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Thomas F. Fischer, M.Div., M.S.A., Editor


Twelfth Sunday After Pentecost
Series C

Option #1: "The Hall of Fame of Faith"
Hebrews 11:1-3; 8-16
Rev. Wayne Dobratz, B.A., M.Div.

The last month has featured induction ceremonies for both baseball and football halls of fame. You may not know it, but the Bible has a HALL OF FAME too. We could call it THE HALL OF FAME OF FAITH. A player has to have the right numbers if he dreams of entering the Hall of Fame. Today’s text describes those who are in THE HALL OF FAME OF FAITH.

I. Believing without seeing

    A. Regarding the Creation of the world--v3 & John 20:29

    B. As Abraham entered Canaan without knowing his destination--vv8-9

    C. As Abraham trusted God to give him an heir--v11

II. The right attitude

    A. Trusting in the promises, even though they did not live to see them fulfilled--v13, 2 Cor 4:18ff

    B. They lived for the life which is to come--vv13-16; Phil 1:23

    C. They thought of heaven as a better country--v16, Lk 23:43

III. Their future: they will live in God’s forever City--v16b, Heb 13:14, Rev. 21:1-7

Winston Churchill planned his own funeral. There were stately hymns in St. Paul’s Cathedral. But at the of the service, Churchill had something special planned. When the benediction was said, a bugler high up on one side of the dome played "Taps," the universal signal that the day is over. There was a long pause. Then a bugler on the other side played "Reveille," the military wake-up call. It was Churchill’s way of saying that when we say "Good night" here, it’s "Good morning!" in eternal life. This was his confession of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, who said: "I am the Resurrection and the Life. He who believes in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live."

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Children's Message

I want to show you a very special picture of God’s good earth. We usually look at it in a globe or laid out flat on a map. I’ve seen another picture; this map shows which parts of the earth are in the dark right now and which are in the light. You can see on this special map where the sun is shining and where people can see the stars.

The Bible says that when we get to eternal life, there will no map like this. No map will show where it is dark and where it is light. The Bible says that: (Rev 22:5) There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.

To see Jesus in eternal life will be to live in a place where night will be no more. It takes faith to believe that, the kind of faith that the people had that the Bible says are examples for us to follow. Abraham followed God, even though he didn’t know where he was going. Noah built an ark long before there were rain clouds; he built the ark because he trusted God’s Word.

If we wish to see the light of Jesus in eternal life, we must have this kind of faith--faith that the time is coming when the night will be gone and Jesus will be the light of our eternal life. Thank God He gives us such faith!

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Option #2: "When You Wish Upon GOD'S Star..."
Genesis 15:1-6
Rev. Kelly Bedard, B.A., M.Div
.

 
The Point: we rejoice in the recognition that we are the stars of Abraham in our Christian faith!
 
The Problem: expecting and/or demanding non-faith-based, present shields, rewards, "stars"
 
The Promise: as the spiritual seed of Abraham, the Son of the living God Himself in the person of Jesus Christ, died and rose again, so will we
 
(Based on and inspired by a homiletical help from John David Duke, Jr. in Concordia Journal, July 2004)
 
Notes:
 
1. St. Paul teaches us that the "seed" of Abraham is singular, referring directly to Christ--per Galatians 3:16, "The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. The Scripture does not say 'and to seeds,' meaning many people, but 'and to your seed,' meaning one person, who is Christ." (J.D. Duke, Jr.)
 
2. There is a good reason why God tells Abram, Do not be afraid...I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward. Because Abram had just defeated a much larger army, from a confederation of four kings, he had reason to be afraid for his security--an attack out of retribution was almost to be expected. Abram needed a shield because he was expecting to be attacked; he needed reward because he had just forfeited great reward offered from the king of Sodom. God is telling Abram that though he has sacrificed for His sake, he will not be the loser for it; God will more than make up what Abram has given up for the Lord. God knows how to become the answer to our need; when we need a shield or a reward, He becomes those things for us So, God tells Abram do not be afraid because he was afraid--and afraid for good reason. But God will give him a reason to put away his fears: I am your shield...God never tells us do not be afraid without giving us a reason to put away our fears. (David Guzik)
 
3. Does Abram's question mean that he is doubting God? Yes; but there is a difference between doubt that denies God's promise, and a doubt that desires God's promise; Abram wants to believe, and is looking to God to strengthen his faith. (Guzik)
 
4.This is one of the clearest expressions of the truth of salvation by grace through faith in the Bible. This is the first time believe is used in the Bible; this is the first time righteousness is used in the Bible. It is the gospel in the Old Testament, quoted four times in the New Testament (Romans 4:1-3, 4:9-10, 4:19-24, Galatians 3:5-7). Romans 4:9-10 makes much of the fact that this righteousness was accounted to Abram before he was circumcised (Genesis 17); no one could say that Abram was made righteous because of his obedience or fulfillment of religious law or ritual. It was faith and faith alone that caused God to account Abram as righteous. (Guzik)
 
5. "O Morning Star, how fair and bright! You shine with God's own truth and light, aglow with grace and mercy!
    Of Jacob's race, King David's son, our Lord and master, you have won our hearts to serve you only!
    Lowly, holy! Great and glorious, all victorious, rich in blessing! Rule and might o'er all possessing." (Philipp Nicolai)
 
6. When you wish upon God’s Star, makes no difference who you are,
    anything His will desires will come to you.
    If His heart is in your dreams, no request is too extreme
    when you wish upon His Star as dreamers do.
    God is kind; He brings to those who love
    the sweet fulfillment of His secret longing.
    Like a bolt out of the blue, God steps in and sees you through.
    When you wish upon God’s Star, His Word comes true.
 

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This page was revised on: Friday, January 20, 2006 12:10:34 PM