Sermons

Summary: The world is full of people angry at God for allowing so much evil, and it puts a strain on our conviction that God is really a caring friend.

Martin Luther spent a major portion of his life looking

for a God who liked him. He was devoutly religious from

his childhood, but religion was more a burden than a

blessing, for his God was not his friend. He knew God

hated sin and demanded perfection and so he was

obsessed with trying to be perfect. As a monk he went

beyond the rigorous rules of the monastery. He fasted

and prayed longer than any of the others. He denied

himself the normal allotment of blankets and almost froze

to death. He punished his body and devoted every ounce

of energy to being super-spiritual.

He once wrote, "I was a good monk, and I kept the rule

of my order so strictly that I may say that if ever monk

got to heaven by his monkery it was I. All my brothers in

the monastery who knew me will bear me out. If I had

kept on any longer, I should have killed myself with vigils,

prayers, reading, and other work." Suicide by

super-spiritually was the direction he was heading. It

sounds like such deep devotion, but in reality it was all

based on fear. God was not a father he loved and a friend

he served. God was a tyrant he feared.

Luther was so obsessed with his sin that he made his

confessor a nervous wreck. Others would confess their sin

in a few minutes, but he would stay for hours, and once

even stayed for six hours confessing the sin of the previous

day. On and on he went for everything he did was a sin in

his eyes. He even confessed that he stayed up after the

lights were to be out to read his Bible by candlelight. That

was one of his sins. Staupitz, the leader of the monastery,

finally got fed up with Luther and in anger said, "Look

here, if you expect Christ to forgive you come in with

something to forgive-parricide,blasphemy,adultery,instead

of all these peccadilloes. Man, God is not angry with you, you are

angry with God."

When the truth finally sunk into Luther's head and

heart, and he saw that he was the problem, he found the

greatest treasure a man can find-he found God was his

friend. He was a loving Father who provided for us what

we needed in order to be forgiven. We do not have to

earn our salvation, but freely receive it as His gift of love.

When Luther stopped working to save himself, and took

salvation as a free gift from God by faith in Christ, he

made a lot of new friends, but the greatest of them all was

God. He found a God who liked him. Luther was losing

friendship on both the earthly and heavenly level because

he was blind to the fact that he was the problem. When

we are full of misconceptions and misunderstandings, we

are in bondage, and only the truth can set us free.

A prominent American writer read the book Forgive

Us Our Trespasses by Lloyd C. Douglas. She wrote to the

author and said, "As I read your book I saw myself as I

really was. I finished it late at night and the next day I

went out and recaptured five friendships I had lost because

of my unforgiving spirit." The truth had set her

free. The fact is, most of the broken relationships in life,

and the loss of friendship with men and God, are based on

our false conceptions. Like Luther, we are often angry

with God and with others, and we misinterpret this as

their anger with us. If you examine most of the conflicts

you have in marriage or with children and others, you will

see they usually start with your rotten inner mood at

someone else's behavior. We create God and others in our

own image when we are full of hostility and we blame

them for being what we are.

The ancient world is full of myths that portray God as

the foe of man. Zeus, the king of gods in Greek mythology

was so portrayed. Prometheus was a god who took pity

on man and tried to warm and cheer his life by giving him

the gift of fire. Zeus became very angry because of this

grace and love expressed by Prometheus. He had him

chained to a rock in the Adriatic Sea. He was tortured

with the heat and thirst of the day and the cold of the

night. And then for an added touch of sadistic pleasure he

prepared a vulture to tear out his liver. Zeus was very

creative in his bitterness. He made it so the liver would

keep growing back so the vulture could tear it out over

and over again. This was the picture of God that many

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