I used to know a man that was against coming to church. No matter what his wife tried to do, she could not convince him to come to church.
You see as a youth this individual was led astray by false teachers of what was supposed to be God’s Word. The young man was taught that the only way he could get to heaven was to follow the commandments perfectly. He was taught that one you were saved you did not sin anymore and anyone who kept on sinning after they were saved didn’t really believe in Christ and was never saved in the first place. In despair the young man cursed God for being so cruel and left the church never to return.
It was twenty years later that this man came to the house of God once again.
He wasn’t in search of forgiveness. He didn’t come looking for answers to life’s questions.
As a matter of fact, he came to God’s house because he wanted to put his children in the Lutheran elementary school so that they would receive a quality education and learn good morals.
After meeting with the principal of the school and enrolling his children the subject of tuition came up. The man was informed that if he and his wife joined the church there would be no tuition because the church paid the tuition for its members. So the man joined the church out of greed. Becoming a member would save him a couple of hundred bucks a month – so why not join.
Joining the church was easy enough. All the man had to do was to attend a Bible information course over a period of several weeks.
But it was during the Bible information course that something astounding happened. The man heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This was something new, something different than he was taught as a youth.
After only a few classes he began telling his wife on the way home how good he felt after each class. He began to understand that God was not a cruel God but a loving and caring God.
The Holy Spirit worked faith in his heart and you can imagine how the rest of the story goes. I can tell you that today this man is very active in his church and his entire life has been changed for the better.
I think about this man often, especially when I read sections of God’s word like we have for our sermon text this morning. This man was brought to faith because God’s Word is Powerful and Effective. It affects the heart and it feeds the soul.
How many of you here today can truthfully say that everything you want to accomplish gets done? Let’s see a show of hands. Now if you are getting everything done how many of you can say that what you accomplished turned out exactly the way you wanted it to? Not too many of us can honestly say that what we plan turns out the way we plan it. But with God things are different.
The Lord teaches us today through the prophet Isaiah, "As the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth. It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it."