Just Do It

THE PRAYER FOR ILLUMINATION

We approach God’s Word and pray that the Holy Spirit, will open our lives to encounter the Living Christ. Join me in a moment of prayer.

Holy God, Three in One, you are our eternal hope, our companion in life, our liberating power. Open to us the precious understanding of your love recorded in Scripture. Pour out your Holy Spirit that our minds with grasp the grace of Jesus in each word. Lead us in your mission, baptizing and teaching in your blessed name, so that all may worship you to the end of the age. Through Christ our Lord, we pray for guidance, wisdom, and faith. Amen.

THE FIRST SCRIPTURE                                2 Corinthians 8:7-15                        The Pattern of Christ

Now as you excel in everything--in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in utmost eagerness, and in our love for you--so we want you to excel also in this generous undertaking. I do not say this as a command, but I am testing the genuineness of your love against the earnestness of others. For you know the generous act of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich. And in this matter I am giving my advice: it is appropriate for you who began last year not only to do something but even to desire to do something-- now finish doing it, so that your eagerness may be matched by completing it according to your means.

For if the eagerness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has--not according to what one does not have. I do not mean that there should be relief for others and pressure on you, but it is a question of a fair balance between your present abundance and their need, so that their abundance may be for your need, in order that there may be a fair balance. As it is written, "The one who had much did not have too much, and the one who had little did not have too little."

TIME WITH GOD’S CHILDREN#653   “I will Call Upon the Lord”

 

THE SERMON           “Just Do It”

Much of Paul’s teaching reflects a tough, take no prisoners, passion for faith in Jesus Christ. Early Christians responded to God’s love and grace with hunger for the Gospel message. Regardless of age, social status, or gender, Christians lived a vibrant faith that helped them thrive in a less than friendly world. They blazed trails in the face of opposition from a secular world and a variety of religious beliefs. They battled all odds to follow Jesus at all cost and fervor for sharing God’s grace with friends, foes, and foreigners.

In 1988, Nike launched a highly successful, tough, take no prisoner ad campaign, “Just Do It.” The effort targeted all Americans regardless of age, gender, or physical ability. Not just star athletes or marathon runners, anyone and everyone can just do it, when wearing Nike shoes. At one time, 80% of the shoes sold were not for running. The campaign was so successful, that made running shoes developed by Bill Bowerman, Oregon’s track coach and runner Phil Knight, a fashion statement not just fitness gear. The Blue Ribbon Sports, company they founded to make shoes for the track runners in 1964, renamed in 1971 for Nike, the goddess of victory.

The Apostle urges the Corinthians to press on to victory for Jesus. The Apostle cheers all Christians to excel, to give their very best, to just do it for Jesus. In every effort, Jesus calls us to excel as we follow our Lord and Savior. In faith, we excel when we trust the Lord with everything. When we speak, we do we share our love for Jesus. We continue to grow in knowledge through intentional study of God’s Word. We excel when we eagerly seek to live by faith and not just sit back and watch others show their faith. Jesus calls us to a generous undertaking of loving God and neighbor.

The church in Corinth experienced less than ideal conditions and it was not morally perfect. They struggled to make sense of the teachings of Jesus in their world context. The church wrestled with dilemmas of how to apply God’s love and grace to their Roman society.  Yet, they came together as a community, even sometimes divided, to seek the best way to live by faith and grow in understanding of God’s purpose. In their present situation, the Apostle sent them a letter to encourage and correct the direction of Christ’s outpost in an irreligious culture.

The message to the Christian church urges us to excel, excel in our faith, in what we say, in our study of Scripture, to be eager, genuine, and earnest in being a faithful disciple of Jesus Christ. We keep moving on the journey of being faithful when we just do it, walk by faith with gusto. We seek to keep Christ the center part of our life, even as the world seems to move on without us. When others focus on themselves, Christians seek to be Jesus’ hands, feet, and mouth. Christians seek to serve God by caring for our neighbors, even when we don’t agree with them. We care deeply to love our neighbor as we want to be loved. We seek to uphold the perfect plan of God in our imperfect way.

As we just live by faith, we come to the table of our Lord. We come with our inadequate expressions of grace. We seek forgiveness for our failures. We seek to be more like Jesus in our encounters with others. We desire to mature in our faith to be generous with our mission, ministry, and money to honor the Lord. We crave to speak God’s truth in love to others. We come to the Table seeking God’s reign in our lives and in our world. We eagerly accept the Lord’s invitation to come here and be empowered to live more fully in God’s grace.  Just do it, live as a disciple of Christ today and always. TGBTG. Amen.

  September 2017  
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