Sunday, January 9, 2022

Sunday Praise & Worship Message - Sometimes It is Only Over One

Early in life, I began to enjoy classical music and when I had a chance in college to study music and really appreciate it, I learned of the stories behind certain pieces. One of my favorite stories involves a small gold penny and the frantic search for it. The piece, “Rondo a Capriccio”, is better known by the title “Rage Over a Lost Penny, Vented in a Caprice”. The composer of this piece is one of my favorite classical composers, Ludwig van Beethoven.

While Beethoven was composing his famed opus, a booming and boisterous piece that exuded energy and vitality, a neighbor heard a loud dispute. Beethoven was in a rage, accusing a maid of stealing a gold penny. The maid ran out and was never heard from again. The neighbor then heard furniture crashing, and he could only conclude that the great Maestro was tipping over furniture, madly looking for the lost gold penny. 

If you listen to the piece and close your eyes, you can visualize a man madly flipping over furniture and tossing things all over the place looking for something. In this case, it was a small gold penny. The piece is full of energy and excitement. He tore his apartment apart looking for a penny. 

It is this type of energy that I want to discuss with you. It is the same fervor and desire that our Savior Christ Jesus has for us and to what length he will go to rescue us from damnation. We often don’t really think about Jesus as someone who rushes headlong into the fray, but, when it comes to his flock, there is nothing he wouldn’t do for the one lost sheep.

In chapter eighteen of the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus tells us, “If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them wanders away, what will he do? Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others on the hills and go out to search for the one that is lost? And if he finds it, I tell you the truth, he will rejoice over it more than over the ninety-nine that didn’t wander away! In the same way, it is not my heavenly Father’s will that even one of these little ones should perish.

It is with extreme effort and desire that a shepherd would go to great lengths to find that one lost sheep. When he finds it, the shepherd rejoices in finding the one that wandered away and leads it back to the flock.

Our Heavenly Father is the same way. He will do anything to save those who walk in darkness. His way of reaching out to each of us is through the gift of His son, Jesus, and His plan of salvation.  He will do all that He can do to provide us with the gift of eternal life.

Peter, in chapter three of his first epistle, writes, “The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.

This is the reason that God will do whatever it takes to provide the gift of salvation to all who want to receive it. He will not make anyone take it. Like a Christmas gift, we can refuse it or return it. The same holds true when it comes to salvation. It is our decision to receive and accept it. 

But, there will come a day when judgement will come. On that day, no amount of pleading will change the outcome. Those who decided not to receive the gift of eternal life will depart and suffer the separation of not being in paradise.

Peter, in the same chapter, writes, “But the day of the Lord will come as unexpectedly as a thief. Then the heavens will pass away with a terrible noise, and the very elements themselves will disappear in fire, and the earth and everything on it will be found to deserve judgment.

I am not here to preach hellfire and brimstone or scare you into accepting Jesus as your Savior and Lord, but I am here to tell you about the love of the Father and the great lengths He will go to save you. But, there will come a day when this world will end and we will all stand before the throne of God and listen to hear our name being read from the Book of Life.

In chapter three of the Book of Revelation, John writes the words of Jesus, “All who are victorious will be clothed in white. I will never erase their names from the Book of Life, but I will announce before my Father and his angels that they are mine.”

Those who have been found and brought back to the fold will hear their names announced before the Father and Jesus will call those to himself and proclaim each as his own. Will your name be listed in the Book of Life? Have you accepted the gift of salvation?

With all of the things going on in the world today, it is so very important for you to take time and examine your heart. What would happen to you if you were to die today? Will you be at home with the Lord when you take your last breath and close your eyes for the last time?

In chapter five of his second letter to the Corinthians, Paul writes, “For we live by believing and not by seeing. Yes, we are fully confident, and we would rather be away from these earthly bodies, for then we will be at home with the Lord. So whether we are here in this body or away from this body, our goal is to please him.

The first step in pleasing the Lord is accepting the gift of salvation and admitting that you have fallen short. We have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of the Lord. God, however, has given us a way back to Him through His son, Jesus. 

As you continue to take your steps further into the new year, I implore you to search your heart. Have you been washed white as snow in the blood of the Lamb? Are you walking the path of righteousness daily? If you are unsure or haven’t, you should really consider your relationship with the Father. Just like the shepherd in the parable, He sought you out and wants to have a relationship with you. He gave His only son as your atonement sacrifice to pay the debt of sin that you owe. He didn’t do it out of a whim. He did it out of love. More specifically, He did it out of love for you.

Don’t let another moment slip away. Look closely at your life. That knock you hear is Jesus gently knocking on the door of your heart. Let him into your life today. When you do and begin to walk daily with your new friend and Savior, you will be able to stand firm in His grace.

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.

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