Sunday, July 15, 2007

Those Who Do Not Know History…

Congregational Retreat: Pine Summit Bible Camp, Big Bear, California
Seventh Sunday after Pentecost
Sunday, July 15, 2007
Luke 10:25-37

One of my favorite sayings is “those who do not know history are condemned to repeat it”. Some people wonder why we need to know what happened in the past. The reason is that we’ll keep making the same mistakes if we don’t learn from the past.

We must learn from history. Otherwise we’re condemned to repeat it. As we’ve been learning on our retreat, there’s a special history—HIS story, in fact. God has given us the history of salvation in His Word. And if we think it’s bad for those who don’t know history as they are condemned to repeat it, those who don’t know God’s History are condemned, period.

Will we learn from the story of the Good Samaritan? The one guy passed by and was certainly in the wrong for doing so. Another guy passes by. He’s in the wrong also. We should certainly hope to learn from this to not be like those first two guys and instead be like that third guy.

But Jesus was no moralist. He is the author of morality, there’s no question. But He didn’t give us His Holy Word simply for a moral worldview. He didn’t give us the Bible simply so we’ll know how to be good boys and girls. The story He tells of the Good Samaritan is really the story of salvation—His Story coming alive for you and me.

He’s in there in that story. In that story the ones we’d expect to help the man simply think about themselves. It’s the one we’d least expect who is the one who saves the man. That’s what Jesus is doing in this parable—showing us what Salvation History is all about. It’s all about salvation where we’d least expect it. In Christ Himself.

But being that Jesus is God, He can tell a story in a way that might no fit in to our neatly packaged ideas. If He’s the one who helped the man then we must be the man who needed help. But Jesus is also that man. Because He took our place. He was beaten to a pulp. He was left for dead, and in fact was brought to His death.

After Jesus tells His story He says, “Go and do likewise.” Okay, that’s easy enough to say. Even easy enough to do. Be a neighbor to those in need. But remember, Jesus didn’t suffer and die for you just to tell you to do stuff. To be nice. To help people.

He did what He did for you to save you. To give you new life. To make you a new creation. His story has become your story. When you go and do likewise you’re not just being a nice person. A helpful person. You are Jesus to others. You are Him to those who are in need just as He served you in your need.

What you needed was Jesus. You didn’t need someone to be nice to you. You were dead in your sins. You needed a Savior. You needed help that goes beyond being nice. Jesus gave you His all. He gave you Himself. That’s what He does for others, also. One of the ways He does it is through you. There are a lot of people in need out there. They need help. It’s nice to be nice to them. But they don’t need nice. They need help. They need salvation. They need Christ, just as you did.

Go and do likewise. Bring Christ to them. Be Christ to them. Bandage their wounds on the inside. People have an awful lot of hurt out there. Some of it is due to their own mistakes. Some of it is because we live in a fallen in world. Most of it goes back to sin, though. We all sin. Sin infects our lives. People are hurting. They are mired in sin. They need help. Not nice helpful people. Salvation. Forgiveness. Mercy. Compassion. They need to know who the one is who will deliver them from their [[[mire]]]] of sin. They need Christ. Will you give Him to them? Will you be Christ to them? His Story becomes alive for them when you do.

What is Jesus getting at in our theme verse for the retreat? “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about Me.” People get a lot of different ideas from the Bible. You could see the Bible as a handbook for Christian living. And it is that but it’s not only that. What the Bible is is the Word of God which brings to you what you need. Namely, Christ. Eternal life is not found in the Scriptures by learning to be nice to people, by helping them. Eternal life is found in the Scriptures because in them Christ is delivered to you.

In the movie Night at the Museum we suspend our belief because we know we’re watching what Hollywood provides: a fanciful tale that could never happen. But it sure is fun to watch those inanimate figures come alive. And for Ben Stiller, they literally come alive. And history comes alive along with them. Wouldn’t that be a great way to learn history?

Well in Baptism, salvation history comes alive for you. Jesus wants His Story to come alive for you. For His Story to become your story. When you are Baptized His story becomes your story. You are dead, just like those wax figures in the movie. But in Baptism you become alive, just like they did in the movie. This is real. Jesus coming alive in your life. Your spiritually lifeless body of sin coming alive to new life. Life without end. Life that is anointed with the healing waters of Baptism. Life that is sustained by the Food of immortality—the Body and Blood of Christ.

What did Jesus say? “Do this in remembrance of Me.” Those who do not know history are condemned to repeat it. Those who know the history of God’s salvation, that Christ became a man and suffered and died for the sins of the world and rose victoriously from the grave are remembering in the fullest sense of the word. Because their life is now bound up in the life of Christ. His story becomes your story. His righteousness, your righteousness. His life, your eternal life. His home in heaven, your home in heaven. Amen.


No comments: