Sunday, May 7, 2000

Confirmation 2000

Isaiah 40:31 
May 7, 2000

But those who wait upon the Lord will renew their strength. They will sour on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

As we approach Confirmation there are a number of metaphors I could use to describe you as a class.  I have chosen one in particular to describe you as a class.  To me, you remind me of a sunflower. You have grown and blossomed and matured, reaching upward to the light of God’s Word. You have become grounded in the truths of God’s Word and have developed deep roots of faith and maturity.

You’ve pressed me with important and serious questions. It’s been my privilege to watch you mature – especially during this past year. Each of you has tremendous potential – I can’t wait to see what God has in store for you in the years to come. Like our passage says you are going to soar on wings like eagles! The Best is yet to come! 

The text you have chosen was a favorite one of mine when I was in college – it speaks to us about what God is in the business of doing which is fortifying and giving strength to His people.  On this day when you pledge yourself to remain faithful to Christ- remember that He has a promise for you as well.  He will remain faithful to you – today, tomorrow, and for the rest of your lives.

{1}  Those who wait upon the Lord will renew their strength.

A.                You will need continued strength from God. That is obvious! Yet, Isaiah’s words should remind us of a basic truth. Our need and God’s ability to meet our need; especially as we face the temptations of the devil, the world and our own human flesh.

1.      “Kids these days face too many temptations!” How often have we heard these or similar words?

2.       The reality is that temptation is not limited to teenagers! Temptation is something which each of us must face.  We all suffer under the same delusion that we make it apart from God! That what temptation is; the enticement to live our lives apart from God.

3.      The devil, the world, and the flesh can and will wear you out. Adam and Eve gave in to temptation and we do the same thing! It’s part of our human nature. But let’s not use temptation as an excuse or as a license to sin!

ILLUSTRATION:  My good friend Larry was a bright and talented kid.  He had but one problem – he really didn’t care about school.  He could have gotten straight “A’s” if he had wanted to.  The problem was he just didn’t care.  When he’d get his report card there would be a whole list of “C’s” for the quarter.  Exasperated his father would say “Larry how could you do that!”  And Larry would simply smile and say but one word “heredity!”

Our sinful nature and the temptation to sin is never a perfect out.  Isaiah reminds us that we must focus on God who gives us the strength to will and to do what is pleasing in His sight.

B.                  Therefore wait upon the Lord.

1.      How good are you at waiting? Some of us can be easily distracted. Therefore we need to focus our entire attention of Christ our Lord and our Redeemer.

2.      “Take 5” was a commercial that was aired last year by the Volunteers of America encouraging people to give 5% of their earnings to worthy causes and 5 hours a week volunteering for such causes. It that enough? We simply can’t give merely a portion of ourselves. Christ calls for total commitment.   Make Christ a priority! He must be first in your life. Wait upon the Lord. 

3.      Remember Luther’s axiom - Pray and Work!  Make it your aim to make something of your life. But above all, make Christ the centerpiece. Pray and Work.  Converse with Christ on a daily basis. Give Him the credit as you contribute to the betterment of others.   

TRANSITION: As you wait upon Christ it is He who will give you the strength to accomplish much in your life.  Isaiah reminds us that as we wait on God

{2}  They will run and not become weary.

A.                We seem to be running at this time of life.

1.      There are so many decisions we have to make; career, education, friends. The events of your life can become a distraction.  Therefore wait on Christ He will renew your strength.

2.      And speaking of running these days we seem to be running with information! We are on the verge (if not already) of a literal explosion in information - something we haven’t seen since the time of the Reformation.  This is an exciting time to be alive!

3.      Yet in all of this running there are some who wonder “will life ever come to me?  The answer to this question is found in your verse for today.  Life will come to you – and you will take advantage of it as you wait upon God.  He will give you strength He will give you rest. In all your busyness find your strength in Him.

B.                  In His Hand He will lift you up to carry you.

1.       That is what Jesus meant when He said “come unto Me all you who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest”

2.      In Him you will find rest for your souls. For Jesus has said “for My yoke is easy and My burden is light!” 

{3}   They will walk and not become faint.

A.                You have to walk before you run.

1.      The lessons you have learned are for life – apply them! 

2.      As you walk – walk with Christ.  Make it a habit.

B.                  As you walk the road of life with Christ hand in hand you won’t become faint.

1.      God will never give up on you! You’re His!  You were purchased with a price.  Therefore glorify Christ in you body. In all that you do live each day for Him. He will uphold you He will strengthen you.

2.      Likewise, we don’t give up on each other! How well do people honor those in people in our lives?  The people in your life are gifts that God has given to you.  The best way for us to honor God is to honor those people whom God has given to us.  You have bonded well as a class. You are also bonded to a group of people called the Church.  This is your extended family. These are the ones who will support you. These are the one who will pray for you. These are the ones who have promised to stand with you.

Remember the things that were taught you – cling to that which is good and remember you’re a sunflower! Walk tall and proud as you think of the blessings God has given to you as you live in the freedom which is yours in Christ. 

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