In the name of the Father and of the +Son and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.
His Words are life. They are the sure foundation. Christ Himself is the Word of God made flesh. Build your life on Him by reading His Word, believing His Word, memorizing His Word, and inwardly digesting His Word so that His thoughts become your thoughts, so that His Spirit testifies within you and crowds out the testimony of your flesh, your evil desires, and Satan.
Satan desires to tear down, to topple lives built on Christ. And so often He does with simple temptations of the flesh. For instance, someone desires to be loved so they do what 6th Commandment says they should not simply to feel like they are loved. How many people have been drawn away from Christ, off the sure foundation of life through the simple, unthinking pleasures of the flesh that are continued in till they ? And though the sins of the flesh may destroy your body and damage your relationships, they are not the truly damaging sins. The sins of the flesh are the second table of Law sins: sins against neighbours, against people and stuff. It is the sins of the spirit—the first table of the Law, the sins against God—that really destroy you. For those sins—ignoring and despising His Word, misusing the Lord’s name, letting other things becomes your gods, denying Him—these are the ones that throw you out of heaven for they destroy faith.
That brings us back to the Word of God: we must love it, desire it, honour it, hear it. For His Word is truth. It is life. It is salvation. It is Him.
So, if you do not have any interest in His Word, if you don’t want to hear it preached to you then you are not a Christian. You do not have salvation. For you do not love God. For He is His Word. His Word is Him.
A child may stay in his parent’s house rent free. He may have all his needs provided for because his parents love him. But if that child refuses to have anything to do with his parents, will not talk to them, ignores them when they are in same room, won’t eat meals with them, wants nothing to do with them, even says bad things about his parents to others, what would anyone say about that child? Does that child love them? The child’s actions may not keep his parents from still loving their ungrateful, good-for-nothing child, but his actions cut himself off from his parents.
And what happens to such a relationship after the child moves out? It is non-existent. The parents and child become estranged. It is as though the child is an orphan with no parents.
This is the impact of the sins of the spirit—the first table of the law sins. You cut yourself off from God by them. When you persist in such sins it becomes as though God is not your Father and you are not His child. As though He never baptized you, never claimed you, never made an inheritance in His kingdom for you; not because He hasn’t done all those things; not because all these things are not yours if you but repent and return to His Fatherly love for you; but because you do not want them from Him.
Christ is the cornerstone of your eternal life. Eternal life means life in heaven after this life AND your life on earth now. He is the basis of it all. If you are not founded on Him you’ve got nothing. Only what you can scrape and scrap and fight for in this dog eat dog world.
Some people like it that way. They are proud of themselves and glad to be left on their own. They think they need nothing from God. Maybe they think God has done nothing for them anyway, so why bother with Him and His difficult ways?
Why? Because there is nothing else that has any meaning. Though you seek love in the world and may find a glimmer of it for a time, it collapses, it dies. Nothing stays the same, people always leave. Family members die. Sin and divorce steals safety and love from you. Why stick with God? Because He will never abandon you.
He is the cornerstone. He is the master builder. Hanging on His Word He builds your life. And we are made glad by His works. For His works are good, they are eternal, they are life, and love, and liberty.
The ways of the world offer life but ensnare you with death. The ways of the world offer love but leaves you with nothing but hurt and emptiness. The ways of the world offer liberty but shackles you to itself, its addictions, its consequences.
Christ our Cornerstone came to His temple on that first Palm Sunday. He visited His people. As the King, the great Father of His people He came. But they did not honour Him. They treated Him shamefully, rejecting their father, their saviour, their Lord. He who would have removed their guilt, their shame, their addictions, their consequences and showered them with the eternal riches of His love, establishing them on Himself became to them a stone of stumbling. They tripped and fell on Him. They were thrown down and dashed to the ground. They did not receive His righteousness won on the cross. They rejected it and in turn will be rejected by Him when He returns to visit us again.
So build your life on Him. Do not stumble over Him in unbelief. And if you do, while you are on your knees, repent, and rest on Him. Be built up as a stone in His living temple, His church, so that when He returns to His temple it will be with grace and mercy in His wings, rising as your sun of love, not as your destroying terror. For in your baptism you have already been dressed and fitted as a living stone in His living temple built on Him.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.
—Pastor David Haberstock
Epiphany Lutheran Church
Thunder Bay, ON