Grace and peace in our Lord and Savior , Jesus Christ.
God has doneit all for us in Jesus Christ. He suffered and died on the cross to satisfy the justice of God in our place. Therefore, we have the promise of eternal life and on the last day we will stand before the throne of God clothed in the righteousness of Christ. We can not win the favor and love of God by good works , because while none of our works can erase the stain of our sins in our lives, the sacrifice of Christ covers all my sins and all yours .
In this sense , Paul says in our text for today, " But if ye be led of the Spirit , ye are not under the law. " We are not under the condemnation of the Law We are reconciled to God by the sacrifice of Christ and have received the Holy Spirit in baptism.
Listen, who among you has gone to the hospital , clinic or doctor's office ? Almost everybody , right? For what purpose? Of course , we visit the hospital, clinic or doctor when we are sick . And in the hospital or clinic we find other patients . But we're not going to the hospital or clinic to multiply our infirmities , but to heal them. It is the same with the other patients .
Well, the church is a hospital or clinic for souls . Its purpose is the healing of spiritual disease . The Church is for the person who recognizes that his life is out of control , is a disaster. The church is for the desperate , who have no hope, no reason to live or endure the problems of life . Above all, the church is for he who recognizes his destiny is eternal death without God's help .
The medicine is the Word of God and the sacraments . In them we find the forgiveness of our sins and the good will of God for our lives.
Now , what if someone rejects doctor's advice ? We may receive the medicine for a while and feel better . But , as the doctor told us , we hould not forget to take these pills and change some bad habits to prevent the return of the disease. We do forget this and what is the consequence? The return of the disease. Recovery often does not end with the disappearance of disease symptoms . We have to stay in treatment until the end .
Who of you have suffered dengue? Recovery from dengue may take a few days in bed. But to contract dengue again is more dangerous than the first time. So we must take seriously the advice of doctors and nurses. We eliminate open containers of water and fumigate the house to prevent the growth of mosquitoes that spread dengue.
What is the advice of St. Paul in our text ? "Walk in the Spirit and do not fulfill the lust of the flesh. " The Holy Spirit is active in the Word and sacraments , so to receive them regularly is to stay in the Christian faith and nurture the new life that the Spirit has sown in us.
However, we still have the body of flesh and blood, which is dying because of sin . When Paul speaks of the lust of the flesh , he speaks of the human nature that we inherited from Adam and Eve, a sinful and selfish nature , which is focused on itself, not the will of God and our neighbors. This is our spiritual sickness .
And what the symptoms of this disease ? "Now are manifest works of the flesh are : adultery , fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness , idolatry, witchcraft, hatred , variance, emulations , wrath, strife , seditions , heresies, envy , murders, drunkenness , revellings , and such like to them : of which I tell you before , as I warned you before , that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. "
What a list! Yet in the beginning, the temptations of the flesh do not appear ugly . Sin begins with a desire that seems innocent. It is no sin to search for work that offers more salary. It is no sin to admire the beauty of a woman. It is no sin to think about a bigger house than you already have. Sin begins with greed that wants something that by right belongs to another , such as the wife of one's neighbor or the neighbor 's house . Sin begins in placing priority on our own goals above the law and the will of God. Everything else is the fruit of evil desires .
" For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh : and these are contrary the one to the other , to prevent you from doing whatever you want . " In the heart of every Christian is a struggle. The flesh, ie the sinful nature, wants to overcome the new life , the spiritual life in Christ . The flesh wants the Christian to sin again. On the other hand, the new life in the Spirit fights against the flesh to produce the fruits of the Spirit : " ... love, joy , peace, longsuffering, gentleness , goodness, faith , meekness , temperance: against such there is no law . "
If we walk in the Spirit , the Spirit's victory is sure, and more and more we stifle the desires of the flesh. He who walks in the Spirit wants to obey the will of God not for fear of punishment or the expectation of God's favor as a reward , but in response to the love that God showed us first.
Therefore, we will visit the clinic for medicine to strengthen our new life , the Word and the sacraments. As in the example of dengue , we will remove from the house all the things that may hinder our growth in faith, all kinds of immorality , but also the things that appear innocent , but it can tempt us to sin. Do not forget to read , reflect and meditate on the Scriptures , and to present your petitions and thanksgivings to God in your daily lives , not just on Sundays.
May the peace that passes all understanding be with each of you . Amen .
Send Pastor David Ernst an email.