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11-10-19 Sermon

Luke 20:27-40

Luke tells us that Jesus was teaching in the temple courts. He is questioned by the chief priests and Pharisees about his religious authority; about money and taxes, and now the Sadducees who did not believe in the resurrection came with a question about marriage and life in heaven after death.”

The Sadducees accepted only the first five books of the Old Testament as God’s authentic word. They did not believe in life after death. They did not believe in angels. They considered themselves hard-core realists, who’d prove this Jesus to be bogus. The Sadducees were comfortable in their day-to-day lives and had no concern with life after an earthly death.

Many Americans fall into the same category-- so comfortable the ultimate destiny isn’t even on the radar. Public enemy number one is death. Buckle up. Sleep more. Exercise daily. Eat more vegetables. Ducking the shadow of death dominates our days. But no one ducks it forever. Upon hearing the Grim Reaper at your door, what price would you pay for an extension?

Aaron Ralston gave his right hand. The 27-year old climbing in the Rocky Mountains found his right hand trapped beneath a huge boulder. He shoved the rock, chiseled at it with his knife; he tried to hoist the thing with his climbing rope. But the boulder didn’t budge. After five days, w/o food and water —drifting in and out of consciousness, he resolved to sever his right hand. He knew he’d have to break the bones in his wrist to be freed. About 60 minutes later, Ralston broke free of the boulder. Then he faced the challenge of getting down a 60-foot wall one handed, and then hiked 6 miles. Death was literally on one hand, and life on the other.

“It is destined that each person dies only once and after that comes the judgment.” (Heb. 9:27) Which from God’s perspective is nothing to grieve about. While we drive hearses and wear black, heaven’s door is hung with pink and blue streamers welcoming the believer’s arrival.

 

We don’t grieve when babies enter the world and the hosts of heaven don’t weep when we leave the earth. Many people fear death. Do you? And is your dread of death robbing your joy of life?

Jesus came to “deliver those who live all their lives in fear of dying.” (Heb. 2:15) The Psalmist writes: “You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.” (Ps. 139:16) “He chose us before the creation of the world…. In love he adopted us into his holy family through Jesus Christ.” (Ephesians 1:4)

Maybe this illustration explains it best. It makes no sense that mom’s love their newborn baby. For months this baby brought them pain. Because of her silly foods were craved, morning sickness lasting??? The baby occupied space that wasn’t hers and ate food she didn’t fix. Mom kept her warm and safe. As soon as she was born, she cried. The room was too cold, the blanket too rough, the light too bright. She has done nothing for you; yet she is loved. She’ll wake you up all hours of the night, but it doesn’t matter.

So why do mom’s love their new born infant? Because the baby is yours. Your flesh and blood. She is weak and helpless. She did not ask to come into this world. She needs you.

God knows we are like that too. We are his idea. We are his face and His hands. We are created in His image. He loves us and nothing can separate us from his love. In baptism he adopts and forgives us. He promises that nothing can separate us from his love in Jesus Christ. (Rom. 8:38-39). He has prepared heaven for us as our eternal home.

In the Gospel Jesus tells us that there is no marriage in heaven because relationships will be different. There is no longer any death. Our bodies will be new, glorified bodies, made for eternity, imperishable.

The second great truth that Jesus shares with the Sadducees is that not everyone will be in heaven… only those who believe that Jesus is the son of God, and place their faith in Jesus. God does not force us to love him.

There are many areas in life in which we can make mistakes. Finances are a big problem; interpersonal relationships, addictions. We all make mistakes with the hope we’ll learn from our error.

Athletes make mistakes, but they hope in the next contest they’ll get it right. But in the question of eternity no one can afford to be wrong. is no second chance. The mistake the Sadducees were making was that they were gambling with their souls and that this earthly life was all there is…. They were and are wrong. Jesus knew them. He knew their situation. He knew their theology. In Mark 12:27 he said: “you have made a serious error.” With faith in Jesus no one has to be afraid of the future.

Once there was a dog who had a rough history. Early in its life the dog had been beaten and abused. Left unfed for days at a time and was finally rescued by the humane society. A man came to the shelter one day to volunteer, and even knowing the dog’s background, adopted the mutt anyway.

The dog’s life was transformed. His new master had a kind voice and never yelled. The dog was fed well every day. He was walked in the morning and in the evening. He was petted, and scratched, played with, and loved. But it took years before that dog completely understood the changes that had happened—especially when he was taken to the vet to be prodded, poked and pinched.

But he knew that when his master showed up, it was a good thing. If the dog had an accident in the house, he didn’t have to cower and cringe, waiting to be hit. He found that he could go to his new master and be forgiven. If something happened to hurt him, he trusted his master to help him. The dog was content to place his future into the master’s hand.

I don’t need to explain the comparison.

God has adopted us and brought us into his family.

Jesus' death and resurrection has purchased us from the abusive master of sin and death, and the devil.

By God’s love, believers have a new eternal home where love abounds. Because God loves us, we can confidently place our future into His hands. I have. How about you?