the Scriptures is to create within us an awareness of our sin and guilt in order to prepare us to hear and experience the truly amazing grace, mercy, and love of our Abba Father, demonstrated in the servant life, horrific death, and incredible resurrection of our Brother Jesus, brought to bear in our hearts and lives through the power of the Holy Spirit. Love and gratitude are to be the fuel for our good works.

The second-longest off-Broadway musical had a title that would be perfect of this sermon (if my sermons had titles)-- “I Love You, You’re Perfect… Now Change.” Once the Law does its work of stimulating repentance, the sweet Gospel message from our Lord is just that: “I Love You, You’re Perfect… Now Change.” Jesus comes to us and says, “This is how much I love you, with arms outstretched to receive nails which some believe held me to a cross. But it was not the nails that held me there… it was my love for you.”

In grace, we experience the great exchange: Jesus received our sin and unrighteousness—and the punishment and death that it earns, and we receive the righteousness of Jesus and His status as a child of God. We are made perfect in the eyes of God. He loves us, we’re perfect now, let’s change! Let’s respond to God’s love with love expressed in both worship and service, respond to His great compassion with growing compassion, to His radical generosity with radical generosity. Let us commit to growing deeper in faith, moving forward in discipleship and more faithful in our grateful following of Jesus.

Mark Gabbert, Pastor
Zion Lutheran Church, Wellington
"Gratefully Growing Servants"