07212019 6th Sunday After Pent 5AT Emmanuel Lutheran Export PA

“All is possible with God!”

07212019 6th Sunday After Pent 5AT Emmanuel Lutheran Export PA
July 21, 2019
“All is possible with God!”
Sermon Audio

Our first hymn this morning clearly reminds us that though the storms of life ‘rage around us’, though ‘sorrows like sea billows roll’ we are called to trust God.  God through Holy Scripture teaches and reminds us daily that we can with Horatio Gates Spafford lift up our refrain ‘it is well with my soul’ no matter the circumstance or experience in our lives that we face.

Spafford, author of this hymn knew personally the pains of loss.  As a result of losing a son after his birth and years later, his four daughters on a transatlantic voyage, he penned this hymn to tell of his trust in what God could do in the face of his personal loss.  And this demonstration of faith and boldness is what God desires for all of His children to not only experience, but purposefully share and demonstrate for non-believers in Jesus Christ.

In our Old Testament lesson this morning, though long before Jesus would be born, Abraham and Sarah had endured a loss, not of life, but the ‘torture’ of not being able to have and hold a child of their own.  For an Old Testament couple to not have children this was considered by their culture that they as a couple were being punished by God by their not following God’s prescription of ‘being fruitful and multiplying’ as Adam and Eve had been instructed and called to do.  For our learned culture today we know there are ‘medical reasons’, but even some well meaning individuals still see childless couples as less than perfect.

So when these three men arrive, at first they probably were seen as most travellers were in the desert region.  However from what Moses writes, it is clear Abraham believes they are ‘special’. Notice, Abraham running and bowing to the earth indicates not only a realization of importance, but his demonstration of their being treated with reverence and favor even though they are not clearly identified.  Consider when guests arrive at our doorsteps on a hot day like these last few days, we offer them a drink and even something to eat. We in essence derive our being gracious hosts directly from Abraham’s model in scripture. As well, since the Middle East is a dry and desolate country, having a ‘shady place’ under a ‘tree’ to rest, refresh and be fed while on a journey is a gift that is not taken for granted, but to be shared no matter who it is that shows up.

What Abraham may have realized in his heart, but is not specifically stated is that one of the guests is Jesus Christ.  St. Cyril of Jerusalem one of the Early Church Fathers writes the following, “What strange thing do we announce in saying that God was made Man, when (you Jews) yourselves say that Abraham received the Lord as a Guest” (NPNF 2 7:76)  Thus, with the two angels of the Lord is none other than the Savior of the World, Jesus Christ.  So the least Abraham could do is offer them a meager meal set before them in the shade of the tree.  Yet, instead of keeping the best for himself, Abraham takes a calf, a very expensive and important animal that could help his family to survive and offers it as a sacrifice for them to be fed.  Abraham also, offers them ‘curds and milk’ and sets all of this before them. This is clearly a meal that shows these ‘guests’ are special. And instead of joining them as a host usually does, Abraham stands by them watching, while they eat and are filled.

Then in prophetic fashion, they ask, “Where is Sarah your wife?  And he (Abraham responded) “She is in the tent.”” And then in not only prophetic, but in blessing to Abraham and Sarah, Jesus Christ opens what had been closed, Sarah’s womb, and prophesies of the birth of a son.

If we were Sarah, we probably would have reacted the same way as Sarah did, doubting because of our personal experience.  Yet in true love of Abraham and Sarah and the future they would have, Jesus Christ reveals His knowledge of what was Sarah’s thought in her heart of ‘laughing’ and doubting Jesus Christ.  Jesus Christ, the God Man then reveals for Abraham and Sarah and for we His children today in the form of a question, “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” And for Abraham and Sarah and for us today God clearly shows them and us today that “All is possible with God!”

“All is possible with God!”  This is the promise that God made to Abraham and God makes it to us today in spite of what our world believes and in order for our faith to be strengthened.  For with God all things are possible. Today we live in a post-Christian world that at every turn our culture and world doubts God’s existence. When tragedy strikes, the first question out of the media’s mouth is ‘Does God really exist?  And if so, why would He allow _____ [BLANK] to occur?’ Remember September 11, 2001, remember Hurricane Katrina, remember the flooding of New York City by the Nor'easter hurricane? Our culture wants us to doubt and deny God and His blessings.

This is why we as Christians need to stand up and firmly and faithfully declare that “All is possible with God”.  We should do this, because God is not a liar.  God has not forgotten us or our world. And God is clearly capable of fulfilling His Holy Will and Way even today.  Beginning from Creation, through Adam and Eve, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David, Solomon, Malachi and into the New Testament, God has demonstrated His faithfulness to the plan of salvation and His love for us and for all of mankind.  God’s perfect plan was that His Son, Jesus Christ would come and die in order that we might live and have eternal life, through the forgiveness of sins, life and salvation for all of mankind. In spite of what our culture believes, “All is possible with God!”

A figure that lived this out was the biblical character of Job.  He lost everything in his life and had been placed at the mercy of the devil.  His family, home, riches, everything that our culture takes for granted, Job lost.  And it wasn’t just that Job would not doubt God, Job demonstrated his faith by not cursing God as well as his firm belief that “All is possible with God”.

It is my prayer for each and everyone of us gathered here today that we may not only have the patience of Job, but especially the faith of Job and of Abraham for God to fulfill His promises to us.  For Abraham believed in the promise of God and for his faith, Sarah conceived a son, that clearly demonstrated his faith and belief that “All is possible with God!”  May we have this same faith and belief so others can be drawn to the love of God for us and for all of mankind as we demonstrate our belief today for us and all of Emmanuel that “All is possible with God” for each and every one of us gathered here at Emmanuel today!  AMEN!