“God’s Unfailing Promise to You In The New Year!” Romans 8:31-39
New Year’s Eve 31-December-2020
Sermon Text: Romans 8:31-39
Sermon Theme: “God’s Unfailing Promise To You In The New Year!”
by Rev. Nathan J. Rusert
I.N.R.I. “Promises are made to be broken,” is the self-justifying lie that we love to tell self. Many people begin a new year promising that they are going to improve their lives. They promise themselves that they are going to exercise more, drink less, read more, binge watch less, save more, spend less, de-clutter, de-stress, improve their marriages, cherish their children. It all seems possible until they wake up January 31st, stumbling over the barely used exercise equipment. Pushing the dusty stack of books aside as they grab the remote, as their bank text messages them that their checking account is low, their stress rises as they argue with their spouse and grow perturbed at their children. All the good things we promise ourselves to do, we fail to do – all the evil we plan to avoid that we practice. We are a wretched people unable to deliver ourselves from this body of death captive to the lie and the father of all lies – Satan.
Tonight, as our secular calendar grinds its year to a close. We gather to hear the Truth. The Truth God has written in His Word – the Holy Bible. “Promises are made to be kept, man is broken.” On the sixth day of the existence of our universe our Creator made us. He promised our father Adam that He would provide him richly and daily with all that he needed to support his body and life. He invited Adam to feast from the verdant garden filled with succulent fruit that He had prepared for him. He invited mankind to commune with Him at the Tree of Life and feast on the food of immortality. He set a boundary for Adam to exercise his faith in love towards God by obeying His command not to eat from the forbidden tree, trusting God’s good and gracious will, and gladly doing what his Creator commanded. He blessed Adam with a helpmeet, a wife, to walk together in life. He blessed the man and woman with the gift of marriage. A promise reflecting God’s promise of love and faithfulness to His creation and its crown mankind.
Adam shattered the promise by listening to the voice of his wife, echoing Satan’s lie, rather than clinging to God’s life Word. Seeking to be in control, to be his own god, plunged the whole creation into the bondage of sin and death. Adam’s sin infects all of humanity. All human beings conceived of a natural father and mother are sinful from the moment their life began in the womb. All are spiritual dead, deaf, enemies of the loving God who created them. None of them seek God, no not one. Man is broken.
“Promises are made to be kept perfectly, that broken man might be reclaimed, rescued, restored, and redeemed.” Our Creator God kept His promise. He sought out sinful Adam and reclaimed him from Satan’s deception and sin’s chains by speaking His Word of Promise. A Man would come – a second Adam – born of a Virgin Mother. He would rescue us by crushing Satan’s head. He would restore us by taking our just punishment into His own sinless skin. He would pay our price in full by pouring out His living blood to swallow up our death forever. God’s promises cannot be broken! Learn this well from Romans 8 tonight. Cling to: “God’s Unfailing Promise To You In The New Year!”
“The steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him.” David teaches us to sing in the 103rd Psalm. David’s song is echoed by St. Paul in Romans 8. (Vs.31). What shall we say to these things? What things? If we look back to Romans 1 we see God’s grace in sending forth His promise in the powerful Gospel. We also see a corrupt culture denying its Creator and choosing to wallow in perversion, rebellion, hatred, and to take pride in their sin. What things? In Romans 2 we find moralistic judging of others not living up to our standards and seeking to cancel them from our culture. The Law of God cannot be denied, it is hardwired into every human heart – accusing or excusing them in their thoughts. What things? The Jews had God’s Word and Promise. They taught it, but it had no effect on their lives. They were baptized into God’s promise in their circumcision – the 8th day after they were born – but denying its promise in the Christ just going through the act was useless. What things? Romans 3 the Jews were entrusted with God’s Word, but many cheapened God’s grace as an excuse to “do evil that good may come.” What things? The Truth that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Our mouths are stopped – all stand guilty before God – all deserve only death and eternity in hell.
What shall we say to these things? If we look only to ourselves – we are lost. Look to Jesus. (Vs.32) God is for you! Sweet Gospel words. Who can be against you? COIVD? Satan? Corrupt government? Family? Enemies? Your corrupt self? Your accusing conscience? The world calling you a fool? So what! God is FOR YOU. Write this in your mind in big bold blood red letters upon the crucifix. Tomorrow, the 8th day after Jesus’ birth, as an Infant our Creator first shed His blood FOR YOU – He was circumcised. He was given the Name – Jesus – For He shall save His people from their sins. He is Yeshua – the Lord is my salvation! With David we sing out, “Our help is in the Name of the Lord, Who made heaven and earth.’ There is no other name given under heaven or on earth by which sinners are saved – only the Name of Jesus! FOR YOU the Creator humbles Himself to be born of the Virgin Mary and nurse at her breast. FOR YOU the sinless Son of God sheds His holy precious blood to be placed under the Law in circumcision. FOR YOU He becomes the scapegoat for all your sins, shame, guilt, death, and hell – and as an 8 day old infant confesses it in His Name – Jesus – Savior! FOR YOU He lives the perfect life. FOR YOU He is baptized. FOR YOU He battles Satan. FOR YOU He is rejected, scorned, betrayed, mocked, falsely accused, and unjustly sentenced to death by a government official who fears the mob more than the rule of law. FOR YOU the Father delivers Him up to the cross to drink your cup of just judgment to its bitter dregs. FOR YOU He is forsaken by His Father upon the cross. FOR YOU He finishes it all. FOR YOU He lays down His life. FOR YOU He is laid into the grave.
God keeps His promises perfectly. When you are tempted to doubt look to the crucifix and read the blood red message – “Given and shed FOR YOU!” The Father has gives you His only begotten Son that in Him you might freely be forgiven, be filled with life, and gifted with certain salvation. Trust Him day by day for your daily bread!
How can this be? I am a sinner. I don’t deserve the Father’s love. I don’t deserve Jesus’ sacrifice. Turn away from doubt and cling to His perfect promise! (Vs.33) The devil, the world, and especially your own sinful flesh daily accuse you. They tempt you into false belief – you can be your own god, you are good enough trust in your feelings, you are spiritual and loving and need no Savior. If that fails they tempt you with despair – God is a merciless angry Judge – He doesn’t love you, There is no God, you are too great a sinner to come to Church. When they come tempting – say “STOP! It is God who justifies! He has declared me to be His own at the Font! He washed me forgiven in Jesus’ blood, breathed me alive by His Holy Spirit through Christ’s living Word, He adopted me to be His own beloved child placing His Name upon me.
God’s Promise to you in Jesus is “Yes, you are my beloved child!” (Vs.34) God’s Promises cannot be broken. Christ is coming again soon to judge the living and the dead. How can sinners like us stand before His judgment seat? He knows all your thoughts, words, deeds, web sites you’ve visited, hateful words you’ve sent in text messages. Stand clothed in Christ. He died for the sins of the world – for all of my sins. He rose to declare us reconciled to our God and Father through His cross. He ascends into Heaven to rule as our merciful King ever pleading our cause before the Father. He makes intercession for us. Intercession, that I believe, rings familiar in our ears – “Our Father, who art in heaven…” He has done all that in Him we may finally overcome the temptation s of the devil, world, and our sinful flesh- winning the victory in the resurrection of our bodies and the eternally righteous life of the world to come.
God’s Promise in Jesus cannot be broken! The Lord through the prophet Isaiah reminded His sinful nation of Judah, “In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength. “ (Is. 30:15). He even wrote it down for them to remember. In 2021 return and rest in God’s Word within your homes, and every Sunday feasting on Christ’s love and forgiveness at His Table. (Vs.35) If Christ Jesus knits you into His own cross and resurrection in your baptism. If Christ Jesus places His living flesh and blood upon your lips and into your person – who can tear this from you? Paul had suffered tribulation, distress, persecution, nakedness, peril, the sword. (Vs.36) Jesus calls us to take up our cross daily and follow Him. God’s Promise is that the cross only brings us near to our God – to our victory that is in Jesus alone! (Vs.37) We win! You cannot take my life – it is hidden in Christ Jesus. You cannot take my treasures- they are in heaven. You cannot take my inheritance – it is reserved for me, my mansion prepared by the Master Carpenter Jesus!
God’s Promise in Jesus will sustain us in 2021! Presidential and political candidates made many promises in 2020 – few – if any will be kept. God’s Promise in Jesus is never broken! (Vs.38-39) What will happen in the new calendar year? Death – life? Oppression – arrest? Evil angels? Can any of them tear us from God the Father’s love written in the nail scarred hand of your Risen Savior Jesus! Never! God the Holy Spirit comforts you daily and richly within Christ’s Church with cross won, empty tomb proclaimed forgiveness of all your sins! God is working all things for your good. Even evils and disasters serve those whom He has predestined in Christ Jesus, called His beloved children in Holy baptism, justified by His Holy Spirit daily and richly forgiving them all their sins in sacramental gifts, and glorifies to name citizens of heaven now by faith, and eternally by sight. Rejoice! God’s Promise cannot fail. He is FOR YOU! You are Forgiven in Christ! You are victorious by His Holy Spirit keeping you in Christ’s Word and faith until you die. You are never alone! He is with you always. Jesus your compassionate Brother Savior. Your Emmanuel – the God who is with You! Amen.