GiftsEden On The Bay

All are welcome ~ Come as you are

Eden Evangelical Lutheran Church ~ Munising, Michigan

Sermon by  Elaine Robbins - 02/07/2021

A few weeks ago, I read the gospel for today and I was struck by Jesus healing and casting out demons. I thought, Jesus still does this today.

Jesus heals. And Jesus still casts out demons. I don’t mean horror movie demons, but demons as anything that comes between us and God.

Anything that keeps us from living the life that He wants for us. Anything that interrupts our peace and shakes our faith in Him.

And we all have demons. We put money before our family, precious time and health. We look at others on social media and no longer feel content with our lives, instead we compare our marriage, children, homes, and possessions with those of others and somehow feel like our lives fall short. We have become so busy that we make excuses for not worshiping or bringing our kids to Sunday School. We become so busy, we don’t even make time to pray properly. (Let me tell you that I am not pointing my finger at you, that one, that is one my demon. I put my head on the pillow and often mumble an incoherent prayer. That is not my best.) What about worry? How much time and energy do we put into worry? Yes, there is a lot to make us afraid these days. But much of what we fear is ahead, it is the what ifs and the might be-s. For most of us, right now, right now at this moment, we are safe. And those of us who aren’t safe right now, take comfort that God is right there with you.

If that seemed a little harsh, I apologize. This sermon isn’t about blame. This sermon is an action plan. And the action that I suggest you start with is prayer. All of those demons we just spoke of can be cast out with prayer. Maybe not one prayer, it may take prayer after prayer after prayer. And it will take faith. Faith that our God is big enough and powerful enough to free you from your demons. He is big enough and He loves you.

I have sat in this church and prayed to be released from my demons. I felt like I had a monster in me. I had a fire in my belly that made me short tempered with my kids. I wasn’t the loving mom that I wanted to be. Each time that I would yell instead of responding the way I knew I should, I felt that my demon won again. So, I sat here and prayed and prayed and prayed. Week after week. Feeling so broken and needing Jesus to set me free. And He did. Don’t get me wrong, I still yelled at my kids sometimes, I have three boys-it was going to happen. But it wasn’t coming from the fire in my belly.

So,we start with step one. We pray. We invite Jesus into our lives.. We lean on Him and we trust Him. We get in the habit of conversing with HIm, making time for Him and seeing Him in action in our life. Do this, and I promise you will feel the difference. You will see that you are not in this alone, you have the one who loves you the most in your life, right beside you.

But there is more. Jesus loves us. He is our savior, but He is not our genie in a bottle. He is not here to serve us. Exactly the opposite. We are called to serve Him. We are called to discipleship, to follow Him and walk in His way.

For some time I have found myself annoyed at some Christian music and messages telling us all that Jesus can do for us. It felt gimmicky and artificial. I couldn’t figure out why. And finally while reading Dietrich Bonhoeffer for Diakonia class, I understood. What I was seeing was cheap grace. Cheap grace is not real.                                                       Yes, grace is a free from God, but it was paid for by Jesus on the cross. Real grace is not cheap.

Bonhoeffer wrote, “ Cheap grace is preaching forgiveness without repentance: it is baptism without the discipline of community, it is the Lord’s supper without confession of sin, it is absolution without personal confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without the living, incarnate Jesus Christ.”

“Costly grace is the gospel which must be sought again and again, the gift which has to be asked for, the door at which one has to knock. It is costly, because it calls to discipleship; it is grace, because it calls us to follow Jesus Christ. It is costly, because it costs people their lives; it is grace, because it thereby makes them live. It is costly, because it condemns sin; it is grace because it justifies the sinner. Above all, grace is costly, because it was costly to God, because it cost God the life of God’s

son-”you were bought with a price”-and because nothing can be cheap to us which is costly to God.” “Costly grace is the incarnation of God” When we practice costly grace, we are filled with God and He is active, through us, in the world.

We must follow Jesus. We must become disciples, but how? Here are some of what the gospels tell us:

Love one another: John 13:34-35 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

Love even your enemies: Luke 6:27-28 “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.”

Serve one another-especially those often overlooked and undervalued. Matthew 25:40 ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

Forgive others Luke 6:37 “Do not judge, and you will not be judged; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven”

Proclaim the Gospel Mark 16:15 Go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation…

This is not all the discipleship requires. But the grace that results from being a disciple of Jesus, putting Him first, and following His way, is worth anything that is lost. This grace is real.

Let me end with this,

John 8:12   Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.”

Amen.

Elaine Robbins

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Eden Evangelical Lutheran Church ~ Munising Michigan ~ An ELCA, Northern Great Lakes Synod Congregation
P.O. Box 360 ~ 1150 West M-28 ~ Munising, MI 49862 ~ 1-906-387-2520 ~ contact@edenonthebay.org

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