June 21, 2020 | Stories
The following is a devotion which is based on the sermon for the week. Even though we may not be able to connect in-person, we are confident that God's Word is powerful and effective in this form as well. Our hope is that this devotion will strengthen your faith as God continues to keep us all in the one true faith.
Scripture Reading from 1 Peter 2:4-10
You are coming to Christ, who is the living cornerstone of God’s temple. He was rejected by people, but he was chosen by God for great honor. And you are living stones that God is building into his spiritual temple. What’s more, you are his holy priests. Through the mediation of Jesus Christ, you offer spiritual sacrifices that please God. As the Scriptures say, “I am placing a cornerstone in Jerusalem, chosen for great honor, and anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced.” Yes, you who trust him recognize the honor God has given him. But for those who reject him, “The stone that the builders rejected has now become the cornerstone.” And, “He is the stone that makes people stumble, the rock that makes them fall.” They stumble because they do not obey God’s word, and so they meet the fate that was planned for them. But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light. “Once you had no identity as a people; now you are God’s people. Once you received no mercy; now you have received God’s mercy.”
In our sermon series we are continuing our conversation on what is real by considering real people. At the outset we need to affirm what is reality and that is this. Jesus Christ has risen bodily from the grave and the Holy Spirit which lives inside Him also lives inside of you. These tangible facts and reality are what all Christians cling to. This truth has been expressed in many different ways. It is not beholden to one language, time, or culture. Rather the resurrection of Jesus Christ is expressed in a plurality of different ways and in different circumstances. Even today, the faith that we all share is expressed by some in-person and by others waiting out the virus in their homes. We are confident that even though this moment of history is unique, there is a constant God whose love is never changing. His real faith lives inside of all believers.
Jesus affirms this in the New Testament when he teaches His disciples to pray. He teaches His followers to address God as their Father. While God is only referred to as Father seven times in the Old Testament, He is referred to God over 200 times in the New Testament. And this is a fundamental way in which we should think of Him as well. And this is the fundamental way in which to think about real people as well. All people are created by this Father in heaven. Those that believe in Him and those that do not are still created by this Father in heaven. All were created without any merit or worthiness in themselves and yet they still exist. All real people owe their existence to a heavenly Father. And this heavenly Father is love. Constantly calling to repentance and forgiveness.
And if we would compare our heavenly Father to our earthly fathers, we would notice so significant differences. Sometimes our earthly fathers are not so great. Some are distant from us emotionally and intellectually. Other times fathers fail in their leadership and service to their family. And at times some earthly fathers are by many definitions not so bad. But regardless if your father is bad, good, or anywhere in-between, your heavenly Father far exceeds all of them. God is a good Father who loves you and has created you. He designed you for a relationship with Him and other real people. This is always where the conversation of real people needs to start because this God established these relationships and realities with all of us. He creates and continues to provide.
And here is what our God thinks of His real people. He says in 1 Peter 2 that we are a holy nation and a royal priesthood. He thinks that we are a people belonging to Him. God knows that we live in a world filled with violence and corruption. One that is tainted by sin and evil. And yet in the midst of this we are holy and live in a way that points others to the matchless name of Jesus Christ. This is what our heavenly Father wants from us and from His people.
So, as we consider this Father’s Day weekend. And as we consider our Heavenly Father. And as we consider our real holy reality as people called to proclaim His goodness we do so with a recognition. That our God has set His moral compass in our hearts and too often we do not honor His wishes. Often, we look at our own finances, family, and friendships as a source of protection and purpose rather than our heavenly Father. And in these moments are God calls us back to repentance. He disciplines and lovingly pulls us back into the faith. Stirring our hearts to hear the words of Law and Gospel as we repent and believe the good news. Why? Because this is what a good dad does.
So, as we conclude for today, reflect on this reality. No matter your feelings this weekend about your own personal father or relationship with being a father, your heavenly Father loves you and has created you for this moment in existence. He does not promise you that this life will be easy, but he does promise you that this life will be full of people and places for you to do good works to glorify His name. You are a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God. He has called you out of darkness and into His marvelous light.
May God keep you in this peace and joy as you continue to proclaim this truth to world and people who so desperately need to hear this message. You are loved by Jesus. You are loved by this church family.