Let us pray: Dear Savior, what a relief it is to know that You are the way to heaven, that You are eternal Truth, and that You have made us heirs of Your eternal inheritance through the gift of faith. May we never, ever, take such blessings for granted. Amen
GRACE MERCY AND PEACE ARE YOURS FROM CHRIST, THE GIVER OF ETERNAL TRUTH!
TEXT: John 14:6: “Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’”
Fellow Redeemed Sinners:
I don’t know when it dawned on me. But the whole concept of right and wrong played itself out when I was a boy and began to put together model ships. My first efforts were lousy. You see I never followed the directions. I was so excited by the picture on the box that I simply dug out all the pieces and began to glue them together as I saw fit. In the end it looked like a ship. But glue globs were everywhere. I then tried to cover them with paint. But the paint jobs were always messy since I didn’t follow directions and paint the parts first, before assembling them. Later, I learned to follow the directions. I learned that: yes, there really is a right way to do things and a wrong way to do them. Those models turned out pretty good, too.
God Almighty created us with a basic sense of right and wrong. We call that natural law, or the natural knowledge of God. All people have it. But today it is scorned. Today we’re told that any ideas are correct if they feel good at the time. We’re told that we should never be judgmental. We’re told that all talk of God is of equal value and weight, that all roads lead to Him—Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Taoism, or New Age navel gazing. My friends, that view negates the whole concept of right and wrong. And it renders people powerless when confronted by evil. For if nothing is wrong, you can never criticize evil people for their actions. Well, all this got me thinking that I should write a sermon entitled:
THE CASE FOR CHRISTIANITY
The liberal mindset of the Western World today says that anything goes. It says that we should be open and accepting of all views of life and that no one dare criticize another. But if you actually live that way, your life will be a shambles. Let me give you some examples. Is there a right way to repair your cars brakes? I think you know the answer. In fact you test out your belief every time you hit the brakes on route 128 on the way to work. Is it “right” to build a house without ever using a square or level to make sure everything is plumb? Shouldn’t you be critical of a builder who refuses to use those tools because he just “feels” it looks o.k.? Is it “right” to sink a well right next to your septic system? Is it “right” to ignore a red light just because you feel you’re in a bigger hurry than the people coming from the other direction? Yes, there is a right and a wrong. O, I admit that sometimes issues in life are judgment calls. For example, if it is a medical emergency, it’s probably not a bad idea to exceed the speed limit on the way to the hospital. But such exceptions do not disprove basic right and wrong.
Well, what about the principles of religion? Are all religions the same? Today we’re told they are because people have had it drummed into them that religion is merely a set of personal feelings. Let’s examine that.
Christianity teaches that God in His infinite wisdom has confronted evil. It teaches that He decided in love to send His only Son into the world to pay for our sins, our wrong-headedness. Christ gave His life for ours freely on a cross. He died and rose to life in our place and now seeks to bring us into a closer relationship with Him by His gift of saving faith. It teaches that God never coerces a person but wants them to surrender themselves to Him freely because of the love He has already shown to us.—Because He surrendered Himself to us.
Islam means “submission.” It teaches that god requires human submission to his will no matter what. It teaches that coercion and force are o.k. and good when it comes to forcing that submission upon another. I find it interesting that Christian countries allow other religions in their midst and allow them to gain converts. But, I don’t know of any predominately Muslim country that allows or encourages Christian evangelism to take place. Where is “love” and “tolerance” in that religion? A religion that refuses to “love your enemies” is just plain wrong. Wrong because it negates the concept of mercy.
Buddhism is interesting. Basically it teaches that anything goes. It teaches that god is within you and you should search yourself, find his presence, and thus find balance in this world. It teaches that you will find happiness in this world by accepting everyone just as they are. If that is true Hitler would still control Europe.
The bible speaks of such heathen mindsets when it says: “and everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” Christ catalogues such “wrongness” when He lists the sins that humans do: “Out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness, and blasphemy.” St. Paul also speaks of them in Romans chapter 1 when he writes: “They are full of envy, murder, insolent, arrogant, and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Although they know God’s righteous decree (natural law—basic right and wrong) that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.”
All world religions apart from Christianity teach than humans can attain godly favor by their own actions. But, by definition that subtracts from God’s glory and allows man to steal it for himself or herself. There is a right and a wrong in life. Likewise, there is a right and a wrong when it comes to religious principles. Think about it. No other religion apart from Christianity teaches that God does it all when it comes to saving our souls. He won salvation (rightness with Him) on a cross for us. He distributes that blessing as a free gift to us in Word and Sacrament. And He also makes it our very own possession by lovingly working faith in our hearts to grasp hold of it. Isn’t it “right” for God to have all the credit? After all, He’s God!
Jesus says: “I am the way and the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except through me.” It is only Christianity which lays before us the 10 commandments which protect human life on all levels. It is only Christianity which has commandments covering not only human actions but human motives, as well. Thus, only Christianity seeks to rightly regulate our entire lives—the whole person—both inside and out. And our faith teaches us that God lovingly covers over our imperfections with His mercy when we fail.
There really is a right way to live and a wrong way to live. And only Christianity includes under the umbrella of rightness these gifts: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” My friends, isn’t that “rightness” worth living and dying for? Amen