Sermons

Summary: Though people might let us down, God does not.

2 Corinthians 1:15-22

“God’s Unconditional ‘Yes’”

By: Ken Sauer, Pastor of East Ridge United Methodist Church, Chattanooga, TN eastridgeumc.org

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.

Promises like:....

... “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

Promise!

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 evening, 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.

Paul’s opponents used his change of plans, to accuse him of being the kind of person who says “Yes, yes” out of one side of the mouth and “No, no,” out of the other side.

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.

The story is told of a pastor who visited an old man who was confined to his chair because of arthritis, 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.”

That would be a pretty cool thing to do, especially since our memories fail us so easily.

It would be an excellent reminder when things aren’t going so good and seeds of doubt threaten to kill our joy.

God keeps all God’s promises, and God has fulfills 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.

And for over a thousand years Israel had lived on those promises, trusting that the God Who had called Israel to be God’s people would lead them forward, and accomplish in the end what God had planned.

And Jesus is the Messiah, the culmination and crown of Israel’s long story, the answer to all Israel’s hopes and prayers, the fulfillment of all the promises.

God had said “Yes,” and said it so loudly through Jesus’ Resurrection that it was now echoing all around the world!!!

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...

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