Sermon on September 26, 2021
KaB FKB (Hans-Jürgen Neuschäfer)
“Life as it pleases God”
“1. Thessalonians 4.8 ”
This sermon is translated from German into English. You can find the original video here
“Wow” what a tough topic. Who would not like to know what a life looks like that pleases God? Who wouldn’t want to know what God really wants or even what God wants from me?
Haven’t we all thought about it or asked, maybe even more often, what God actually wants from me?
What is God’s will for my life? But do I really want to know what God wants from me?
What, if God really gave me an answer to that question? I would like to make this clear to an example.
We can hardly imagine a sculptor or engraver. It is only in the workshop that you notice what is related to this term. Wonderful pictures and sculptures are created from hard stone Often a very delicate and artful work (e.g. gemstone cutting) In one hand he holds a stone firmly, while the other hand works with various instruments on the misshapen stone until the sculpture that is to be designed comes out more and more clearly. Just like this stone, I find myself in the hand of Jesus He could let go of me, throw me away, or let me lie. Only if he holds me tightly can he make a picture of me in his honor. Isn’t that a great secret? It is necessary to be held in order to become an image for God. Not to be limited or deprived of freedom. But so that others can see what God can do with such a misshapen, hard-to-work guy. Don’t hesitate to admit that I’m not the only one who is the only rough stone here.
Even if we can achieve a lot outwardly in our life Good income, little house, Family and real friends, Recognition in the profession or the community, Influential position, career, etc. But in the end we are just rough, rough stones that are no good for anything other than being thrown away.
But then all of a sudden there are the hands of a master. The gracious, loving hands of our Savior Jesus Christ. They reach for you / us and start working on you / us sand off a piece here, the rasp is necessary at another point. Something has to be removed suddenly with a hammer and chisel. Something can still be polished. Can you imagine this marvel of the master hands? What, if Jesus works out more and more of a rude person with all his faults, what makes us more like Jesus? Why am I so passionate about his hand holding me tight?
Do we maybe love the rough edges on us? Do we just love the freedom to just lie around more or less pointlessly next to other stones? Or the habits you have grown cherished? Are you afraid that Jesus will hold you to change? I think that’s a shame, even though I know it from myself. What could Jesus make of us, if we were to abandon ourselves to his masterful hands? That is exactly the will of God: yours, our sanctificatio
I have divided my sermon into 4 points, but first I want to read the text:
“1 Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more. 2 For ye know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus. 3 For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: 4 That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour; 5 Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God: 6 That no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter: because that the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified. 7 For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness. 8 He therefore that despiseth, despiseth not man, but God, who hath also given unto us his holy Spirit.”
1. God has a goal with you.
Sanctification what is it?
This word has become very alien to us, has it not? It no longer has any meaning in our language usage. We talk about many other things, but we don’t talk about sanctification anymore. That’s why I want to talk to you about it today. It’s not a secret for any theologians or pastors It is explicitly stated here that it is a matter of the expressed will of God.
The holy God wants something – but we no longer understand what he actually wants because we no longer know what to do with the word. That would be a great blessing from God, if we realized today that God made heaven and earth expressly expresses his will, while we are already faced with a riddle at the word SANCTIFICATION. Yes, what is that now, this sanctification?
One thing is clear to us, that this has something to do with holy. But if I ask you now if you have ever seen a saint, or if you can explain to me what kind of person it is, then I will probably see quite perplexed faces in front of me. Perhaps you say: – that is one of the strong ones Efforts or merits has earned special recognition one who is so pious that he stands far above the others Mother Theresa, Pope, Dalai Lama maybe. Believe me, the Bible doesn’t mean any of that when it speaks of holy and sanctification. It’s sad that all of this is so foreign to us even as the word itself. Sit down and ask what the Bible says about this word: You will find that this word appears for the first time in the Bible when God calls Moses (Exodus 3: 5). In the lonely desert, Moses sees the burning bush of thorns and hears a voice: “Take off your shoes, because the place you are standing on is holy land“
“Holy Land”? Can’t that mean it’s a better place than the rest of the desert? No, it was a miserable stretch of desert, arid and with weeds and rubble, meager and pathetic, dusty like many other desert landscapes. And yet this land has had a dignity like no field or arable land on earth has ever had before or after. God lived here !! It was confiscated from the Lord !! Do you understand what secret is being made clear to us here? So holy is not something that we can do ourselves. But “holy” is something that has been done to us !!!
So saints are people who by themselves are nothing other than such a miserable desert landscape. They have nothing to bring but weeds and rubble, dust and drought. But: a miracle happened to these people that made them praise and praise God full of joy and gratitude. The living God has confiscated them and lives with you personally. Now our word takes on meaning and becomes an incredible promise “This is the will of God, your sanctification” God does not want to leave us to the dirt, nor to our own failure, nor to death or misery He wants to confiscate you and me and make it his property. For this he wants to live personally in Jesus Christ in you.
2. Our God can
It is good that it doesn’t say that our own will can make us holy. We can not pull your own hair out of the mud. There is also no Self-sanctification by Tschigong, YinYang or the like trying to cope with everyday life somehow. There is no one who can pull himself out of hardships, worries and fears, perhaps even his own personal bankruptcy.
But now the solution is there !!! Our God wants my sanctification. This is fantastic! If God wants something, it becomes action! If we want something ourselves, then nothing will come of it for a long time. I only think of the “New Year’s Eve resolutions”, who doesn’t know them?
God said: “Let there be light” and a whole world came into being. Perfectly planned, ingeniously constructed and created in a few days. This same mighty, majestic God wants me, you to get out of my cramped life. He wants mine, your sanctification. Do you feel how his loving hands reach out to us? Just like when a drowning person experiences the lifeboat getting closer and closer.
How he hears the oar strokes with the last of his strength, before the saving hands grab him and pull him into the boat. Our God has set out to take us out and place us in his world of light. It started long before we were born. When Jesus uttered his last death cry in Golgotha, his pierced hands had already reached for me and confiscated me against death and hell: “You were bought dearly”
And this Jesus follows you personally. While you are still in the turmoil of your life stretching out for money, power and recognition, for fun, while you are looking for success and validity he secretly puts his hand on your shoulder and says: “I called you by your name, you are mine“.
Has he tackled you yet? Is he touching you right now? Or do you defend yourself against this loving touch and against this powerful pulling of his spirit? It is actually a Christian to get into this movement.
It is actually total nonsense when a person says he is “christian”. Being a Christian is not something dormant, but this movement through which we are repeatedly confiscated. There are always corners, edges or angles in our life that escape the hands of Jesus. There are: bad thoughts, or idiosyncrasies that creep in, favorite sins or or or… Suddenly there are miles of stretches where we want to run away from Jesus, weeks. Months, just gone. But God wants us to have a Savior who won’t let go of us. God has a wonderful goal with YOU, and he has the strength and power to make something wonderful out of us simple people.
3. Let God reach your goal with you.
You can’t sit here today without making a clear decision.
God wants something!! Do you want it too? Perhaps only now you realize that your will, your thoughts are constantly rebelling against the will of God. Well, I at least often want something completely different from what God wants.
Maybe, you feel the same way. Perhaps you notice, that there are things that you cannot do yourself and cannot get a grip on, even though you would like to. We like to boast that sin plays little or no part in our lives. It may not have been difficult for us to leave one or the other, but if we read carefully, then Paul is addressing 3 main points that also occur in our lives:
Fornication – marriage – money / power.
Maybe one or the other of us has a radical processing of the corners and edges with the chisel. Be it fantasies or financial practices that have crept in. Then grab it, say yes to the “master hands” who want to change you, even if it hurts. If God wants something, it means for me to cross out my own will every day.
“For God did not call us to uncleanness, but to sanctification”
And then there’s verse 8:
“He therefore that despiseth, despiseth not man, but God, who hath also given unto us his holy Spirit.” With this Paul makes the whole scope clear: Whoever is not ready for practical sanctification despises God, no matter how pious he may appear, because this sanctification is only possible because God has confiscated you and me through his spirit in us. And yet he would like your consent again and again to change you and make you more like him.
Life with hope – life as it pleases God.
At the beginning we could hardly believe that God tells us very clearly and unequivocally what a life looks like that he likes.
God has a goal with you – he is not indifferent to you,
– he doesn’t just leave you to the left other stones
Our God can – he is the only one in every situation who can and will do what he sets out to do
Let God come with you to the goal – the offer is there, God is on his way , answer him for the first time or completely new.
Would you also like to get to know this God?