Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Sermon excerpt.

This is the conclusion from our sermon on Sunday. He’s pondering what makes a Christian worship service different from a Hindu service that he had just attended. It had bothered him how much this Hindu service looked like a typical evangelical service. Of course, his conclusion then and now is that the Gospel is the vital difference and that it must be present in our Christian worship and witness: Jesus Christ’s atoning death and triumphant resurrection.

Two songs came to mind ... One was for adults and the other was for children, and I think the children’s song actually has the better theology. The one set of lyrics, for adults, said, “You ask me how I know he lives, he lives – where - within my heart.” Now that’s true, but that’s not good enough. A Hindu will say, “Krishna lives in my heart;” a good Buddhist will say – I heard a Buddhist say this, “It’s not about religion, it’s about relationship.” Now we think that’s really clever – I’ll tell you, the Buddhists probably had that before we did. Because it’s not about relationship or religion; it is about a person: Jesus Christ and what he did.

But it’s more than just what’s in my heart. Listen! As important as it is to get it in our hearts. On my death bed, it’s not going to be what I feel in my heart, because I know my heart, and my heart betrays me. My heart is going like this: sometimes I feel very strong, sometimes I feel very week, sometimes I wonder – yes, even your pastor sometimes wonders, “Am I saved?”

And that’s when that children’s song really helped me that night as I returned home, knowing that we need to keep Jesus the center: his atoning death, burial, resurrection: “Jesus loves me, this I know.” Why? “For the Bible tells me so.” See the difference there? One points to self, and there’s a place for that – the Holy Spirit witnesses within our hearts. But that itself rests on something that can never change – for all flesh is like grass, your emotions will go up and down, your convictions will go up and down, all flesh is like grass … but Jesus loves me, this I know, because it rests not upon my little heart but it rests upon the sure Word of God. Amen? Amen!

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