"Keeping In Step With The Spirit!" Galatians 5:25-6:10

September 12, 2021
Rev. Nathan J. Rusert

"Therefore do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. "(Mat 6:31-34). We are children of our Heavenly Father in Christ Jesus, for God the Holy Spirit has made us alive in Holy Baptism. Sermon Text: Galatians 5:25-6:10. Sermon Theme: "Keeping In Step With The Spirit!" Preached for the Fifteenth Sunday After Trinity, 12-September-2021, at Emmanuel Lutheran Church, Tell City, IN by Rev. Nathan J. Rusert.

Episode Notes

The Fifteenth Sunday After Trinity                             12-September-21
Sermon Text: Galatians 5:25-6:10
Sermon Theme: “Keeping In Step With The Spirit!” by Rev. Nathan J. Rusert

I.N.R.I. Nonsense. Birds farming - sowing, reaping, gathering into barns. Flowers working to weave new fancy clothing. People anxiously worrying to extend their life by an hour. Nonsense. A starving widow robbing her son of the last scrap of food to feed a traveling preacher that she just met at the city gate. Who would put a servant of God above her own son? Nonsense. Foolishly trusting our rusting treasures, clothing moths feast upon, and gold and silver which thieves break in and steal to bring us lasting security, postpone death, and stave off the daily troubles of living in a fallen creation. Nonsense. Forgetting we have a loving heavenly Father who knows and supplies all we need to support body and life.
    Wisdom teaches, “Psa 118:8 It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man.” Wisdom calls: “Stop! Do not fear! Look to your Creator! Learn to rejoice!” “Psa 95:1 Oh come, let us sing to the LORD; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!” Wisdom calls you from the grave of unbelief to a new life of fear, love, and trust in God the Father Who created and cares for you. Wisdom fixes your eyes upon Jesus, God the Son who has redeemed you from all sins, from death, and the power of the devil with His holy precious blood and innocent suffering and death. He has made you His own and filled you with His indestructible life in His Kingdom. He rules heaven and earth for the sake of His Church - all earthly authority bends to Him. Wisdom comforts you for He is the Spirit of Truth. He calls you to faith in Jesus the only Way, Truth, and Life - the Only path to the Father. He comforts us daily and richly applying cross won - empty tomb certified - forgiveness of sins within the Christian Church. He comforts us at the grave with the sure and certain hope of the resurrection of the body and the life of the world to come. He frees us from fear and by His power through God’s Word we are: “Keeping In Step With The Spirit!”
      Last Sunday we learned from earlier in the fifth chapter of Paul’s letter to his congregation in Galatia of the battle being waged for our hearts. The apostle preached, Gal 5:13-16 For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. (14) For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: "YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF." (15) But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another! (16) I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.” The deadly deeds of the flesh turn us in on ourselves leading only to death. The singular Fruit of the Spirit nailed to the Tree of Life fills us with Gal 5:22-23 ....love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, (23) gentleness, self-control.” Daily dying with Christ in the waters of Holy Baptism, God the Holy Spirit raises us to live a new life.
    Twenty years ago as the dust settled after Islamic terrorists had attacked our nation. People held out hope for survivors. The great towers of world finance lay in rubble. Part of the Pentagon had burned. Another flight had crashed in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Security was shattered. Death shook us with fear. Many came back to their churches for a few weeks to pray, and seek comfort. Within a month we were told that the patriotic thing to do was to go shopping. The economy needed to be stimulated. Jesus’ Word was forgotten - “You cannot serve God and money.”
When a mysterious virus that originated in China struck in 2020. In many states churches were ordered closed, while the large temples of consumerism remained open as people ran to find their security in toilet paper and hand sanitizer.
        Dear Christian, you are in this world, but not of this world. “Onward Christian soldiers, marching as to war, with the cross of Jesus going on before.” we sing. Soldiers march to the beat of the drum calling out their cadence. Christians march to the beat of a different drum than the world around us. (Vs.25) “Walking”“Keeping in step” with the Spirit is a military term for marching. We march to the cadence of Christ’s life filled forgiving Word in the Gospel. We seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness that He gifts us through His suffering and dying in our place. As Paul testifies, “Php 3:8-9 Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ (9) and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith;” With the terrorist attacks many volunteered to serve in the Armed Forces, some active, reserves, or state national guard units. During the Vietnam war many mocked the National Guard as being weekend warriors who only played army on the weekends. With the terrorist attacks on our own soil there would be no weekend warriors. Guard and reserve units were mobilized and sent off into enemy territory to fight for a year at a time. Dear Christian, you cannot be a ‘weekend warrior” - a “Sunday morning warrior” - a “get me out of church in an hour or less warrior” and say you are walking with the Holy Spirit. God the Holy Spirit keeps you in step through His Word - the Holy Bible - fixing your eyes upon Jesus as you die to self and rise to live your faith in loving service to your neighbor in need.

    The flesh wants to be its own god - an idol called “ME.” (Vs.26) Paul warns us again of what surrendering to our sinful flesh. We break step with God the Holy Spirit and Christ’s Kingdom when we demand things must be done our way or it’s the highway. When instead of offering joyful service we stir up fights or sulk when no one recognizes all that we have done for our congregation. The Christian author, C.S. Lewis, put it well: “Pride is spiritual cancer: it eats up the very possibility of love, contentment, or even common sense.”
      We need to repent for our foolish sinful pride that pulls us away from coming together as a congregation - the family of Christ that God the Holy Spirit has gathered here in Tell City and placed us in to care for our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. Family members care for one another. (Vs. 6:1) Those led by the Spirit will live connected to a community of fellow believers - a flesh and blood connection - not a facebook or web page. God the Holy Spirit gathers us as family around the family table where Jesus feeds us His living flesh and blood. We cannot from a distance care for one another providing spiritual and material support when necessary. Keeping in step with God the Holy Spirit we seek to restore brothers and sisters who have fallen into a trespass. Humbly we speak to them in loving calling them back to apply Christ’s forgiveness. Humbly we listen to our family when it calls us to turn from our pet sin to life under Christ’s cross. This isn’t a job for the pastor and elders - it is the responsibility of every member to seek restoration and reconciliation within the body of Christ.
    Those who are spiritual are all members grounded in God’s Word. Gently we approach the fallen to restore them. Don’t use the excuse that you don’t know all of God’s Word. Memorize, pray, your Small Catechism daily. You don’t need a medical degree to wipe a cut and apply first aid. You can begin CPR or apply an AED to your fellow human being suffering a heart attack without knowing the intricacies of the circulatory system. Memorize your Small Catechism, pray it, meditate on it so that you can apply spiritual first aid to the fallen. Use it also to hold yourself accountable - beware of falling into temptation yourself.
    Keeping in step with the Spirit is to live as a Christ towards others. (Vs.6:2) Jesus shouldered the full burden of your sin, shame, guilt, and hell upon the cross. He heals you by His stripes. In Him you are freed to bear one another’s burdens - forgiving one another as God in Christ has forgiven you. Rejoicing to supply what your brothers and sisters in Christ need from all God the Father has entrusted to your temporary management.
    Beware of stumbling. (Vs.6:3-5) Honestly examine your own work. Not to boast before others, but to thank Jesus that He accounts you faithful to have a share in His ministry. Our Lord could accomplish all apart from us, but He honors us - allowing us to exercise our faith in loving service to Him using our talents, treasures, and time. We are not all called to the same work within the family of our local congregation. The apostles were called and sent to preach. The women who followed Jesus supplied the needs of the disciples from their own stores, feeding, mending, and rejoicing to be honored to serve. Each of us will bear our own burden - calling to serve the family as a whole.
      Keeping in step with the Spirit is only possible through the preaching of Christ’s Word. Rom 10:13-17 For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (14) How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? (15) And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” (16) But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?” (17) So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” (Vs. 6:6) God the Holy Spirit teaches us that we are to support preachers and teachers of the Gospel - that they may give themselves full time to the ministry of God’s Word and prayer. To put it simply we need to pay pastors a living wage. We also need to share with them the good things of the Gospel - to build them up in God’s Holy Word - not to constantly complain and seek to tear them and the congregation down. (Vs. 6:7-8) What seeds are you planting in the garden of your heart? The life giving seed of God’s Word or the weeds of the world’s wisdom. One leads to life, the other to death. How much time do you spend daily reading the Holy Bible and praying? Or are you too busy with the noise of the world to let God’s Word take root in your heart?
      Keeping in step with the Spirit renews us daily to live in Christ. (Vs.9) Don’t lose heart. The harvest will come at the end of the ages. Now the seed you plant may seem dormant - trust the Lord that serving the least of His brothers and sisters you are serving Him. (Vs.10) Don’t wait to be asked - when you see an opportunity to serve within the family of our local congregation do it. Not to receive recognition but to give thanks to God the Father who has given you all in Christ Jesus as the Spirit frees you to love one another. True Sense - not nonsense. Amen.

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