In this sermon series on Satan’s attack on God and God’s Word and God’s world, I have neglected to point out something important. Satan isn’t going to like it. And if he can he will try to get me to misspeak and he will try to get you to misunderstand. He will try to sow seeds of confusion and questioning and more lies. I have been very aware of walking through a minefield, very sobered by the seriousness of the issues and painfully aware of my inadequacy to do this well in a very limited amount of time. I appreciate one person taking the initiative to talk to me about something misunderstood in last week’s sermon, and I invite anyone with questions or concerns to do the same. I don’t want Satan to gain a foothold in any thing I say. And of course, pray for me for God’s grace and wisdom. This morning I am continuing our series of sermons under the title Did God Say …? That’s a reference to Satan’s words to Eve in the garden when he said: Genesis 3:1 “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” Satan is hell-bent to destroy you and your life and everything good in your life. He is out to get God and he is out to get you. Our world lies in the power of the evil one, in the hands of the god of this age. If you are a Christian then as far as Satan is concerned you are one that got away, you are an escaped prisoner of the evil one and a danger to him. Most of us go through life ignorant of Satan’s work. He is always at work, subtly trying to subvert and mess with your life, your marriage, your kids, your thoughts, your impulses, your emotions, your plans, your ideas.
Did God really say? We are considering the lies Satan propagates through our culture, through media, through politicians, through unbelievers, as he carries out his assault on all that God has created and called good. Last week we saw why and how Satan hates babies and his greatest weapon to that end, is abortion. But Satan’s assault doesn’t stop with babies in the womb, it continues full force after they are born. This morning I want us to be wise to Satan’s attack on children. Satan’s attack on children. Why does Satan hate children? For the same reasons he hates babies. We read one reason last week, because the kingdom of heaven belongs to such at these.
Chuck Norris is a famous movie and television star, especially known for his show Walker, Texas Ranger. He is also a world-champion black-belt martial artist. Because of his character being unstoppable with insane near superpowers and skill there is a whole genre of Chuck Norris jokes, which are referred to as Chuck Norris facts. Chuck Norris jokes/facts. Superman wears Chuck Norris pajamas. When the Boogeyman goes to sleep every night, he checks his closet for Chuck Norris. When Chuck Norris gets pulled over, he lets the cop off with a warning. When Chuck Norris steps on a Lego, the Lego cries. Chuck Norris counted to infinity, twice. Chuck Norris was born in a log cabin he build with his own hands. That one got me to thinking there is someone about whom statements like that are actually true. Jesus was born in a manger that He created. Jesus rode on a donkey He created. Jesus was born to parents He created. Jesus walked on an earth He created. Jesus died on a cross made from a tree He made. At the time of the incarnation, Jesus who is infinite became a day old. Jesus who has power to create galaxies is now so weak He has to be carried. Jesus who’s hands can hold the oceans, now has fingers too small to hold Mary’s finger. Jesus who’s words spoke creation into existence, how has to be taught how to say words. Jesus who never hungered or thirsted, now cries when He is hungry and thirsty. He who the universe couldn’t contain, is now contained in a manger.
We began with our comfort and then looked at our misery, and now we move from misery to mercy, from our depravity or dilemma to our deliverance; from guilt to grace; from our need to our Lord’s provision. This is the main section of the catechism, the main focus or emphasis. Adam is our father, our federal or covenant head. And Adam has taken us all into bankruptcy, meaning that he has left us with absolutely nothing with which to pay our debt. In fact, the interest payments are spiraling out of control. We have debt upon debt.
We are continuing to learn how to preach the truth of the Gospel to ourselves in the on-going battle with our flesh and the voices in our heads and the lies of Satan and the world around us. We have before us two opportunities to fine tune our preaching in two specific areas of the Gospel that have much to say to us, the Ascension of Jesus and the Pentecost of the Holy Spirit which is in two weeks. This morning we will focus on the ascension of our Lord. Imagine a Memorial Day in the Christian Church. Imagine that Jesus died and wasn’t raised from the dead, or imagine that Jesus died, was raised from the dead, but then years later died like all the other people raised from the dead. Imagine a great memorial place in Israel somewhere that you can visit and linger and pray and pay your respects to a great fallen hero and warrior. Imagine a dead Jesus. That’s why the ascension is so important. Jesus wanted to make it very clear to the disciples and to all who follow Him that He is no longer here, His body cannot be found on earth. He has ascended back to heaven were He came from and now He sits on the throne at the right hand of the Father and from there He rules and reigns in power and authority. We worship a risen Savior and Lord and ascended king.
Last week on Cadet’s Sunday we talked about getting into the game and running the race and fighting the good fight of faith. We talked about setting joy before us as the goal and following Jesus and the great cloud of saints to that reward. We talked about how the race is made harder by obstacles in our way, and weights and baggage that we carry and sin that clings so tightly to us. I announced then that we are going to spend the next couple of months doing this very thing, putting off weights, shedding a few pounds, to help us run the race better, with greater hope for greater joy. We are going to look at seven serious weights or obstacles, seven serious sins. What I really want to talk to you about is the joy that is set before us. I want to talk about the pleasure that is ours in God through Christ, kept in heaven for us. I want to talk about the grace that is ours because of the sacrifice of Jesus for our sins. But we can’t know the joy until we know the sin that clings so tightly to us and we throw off its weight. I take up this topic of the seven serious sins to fight for and advocate for our joy. Our best pleasure and our greatest joy will only be found in Christ and in the paths of righteousness and holiness. As our text says, so as your brother, I am calling us to examine our hearts to see if there is any secret or hidden or overlooked sin in us and to turn to the living God and our Savior Jesus Christ. Until we really grasp our sinfulness, we cannot grasp how great is God’s love and grace and forgiveness and salvation. Everything we hold dear in our Christian faith depends on our understanding our sinful hearts.
It seems especially appropriate to consider the theme the Cadets are focusing on this year, getting in the game, at the time America also celebrates the biggest game of the year, the Super Bowl. The Cadet theme verse is a great verse with great challenges and implications for all of us. Or not. Is it for all of us? What about those with walkers or wheel chairs? How is Jeannie Bakker supposed to get in the game and run the race at 101? Or Mary K.? Is this verse just for young Christians like the cadets? Just for those who are in shape? The Bible uses athletic analogies that could sound like Christianity is a younger persons sport. Tom Brady, the quarterback for the New England Patriots joined Peyton Manning as the oldest quarterback to win a super bowl at age of 39 (Brady is four months younger than Manning). Tiger Woods is trying to make a comeback at 41 and it’s not looking too good. After shoveling this week, I’m not sure how fast I could run today. Is it possible for a person confined to bed to run the race set before us? Does this verse apply to all of us, no matter our age or our health? The answer is yes, because this race doesn’t require getting out of bed, it isn’t run with our legs or bodies, but with our hearts by faith. The weak and the aged among us not only run this race, they can win this race, because it is won by keeping the faith.