Sermon 07/26/20: LAW #3: Jesus Christ Can Solve The Problems Of Sin In Your Life. (Pentecost VIII)

WORSHIP AT HOME for 07/26/20. If illness or travel prevented you from joining us for worship Sunday, or if you would like to experience the worship again, you’re welcome to use the links below to have a time of worship at home. (Just right click on the link to play each hymn or the sermon in a new tab, and close that tab when finished.)

CALL TO WORSHIP: Please recommit your life to follow Jesus as Savior and Lord with the words of the Centering Prayer: Lord Jesus, today I am far less than the person I want to be or can be with your help. I ask today that you would be more and more the center of my life. Guide me to all that is good, cleanse me from all that is not. Teach me Your ways and form in me Your nature. Help me to serve you in flow as I am gifted. Help me to notice my neighbor and work through me to redeem my neighborhood. I am a sinner; please be my Shepherd, my Savior and my Lord. Amen.

HYMN David Phelps – We Are The Reason (Live)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eo_6t9MmK6Y

A TIME OF PRAYER (Testimonies, Joys & Concerns)

Congregational Prayer: God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.

Please pray for yourself and your neighbors, lifting up your needs to God while giving thanks for answered prayer.

The Lord’s Prayer: Our Father, who art in heaven; hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.

HYMN Sinner Saved By Grace (Live At Bon Secours Wellness Arena, Greenville, SC/2018)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Gk95v3hmFM

MOMENTS WITH THE CHILDREN – If you are blessed to have children with you, ask them what they are thankful for, and then thank God together!

GIVING OF OUR TITHES AND OFFERINGS – these can be mailed to the church office.

MESSAGE: LAW #3: Jesus Christ Can Solve The Problems Of Sin In Your Life.
Text: John 3:16-21; 1 John 1:5-10
Series: Four Spiritual Laws (after Sheltering in Place)
Right-click, open in new tab to play … Sermon audioSermon slides as a PDF file.

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SERMON NOTES

John 3:16-21
16 For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him. 18 He who believes in him is not condemned; he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. 19 And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For every one who does evil hates the light, and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. 21 But he who does what is true comes to the light, that it may be clearly seen that his deeds have been wrought in God.

1 John 1:5-10
5 This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light and in him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not live according to the truth; 7 but if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

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HYMN The Martins – Softly And Tenderly (Live In Columbia, TN/2020)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9KI-lS46CWc

BENEDICTION: Let us dedicate ourselves to the service of Jesus by joining in the Prayer of Saint Francis:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace
Where there is hatred, let me sow love
Where there is injury, pardon
Where there is doubt, faith
Where there is despair, hope
Where there is darkness, light
And where there is sadness, joy
O Divine Master, grant that I may
Not so much seek to be consoled as to console
To be understood, as to understand
To be loved, as to love
For it is in giving that we receive
And it’s in pardoning that we are pardoned
And it’s in dying that we are born to Eternal Life
Amen

(If you wish, you can listen to this prayer being sung:
Sarah McLachlan – Prayer of St. Francis
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=agPnMxp5Occ )

If you worship at home, please let us know so we can pray for you!

TRANSCRIPT

First spiritual law – God loves us and has a wonderful plan for our life.
Second spiritual law – there is a problem in the world around us, and it’s the problem of sin.

The third spiritual law that is the foundation for our faith is that Jesus Christ can solve the problem of sin in our lives and in our world.

I don’t know how you react to problems. I can tell you in the greatest honesty how I react to problems. I head for the bookstore. Because there’s just something in my heart, there’s just something in my brain that believes that there is an answer to any problem in the world. And for some reason, I think I’ll find that answer in a bookstore. If you walk into my office here in the church, you will see that every space on the bookshelves is full. Because you see, in a problem-filled life, I’ve been to the bookstore a lot. And not only is every shelf filled, there are boxes of books stacked on the floor. We haven’t even gotten over to the house yet.

When Kim and I got married, she said, “Please do me a favor. If you really love me,” and she said, “stop buying books because I don’t like to dust them.” And I said to her, “Are electronic books okay?” Unfortunately, she said, “Yes.” So I’m still looking for answers to problems in books.

But what I want to say to you this morning is even though that’s still what I think in my heart, I know that the answer to human problems is found in Jesus Christ. Some of you here love to watch that game show Jeopardy. I have watched more Jeopardy in my life than I ever wanted to watch because when it comes on, it sort of draws you in. Alec, please give me Problems of the World for $100. And the little card pops up and here’s the answer. You know what it says? It says, “Christ is the answer.” I’ll tell you a secret – if you play Jeopardy in a Christian way, the answer to every single square on the board is Christ is the answer.

People who like to argue with us Christians say, “Well, if Christ is the answer, what is the question?” But you know our answer to that is? Doesn’t matter. Christ is the answer for every human question; Christ has the best answer to every human question.

A pastor said to an older woman, “Ma’am, given your age, you need to be thinking about the hereafter.” She said, “Pastor I think about the hereafter. All-day long, every day. I go down into the basement. I go up to the second floor, I go from room to room in my house, and every time I walk into the room, I say to myself, what am I here after?

Doesn’t matter what you’re here after. Jesus has the answer to every human question, to every human problem, to every human situation. Cara’s next job? Christ has the answer. How to operate the sound system? Christ has the answer, even if I don’t. Christ has the answer to every human question.

And of course, we turn to a book, the Bible, to read Christ’s answers. We turn to books written by theologians and religious experts to learn some of the answers of Christ, but you and I can go to the source because Jesus Christ asks to be a part of our lives. Softly and tenderly, Jesus is calling to each one of us to come home to a relationship with Him that is not a matter of intellectual speculation. It’s not a matter of emotional cycles, but it’s a deep and genuine reality. Jesus loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life, and it includes Him coming to this Earth to do whatever it takes but also coming to this Earth to be a part of our lives. Christ is the answer for everything.

John 3:16, you know those words so well, you could probably recite them from memory, “For God so loved the world.” That’s where the first law came from, “that He gave his only son,” that’s the source of the third law, “that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.” This overcomes the second law, which is the problem of sin.

But how many of us know the next verse? “For God sent His son into the world not to condemn the world but that the world might be saved through Him.” This is why Christ is the answer to the problem of sin. Because God sent Christ so that the world might be saved through Him. He is the cure for whatever problem you struggle with this morning, but not only that, He’s also the vaccine.

Now, you know the difference between the cure and the vaccine … the cure fixes the problem. The vaccine creates antibodies within you. It stimulates you to create antibodies so that you can now fight off the problem. Christ does both of those things within us. He forgives us. And He cleanses us from all that is not right. And enables us to stand and do better. But whenever we struggle, Christ is the answer.

When Christ appears in the world, look what happens. He who believes in Him is not condemned. But he who does not believe is condemned already because he has not believed in the name of the only son of God. Jesus is the cure. There are people who want to tell us that there are other cures. There are people who want to tell us that drinking 1% milk or eating lots of oranges, or watching lots of Jeopardy on television … that that could be the cure. And you know something? We’ve heard a lot of fake news. But it could be possible that watching television could help. But I want to tell you with the greatest of confidence in my heart, whether anything else could be the cure, I know a certain cure for all that harms us.

And so I’m not interested in anybody’s home remedy because I know a cure for human sin that I know works. And if you reject the cure that works to rely upon something else that is unproven, that is your choice. That is your choice. And so a great movement begins, verse 19. This is the judgment that the light has come into the world. And human beings loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. As it says in 1 John: 1 God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all.

The minute the light of Jesus Christ appears in the world, the whole world starts to move. And a very large part of the world begins to move back from the light because the light reveals the way they truly are. A British newspaper did an experiment back in the 1800s, made up a list of the most powerful and influential men in England. Sent them all a telegram late one night, “all is discovered, flee at once!” The next morning they went to the homes of these men and found that they had all left the country. They wanted to slip back into the dark because for all that they had done to be revealed is a horrible thing for them. For everyone who does evil, sometimes that’s me, for everyone who does evil hate the light, and does not come to the light unless his deeds should be exposed. What that means is that the closer I get to you, the more you realize that I’m not an expert at operating the Worship system computer. You have to ask yourself, “Wow, Pastor Dave, Dave really makes a lot of jokes about his inability to put a battery in a mouse.” (Thank you, Judy, for suggesting that fix!)

You know why I make those jokes? Because I don’t want to feel bad about you finding out that I’m not perfect. By the way, anybody here, if you think I’m perfect, we’re going to get you some help. My wife will straighten you up. Wives are good for that! They see us as we are. Husbands are good for that. They see us as we are! Jesus is like that. He sees us as we are and loves us anyway.

But here’s the human tendency, John 3:20, the human tendency is thatt we want to step back and hide when we are not perfect. Verse 21, he who does what is true because what is true is that I’m a sinful person, what is true is that I’ve fallen far shorter of what God would wish me to be. What is true is, even though I might be better then someone else, I still have this problem of sin. But he who does what is true, which is, then, I know I’m a sinner, comes to the light that it maybe clearly seen that his deeds have been wrought in God.

As I come closer to the light, you’ll see me as I really am. But when you see the things that are not right, you will see that I want forgiveness more than I wish to hide my imperfections. I want a cure. Not only that, I want to be cleansed so that now I can live a new life, and I will find that life in Jesus Christ. What it, basically, says is that it gets crowded at the foot of the cross because the people who want new life come closer and closer together. But if we walk in the light as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another and— the verb tense here is one that indicates continuously — the blood of Jesus, His Son, cleanses us from all sin. This is the answer to what we are seeking.

By the way, you’ve heard about this thing called the coronavirus, right? Heard about it? You know, lock-down, shut-down. All the things that have happened since last March. People are asking the question, “What can we do in our church?” And they’re not just talking about the local church. Pastors who are thinking about the ways church operates, every method that we had to do church, the coronavirus interferes with. And, by the way, those methods of doing church are all the easiest way.

For centuries we have gathered people together in large groups as the smartest way to do church. Guess what? It doesn’t work quite as well as it used to. This morning I saw on the internet– by the way, what’s not always true either! They did a survey of major-league baseball fans. 50% of them do not feel safe returning to the stadiums. There’s a lot of people who are just uncertain that it’s safe. And we have this method of bringing them together into large groups and it’s not going to work as easily as it used to.

Not only that, we have this method of bringing people together into small groups where they talk and do Bible study and maybe that would cause more of a spread of the coronavirus due to all that conversation than the big worship service.

We’re not sure how to do church. In fact, to be honest, there’s a whole lot of people who are ready to admit that they do not know what the church within the next year will look like. There are several very giant churches in the United States, very famous churches, very progressive churches. Andy Stanley’s church down in Atlanta is one of them, and there are others. They just simply declared, “We’re not going to have our big worship ’til at least 2021.” Because for their whole big church, made up of many young people for whom computers are their friend, they are saying “We want you to learn how to do church online in little online groups. We’re not going to do anything else for a year.” By the way, that’s insane. But it reflects the reality that the experts don’t know what to do and maybe that’s because they’re looking at books or writing books for these answers. (And no book anywhere predicted the coronavirus pandemic!)

But I do know someone who knows what we should do. He’s the one who rose from the dead on Easter morning. He’s the one who said to His followers, “I want you to pray,” and over 50 days from Easter to Pentecost, before they came out of sheltering in place, before they came out of hiding, they spoke with Him and prayed with Him and with each other. And, of course, if you read the book of Acts, what they figured out through prayer worked perfectly.

Friends, we know who has the answer for the church because Christ is still the answer. And Christ still has the answer. And for whatever it is, whether it’s a granddaughter looking for work or if it’s dealing with a grieving heart, or if you are weak with an illness, Christ still has the answer. And turning to Him can only help us.

There’s nothing wrong with reading books. There’s nothing wrong with surfing the net or watching television, however you get your information. But we would be wise if we turned to Jesus Christ first. Because the light is shining into the darkness of this world and here is the reality as it says in the Centering Prayer with which we begin our worship, “Jesus today I am far less than the person I want to be or can be with your help.” That is true of every one of us. But at the close of the Centering Prayer is the acknowledgment, “I am a sinner. Please be my shepherd (to guide me) and please be my savior. Forgive me and cleanse me.”

Jesus is calling to us, “Come with me. Let me be your savior.”

Let us pray: Lord Jesus, we are people who turn many places for the information that guides our life. It’s not always true that we turn to you first. But we pray that you would guide us poor sinners to come home to the benefit of that relationship with you. We know, Lord, that you are calling to us tenderly and sweetly to be closer to you. Lord, may we hear your call and become the people who follow the shepherd through this valley of the shadow of death that is the pandemic, up and out and toward the light of a new day with you. Amen.

QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION: Let’s have a conversation! Please reflect upon the questions below as you consider the material presented above. In a comment, share your thoughts and additional questions. What would you like to know?

What grabbed your attention?
What is the human need or problem?
What questions do you have about any quotes provided?
Does the Bible say anything about this?
What solutions do you see for the problem?
What specifically could we begin to do to make a change?

Additional Resources
Kinmundy United Methodist Church is located at 308 E. Third Street, Kinmundy, IL 62854. Worship begins at 9 am Sundays. The building is handicap accessible.
Wesley United Methodist Church is located at 3381 Kinoka Raod, Patoka, IL 62875 in the country between Kinmundy and Patoka. Worship begins at 10.45 am Sundays.
VISION: We are a functional family of God, where Jesus is Lord and people grow.
MISSION: Every layperson is called to carry out the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20); every layperson is called to be missional. (¶126 of the 2016 Book of Discipline)
Paradigm: There are two kinds of people in this world: people who need to become disciples and disciples who need to become disciple makers.
 

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