Summary: The gracious meaning of our relationship with Christ is not a matter of yes and no, but God’s gracious presence is always around us.
“And All God’s People Said, ‘Amen!’”
By: Rev. Kenneth E. Sauer,
Pastor of Parkview United Methodist Church, Newport News, VA
Whether it be in politics, business, or ministry, there have always been crooked people.
But today, it seems like everywhere we look, trust is not merely being violated, but shattered.
Sure the “Big Ones,” the Enrons, Worldcoms, and Adelphias get our attention, but perhaps even more
corrosive to our willingness to trust are the hundreds of little promises that we hear each day, which almost by a
knee jerk reaction, we refuse to believe.
...I’m not trying to sell you anything...
...Lose 20 pounds in 20 days....
...This will only take a minute of your time...
...This won’t hurt a bit...
...There is no risk or obligation...
...You can’t miss it...
...If I’m elected, I will....
...Read my lips, No New Taxes!
We have been conditioned to disbelieve...and with good reason!
We are jaded and skeptical.
The word “promise” has been thrown around so lightly that there is even a brand of margarine named
Too many promises have been broken.
Is anyone trustworthy?
Is there anyone who will keep his or her word?
Broken promises wound our spirits...
...they leave us a little wiser and a little less trusting.
They may even break us inside.
But promises that are kept give us life and hope!
They are the catalysts for realizing our most joyful and even wildest dreams.
So, can we get beyond the jaded skepticism of our day?
Can we step out in faith--holding onto a promise?
As soon as we ask that question, we realize that our faith is only as good as its object.
People, in spite of their best intentions, will fail us, but God never will.
In our Scripture Lesson for this morning, Paul is addressing a broken promise.
He had intended to visit the Christians at Corinth, but the situation had become so bitter that he postponed
his visit, in order to spare them the pain of his apostolic rebuke.
Paul’s opponents used his change of plans, to accuse him of duplicity and deceitfulness.
Things don’t change much.
All of us have made judgements from time to time without the benefit of all the information.
It is human nature to paint the picture with too broad a stroke, to succumb to the temptation to think
the worst of others, and to jump to the worst of all possible conclusions.
Paul doesn’t spend too much time defending himself before he points us toward the real issue.
He points us back to THE PROMISE.
The one that makes a difference.
The only truth that matters.
The one that gives life.
Jesus is described in Scripture as “The Promised One.”
Jesus Christ is God’s great “Yes!” to the world.
Though our experience with people may cause us to be leery, our experience with Jesus Christ and the
Holy Spirit strengthens our hearts, giving us hope that we can trust God fully, without reservation.
A pastor visited an old man who was confined to his chair because of rheumatism, but he had his Bible
open in front of him.
The minister noticed that the word “proved” was written continually in the margins.
This man had taken God’s Word and written his own experience in the margin.
Beside each promise...
...as he found it to come true in his own life...
...he had written the word “proved.”
God keeps all His promises, and He has fulfilled every one of them in Jesus Christ!
The pages of the Old Testament are studded with promises from God as the night sky is with stars.
Some are prophetic visions of what God had in store for His people when the time was ripe.
Some are direct and simple promises of God’s forgiving mercy and deliverance.
All of God’s promises correspond to human need in all its aspects.
And Chief among God’s promises is the promise of a forgiveness that would restore humankind to
fellowship with God, which through our sin--we have lost.
Through Jesus Christ, the love of God becomes so clear--to those who dare to lay hold of it by faith--that
we can actually get a glimpse of it.
A young man was condemned by a jury to die. He hated everyone, even his mother.
His mother came before the judge and pleaded with him for her son.
But the judge could do nothing.
He said, “Why don’t you let him alone? There’s nothing you can do. He doesn’t love you.”
“I know,” said the mother, “but I love him.”
This is how God loves us...unconditionally.
We too have been sentenced to die...
...but God loves us too much to allow that to happen.
Through God’s promise of Jesus Christ, God has shown us the greatest extent of His love.