October 24, 2010: Embrace the Light, Embrace the Word, Embrace Contentment!

Let us pray: Dear Savior, today we need to have You lead us into the light of Your grace and mercy. Do so by embracing us in, with, under and through Your blessed Word of truth. For then inner contentment will flood our hearts and continually sustain us as we do our duty of loving You above all else and of loving our neighbor. Amen

GRACE MERCY AND PEACE ARE YOURS FROM CHRIST, THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD AND ALSO THE WORD WHO BECAME FLESH IN ORDER TO REDEEM OUR SOULS!

TEXT: 2 Tim. 3: 14-4:5

Fellow Redeemed Sinners:

Vacation time is precious. It is delicious. We covet it, plan for it, and drink it in from the first day to the last. So, if you had your choice, which would you prefer: warm, sunny, perfect weather or cold, damp, rainy weather? The fact is: we love the light. We love its warm embrace. We love how it makes us feel. Science tells us some of the reasons why this is true. 1. Sunlight triggers hormonal glands in the body which then secrete chemicals that enhance brain happiness. 2. Sunlight also causes the body to make vitamin D which builds our immune system, thus fighting off illness. And 3. Sunlight warms arthritic joints and alleviates pain in them.—My old dogs know all about that as they laze in the sunbeam.

Of course, there are even deeper reasons behind our love affair with sunlight. We know that: “God is light and in Him dwells no darkness at all.” We know that Jesus is identified in the Bible as: “The Light of the world.” We know the ancient prophecy of His coming: “The people that dwell in darkness have seen a great light.” And we know that Scripture tells us to “walk as children of light.” In short, God made us for the light. He made us to live in its warm glow—especially the glow that comes from Christ’s forgiveness for all those “deeds of darkness.”

I know we’re told to avoid a lot of direct sunlight because of skin cancer fears. But also recall that sunlight is a very powerful disinfectant. It kills germs through its radiation. That is a reflection of the greater spiritual truth of how the Light of the world destroys the virus and bacteria of sin that clings to us from the moment of birth. And so, EMBRACE THE LIGHT! Embrace the health and happiness that it brings. Yes, embrace its Source: Jesus Christ in faith and undying appreciation for His goodness to you.

I

The greatest truths of life are all identified with Jesus Christ. We’re told: He is the Way the Truth and the Life. He is the resurrection and the life. He is love incarnate, or divine love made human flesh and blood. He is also the eternal Word, or the creative, powerful, life-changing truth of what’s real and what is fake. So, if you really want to know truth from falsehood; if you really want to remain in the light and not be dragged down into darkness, you also need to: EMBRACE THE WORD!

St. Paul reminds Pastor Timothy of that fact. He reminds him that we should embrace the Word because the Word always seeks to embrace us in its safety. Yes, from infancy on humans can embrace the Living Word through faith. We can grasp hold of the eternal Son of God because through His word of truth He grasps hold of us, puts faith into our hearts and works at keeping it strong and alive throughout all our days on this earth.

“But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of god may be thoroughly equipped for every good work….I give you this charge: Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.”

Since Jesus Christ is the eternal Word of God; since everything we know about Him comes from the Bible; and since by embracing its truths we’re really embracing Christ Himself “Who is the Way the Truth and the Life”—exposure to and use of the Bible is paramount for a fulfilling life. God’s Word equips us for every good work in this life. It shows us the muck and mire of sin and how to avoid it. It bleaches us pure white via Christ’s blood when we wander into the dark swamp of human evil. It moves us to warn others to stay away from temptations and also to show them the correct pathway toward the warm, sunlit uplands of God’s grace. All this and more is accomplished by proclaiming Jesus as the Savior of lost mankind. And in the process of embracing the Word in faithfulness, true contentment with life steals over us. Because suddenly we realize that what we’re doing actually does make a difference—to others, to God, and even to us.

II

True contentment in life can best be described as an inner glow of satisfaction. It doesn’t mean you’ll always have a smiley face. It doesn’t mean you’ll always experience euphoric happiness. It doesn’t mean everyone will be your friend and like you. No, true contentment is knowing deep within your soul that you’ve tried to do your best and even when you’ve failed, the righteousness of Christ’s blood has covered your mistakes and thus you know you’re at peace with God.

It is with such a mindset that we embrace and use the Word—”with great patience and careful instruction.” We do this because human hearts are fickle. Human hearts always seek something new. Human hearts like to walk away from the light and poke around and dabble in the dark corners of life seeking a new thrill or a new adventure. Meanwhile, we also know how destructive that can be. We know the underbelly of humanity comes out at night. We know that most domestic violence occurs at night. We know that the suicide rate goes up at night. Any night shift emergency room nurse knows this to be so. Well, in spiritual terms, people lust after darkness, too. “For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.”

In short, Timothy is told to also: EMBRACE CONTENTMENT. Keep focused on the powerful love with which Jesus has enveloped you! Focus on the eternal good you are doing by pointing people to the Word of eternal Life. And because He never, ever gives up on you, don’t give up fighting for the faith, either. EMBRACE THE LIGHT, EMBRACE THE WORD, EMBRACE CONTENTMENT! For in that trinity you’ll find everlasting unity with God! Amen