22 May, 2020
Matthew 10:22 - "And you will be hated for my name's sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved."
A week or so ago I sent an e-mail to some of your teachers.
I asked them, “Describe for me, if you could, this class, in one or two words.”
Here are some of their responses…
“This is a tough one. It really depends on the day! I thought about "fun-loving." I thought about "joy" but then…"challenging " also came to mind.
I thought, "Athletic."
They are both "Creative," and “Artistic.”
“Each of these students is so unique that they cannot be lumped together in one or two words, except for maybe "Individual" or "Unique". "Unique" definitely sums up the end of this school year. I guess “Unique,” is fitting for this group of students!
There you have it! “Unique!” Yes you are! –
Consider if you would…
Pr. Yeager. He showed up two years ago. You were the first class he ever taught here at Wyneken.
Pr. Brock – you’re the first class here at Wyneken - he’s seen all the way through – from Pre-K to 8th grade.
Pr. Brege and I have been around here so long – we’ve had the privilege to teach some of your parents!
You think your parents as old? We’re as old as dirt!
But the word you’ve chosen as your text for this night is the word “Endurance” – “But the one who endures to the end will be saved.”
Endurance. You’ve had to be “patient and enduring” as the world around you has literally been put on hold. “Distance learning,” “Home based-education,” and “Social distancing” have now become the watch words of your world.
When the history books report and instruct the next generation concerning these events you can say, “I lived it!”
Tonight –we have come together not only to recognize the completion of your education at Wyneken but to send you out into this world to be salt and light. We send you out to be a ‘sermon in shoes.’ And to achieve that end; you will need endurance. “But the one that endure to the end shall be saved.”
Christ is always there for you. Even in your darkest hours. Even when you feel like there is no help left. Put your trust in Him. And He will lift you in His arms. Christ remains present. You can even glory in you weakness. For when you are weak. You are made strong by the power of Christ.
Delivered from sin and death, you now live before God in the righteousness of Christ.
1. Christ has set you free.
Where does this freedom come from? It comes to you in and through your baptism. The place where the Father names you as His own dear child. And not because of what you have attained. Accomplished. Brought to the table. Or achieved.
In class, you perfected, “Let’s make a deal.”
But you can’t barter with God. ‘Your arm’s too short to box with God.’ Your freedom comes to you simply because Christ has chosen to love you and adopt you as His own.
Christ has now brought you “from death to life." Because you have died to sin you have been raised to newness of life in Christ. No longer does sin reign over you. You now live in the light of your union with Christ.
2. You are now a new person. Created in Christ Jesus.
No longer are you under the law. In Christ you died to sin. In Christ you were raised to newness of life. And thus you now live a new and different life in and through Him.
Now you live "under grace." Because you have died to sin you have been raised you newness of life in Christ. Rather than presenting you bodies as servants of sin we now present our bodies as instruments of righteousness.
You know, the law always accuses. The law always destroys. No – you are not perfect. There will be times when you will be confronted – by your sin. When that happens – simply repent. To receive the full forgiveness, which is yours in Christ. Sin will have no dominion over you. Since you are no longer under law.
3. There is hope for today and tomorrow. This was not how any of us planned for your experience here at Wyneken to end – But it did. And it stinks! And it’s difficult. And sometimes it’s just not fair. So have a plan. Work the plan. Yet plan for the unexpected.
There is a difficult phrase in you verse for tonight. It needs to be addressed. Jesus says, you will be hated for my name's sake. Let’s deal with it in the form of a question; which do you prefer to be liked or to be respected?
Such is your courage in the face of those "who kill the body but cannot harm the soul." Do not be afraid to speak clearly and openly what Christ has taught you. Be courageous to speak the truth of Scripture clearly and openly for all to hear even if it appears unpopular or dangerous.
You abide in the care of Christ. Fear not. Your Father will not let anything happen to you apart from His gracious will. You are of more value than many sparrows. Not one of them will fall without your Father's will. No harm will befall you but what your Father wills.
If God has work for you to do you cannot be undaunted. The Lord has given you talents abilities and gifts. Use them. In praise to your heavenly Father and in service to your neighbor. Every time you roll past a Service Master TM truck remember your vocation – you live in service to your Master.
So I appeal to you. Do not yield to the spirit of this age. Love the truth. What you learn of Christ in the closet speak in the light. What you hear in the Scriptures proclaim from the housetop. You need not fear the face of any man. You are in Christ.
4. Have faith in God’s care for you – Fear God and you lose the fear of failure. People may ask. “What if I fail?” “What if it all goes wrong?” “What if it doesn’t work?” The Father loves you. He’s concerned for you. He’s by your side. He’s in your corner. He’s got your back.
Your heavenly Father took the lead. He sent Jesus to the cross. To be you substitute. He lived a perfect life for you. He suffered and died at the cruel and bloody cross for you. He broke down the door of death. He ascended into heaven. He prepares a place for you. He is with you at this very moment. In His Word. In His Sacraments. To strengthen and preserve you. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. Vv.29-31
The Father loves you. You are His. He sustains, directs, supports you. He leads you through troubled waters. He points you to His promises, which will calm your fears and turn your anxieties and suspicions into a quiet confidence. It is well with your soul when Jesus guides and leads you.
So trust in His timing. Rely on His promises. Wait for His answers. Believe in His miracles. Rejoice in His goodness. Relax in His presence. Come near to Jesus and He will come near to you. James 4:8
If we take these words of Jesus seriously, we have to come to this conclusion; your heavenly Father is completely fascinated with you. He’s taken the time to count the number of hair on your head. Who else would do something than that other then He who is in love with you!
Fare thee well child of God. Fare thee well. – Godspeed and God bless.
Readability – 89%
Reading Level – 2.8