Sermon for the Fourth Sunday after Pentecost June 20, 2021
Text: 2 Corinthians 5:1-10 CW 3 Year Series B 21:2266
Theme: What You Believe is What You Get
Think for a minute. Look at me and tell me what you see. When I look in a mirror, I see a guy without much hair, short, getting old. Well, that’s not going to change. That’s where I am in life. This is it. What you see is what you get!
You’ve heard that expression, right? Many times, it’s true. Guys, if, when you sit down to supper, you complain about the food on the table, your wife may say, “Well, what you see is what you get.” She’s cooked the meal and isn’t going to change it. Eat it or go hungry. What you see is what you get!
But there are times when that statement isn’t true. Suppose you grow tomatoes. If you went to look at the vines and saw a little green tomato, you could say, “Well, what I see is what I get.” That would mean you pick it because that’s all you are going to get. If you would think that way, I would tell you to wait a bit before you pick it, because it will change, and you will get something more.
So, let me alter the expression. “What you believe is what you get.” If you believe that the little green tomato will grow, then you will leave it on the vine until it becomes a big red tomato. Of course, something could happen to kill the plant, or the fruit might fall off in a storm. But if you believe that the little green tomato will grow, your patience will be rewarded with something good. If you insist on following the adage: “What you see is what you get,” you will pick it when it is small, and that’s all you will get – a little green tomato. Oh, the disappointment!
I. Is there more to come? Yes! An eternal house in heaven.
Apply that to our text. Towards the end of it Paul wrote, “We walk by faith, not by sight.” That’s the “what you believe” and not just “what you see.” Christians live by faith, not just by sight.
Suppose that you disagreed with Paul and said your life is what you see. What you see is what you get; there is no more. That’s it. Well, look around; what do you see?
You see many things in the world that you have and enjoy. You have clothing, and more in your closet at home. You have food on the table and more than many people in the world have. You have family and friends. You have a home that you call yours. Even if you are scrimping along, you’ve got many things, people, and enjoyments in life, blessings from the hand of God. You can see it.
But if that is all that life means for you, if your life consists in only those things you see, you are not receiving all the gifts that God wants to give, and you will not get the most important ones. The things you see are like the tip of the iceberg. There is more than what you see. It’s a matter of faith, not sight.
For example, did you see Jesus die on the cross? Did you look into His eyes and see the punishment for your sin that He took for you? Did you see Him bursting out of the tomb on Easter and ascending to heaven to assure you of life and to convince you that all power in earth and heaven is His? No, that all took place long before you were around.
So, you weren’t there to see it. Then, are you forgiven for your sin? Will you live again after you die? Are you on your way to heaven? You can’t see any of those things, either. Are they yours? Yes. Why? Because you believe that what God says happens for His promises stand forever, and His Word does not return empty but accomplishes the very thing He says it does (1Pt.1:25;Is.55:11).
So, when He says, “Friend, your sins are forgiven,” you have it even though you don’t see it. When He says, “Because I live, you also shall live,” you have it even though you don’t see it. And when He says, “In my Father’s House are many rooms; I go to prepare a place for you,” you have it because you believe that what God says He does. What you believe is what you get.
And there is one thing above all others on which Paul centers. What happens when you depart this life? Is there more to come? He replies, Yes! If you believe in what God has prepared and wants to give you, you will have an eternal house in heaven. Paul said: “We know that if the earthly tent that is our home is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal home in heaven, not made by human hands…we long to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life.”
That’s something Paul longed for that he couldn’t see but believed in – the eternal dwelling God promises to give the believer. He calls it “an eternal home in heaven, which is not made by human hands.” Paul longed for it because he was feeling worn out.
Not that Paul didn’t enjoy life here; he did. He had friends, the Gospel, and the privilege of serving God. None of that was a bad thing from which Paul was looking to escape. In fact, he was most content with all the things God had given him. But he did have his eyes set on heaven because it was permanent, and he didn’t feel completely “clothed” until he had it. He felt “naked” and tired with his temporary life here, comparing that feeling to living in a tent.
How many of you have lived in a tent…long-term, not just a night or two camping? Some of you were in the armed forces and perhaps lived in a tent, but it didn’t last. Imagine that you are still living in that tent. I think you’d be tired of it by now, don’t you?
Think of it a different way. Do you have a home you call your own, a permanent dwelling that’s yours and you feel most comfortable in? How long have you been there? How many other places have you lived in?
I figured it up again this week. Not counting the different schools which I attended, I have lived in 13 different homes. And I did live in a tent for the good part of a year. Permanent? Hardly! And not for you either. We are wayfarers, wanderers, travelers, temporary dwellers here.
But Paul is not talking so much here about the place in which we live at the present. He is really talking about his physical body. It was wearing out with age. Imagine what a regular tent would look like if you lived in it for some 60 or 70 years – torn, tattered, falling apart. That’s the way Paul felt for he had endured so many trials for preaching the Gospel: shipwreck, prison, beatings, etc. Here our tents are wearing out and we have no permanent dwelling.
But if you have Christ and trust Him as your Savior, when you pass this life, you will put down and settle in with a glorified body like His and a permanent home where there are no worries and ills that our temporary “tents” have here. Your eyes can’t see it now; but your faith in God’s promises does. That thought refreshed Paul on His way when his “clay jar” got tired and he was worn out by his “tent-life” here in this world.
He longed for more to come. Was there more? Yes! An eternal house in heaven prepared by God for those who believe His promises in the Savior. Did Paul see it? Not yet. But with God’s promises, what you believe is what you get. And Paul was eagerly looking forward to what he would soon get in Christ.
II. Is there reason to go on? Yes! Because we’re confident in God and seek to please Him.
His outlook on this reminds me of a story that is told about our 6th president, John Quincy Adams. When he was a very old man, a friend asked him how he was. He replied, “John Quincy Adams is quite well, thank you! But the house in which he lives is falling to pieces. Time and seasons have nearly destroyed it. I think John Quincy Adams will have to move out soon. But he is quite well.”
Pres. Adams was referring to his aging body, from which the passing years had taken their toll and from which his immortal soul would soon take leave. The passing years had brought about their share of problems: waning strength, a slowing step, and blurring vision. But for the child of God there’s no dread to be found there. There is no reason to say, “Is it worth it to go on? Yes, it’s worth it to go on because we are confident in God and seek to please Him.
So Paul wrote, “Therefore, we are always confident and know that while we are at home in the body, we are away from the Lord. For we walk by faith, not by sight. We are confident and would much prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. For this reason we make it our goal to please Him, whether we are at home or away.”
Our goal in all things, whether we are here on earth or above in heaven is to please God – not to gain salvation; Christ has already done that for us. What we could never buy, earn, or obtain on our own, He gives us. So, we don’t seek to please God to save ourselves. No, it’s because He has saved us that we seek to please Him, always confident of our standing in Christ on Judgment Day.
The keyword here is “always.” Whether you walk by faith here or will soon walk by sight there, both are blessed experiences. Right now you get to hear and enjoy the working of His powerful and effective Gospel in your life. Later on you get to see God face to face. How blessed must that be! After all, that’s what He made us for, Paul says. In either case, tenting here or putting down your roots there, we seek to please Him, confident in His promises.
So, remember your life is not just what you see; it’s what you believe. Enjoy the gifts which you see that God has given you. Always be confident and content in them. But they are not the greatest gifts He has in store for you. These are temporary – just for now. What you have in Christ lasts forever. And what you believe is what you get. God grant it to us for Jesus’ sake. Amen.
Zion Lutheran Church of Springfield
4717 S Farm Rd 135 (Golden Avenue)
Church phone: 417.887.0886 Pastor’s cell phone: 417.693.3244
You can also find us on Facebook
The Fourth Sunday after Pentecost June 20, 2021
“The kingdom of God is like this: A man scatters seed on the ground…Night and day
the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how.” Mark 4:26-27
F o r O u r V i s i t o r s
We extend a warm and sincere welcome in our Savior’s name. Please sign our guest book, located to the right just outside the sanctuary. If you desire more information about Zion Lutheran Church or are in need of spiritual guidance, please call upon our pastor at any time. We are delighted to have you join us today and invite you to return soon.
U p o n E n t e r i n g G o d’ s H o u s e
“How great are Your works, O LORD, how profound Your thoughts. The righteous will flourish like a palm tree. They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green, proclaiming ‘The LORD is upright’” (Ps.92).
W h a t T h i s S u n d a y i s A b o u t
The Word of the Lord Grows. God’s kingdom flourishes wherever His Word is planted in the hearts of those who hear and believe it. The Word of the Lord grows and produces fruit in the life of the believer. It spreads throughout the world and yields a rich crop of faith in many.
However, its full growth and glory will not be seen until the harvest at the end of time when the Lord will gather into His eternal kingdom those who grew in the Savior. They eagerly wait to see that day. But until it comes, the work goes on, planting the seed of the Gospel throughout the world.
To that end we pray: O God, Planter and Protector of all the faithful, You alone make strong; You alone make holy; You alone increase the growth. Show us Your mercy as You forgive our sins day after day. Guide us through this earthly life so that we don’t lose the things You have prepared for us eternally; for Jesus’ sake. Amen.
– T h e W o r d o f G o d f o r T o d a y –
Old Testament Lesson: Ezekiel 17:22-24
The Lord plants and nourishes His Church. He compares its planting and growth to the taking of a tender shoot and its placement on a high mountain. It becomes a splendid tree to which “birds” of every kind are drawn. So also His Word grows in hearts that believe.
Epistle Lesson: 2 Corinthians 5:1-10
God works faith in the present so that His Church can be with him in eternity. Now we live by faith, but in heaven we will live by sight. As His Kingdom grows through the hearing of His Word, so does our confidence and hope in things present and eternal.
Gospel Lesson: Mark 4:26-34
How humble is the process of sowing seed in the dirt. But how wondrous the result! Even the smallest seed has the power of life in it. So it is with the Gospel. The growth is spontaneous and remarkable as the Word is planted in the hearts of those who hear and believe.
O u r P r a c t i c e o f H o l y C o m m u n i o n
The Lord’s Supper is a wonderful gift in which we receive Jesus’ own body and blood to forgive our sins and strengthen us in faith. It is a gift given with certain responsibilities. The Sacrament is intended for those who have been instructed, understand, and confess as one what they are receiving and doing. Through it we express our unity of faith (1 Cor.10:17). Therefore, we ask that only confirmed members of Zion Lutheran Church or our sister congregations of the WELS or ELS approach to receive Communion. If you would like to become a communicant member of Zion or have any questions about our practice, the pastor would be happy to meet with you after the service.
The Organist: Jane Rips The Preacher: Pastor Edwin Lehmann
Trio: Lois Wiese, Jane Rips, Pastor
Point to Ponder: Ponder: “Did you ever wonder why God put the treasures of His salvation into our hands? Surely, He could have found much more suitable containers for such precious contents! Could it be that He wanted to remind us where the power behind His message lies? Not in the one telling it, but in the One of whom it tells, His Son, our Savior from sin.” — Richard Lauersdorf on Not the Container but the Contents
Outline of Our Worship
Opening Hymn: #250
Order of Worship: Service of Word and Sacrament Hymnal page 26
The Ministry of the Word
2 Corinthians 5:1-10
Trio: We Walk by Faith & Not by Sight
The Gospel Response: pg.30
Sermon Hymn: #213
Sermon: 2 Corinthians 5:1-10 What You Believe Is What You Get.
Our Response to the Word
The Nicene Creed: page 31
The Lord’s Prayer: Hymnal page 32
Lord, Bless Us
Order of Holy Communion: Hymnal pages 33-35
(Visitors: Please read box inside about the practice of Holy Communion)
Distribution Hymns: #316 &322
Thanksgiving & Blessing: Hymnal pages 36-37
The Fourth Sunday after Pentecost – Series B
Old Testament Lesson: Ezekiel 17:22-24 – Parable of the Cedar Sprig
22This is what the Lord God says. I myself will take part of the tip of the cedar and plant it. From the topmost of its shoots I will pluck off a tender sprig, and I myself will plant it on a high and lofty mountain. 23On the high mountain of Israel I will plant it. It will produce branches, bear fruit, and become a magnificent cedar. Flying birds of every kind will live under it. In the shelter of its branches they will nest. 24Then all the trees in the countryside will know that I, the Lord, bring down the high tree and raise up the low tree, that I make the green tree dry up, and I make the dried-up tree blossom. I, the Lord, have spoken, and I will carry it out.
Epistle Lesson: 2 Corinthians 5:1-10 – We Long for Heaven
1 Now we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal home in heaven, which is not made by human hands. 2In fact, the reason we groan is that we long to be clothed with our dwelling from heaven. 3If we do indeed put it on, we will certainly not be found naked. 4To be sure, while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not want to be unclothed, but to be clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. 5Now the one who prepared us for this very purpose is God, who gave us the Spirit as the down payment.
6Therefore we are always confident and know that while we are at home in the body, we are away from the Lord, 7for we walk by faith, not by sight. 8But we are confident and would much prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. 9For this reason we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home or away.10For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he did while in the body, whether good or bad.
Gospel Lesson: Mark 4:26-34 – Parables of the Growing & Mustard Seeds
26He said, “The kingdom of God is like this: A man scatters seed on the ground, 27and while he sleeps and rises, night and day the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. 28The ground produces fruit on its own: first the blade, then the head, then the full grain in the head. 29When the crop is ready, he swings the sickle without delay, because the harvest has come.”
30Then he said, “To what should we compare the kingdom of God? Or with what parable may we picture it? 31It is like a mustard seed, which when sown on the ground is one of the smallest of all the seeds planted in the ground. 32Yet when it is planted, it grows up and becomes larger than all the garden plants and puts out large branches so that the birds of the sky can nest under its shade.”
33With many similar parables he continued to speak the word to them, as much as they were able to hear. 34He did not speak to them without a parable. But when he was alone with his disciples, he explained everything to them.
The Holy Bible, Evangelical Heritage Version® (EHV®) copyright © 2019 The Wartburg Project.
C a l e n d a r & A n n o u n c e m e n t s f o r Z i o n L u t h e r a n C h u r c h
Divine Worship Service
with Holy Communion
on line – Facebook
Fellowship & Brief Bible Study
Midweek Bible Class
Divine Worship Service
on line – Facebook
Fellowship & Brief Bible Study
A Brief Bible Study on God’s Word for Today
In two weeks on Independence Day, people will celebrate the growth and power of the nation. Yet, there is a more powerful kingdom that has grown from humble beginnings. It is the Kingdom of God, which often makes unnoticeable progress in conquering hearts for Christ. Yet, stepping back to look at it, you can see its tremendous growth. Those who are part of it will be longing for the final outcome when they are “clothed” with immortal life away from the struggles of the world.
The Gospel Lesson: Mark 4:26-34 (answers are found on the back side)
- How does Jesus help us understand the kingdom of God with the illustration of the growing seed?
- What else do we learn about the kingdom of God from the mustard seed?
Those We Remember In Our Prayers: Dea Windsor; Clyde Johnson; Dave Ballou; Greg Miller; Lou Schulz; Norine Richardson; Barbara Long; Jodi Milam; William & Laurie Moon; Patsy Mickelson; Lance & Jodi Milam; Pastor Tim Buelow and Kathleen Huff in W. Virginia; Pauline Jaeger, Randy’s mother, diagnosed with cancer; the family of Sherry Wiese, Jim & Lois Wiese’s sister-in-law, whom the Lord took to Himself suddenly this past week; also Linda Yount’s family, whose son-in-law, James Mitchel, the Lord also took suddenly this past week.
Beginning This Week elections will be held on-line for Wis. Synod officers and ministry positions. Pastor Lehmann is a delegate this year. If you have suggestions or questions to the election or convention process, please share them with him.
No Face Mask Regulations Facemasks are no longer required in a church setting. If you feel more comfortable wearing a mask, you may do so. Masks, disposable gloves, and sanitizer are in the narthex and the fellowship hall for your use. We have begun to pass the offering plate during the service again, since it is a part of our custom of worship.
Forward in Christ’s latest edition for June has arrived. Copies for family and friends may be found in the narthex. If you haven’t picked up a copy of the present edition of Meditations Devotions, running through August, there are plenty of copies in the narthex. Consider sharing one with a friend, neighbor, or other acquaintance. Devotions run through August. Copies of Pastor’s Daily Devotions will also be found there.
The Week in Review
Last Sunday’s Worship Attendance: 31; Bible Class: 10; Offering: $1,860; Midweek Bible Class: 6.
Next Sunday’s Lessons:
Pentecost 5: Job 38:1-11; 2 Corinthians 5:14-21; Mark 4:35-41 (Series B)
Answers to Today’s Gospel Lesson Brief Study:
- The growth of God’s Kingdom is God’s work as He provides consistent progress toward bearing fruit for the final harvest. The seed of the gospel unfolds God’s ruling activity in people in often-unnoticed development. Can you look back and see the progress God has made in your faith life?
- The Kingdom of God in a big world sometimes seems small and insignificant, but it grows to be the largest. The parable emphasizes the extraordinary power and growth of the gospel as it brings growth to the church where all peoples can find its benefit (“perch in its shade”).
This week I am praying for……