“Witness this miracle!” 2 Tim 3:14-4:5

2-tim-3-14-4-5But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

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Grace and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ!

Do you know how big the Universe is? Can you imagine how big our Solar system alone is? Can you even picture how big our Earth is? Can you comprehend the complexity of life? Even the simplest forms of life? What about the diversity of life?

It is estimated that there are hundreds of billions of galaxies. Not stars, not solar systems, but galaxies! Your personal information, your unique identity, is recorded in more than 3 billion letters of your DNA.

The simplest living cells are more complex that the most sophisticated space ships, and your body contains tens and tens of trillions of such living cells. Besides, we are not only living creature out there. Today scientists estimate that there are far more than million different species of living creature on the earth.

Now, imagine – someone designed and created all of this. More, someone holds it together and keeps it going every second of every minute. And I mean everything, from the tiniest particle in the remotest star, till your mind and body.

What kind of super-being, what kind of super-intellect could do this? What kind of incomprehensible wisdom and power does He possess? How wonderful would it be to know more about this being?

Wouldn’t that be the most precious knowledge of all? Wouldn’t that be something worth dying for – just to be able to find these answers, of may be even to experience the presence of this being? Wouldn’t it be – wow?!

Unfortunately, we are what we are. Tiny, little specks inhabiting one small planet, our lives are 70 or maybe 90 years, and what we learned yesterday, we have already forgotten today. We are so limited. Sure, as humanity, we have accumulated quite a bit of knowledge, but even that is so limited, and even then there is no way any of us can get our heads around it.

How can we possibly dream about knowing anything about this almighty and all-powerful, eternal and all-knowing being? Wouldn’t that be the peak of arrogance to claim that we could on our own find anything about Him?

Unless something miraculous happens. Unless this super being decides to reveal Himself to us. To come to us and to introduce Himself. But how could this happen? How could we communicate with Him?

Just think about how do we generally get to know one another? It is very simple. We talk. We converse, and when we converse, we learn what the other person is like. And this is exactly what this super-being, the Creator of the Universe, the Designer and the Creator of all living things, your Creator, has done.

He has decided to reveal Himself talking with us. It is true. He has spoken to us, to His little human creatures. He has revealed who He is and what kind of person He is. He has revealed what happened in the beginning and He has revealed what will happen at the end.

He has revealed to us who we are and why and for what kind of life He created us. He has revealed what is wrong with us and what He has already done about is, and what He is going to do about it in our near future.

It sounds almost impossible, doesn’t it? What would you give to be able to listen to the Creator, to learn from Him, to hear from the Creator Himself about mysteries of this world and the world to come? Wouldn’t that be the most wonderful opportunity, if only we could do it?

And the truth is, you can do it. Anyone can do it. God the Creator has chosen to speak with us in human language, He has commanded His chosen messengers not only to proclaim His message, but also to write it down, and He Himself has confirmed that this is His message by wonderful miracles and signs.

Think about what happened at the mount Sinai. The whole nation of Israel heard God speaking to them. That was the most terrifying experience, and because they have witnessed God’s presence, they firmly trusted that what God’s servant Moses wrote down, was a message from God the Creator Himself.

Similarly God spoke through other chosen people. And then He did something that defies human reason, – He came to us as one of us, as a man, Jesus from Nazareth. And He spoke to us in human language, talking to us face-to-face.

Those men, who saw Him, who touched Him, who ate with Him, and who witnessed everything that He did, they wrote it down, led by God’s own Spirit. And today we have this message, the message of the Almighty Creator available to us. In one book. In this one book which has been printed in more than 6 billion copies. Parts of this book have been translated in almost 3000 different languages.

Almost every living person has an access to this books, or at least to the message of this book. For this is what the Author of the book commanded, – bring this message to all nations, to every human being.

We have this book. Every family, every person in Australia has access to this book and to its message. We can read the message from the Creator Himself, we can listen to Him and learn His wisdom. We can… Everyone in Australia can…

But … do we, do we listen to Him, do we even want to listen to Him? Whatever sad it may be, but even many of those who claim to be Christians don’t care much about what God says to us. This is why we all need to hear what Paul the apostle wrote to his beloved Timothy, it is relevant for us as well.

“Continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it … you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.

We have received God’s message, that’s true, and we have received it not only from God’s servants prophets and apostles, but also from the Son of God Himself.

And on top of that, we are even more blessed. We have the privilege to be a part of Lutheran church, the church which God used to purify His message from all human inventions.

The church which the Holy Spirit used to make the Good News about God’s forgiveness known clearer than ever before. We have received not only the Bible, but also the true and faithful exposition of the main message of the Bible in the Book of confessions of our church.

You know that you can’t stand before God’s throne of judgment on your own, for He searches your heart, not only your life. You know that you can’t even choose to become a Christian, a member of God’s family. You can’t even chose to trust Jesus as your God and Savior.

But if you listen to God who speaks to you in the Bible, if you read it, if you study it, if you meditate upon what God speaks to you, if you discuss it with others, God’s own Spirit, the Holy Spirit comes to you and creates true faith in you.

It is God Himself who through His Word makes you wise for salvations. He Himself brings to you salvation, as you begin to trust Jesus as your Savior. That is God’s grace that creates our faith and grants us His forgiveness and eternal life.

It is God’s gift to you. Undeserved, unmerited, infinitely precious gift. Gift which brings you from judgement for your rebellion against your Creator into His eternal Kingdom, into everlasting feast served to all God’s beloved children.

This is one thing that the Word of God does, it grants us salvation, but that’s not all. We are still here, in this age and in this world, and there is a lot to be done. Listen to what Paul writes.

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

You see, the Bible is the source not only for your salvation, but it is also the source of God’s wisdom for your life here. Speaking to us God the Creator reveals what His design for our lives is. How to live in all our relationships and responsibilities.

How to be a child, how to be a parent, how to be a spouse, how to be an employee, and how to be an employer, how to live in relationships with neighbors, and how to live in relationships with our God, what to do with God’s gifts entrusted to us, etc.

Basically, God’s Word reveals us God will and wisdom for all aspects of our lives. Your God wants to bless you and He wants you to be a blessings for others, this is why He instructs us how to lead our lives, and how to be equipped for every good work.

And again, how many among Christians even want to listen? How many want to make up our own mind, to be like gods ourselves? When the Holy Spirit used Paul the apostle, to write this message, He knew well what sinful human beings are like. This is why he wrote these words.

For the time is coming [and it has already came] when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.

It sounds like our days, doesn’t it? When those who call themselves Christians complain that pastors only preach what the Word of God says and not something that they would be interested to hear.

We live in times when many consider themselves much smarter that God, smarter than God’s revealed wisdom. We live is times when human wisdom, which is in fact only foolishness and arrogant rebellions, has gained more authority that the Word of God.

We live in times when those who want to remain faithful to their Lord are ridiculed, rejected, called names and made guilty for everything that is wrong is this world and the Church.

We live in times when itching ears demand to do things their way. And don’t you dare to disagree! But, fear not, you little flock, this is exactly what the Holy Spirit through the apostle foretold.

More and more self-identified Christians fit with Paul’s description just a few verses earlier. “But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty.

For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control […] lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,  having the appearance of godliness [pretending to be Christians], but denying God’s Word and its power. (2.Tim 3:1-5)

So what can we do it times like these? Rejoice! Rejoice for we have the message from the Creator Himself. We have it, we can read it, we can study it, we are not persecuted for doing it yet, so we can grow in God wisdom and to receive His salvation.

That is a miracle, and it is happening right now. You know how Paul writes elsewhere is Romans that faith comes from hearing the Word of God. In Ephesians he explains that when you hear the Word of God, you receive the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit is given to you as a guaranty of your inheritance in God’s Kingdom.

Even more, we have not only God’s message recorded, we have the holy Creator Himself coming among us to be with us and to bless us. Where does that happen? Right here, right now. When God speaks to you through His messenger, and when He comes to be united with you in His Holy Sacrament. It is a miracle.

Blessed you are, brothers and sisters, for you have received God’s grace and haven’t rejected it. You have received God’s message and you keep listening to it, you have received God’s invitation and have responded to it.

Be ready to endure the hatred of this world and of false disciples, be ready for your reward is great in the age to come. And the peace of God that surpasses all human understanding keep your mind and heart in Jesus Christ.

Amen.

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