October 07, 2018
Grace, mercy, and peace be to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
I’m pretty sure that most of you, if not all of you, know that I love watching baseball. Especially watching the Cubs. Some things that really annoy me when I go to Wrigley for the game is the lack of decorum and etiquette of the fans, vendors, and the scoreboard. One of my favorite signs at Wrigley (I own a replica) is of a Bear running to catch a ball with the words “Be Alert For Foul Balls!). The sign is reminding the fans to pay attention to the game at hand! And this is important because the fans need to be reminded…even at a Wild Card game. Instead of paying attention… you have the beer vendor (Dougie; a sox fan from the South Side) block your view, fans down the aisle that can’t wait for the half inning to be over to get up and leave their seats for a restroom break or to get food and beer, and the countless numbers of fans playing with their phones (often at the suggestion of the scoreboard to send a text for this or that…). And while it is rare for a foul ball to make it to the area my seats are in…I still question… why are you even bothering to be here if you aren’t going to pay attention to the game?
Pay attention. They are words we hear again and again throughout our lives. Pat attention to the directions on your test. Keep your eyes on the road; pay attention. Your attention please, would the owner of the blue van in the parking lot please turn their lights off. Pay attention or you might just fail…fail the test your taking, fail to stop in time to avoid an accident, fail to turn the lights off and find your vehicle has a dead battery. Pay attention.
Scripture tells us the same: “Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. For since the message declared by angels proved to be reliable, and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution, how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard, while God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.” (Hebrews 2:1-4)
Pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. Pay attention to God’s Word or you will fall away from it. God’s people are reminded to pay attention. Why? Because as sinful people we are easily distracted. We so quickly get caught up in the problems and vices of this world. We get caught up trying to make more money…get a bigger house or a newer car and forget that the true riches of Christ are found in salvation and heaven. We get caught up in the vices of sex and drugs and forget the true peace that is found solely in Christ. We get caught up in our own wants and desires. We get caught up in our own problems: a job we don’t like… a job we don’t have, being able to support our family, health issues, watching others suffer…and we question God…and forget that true peace is found in Jesus and true joy found in His resurrection won for us. We get caught up in wanting time for ourselves…times of relaxation… times of doing things for “me.” And we forget to be in the place Jesus promises to be…to give you rest in His Word and His body and blood. It’s hard to pay attention to God’s Word when you aren’t regularly in the place His Word is proclaimed. Pay attention to God’s Word. Why? Lest you drift away from it.
And that message that we are to pay attention to…that was declared by angels and found reliable…what message was that? How about the message that most of you if not all of you know. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” (John 3:16-17) Or maybe this: “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.” (1 John 3:1) And “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)
In the days of Oliver Cromwell, a young soldier was sentenced to die at the ringing of the curfew. The woman who loved this soldier went to Cromwell to plead for his life. But he turned her down with a hard no. Then she rushed to the sexton of the church who was to ring the curfew, but he, too, refused to help her. The fatal hour came, and they marched her beloved out to be put to death. The sexton went to the church bell and began to pull the rope.
But no shot was fired. For up there in the belfry was the young woman hanging onto the bell, while the sexton below, deaf as he was, kept pulling the rope, thinking that the bell was ringing.
After the sexton left, having done his duty, the woman came down from the tower and hastened to Cromwell with her bleeding hands and bruised body. When Cromwell asked why the curfew had not rung, she told what she had done to save the life of that soldier.
Cromwell then said to her: “Curfew shall not ring tonight.” Needless to say, from that day on that young man was devoted to that woman. Because she had saved his life, he would have even died for her.
Fellow redeemed, our Lord and Savior left heaven’s glory, became a true Man only that He might lay down His life for us on that first Good Friday. He died that we might have life.
When Satan throws everything at you…sickness and disease, trouble and pain, and tortures your sole…look to Christ. He died that you would have life…life eternal. Pay attention dear Christian…for Satan prowls like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Pay attention. For not only is Satan prowling for you…he is prowling around looking to devour your friends and loved ones. Pay attention to God’s Word. For God’s Word brings life and immortality. God’s Word brings peace and joy. Jesus is the very Word made flesh. Pay attention to Him and have eternal life. Amen.
Now may the peace of God which passes all human understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus our Lord and Savior. Amen.