Summary: A sermon for the last Sunday of the year.
“Christ in Our Future”
(Outline by Walter Goode)
By: Rev. Kenneth Sauer,
Pastor of Parkview United Methodist Church, Newport News, VA
A few nights ago—I think it was on CNN—they were promoting an up-coming special about the events which occurred in 2004.
I turned to Jeanne and said, “Why would anyone want to watch that? We know what happened in 2004.”
We know about the war.
We know who won the presidential election.
We know who won the World Series.
It’s not as if it occurred very long ago…and…
…as a matter of fact—it’s still 2004!!!
Then I remembered that the last year I was a t-v broadcaster I had done a story on “What’s going to be hot, and what’s not going to be hot in 1995.”
I turned to Jeanne and said, “I can’t believe that was already ten years ago!”
It seems like yesterday…yet the only thing I remember listed under the “What’s going to be hot for 1995 list was—Prozack for dogs.”
Obviously I hadn’t been covering a very hard-news story that evening.
I do know that one thing which was definitely missing from the list was “Christ in Our Future.”
Little did I know that ten years later I would have completed 3 years of seminary and would have been a United Methodist Minister for the past six years.
So much for the accuracy of that list.
I had asked Walter Goode to preach this morning, as Jeanne, Ben and I were to be heading to Atlanta Christmas morning…
…and I asked Walter to do this…oh, maybe a month ago.
Last week, when I asked him what he was going to be preaching on, his face lit up and he gleamed: “Well, considering that this will be the last Sunday before the new year, I figured I’d preach on the future.”
“Good idea,” I responded. “What’s the title?”
Again, Walter gleamed: “I’m calling it ‘Christ in Our Future.’”
Of course, Christ was always part of the future for Walter, and it should also be a part of the future for all of us.
In trying to decide what to preach on this Sunday, I figured that I would look and see if Walter had written a manuscript of his sermon.
So I went to his home, and I searched and searched and searched.
Finally, I found a one page outline, neatly typed.
From Walter’s outline, I will attempt to convey the essence of the message Walter would be giving you this morning had the Lord not decided to take him so suddenly and graciously to paradise this past Wednesday.
Walter’s introduction reads as follows: “As we come to the end of 2004, we can look back and ponder…
…What have I done that made the world a better place to live in?
…Have I reached out to those who are in need…
…those who are lonely…
…and most of all…
…to those who are unsaved, without Christ?”
I could go into a long list, and I know all of you could too, of what Walter did in 2004 to make this world a better place…
…but this is not what Walter would have preached on.
In our Old Testament Reading from Isaiah for this morning we find that the task for the Israelites was to be witnesses to the world—telling the world Who God is and what God has done.
In verse 10 of Isaiah Chapter 43 we read: “You are my witnesses,’ declares the Lord… ‘Before me no god was formed, nor will there be one after me…’”
… and in verse 12 we read again: “You are my witnesses,” declares the Lord, “that I am God.”
And we, the Church of Jesus Christ, share the responsibility laid upon the Israelites so long ago, of being God’s witnesses today…in today’s world!
Are we doing this?
Did we do this in ’04?
Do we plan to do this in ’05?
There are many uncertainties about our future…but there is one certainty…
…one thing we can count on without a doubt…
…Christ will be in our future!!!
And Christ will be in the future for all people—even for those who do not know him or do not believe in Him.
“I, even I, am the Lord, and apart from me there is no savior.”
God has “revealed”, God’s self to us…
…God has “saved” us and we are to be witnesses to this fact!
Most folks, if we were to ask them, believe that there is a God.
There really are few atheists.
A few weeks ago, Jeanne and I went to Norfolk to have some genetic counseling—as we are expecting a baby this May.
As the geneticist was explaining the very delicate and highly scientific intricacies involved that decide whether a child will be a boy or girl, a person with physical or mental handicaps, a person with Down’s Syndrome and so forth I found myself completely enthralled.