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Prepare yourself for trials

1 Corinthians 9:24 - 10:5

Pastor David Ernst

Epiphany Lutheran Mission of La Caramuca  
Barinas, Venezuela

Play MP3 of this sermon

Sun, Feb 5, 2012 

Grace and peace in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

We give thanks for the restart of the school year. This past week Yeximar showed me her grade "A". Congratulations to Yeximar and all the rest of our successful students.

But why pursue good grades? What is the purpose of education? Why is it worth the trouble?

First, to deepen and extend your knowledge of many things. Second, to learn how to learn, that is, if we do not know the answer to a question, at least we know where to look for it. Third, for the formation of character, to learn the values ​​that always will help us in life.

In short, the goal of education is to prepare us to live in a world that is always changing. Some of you may think, I'll never leave la Caramuca, I will live here all my life. But there is no guarantee of that, so you need the knowledge to adapt to many different situations in life in the years to come.

But more important than this, you must understand the comparison between physical training and the Christian life that St. Paul does in our text for today. "I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air..." The baseball or football player is always practicing for his next game.

But, are we not justified by faith alone? Christ has done it all for us, right? He suffered and died on the cross and the third day he rose from the dead. So all who believe and are baptized will be saved only by grace, not works.

This is the truth. But God had a purpose for the redemption Christ won for us. In fact, God has a purpose for each one of you. This purpose is to live as His sons and daughters, not to continue in sin. The Holy Spirit active in our lives produces good works as fruits of faith. The Spirit gives us saving faith in the means of grace, but continues the work of sanctification. As repentant sinners in this life, we are holy in the eyes of God because of Jesus Christ, but the purpose of salvation is to prepare us for eternal life as the perfect saints of God in heaven.

It is also possible to lose the prize of eternal life, because in this world there are many trials and snares of the devil. We must prepare for temptations. "I want you to know, brothers, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, and all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ. Nevertheless, with most of them God was not pleased, for they were overthrown in the wilderness. "

In the same way, many will receive Christian baptism, as all the Israelites were baptized in the cloud and the sea. They were rescued from slavery in Egypt only by the grace of God, God did everything for them. However, most were lost in the desert because they were not ready for the journey to the Promised Land. They all partook of the same spiritual food and drink, as many today receive the Lord's Supper, but are not truly ready for the trials of Christian life.

Thus, Paul uses the example of the athlete or athlete. The athlete always avoid things that make you weak and looking for things that make it strong, and always thinks of nothing but win the victory. At the time of St. Paul, the sports prize was a crown of withered leaves, then he speaks of "a corruptible crown." Also, good grades, the riches, fame, all we can win in this life will be forgotten, and only the crown of eternal life will matter

So Christ has won the prize of eternal life, but we can lose if we are lazy and complacent. How do we strengthen ourselves for the pilgrimage through this world? We remain in prayer, the Word of God and the sacraments, flee from the temptations to sin if possible, and never trust our own strength.

As it is reading the Old Testament (Jeremiah 9.23-24): "Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. ..." This is also the fruit of the Spirit.

May the peace that passes all understanding be with each of you. Amen.

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