Thursday, May 24, 2001


May 24, 2001
Matthew 28:20

"The Final Five"

The Final 5 Words of Christ. They are some of the most remarkable words ever recorded in sacred Scripture. They speak to us concerning the Savior's promises to us. They speak to us concerning our destiny. Consider them the last five words, which the Savior spoke to humans before He left this earth…"I am with you always!"

1.      I am with you

Jesus is always with you; He's by your side, He abides to guide and lead you. Many a friend may leave and desert us. Many may abandon us when we need them the most. Not so with the Savior He's always there. He is near to you. He has made His dwelling place in your heart. Many a friend may say "I'm just a phone call away…Jesus says "I'm but a breath away!"

You are never alone!  "I'm abandoned by God and by men," a man once cried out on his deathbed having realized that he had rejected everything spiritual in his life. Not so with those who have a relationship with Christ. You are never alone. No matter where you go; you won't go it alone. The Savior is near to you, promising never to abandon you, promising to never let you out of His sight. 

What a comfort. What an encouragement!

2.      Always! He's with you always!

To be separated from God is hell. Jesus’ cry from the cross was His agony of being "abandoned by God and by man" He cried from the cross: "My God my God…" (Ps.22)  He offered up those cries so that you and I would never have to experience the rejection, which comes from being abandoned by God. Always and forever you are with the Lord.  Always and forever you are in the safe and caring hand of your Lord and your Redeemer. What a comfort to know that you are in His safe and caring hand.

Forever Jesus is by your side. That relationship which the Savior began with you started at your baptism where you were clothed with Christ. It has continued on these many years up to this very hour. Jesus has forever bound Himself to you.  What's more He has set a plan by which you will spend eternity with Him.  How long is eternity? It's without end. It goes on forever. For the rest of your days you will be forever with the Lord.

CONCLUSION:  Many a person will be remembered for the last words they spoke before they left this earth. Jesus' words, spoken on the day of His Ascension will live on until He returns. Look at the back of your hand. There you have five fingers. Remember His promise spoken to you every single time you look at the back of your hands. Count the blessings one by one; "I am with you always!" Amen!

Sunday, May 6, 2001


Confirmation Sunday
May 6, 2001
Psalm 23:6

"Your Future, Your Destiny"

INTRODUCTION:  So what is confirmation any way? We don’t find in Scripture any reference to a person being confirmed. So what are we doing here today? The closest parallel found in Scripture which would mirror or reflect the rite of Confirmation is the Jewish tradition of the Bar mitzvah; when a Jewish youth is considered an adult and responsible for his moral and religious life. Luke reminds us that this happened to Jesus in Jerusalem when He was twelve years old. {Luke 2:41-52}

Today, on the day of your confirmation, you are doing nothing more then affirming for yourself what you have been taught these many years. After being instructed in the basics of the Christian faith you are now affirming that you will remain faithful to your Savior for the rest of your lives. In short, you are confirming that the faith, given to you in your baptism, is genuine and sincere.

But what about the future?  What about tomorrow, next week, next month, next year? What about the future, how will you fare?  Will your faith continue to flourish and grow?  As the old adage suggests you must either “use it or loose it” so, what will you do?  If your faith is to grow and mature it will be tested, and, if there is anything that experience will teach us is that our faith is constantly being tested and challenged.  Like iron, which is tested by fire, it can become stronger.

As you faith is tested, you will be given means by which your faith can be strengthened. Those means are the Word of God, the Sacraments, and, of course, prayer. As you avail yourself to these means your faith will become strengthened. This is the Savior’s guarantee to you that He will fortify you with His gifts and blessings.

We live in a cynical world that asks “what have you done for me lately?”  Have you ever asked God that question? What is it that God has promised to do for you as you avail yourself to Him. The words of your verse for today explain to us what God in Christ has promised for you. In your verse for today let’s consider the Lord’s promise for you... 

I.                    David assures us that God has nothing but good in store for you.  “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life…”[Psalm 23:6a]

A.    Goodness and mercy will follow you.

1.      Goodness – That’s God’s intention for you. When the Father created the world, as He looked at all which He had made, at the end of each day He declared it to be “good”.  When He looked at everything He had made He declared it to be “very good”!  That’s the Father’s intention for you – His goodness.   . This is what the Lord tells us through the words of the prophet Jeremiah when He says: “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.  Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you.” {Jeremiah 29:11-12}

2.       Mercy – That’s God’s attitude toward you. He looks not upon your sin but rather declares you to be righteous.  He decides and determines to act contrary to what we deserve according to our sins. He has compassion on us. He forgives us. He sets us free! His grace and every blessing come to you as He steadfastly guides and leads you.

B.     His mercy is new to you all the days of your life.

1.      Not for a season. We tend to limit our activities to small segments of time. A sports season lasts just a few weeks, summer break a few months, high school is but a few years. So it seems that a few think that the Father’s mercy is confined to a limited period of time. Not so! Listen to David’s response. “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life…”

2.      The Father’s mercy is new to us ever single day. Today is the day of the day of salvation – today is the appointed time. This is the day, which the Lord has made. David guarantees that the Lord’s mercy will be supplied to us each and every day of our life. His goodness will not fail you. No matter where you go His presence, purpose and power will be yours. Remember the Savior’s last five words, which He spoke to humans before He ascended into heaven. These words are for you this day and every day. The Savior reminds us “I am with you always…”{Matthew 28:20}

TRANSITION: The Father has good intentions for you.  How long will His goodness and mercy last? His guarantee is without any restrictions. They last forever. This is His guarantee to you. We don’t have to become suspicious of the Father’s guarantee.  There is no expiration date.  There is no fine print. His mercy will not wear out!

II.                 Your destiny is secure.

A.    The Savior has a plan for you.

1.      His plan for you is that you will spend eternity with Him in glory. Sometimes life in the here and now can seem like an eternity. With age, you will gain perspective, however, no matter how long you spend your life here on this earth; compared to our time spent with the Savior, it is as David describes it in Psalm “but a handbreadth” [Psalm 39:5] If there is one think I have learned is that life here is brief, limited, transitory…yet the Savior who has a plan for you, which will be fulfilled in your life, lives beyond time and space. His desire is that you would spend eternity with Him. There is an eternal perspective to His plan – The Father is in it for you for the long haul!

2.      There is a permanency linked to God’s plan. The question so many your age ask these days is: “can I picture myself doing this forever?”  You’ve been in school now ten years – if you finish high school, college and pursue a Masters’ you’re about half way through! You’ve got another ten years to go!  Then, you go to work – for another forty years!  But no matter what your plans may be, no matter what your future entails, the Savior will stay for you forever.

B.     The Savior’s purpose and plan for you is eternal.

1.      You will dwell with the Father forever. He will stay with you longer then any friend. His purpose and plan goes beyond time and space. His purpose and plan for you will follow you through this life only to accompany you in the life that is to come.

2.  Because the Savior has your future plans in story, we can say with all certainty that your treasure cannot be taken away from you. Your eternity is secure as long as you remain in the safe and steady hands of the Savior your good and gracious Savior.

CONCLUSION:  Remember the things that were taught you, cling to that which is good and remember the Savior walks with you today, tomorrow and for the rest of your life. Eternity stands before you. Walk with the Savior, He walks with you.  IN JESUS’ NAME. Amen.