Monday, December 28, 2015

New Year's Resolution: To Be About Your Father's Business

                               Sermon preached Dec. 27th 2015, Redeemer Lutheran Church
                                                                Luke 2: 41-52

      When I am starting to study for a sermon, I read the passage from a few different bibles. I usually start with the King James Version, mostly because I come away with more questions than when I went in. So, when I went to the KJV this time, one of the questions that Jesus asks Mary and Joseph just popped right out to me, and I knew immediately what I was going to preach about. It is the only bible that I have seen that asks the question this way. Didn't you know I must be about My Father's business? So, for this one simple question, I am going to preach from the KJV. 

      So, here we are. 2 days after Christmas and we are already starting to think about the New Year. And, as we think about the New Year, we tend to make New Year's resolutions. Have you made yours? I know I have a few. When I was preparing this sermon, I decided to find out where this tradition came from. I found the most popular theory is that it came from Babylon, and that it was usually a farmer resolving to return some farm equipment he had borrowed from the month before. 

      Today, our resolutions are things that sound good, but most of the time we don't keep up with, like losing weight and/or exercising more, or maybe even spending more time with your family. So, if you have already made your resolutions, I hope you have room for one more.

      This morning, I am going to talk about a 12 year old boy. And, this 12 year old boy is going to teach us a New Year's resolution that we all should keep. He would be a 7th grader in today's world, and in our Gospel lesson for today this 7th grader speaks to us. And, the lesson he will teach us is the best New Year's Resolution we could make for 2016. So, let's go see what that resolution could be. 

      Our Gospel lesson today describes Mary and Joseph as a faithful family. Every year they travel to Jerusalem for the Passover, and as a 12 year old boy, Jesus goes with them. They spend a week there, as was the custom. And, after the feast was over, everyone packed up and headed home, back to Nazareth. Well, atleast they thought everyone. Now remember, back then the only mode of transportation was walking. people would travel together in large groups, it was safer.

      So, there are Mary and Joseph traveling with friends, family, and fellow Jews. The adults would walk in groups, and the children would travel in their own separate groups, so they could play and to other things to keep from annoying their parents. After that first day of travel Mary and Joseph set up camp, and then they go to find Jesus. They search all the other groups and camps, but they couldn't find Him. He was gone without a trace, Jesus was missing. Now, if you are a child who has been left at a rest stop, at a mall, or maybe a restaurant, you are now in good company.

      If you are a parent though, and you can't find your child, you would probably start to panic. So Mary and Joseph, who were very upset, headed back to Jerusalem to look for Jesus. I am sure there were all kinds of bad things racing through their minds, But, we are told that they finally find Him in the temple. He was sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking questions. We are told in Vs. 47 that everyone who heard Him was amazed at His understanding and His answers.

      Just then, Mary works her way through the crowd and she actually scolds Jesus. Son, why have you treated us this way? Your father and I have been searching for you. But Jesus, the 12 year old 7th grader doesn't respond with Ahh, I'm sorry mom, or even I am the Son of God, you can't speak to me like that. Instead, He teaches them a lesson, they didn't expect to learn. In Vs. 49 He says, Why were you searching for me? Didn't you know I must be about My Father's business?

      Mary and Joseph didn't understand what Jesus was saying to them. What does it mean that I must be about My Father's business? I think that even at the age of 12, Jesus knew He was not just the son of Mary, He also knew He was the Son of God. He knew that his purpose in life was not just to be a good son and grow up, He knew He was on this earth for a greater purpose. He had a divine mission to fulfill, to be the Savior of all mankind. And, part of that mission was spending time in God's word, filling Himself with the words and promises of God that are found in scripture. That was His Father's business. It was very important that He came up missing from the group returning to Nazareth.

      Ultimately this 12 year old boy would become the greatest teacher anyone has ever known, carrying out His Father's business. But, even more importantly, Jesus would someday be about His Father's business by dying on the cross. That was His ultimate mission in life. He was still a good son to His parents, the bible tells us that Jesus went home and obeyed His mother and father. But, He had a greater mission, a more important mission, a divine mission. To be about His Father's business, to be the savior of the world.

      So now, let me ask you this. Do you realize that you have a divine mission in this life? I think some of us forget that we are not just here to work, pay bills, raise kids, work more, and pay more bills. That is not why God has placed us on this planet. We are put here, brothers and sisters, to be about our Father's business.

      I think there are 5 words that sum up God's business pretty well. The first is why we are here today. To HEAR the word of God, God wants to be a big part of our lives. As we hear the word of God, it includes the CONFESSING of our sins. Then, because Jesus was about His Father's business, it also includes that we RECEIVE the forgiveness of sins. As that happens you become filled with the Holy Spirit and you CHANGE for the better, which makes you into a person who GLORIFIES God. That my friends is God's business. To HEAR, CONFESS, RECEIVE, CHANGE, and GLORIFY. That is why we are here, to be about our Father's business.

      Has that been at the top of your list in 2015, to be about your Father's business? I know there are times when it hasn't for me. Those excuses creep in, I'm to busy, or I have to many things going on. Is God's business a priority for you, or is it put aside if you have something else going on? That is why it was so important that Jesus came up missing. Are you willing to come up missing, because you are busy going about your Father's business?

      This morning, a 12 year old 7th grader shows us a New Year's resolution. That is to make God's word, our Heavenly Father's business, top priority in 2016. It all starts with confessing our sins to God. Please don't hesitate to do that, we must look back over 2015 and confess all of our sins to God. Confess all the times we let our Father's business go, so we could pursue earthly things. So confess, and then receive that forgiveness for all of our sins. Remember, Jesus already paid for our sins on the cross, they have been washed away by His blood. we are completely forgiven, so receive Christ's forgiveness and let the Holy Spirit change you for the better. Making you into a person who makes God's word a top priority in your life. Then we will become someone who glorifies God.

     God's business, it is possible to be a family man and have God's business as your top priority. In fact, it will probably make you a better family man. It is possible to be involved in projects, or work, or sports, it's possible to do all kinds of things, and still have God's business as top priority. At times, you may have to put something off, sacrifice something, or come up missing for something, but that's OK, put God's business first in 2016 and the rest will fall into place.

      Someone once said that a bible that is falling apart, usually belongs to someone who is not. God's business, God's word, here is where we find Christ born on Christmas, for the sole purpose of taking away our sins. Here, we see Him dying on the cross, in order to save our soul. Here, He rises from the dead, promising us eternal life. Here, Christ blesses us,' fills us with joy and peace, and the kind of love that only God can give. That, is God's business.........Amen





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