Wednesday, December 3, 2008

My last chapel...and one other important fact

Text: Matthew 11: 2-5
When John, who was in prison heard about the works of Christ, he sent his disciples to ask Him, “ Are you the One who is coming, or should we look for someone else?”
“Go,” Jesus answered them, “tell John what you hear and see: the blind see, the lame walk, lepers are made clean, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor hear the good news.”

I like this text for two reasons: One: it’s an appropriate text on this second day of Advent. Two: it fits my chapel message. John asks an intuitive question. Are you the One or do we keep looking. I like the practicality in that. Listen, we need a Savior and if you’re not it, we’re moving on. Well, thankfully, Christ is the Savior and thankfully he didn’t wait for us… to begin His work of redemption.

Over vacation I promised myself I’d read this book, The Genius Factory: The Curious History of the Novel Prize Sperm Bank and see what kind of journey this literary gem proffered. Wow! What a weird book it was. Now I didn’t get to finish the entire book but yipes. Weird.
Yes, this topic requires some maturity but I think we can handle it. I can’t tell you what drew me to this book. I stumbled upon it at a book sale and found the premise intriguing. Graham wanted to improve the world through eugenics. He wanted to create more scientists, mathematicians, philosophers and more Nobel award winners and he believed he could engineer this accomplishment by offering the chance to conceive a baby with a genetic code of greatness. Nice. I wondered how long it would be before Hitler was referenced. I didn’t have to wait long. There on page five was the allusion.

The idea for today’s chapel surfaced on page 6 and 8: "Graham said he was trying to save mankind from genetic catastrophe...How could we save ourselves? Graham had the answer. our best specimens...must have more children....His repository, Graham hoped, might one day give birth to mankind's 'secular savior'".

As odd as that is and believe me it’s certainly odd it’s very similar to what we do daily when we sever ourselves from God. We attempt to fix our own problems. We believe with a bit more rational thinking, with a bit more human ingenuity we can take the bad and make it good. Perhaps we can even take the good and make it better. Adam and Eve fashioned the very same thought and we have been suffering under the penalty of the Law every since.

Graham fashioned himself a pioneer with this concept but others, specifically Charles Darwin’s cousin, Francis Galton commented in his book hereditary Genius in 1869, “Why were the poor so…poor? Because they were naturally weak. “The taint is in the blood.”

The taint is in the blood. Now Galton, ever the evolutionist, was certainly wrong about the creation of the world but he was right about this. Since the Fall of Adam and Eve the taint, stain, contaminant, pollutant IS in the blood…our blood.

Graham’s idea was foolish in a very creepy way, but unfortunately and very tragically very real
Psalm 51:5 “I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.”
The taint is in the blood.
Genesis 8:21 “Every inclination of man’s heart is evil from childhood.”
The taint is in the blood.
Matthew 15:19 “Out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander”
The taint is in the blood.
And it’s not just that our blood is tainted but because of it, we are condemned to an eternity in hell.

However, if the taint is in the blood, The cure for the taint is also in the blood…of Christ the spotless lamb of God.
John 1:29. Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.

Yesterday, was the first day of Advent. We remember Christ’s first advent/arrival into this world as an infant to save us from our sins. Graham attempted to rid the world’s “taint” by using intellectually gifted people and producing more of them. The problem was their intellectual gifts were saturated with earthly evil and he simply created more people saturated with the taint of sin. Christ entered the world “taint-free”, absorbed and cleansed our taint, making us righteous before God our Father.

During this season we eagerly, hopefully and confidently await Christ’s second advent when he will take us to be in heaven with our heavenly Father. Christ’s death and resurrection on the cross has cleansed us from all taint and we wear the robes of righteousness the freely gives to all believers.

So during Advent we remember when Christ came into this world years ago and wait for Christ to return to this world. Where does that leave us today? How is Christ and the cleansing gift of righteousness with us in the present?

This very day we have Christ with us in God’s living Word:
Hebrews 4:12a “God’s Word lives and is active” God’s Word is alive and active because of what it accomplishes.
I Peter 1:23: For you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and abiding Word of God.” Christ is with us today in God’s Word.

This very day we have Christ with us in Baptism:

Using Luther’s Small catechism, it is very clear that Christ is with us.
What does Baptism give or profit? - Answer.
It works forgiveness of sins, delivers from death and the devil, and gives eternal salvation to all who believe this, as the words and promises of God declare.

Acts 2:38 Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

God’s word makes it very clear that Christ has cleansed us from all impurities. This sacrament, this means of Grace is alive. Christ is alive in us through our Baptism. Christ has redeemed us, cleansed us and made us His forever.

This very day we have Christ with us in the Lord’s Supper:

Matthew 26 While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, "Take and eat; this is my body." 27Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you. 28This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.

Because we have Christ with us in God’s Word, Baptism and the Lord’s Supper, it means we have God’s forgiveness through Christ’s sacrifice. Our tainted blood is now made righteous with Christ’s bloody sacrifice on the cross. Christ has made us redeemed children of God, perfect in our Creator’s sight.

Churches, religions and men like Robert Graham that proclaim Christ and His forgiveness cannot be found in the means of grace are deceptive and need to be corrected in love, rebuked in love and if they continue treating God's inerrant word with human arrogance and ignorance they need to be shunned out of love for God's Word.
Because the taint is in our blood, we must proclaim that the cure is in Christ’s body and blood. If not we go against The Great Commission: Matthew 28: 19 “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you." As we make disciples of all nations, as we baptize all nations, as we teach all nations everything God has commanded of us, we teach that Christ has washed us clean, made us Holy in God’s sight and we are forever His.

Text: Matthew 11: 2-5
When John, who was in prison heard about the works of Christ, he sent his disciples to ask Him, “ Are you the One who is coming, or should we look for someone else?”
“Go,” Jesus answered them, “tell John what you hear and see: the blind see, the lame walk, lepers are made clean, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor hear the good news.”

John, in our text, didn’t need to look any longer because Christ had arrived. Christ’s advent means we can daily see our Savior in the means of Grace, we can walk with Christ the Good Shepherd, Christ has made us clean, we can hear the joyous transforming news of the Gospel message and we are raised from the dead and we will most assuredly be with our Heavenly.

The other important note:
The Fillies, North's 9th grade girls' basketball team, beat Almont 46 - 2.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Two things:

1. Thanks for posting the chapel
2. Congratulations to the basketball team!