Sermon / Pr. Ted A. Giese / Season of Pentecost Sunday October 1st 2017 - / Philippians 2:1-18 / How Do You Measure Your Days - How Do You Bend Your Knee?
Mount Olive Lutheran Church / Pr. Ted A. Giese / Sunday October 1st 2017: Pentecost / Philippians 2:1-18 "How Do You Measure Your Days - How Do You Bend Your Knee?"
So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though He was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.
Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. Likewise you also should be glad and rejoice with me.
Let us pray: May the words of my mouth and the meditations of all our hearts be acceptable in Your sight O Lord. Amen.
Grace peace and mercy to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Good Christian Friends. How is a day measured? Do you check your phone? Do you look at a clock on the wall? Do you check your watch? Do you measure days by time? Here we are at the beginning of October and September seemed to just slip through our fingers like sand through an hourglass. How is a day measured?
Near the very beginning of the book of Genesis Moses writes, “And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.” And so we have marked our days, the light and the dark, the night and the day and in them, most of us, toil by day and sleep by night. But what do we make of our days, the days we have been given? What do you make of your days?
Have you ever heard someone say, or maybe you’ve said it yourself, “Live your life each day as though it were your last,” and yet what seems more to be true, in the general living out of most people’s lives, is this other quote from a first century Stoic Roman philosopher named Seneca who said, “We are always complaining that our days are few and acting as though there will be no end of them.”
Saint Paul in his letter to the early Christians of Philippi talks about, “The Day of Christ,” and That Day, “The Day of Christ,” is, in fact, The Last Day. On this side of Eternity, after “The Day of Christ,” there will be no more days. That Day of the Resurrection of all flesh is The Day when you run out of your supply of days: When you think of that, the popular quote “Live your life each day as though it were your last,” takes on greater significance, “Live your life each day as though it were The Last Day … The Day of Christ,”
If The Day of Christ comes during your earthly life, during the days allotted to you, then Saint Paul says a mysterious thing will happen, Paul says, “in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. [Your] perishable body [will] put on the imperishable, [your] mortal body [shall] put on immortality.” For those who die a physical death, for those Christians whose bodies have “fallen asleep,” as Saint Paul says, before The Day of Christ, they will rise up on That Day by the sound of that same last trumpet and they will awaken on The Day of Christ with perfected bodies, perfected minds, and hearts and souls and this will likewise happen in the twinkling of an eye. Because we don’t know when our death is coming, when the night of our sleep will come, when The Day of Christ will arrive, we therefore keep what Jesus says in mind as we live our lives, when Jesus says, “we must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work.” And so the Christian lives with a sense of urgency.
Elsewhere in his letter to the early Christians of Rome Saint Paul writes of The Day of Christ like this, he says, “we will all stand before the judgment seat of God; for it is written, “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall confess to God.” So then (, Paul continues,) each of us will give an account of himself to God.” This sounds like what Paul writes here today in our Epistle Reading in Philippians when Paul writes, “At the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
What then does this mean? It means that even an atheist like Richard Dawkins, or a recently deceased hedonist like Hugh Heffner, or a long deceased mass murderer like Joseph Stalin who murdered Christians by the millions and everyone else amidst the living and the dead on That Day who grinded against the Word of God, who purposely lived their lives against the Law of God, will bow their knee to Christ Jesus and will with their tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord on That Day, on the Day of Christ. They may not want to; they may gnash their teeth at it. They may kneel with an angle’s hand on their shoulder but they will kneel and they will confess: There is no avoiding it. They may call “to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, for The Great Day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?”” Not them, they with all their earthly pride and contempt will not stand, they will not be able; they will be on their knees, with all of humanity from Adam and Eve, to you and me, to those yet unborn who will live their days before The Day of Christ comes.
Now this gets to the point. The “M” in LWMLC stands for “Missionary,” it is the Lutheran Women’s Missionary League Canada. The Day of Christ is coming, on That Day, at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue will in one way or another confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. The question is will the knee bend, will it bow, with joy and happiness or will it bend, will it bow in terror and hopelessness. Will the knee bend forgiven under the righteousness of Christ, or will it bend naked and uncovered by the righteousness of Christ clothed only in personal merit and good intentions in a wilful rejection of the saving work of Christ upon the Cross? Will the knee that bends be lifted up to walk into Eternal Life in Christ, or will it be lifted up only to be thrown into the second death, the eternal Hell of fire?
The work of the missionary is to bring Christ Jesus to people: To bring the crucified and risen Lord Jesus to the lost. To share the faith they have with those who yet have no faith in Jesus. Faith in Christ makes the difference when a man, woman or child bends the knee, when they bow before Christ. And as Saint Paul says, “faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” So therefore the Canadian women of LWML have it as their objective to reach lost souls and/or to provide support to those who are reaching lost souls. For every person who is reached by God’s Word, who hears in and by the working of the Holy Spirit comes to faith in Christ is one more person who will bend the knee with joy and happiness on The Day of Christ and enter into their eternal life in peace and forgiveness redeemed by the blood of Jesus. This is why the women of the LWML consecrate “every power of [their] life to the great task of bringing the lost and the erring into eternal fellowship with [Christ Jesus].”
Well now … there are probably a couple of women out there today who will hear all this and think, "well I should be a part of that organization!” If that’s you, no matter your age, please do that! While on the other hand there will be men and women and children who will say, “Wow … that’s a very serious business, sure glad I’m not part of the LWMLC!” And here’s the catch. Regardless of whether you are part of LWMLC or not we are called to serve Christ Jesus, called to serve our neighbour, called to spread God’s Word, to reach the lost and erring, to bring them into fellowship with Christ Jesus. Not everyone does this in the same way: Pastor preach and teach, parents raise their children in the faith, friends confide in each other confessing the importance of their faith in Christ, Co-workers set a godly example in their work which points to Christ Jesus, and yes missionaries and you and I may likewise find ourselves in situations where we’re are called to serve complete strangers by sharing the Gospel, the Good News of Jesus, with them. That, as Saint Paul says, “Christ Jesus, who, though He was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, [This same Jesus] humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” and that three days later He, the very Lamb of God, was raised up from the dead and in His death and resurrection He won Salvation for you and me and all people. And that there is no sin bigger than the forgiveness He won there.
You say, I have not faithfully done this, I have not shared the Gospel with complete strangers, I’ve not done a good job of sharing this Good News with Co-workers and friends, I’ve failed in constantly teaching this to my Children, even the pastor will say I have failed in preaching and teaching. Repent and turn to Christ Jesus, bend your knee to Him and ask for forgiveness … and remember God’s Word, where God promises, “so shall My word be that goes out from My mouth; it shall not return to Me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.”
How then is a day measured? What do we make of our days, the days we have been given? What do you make of your days? Are they measured only by time? Or are they measured by what is accomplished for the good of your neighbour? On The Day of Christ all missionary work will be over. There will be no more missionary work; the urgent words of Christ will be set aside because all of God’s work given for you to do in Him will be complete, so these word, “we must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work” will be set aside. In fact on That Day, The Day of Christ, there will be no night; you will enter into a new life, an eternal life, an Eternal Day without end. In the Book of Revelation the New Heavens and the New Earth, it is said, “has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb. By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it, and [the gates of the City of God, the New Jerusalem,] will never be shut by day—and there will be no night there.” There, in that place, there will only be Light and Life, on That Day you will say. ‘God has worked in me, His good pleasure has been accomplished, I bent my knee with joy and happiness and my tongue confessed that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of You, God the Father. Amen.’
Let us pray:
Lord have mercy on us, Christ have mercy on us, Lord have mercy on us, “take our minds and think through them, take our lips and speak through them, take our hearts and set them on fire; for the sake of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, Amen.
 Genesis 1:3-5
 Seneca - Roman Stoic philosopher – Quotations for the Fast Lane, Compiled by Richard W. Pound, McGill-Queen’s University Press 2013, pg 315
 1 Corinthians 15:52-53
 1 Corinthians 15:6, 20, 1 Thessalonians 4:14-15
 John 9:4
 Romans 14:10-12
 Revelation 6:16-17
 Revelation 21:8 “But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”
 Matthew 18:9
 Romans 10:17
 LWML-Canada Pledge
 Isaiah 55:11
 Revelation 21:23-25