Sermon

A sermon preached at New Hope Lutheran Church,

West Melbourne, FL on September 9, 2007 by Pastor Dale Raether

Five Things God Wants Us to Do Everyday

Hebrews13:1-8

 

How do we know if what weíre doing with our life is what God wants us to be doing?  To answer that there are a number of things we might consider, like: Do I enjoy what Iím doing?  Am I good at what Iím doing?  Am I accomplishing something worthwhile?  And finally, Do others appreciate what Iím doing?  If we can answer, ďyes, yes, yes, yesĒ, we probable donít mind going to work on Monday morning.  But if we have to answer, ďno, no, no, noĒ, well, how many more years till we can do something else?

 

Iíd like to suggest this morning, that how we answer these questions isnít always the best way of knowing if weíre doing what God wants for us.  You see, even if we answer ďyesĒ to all these questions, we still may have an emptiness and feel like thereís something is missing.  So, is that God leading us in a different direction or is that just our sinful hearts not enjoying life?  Sometimes itís hard to tell.  Or, what if we have to answer ďnoĒ to all these questions?  Surely thatís a sign God has something else in mind for our life!  Well, not always.  Sometimes we have gifts weíre not willing to acknowledge and also itís the nature of a challenge to be challenging.  For example, did Moses enjoy leading the Children of Israel?  Actually he preferred shepherding sheep, because they werenít as stubborn.  Was Moses good at what he did?  Not everything.  He stuttered when he got nervous, and public speaking can be nerve racking.  Was Moses accomplishing something worthwhile?  Not as first!  When he went to Pharaoh with the message, ďThus says the Lord, let my people goĒ, Pharaoh responded by not letting them go and making them work even harder.  And finally did the people appreciate Mosesí leadership?  There were a number of times they wanted to stone him to death.  So, then, if weíre not happy with the direction of our life, how do we know if we should just keep plugging along like Moses did, or if  itís Godís will we look for something else?

 

Godís Word this morning helps us sort this all out.  However, before we can get to the big issue of what weíre doing with our life, we first need to think about what weíre doing with each day.  Then after we do that, Godís direction for our life will become more clear to us.  So, here we go.  On the basis of our text letís consider: Five Things God Wants Us to Do Everyday.

1.  Love as brothers.  2.  Love our spouse.  3.  Be content.  4.  Imitate those who taught us.  5.  Trust in Jesus.   

 

We read in our text, ďKeep on loving each other as brothers.  Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it.  Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.Ē  How do brothers love?  Sometimes they fight.  Still, brothers take care of each other.  So, if one needs something, the other will help.  Or, if one is heading in a bad direction, the other will pull him back.  Brothers also share good times together, because they have same parents and the same memories of growing up together. 

 

This is also true for all of us here.  We are all brothers and sisters in Christ.  We all have the same need for forgiveness.  We all are redeemed by the blood of Christ and have the Holy Spirit to live in our hearts.  For this reason, everyday God wants us to love as brothers.  He wants us to accept one another wherever each is at.  And then with patience and encouragement He wants us to help each other in living to God, which also includes just having fun together.   

 

In Bible times all this was very important.  Every so often here and there, a persecution would pop up.  Christians would then have to flee from one town to the next with little more than the shirts on their back, and thatís why Christians would need to accept strangers into their home.  But sometimes the persecuted Christians wouldnít escape.  Theyíd be imprisoned, maybe for years.  Then especially Christians needed to prioritize one visiting and helping out even that could be risky.  Thankfully weíre not persecuted the way the first Christian were.  Yet our society is so corrupt, that we still need each others.  And so God wants us to help and support one another, and He wants us to always remember that we are brothers and sisters in Christ.

 

Reading on in our text, ďMarriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.Ē  In Bible times a lot of unbelievers didnít bother getting married, or if they did, theyíd still have their mistresses and prostitutes.  The Jews on the other hand saved sex for within marriage, except they would marry and divorce, marry and divorce, marry and divorce.  And so really, they werenít any different than the unbelievers. 

 

Itís like that today.  Lots of people are living together and lots of people are getting married and divorced.  Godís will for all who are married, is that we love our spouse.  Also, the Greek word for marital love is different than the word for brotherly love.  Marital love is higher and deeper.  Marital love is like the love Jesus had for us, when He gave up His throne in heaven and came here to keep Godís Law for us, and to pay the full price of our sins for us.  And so, now a married personís number one earthly job each day is to love his/her spouse with unending commitment, self-sacrifice, patience, forgiveness, kindness, and listening.  Since Godís job description for husbands and wives never changes, may these words ring in our hearts often: love your spouse!      

 

We read in our text, ďKeep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you."  So we say with confidence, "The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?"  Sometimes the early Christians would have their homes or businesses confiscated just for being a Christian.  Few of us probably have ever been that bad off.  But maybe we have been in this situation.  We total up our expenses (and we donít know where else to cut), and we total up our income, and itís less than our expenses.  So, itís not that we love money.  Itís just that we need more of it to get by.  What do we do then?  Godís solution is be content.  Be content, because if we think that more money is the only answer, we can be tempted to be less than honest, or we may shrug off loving as brothers or loving our family, and our lives become only about the money.  Instead letís trust in God.  He always enables us to keep going one day at a time.  And so, daily letís pray for contentment in whatever we do have, and letís pray for wisdom to use all our time, talents and treasure wisely!  But what if in the past we havenít done that?  What if weíve foolishly painted ourselves into a financial corner?  With Jesus there is forgiveness, and He works blessings even through our past mistakes.  And so everyday from now on, letís work at being content!

 

Maybe some of you at this point are starting to have fixed feelings.  On the one hand we appreciate God telling us what He wants us to do each day, and itís not rocket science Ė Love one another.  Love your spouse.  Be content.  However, life is hard, and our sinful hearts drag us down.  For this reason God tells us in our text, ďRemember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith.Ē  Do you personally know anyone, who kept it together day in and day out for his/her entire lifetime?  Iím privileged to say my father-in-law was that kind of a person.  As a Lutheran school teacher, you wouldnít believe how little he made compared to others.  Yet he and his wife raised 3 kids, put them through Lutheran schools, and when God took him home, he still left a nice amount for his three kids, which they spent a long time ago.  My point is it all worked out; and now God wants us to imitate those who taught us.  So, no matter how rough things get from day to day, donít give up on the Lordís care.  Donít give up on doing those little things He wants us to do each day.  Instead letís be an example for others to imitate. 

 

And now hereís why we can do that.  We read, ďJesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.Ē  Jesusí love for us never changes.  As He loved us on the day that He stretched out His hands to willingly receive the nails that would nail Him to the cross, so He loves us today.  For this reason, the most important job we all have each day is that we trust in Jesus.  For example, suppose in the past we have failed to love as brothers, and instead were selfish or sarcastic?  Does that mean Jesus loves us less now?  Well, that sin does anger Him.  He even warns that anyone who calls his brother a fool is in danger of hell.  But if we confess our guilt, for the sake of His shed blood, Jesus daily forgives us and wraps His arms around us.

 

Or, suppose we havenít loved our family as we should, and maybe even ruined our relationship with some of them?  This doesnít mean our relationship with God must stay ruined.  Rather through our Baptism and through the Lordís Supper we can lay claim to His commitment love for us, so that the peace of forgiveness is ours again, and so that in the joy of forgiveness, loving words and actions may flow out of our heart. 

 

And finally, what if it wasnít necessarily our sins that caused our problems, but there have been so many illnesses and so many bad things happening that we canít take much more?  Then letís just plain hold on to the fact that Jesus promises to never leave us for forsake us.  And so, instead of stressing, letís keep trusting in Him and loving one another and being content and following the example of Christians, who have gone before us! 

 

Now, if we do these things, we will have the right attitude to serve God, in whatever way He wants for us.  But how do we know what that way is?  Exploring and developing our gifts or talents may help us to see that.  But often God leads us in a direction by putting needs and opportunities in our face.  And even if itís not what we would first choose or when we would choose it, if in love itís what we see needs doing, letís do it.  And then God will often make it even more clear to us that this is what He wants us to be doing, by putting huge hurdles in front of us to keep us humble and then in spite of those hurdles working more blessings for His kingdom than we could ever have imagined. 

 

But what if God then puts brand new challenges and opportunities before us, does that mean Heís changing our direction?  Maybe, but only with much prayer and with a firm commitment to keep doing these day-to-day things He wants us to be doing.  Or, maybe God isnít changing our direction.  Maybe He just wants us to pray about it, so that weíll become even more committed to what weíre already doing.  Whichever direction God takes us, itís comforting when we know that what weíre doing is what God wants us to do.  And while we may not always understand all the daily ups and downs, when we look back, we will see His blessings.  And when we look ahead, we will know that Heíll be with us.  May God grant us each day that peace and that joy and that contentment!  Amen. 




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