Sermon / Pr. Lucas Andre Albrecht / Sunday March 19th 2017 - / Romans 5:1-18 / Not a one time gift
Sermon – 03.19.2017
Mount Olive Lutheran Church, Regina, SK
Text: Romans 5.1-11
Theme: Not a one time gift
Intr – Gifts. We like to receive them (show the package). Receving a gift is always a good thing. Appreciation and care are always welcome.
But a gift like this tends to be a one time gift. We apreciate it. We even use it. But it usually doesn`t last long. It`s like Children`s Christmas gift. The excitement of Christmas morning is almost gone by boxing day.
Now, what if my gift here were the keys of your house. (show the keys). Mortgage free. That would be something quite different. That wouldn`t be a one time gift. That would be an everyday gift. A gift for life.
1 – The one time gift
Paul talks in Romans 5 about such a gift. And it is Justification (which means we are saved without our cooperation). Righteousness (which mean we are declared saved, just, by him. We are his children). He makes it plain clear that Justification is a free and permanent gift from God to our lives.
How often do we realize it? That the Grace of God is a FREE gift for lifetime? It is not so easy when we are used to the fact that nothing is for free. Is your vacation tripe for free? Your health system? Even you family’s love? They don’t. We are used to TRADE, whether it involves money or not.
Then, we try to deserve it even at least contribute a little bit. Sin, the devil, the world, our own flesh, they tend to make us think that there’s no free lunch and then, since it is true about our earthly matters we tend to transfer that thought to spiritual matters
_We think we should do at least something
_We think we deserve at least something for doing what we do.
_We sometimes withhold grace from people who need it desperately because somehow they may not be still in the point to deserve it.
2 – The Lifetime gift
Paul reminds us that Grace is not a one time gift. It is a gift for our lifetime. For even eternal life. As the Gospel tells us, Christ gives us the water which makes us not wanting anything else. Water for life. He prepared us a place in heaven when he went to the cross. Housing forever.
Sinestesin – Paul says that God proves His love for us.
How do you prove your love to someone? Words, gestures, actions. Last Monday we showed our Police Services our appreciation for they work. How was it? A thought? A feeeling? A SMS text? No. We showed our apprectiation by feeding them, shaking their hands and talking to them.
Now, would you show your appreciation for them, or for anyone, by given one of your child`s life? No, we wouldn`t, most certainly. But that’s what God did. He gave his ONLY son. He proves His love in a way that no doubt is left. More than appreciation. More than our quid pro quo love (a love that always requires something back). Just love. Period. Love and Grace.
And how does that impact your life? Think for a moment of this 3 Ps:
From these 3, Grace provides you with and extra P - Possiiblities. Possibility to serve your God. To serve your neighbor. To be salt and light. To DO NOT withhold Grace from people that, crushed by the hammer of the law, need no more law. “Now, you should behave such and such”. Christ sends us to proclaim this lifetime free gift of GRACE that makes us to be in peace with God.
3 – A gift to be shared
Paul lists gifts that Grace works that may be shared:
Suffering – a gift? Yes, when we suffer in Christ and for Christ, we are strenghtened.
Endurance – to support and carry on.
Character – to reflect God’s love.
Hope – to point to Christ, living a life not into despair, but into his Love.
Grace is a DAILY present. A gift for life.
When you feel down, tired, doubting even if someone is at your side, remember: God loved you when you still were His enemy. Would you love your enemy? He did love. You and me. Now think of His love and Grace in your life that that your are his friend, Your are reconciled. Your are His. You are nothing less that His child. You can fully rely on His gift of Love for life.
And I’d like also to add a note about difficult times. Times when we are offended or when we are in suffering. Commenting Romans 5, Luther writes: "Those people talk nonsense who attribute their bad temper or their impatience to that which causes them offense or suffering. For suffering does not make a person impatient but merely shows that he has been or is still impatient. Thus a person learns in suffering what kind of man he is." If we know we should work on our bad temper or impatience, we should ask God to guide us in doing so during GOOD and calm times. Because bad times do not generate them, they reveal them.[Suffering works patience. The word `produces` may guide us to the wrong side. The greek word katergazetai reminds us that sufferings work God`s patience in us].
Word and Sacraments. The means in which we have God`s gifts for good and bad times. For peace and strenghtening. For hope and endurance.
Cc – Yes, dear Friends. Not a one time gift. But a gift for our life time. GRACE. Justification. It was conquered just once, for sure, on the Cross. But it is for lthe lifetime. To bring peace with Him rescues us from the weight of the law and pours into our lives his water that kills our thirst. And gives us the key to our eternal home. A gift recevied in faith, A gift to be shared by faith. A gift for a lifetime. More than that - a gift for eternity.
 Luther’s Works, Lectures on Romans. p.288