Home > Occasions > A City Bound Firmly Together. Day School Opening Chapel Sermon 2013

A City Bound Firmly Together. Day School Opening Chapel Sermon 2013

david-nativity-250Opening Matins St. Peter School

Romans 12:6-8

August 21, 2013

“A City Bound Firmly Together”

Jesus, help!


Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.


Jerusalem—built as a city that is bound firmly together…Psalm 122:3


The city of Jerusalem is packed in tight together, like sardines in a can.  A lot of the psalms are hard to understand, especially when you’re younger.  But this always seemed like a weird thing to put in a song about Jerusalem even when I was an adult.  In another translation of the Bible it says, “Jerusalem, a city that is closely compacted together…”


I’m not sure, but I bet it was true that Jerusalem was packed in tight like sardines in a can when this psalm was first written.  Jerusalem is a city on top of a hill, so there probably wasn’t that much room to build.  If you ever see pictures of Jerusalem today, it’s kind of sardine-can like, especially in the old parts.  The streets are really narrow.


But God isn’t just talking about the city of Jerusalem in the middle east and its buildings.  He is talking about His city, where the holy and righteous people will live forever and see His face.  He’s talking about heaven and the people who belong to heaven.  That means not only the people we love who have died and are in heaven, but also the people who believe in Jesus on earth and are baptized and so are holy.  Their sins are washed away.  He’s talking about the Holy Christian Church.


The Church is not packed in together like sardines in a can, exactly.  But it is “bound firmly together”.  Paul says that we who believe in Christ and are baptized into Him are “one body.”  We, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another  (Romans 12: 5).


The parts of your body are all different and they do different things, but they are one body together.  They don’t all do the same thing.  They do different things, but each part of the body needs the other parts of the body.


That’s the way the Church is, God’s city.  We are a body.  We are all in the body together through Jesus, who died for our sins on the cross.  Believing in Him, are sins are no longer ours.  He used His power, love, and righteousness for us who are the members of His body.  He became one body with us and took all our sin on Himself and all of the punishment that sin deserves, and gave us forgiveness, righteousness, and everlasting life.


When He gives us faith in this and baptizes us, He binds us firmly together with Him and with each other in Him.  And along with faith He gives us different gifts.


We have our gifts, our things that we are good at, not so that we can brag about them and think that we’re better than other people, and also not so that we can pretend like we don’t have them.  Whatever gifts God has given you He gave you so that you can use them to help and bless the other people in the Church that don’t have them.  Use them!  But not for yourself, for other people.


At the same time, we all have things that we’re not so good at.  That’s just how it is.  We need to try to learn those things and do better at them, but at the same time, there are some things we will always be weaker at than other people.


One thing none of us had, and we needed this the most—was to be righteous in God’s sight.  Without that we have nothing, even if it looks like we are happy.  Without righteousness in God’s sight we only have God’s anger and punishment forever in hell.


But God came and gave us righteousness in His sight by becoming one of us.  He was knit together with us in the womb of the virgin Mary when He became a man.  He was bound firmly together with us when He was nailed with our sins to the cross.  He supplied what was lacking in us.


The gifts God gives you as a Christian He gives to you to use the same way for the good of the other members of His body.  That includes other kids at the school; the teachers, me, your parents.  We can’t see who believes in Jesus, but we know that Jesus wants everyone to be part of the city that is bound closely together—the city of God, the kingdom of heaven, the church.


So whatever things you are good at, those things are not just for you.  Jesus gave them to you so that you can help the rest of his people.  Right now my stomach is doing its work for the rest of the body.  It’s digesting my breakfast. I can’t see it, and if I could see it I would be grossed out probably.  But if my stomach didn’t do this, my whole body would be starving.  My hands wouldn’t be able to do their work, or my mouth.  My legs wouldn’t hold me up here and I couldn’t preach God’s Word this morning.


You are like that.  Except you are part of Christ’s body.  He supplies you with eternal life, and He supplies you with gifts to use for the good of His body.


So don’t be afraid to use those gifts!  Just don’t use them to lift yourself up over other people!  Use them.  Jesus wants you to use them for the good of the other people in the Church.  If you are good at sharing, do it generously.  If you are a leader, lead for the good of others.  If you can comfort other people, or encourage them, don’t hold back.  Use whatever good things have been given to you to help others where they are weak.


What if you don’t know what your gifts are and what place Jesus has for you in His body?  That’s okay.  You don’t have to know.  My stomach probably doesn’t know it’s my stomach, but it still does its work.


What you do is, you work at what God has given you to do while trusting Jesus to forgive your sins and guide you.  And He will do it.  Learn His Word this year in school, and He will teach you what things you are supposed to do—His commandments.  He will also give you the strength to do them by teaching you Who He is and what He has done for you—the Apostles’ Creed—and teaching you to pray for His help to do what pleases Him—the Lord’s Prayer.


Learn His Word, and do what He has called you to do now.  He has called you to be a student.  Honor your teachers and work hard at your work.  He is at work preparing you to use your gifts for the good of the world and the good of His church.


But above all keep your eyes upon this—we are knit closely together to each other, but above all to Jesus.  All the ways we fail today and every day—which are many—Jesus does not abandon us.  He is with us forever.  We have a firm foundation that makes us able to get up each day and go serve Jesus again with joy even though we have failed in the past.  The firm foundation is that He used all of what He is and has to serve us.  He gave it all for us and saved us.  He is bound firmly together with you and never leaves you.  And because He is bound so closely to you He makes you free to not worry about yourself but serve the other members of His body.


May Jesus our Savior bless you this whole year, make you a blessing to His church, and bring us to see the day when we will be perfect in love, perfectly bound together with Him and each other forever.  Amen.


The peace of God, which passes understanding, keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

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