Trinity News and Sermons

09/14/14 Sermon Bullets

  • The Cross of Jesus Christ is the very heart of who and whose we are!
  • It is the chief expression of God’s love for us.
  • Jesus did many great and good things and taught many wise and helpful things during his ministry here on earth. So have many others: Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., Mother Theresa, Dali Lama, etc.
  • The most important act of Jesus is dying on the Cross for our sake. His death on the Cross and resurrection from the grave are the full revelation of God’s love for us.
  • Paul states in 1 Corinthians 2:1-2: “When I came to you, sisters and brothers, I did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God in lofty words or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.”
  • Martin Luther places the Cross at the heart of our understanding of God. He contrasted a theology of glory with a theology of the cross. For him, the theology of glory emphasizes human abilities and reason – our attempts to come to an understanding of God through deductive reasoning or through our works. A theology of the cross is centered on what God reveals to us about Godself. Luther states that the Cross is the only source of knowledge of who God is and how God saves.
  • This is the most amazing paradox one can posit: How can the death of one person almost 2000 years ago in an insignificant land (from the Roman Empire perspective) bring about the full revelation of God’s love? How can a relationship with our heavenly Father be secured by the death of one man? How can our identity be set by the execution of one condemned, even if he is innocent? How can we possibly believe that our future – our eternal future – is set by this death? In short: How can death bring about life?
  • Through faith – which is a trusting in God’s action in Jesus of Nazareth, we profess that Jesus is not “just one man” but the full expression of God in that one man. Though it may not make sense, we profess that Jesus is 100% God and 100% human. And his death, on the cross is the most powerful expression of God’s love for us.
  • It’s like this:
    • God loves us. God created us and all there is, and created us so that we might love and serve him and each other.
    • We are sinners – which means, ultimately, that we are self-serving, self-centered individuals – maybe not all the time, but if we are honest, we want what we want, when we want it and how we want it. At times we think the world revolves around ME.
    • We rebel against God’s wishes for our lives. God gives us his law: the 10 Commandments and all the other laws – summed up in these two phrases: Love God with all your being and love your neighbor as yourself.
    • Because we are sick with sin, we are not capable of doing this. And this sin separates us from God – building a great chasm between us. We are often heartsick because of this, and we strive in so many ways to breach that chasm, and often, we despair.
    • God sends Jesus as the one who is the bridge between God and each of us and all humanity. Where we cannot obey, Jesus obeys the Father for us! We believe he was like us in every way, except he was sinless, that is, he spent his life in total devotion of love to the Father and to his fellow humans: he TRULY followed the law of loving God with your whole being and your neighbor as yourself.
    • As St. Paul says in Philippians 2: “Have this mind among yourselves which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God did not count equality with God as a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of humans. And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him . . .”
    • In another place St. Paul, in referring to Jesus says: “He who knew no sin, became sin on our behalf!”
    • Jesus, the MAN/GOD dies in our place on the Cross.
    • We trust that this action, by, not just an innocent man, but GOD HIMSELF restores the relationship with God, expresses God’s never ending love for us, and secures our place in God’s family here on earth and in the rule/reign of God to come.
  • So what? What difference does all this theological understanding make in my life today?
  • What this means it that we are Cross shaped people! It means that YOU AND I are not the center of the universe. It means we don’t have to take ourselves so seriously.
  • It means that God’s power is found in surprising places: an instrument of death (The Cross), in the weak, the powerless, those who are serving others.
  • It means that we can turn to this God who takes on our suffering, takes on our sickness, takes our sin from us – freeing us from selfishness and our useless striving for more and more.
  • It means that there is One who knows us, sometimes better than we know ourselves, and loves us in spite of ourselves.
  • It means that the One who created us love us. We pray these words on Ash Wednesday – during that season of the church year where we concentrate our thoughts on the sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross: “Almighty and ever-living God, you hate nothing you have made, and you forgive the sins of all who are penitent. . . .”
  • It means that God’s love is more powerful than human sin. It means that God’s love lasts longer than this life. It means that God’s life for us is more powerful than hate, bigotry, enmity and even death itself.
  • Where the world and our internal voices say, “You are not good enough. You are not worthy enough. You will never amount to anything.” – the Cross is God’s paradoxical yes for us. Because my Son died for you and lives in you, you ARE good enough. Because my Son defeated death on the Cross by rising – you ARE worthy enough in my site. Because I claimed you in baptism and marked you with HIS CROSS on your forehead – you DO AMOUNT to something. You are my beloved child, precious in my eyes. I will never stop loving you. I will never stop claiming you. I am your champion! I am your destiny!
  • Because of the Cross of Christ, this message that Pastor Paul uses in blessing so often rings true and can be trusted: “You are loved by God. His Son died for you and resides in your heart. And because of that presence, God’s love for you will never end. And there is nothing from the past, present or future, and no person that will EVER take that love away from you. You belong to God. FOREVER!