The Christian Faith, One Word at a Time: Awe

14th Sunday after Pentecost
September 10, 2017
Lincoln Heights Lutheran Church
The Christian Faith, One Word at a Time: Awe

Dear friends in Christ,

Some years ago, while my family was still living in the West, we took a trip to Monterey, California. While there, we decided to get onto a boat and head out into the ocean. For two hours, the boat of tourists went up and down and up and down and up and down over bigger and bigger waves. Half the boat was sick and the other half felt sick. It was cool and misting, not a trace of the sun. The scenery was a gray ocean covered by gray clouds. A stray bird was all there was to make things interesting. We finally reached our destination that looked just like the rest of the journey...until something awesome happened.

Out of the gray ocean appeared a whale. Not just the water spouting from a blowhole. Not just the tail fluke. The whole whale jumped out of the ocean very close to us. The entire whale was out of the water! The mood on the boat changed from bored and wondering why we put up with the misery of the trip to awestruck excitement. Did you see that!? Wow! Awesome! Incredible! I even got a picture. The journey back to shore was not so bad. Maybe the waves were smaller. Maybe our direction helped. But mostly, the passengers were in a great mood. We saw a humpback whale jump out of the water and crash back into the ocean. We were in awe of God's majestic creature.

As we get near our series in the book of Romans on the Christian Faith, One Word at a Time, we are also in awe as was the apostle Paul. In awe over the wisdom and ways of the Lord, we remember that God doesn't need our help with anything. In awe over God's gifts, we remember that God deserves all the glory. We are in awe of our Savior God.

Romans 11:33–36 (NIV84)
Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! 34 “Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?” 35 “Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him?” 36 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.

God Doesn't Need Our Help

One reason we stand in aw of our God is that he does not need your help. God did not consult with anyone except himself when he created the universe. He did not ask for our advice on how gravity would work. He did not consult us on how DNA works. He placed the earth in the right place in the solar system to be just right for life. He made our bodies so that they heal from cuts and bruised and breaks. In his wisdom and knowledge, God has done more than we will ever know and he needed no help. We are in awe of his wisdom and knowledge and ways.

But there are times when we think that maybe we could do things a little better. Maybe God could do something a little different. Maybe a Christian thinks at times like this: If I was in God's place, I wouldn't let things like hurricanes, wild fires, volcanoes and earthquakes happen. Or, I would at least direct hurricanes to stay over the open ocean where it won't hurt anyone. If I could give God some advice, I would have him stop wars before they begin, stop murders before they happen. He would rewire people's brains so they don't get addicted to drugs or alcohol. He would keep our DNA perfect so diseases don't get passed to the next generation. If I was God, I wouldn't let than accident happen, I wouldn't let that job be lost. If God would just listen to me, things would be better.

How foolish we can be, to think that our wisdom, our knowledge and our plans are better than God's. If this world was left to us, all would be lost, including us. Not just lost for this life, but all would be lost eternally. The only plans and chance we have of reaching eternal life on our own is by our own good works. We would have to be perfectly obey God in every way and for all our lives. And Paul tells us, “Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him?” God owes us nothing. He doesn't need our help in running this world. He doesn't need our help in saving us either.

God Deserves All the Glory

We are in awe of God because he deserves all the glory. We may not understand his ways. We can't explain God's reasons for all the disasters that have struck the United States recently. We can't always understand his ways of saving people. Last week, we heard that God used the Jewish rejection of Christ to bring the Gentiles to saving faith. Then he used the conversion of the Gentiles to make the Jews envious and bring some of the Jews to saving faith. Only God comes up with such a plan that actually works. We stand in awe of his ways.

Personally, God has done amazing things for you as well. While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. God gave up his one and only Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. We could never give anything good to God. But God gives up his Son for us. Jesus gives up his life for us. Without Christ, our journey of life is gray skies and gray seas. It was bumpy and boring. It was a journey without any real hope. Enter the grace of God. Look in awe at the cross of Christ, what he suffered to forgive you. Look at the empty tomb, that Jesus' resurrection means real hope of eternal life for you. Give glory to God for the awe inspiring way he has saved you.

I could go on a hundred whale watching tours and there is no guarantee that I would see another whale leap out of the water in front of me. Where do we go to stand in awe of God's plan for our salvation? Go to his Word and hear of his plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Listen to his promises to forgive your sins through Christ. Come to the Sacrament of Communion and be in awe as Jesus gives you his body and blood to forgive you. Remember your Baptism with holy awe as that time when God adopted you forever. We did not earn it or deserve it. Yet God has lavished us with his love in Jesus. All glory be to our God!

Please join me in awe of our Savior as we read together from Romans 11:33-36.

Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! 34 “Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?” 35 “Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him?” 36 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.

Amen.


 


 

Sunday
Worship 8:00 AM
Sunday School & Bible Class (Sept-May) 9:15 AM
Worship 10:30 AM

Located on Watrous between Fleur and SW 9th


View Larger Map