21. November 2019

Sermon on December 28th, 2014

Sermon: Frank Moritz-JaukFlag_of_Austria

Children of God

Galatians 4, verses 4-7

In the three verses that we heard in today’s reading, I find a topic that I hold tobe very meaningful and important: Through Jesus Christ we have begun God’s children.God’s children who are allowed to call, „ Abba, dear Father!”.

Incredible?

We have already sung it today, but are we aware of the joy in this statement?

I do not expect a dance of joy or a, “hallelujah” – which could happen in other churches. But I do believe that we should be aware what it means: you are a son, you are a daughter of God

In an older translation from Luther, today’s verse went as follows: so you are not a servant anymore but a child; if you are a child, then also heritage through God.“ I would like to pick out this outline and mention that three questions follow:

What does it mean not to be a servant or a slave?

What does it mean to be a child`

What does it mean to be heir or heiress?

When Paul writes tothe Galatians, that they are no longer servant or slave, then he is referring to the law, to the five books of Moses or the Torah. Concretely, the Galatians were concerned about the circumcision, which a group of law-abiding Jewish Christians wanted to introduce.At first glance it appeared to be not so tragic but basic, when viewing this circumcision as a condition for belonging to the municipality of salvation.

In contract, Paul resisted thisand referred to those who abide by the law and all related regulations as slaves. A slave had no rights whatsoever. One can send a slave, like Hager the Egyptian, into the desert with just a piece of bread and some water. To certain death. And it comes to this death too: those who hope through adherence to the law, to compete, even before God, will fail.

That is the credo, the central belief, in the Paul’s entire theology: you will not receive the salvation by not having sinned, by being free of errors but by letting Christ save you.” „But when the time had come, God sent forth his son”..“(Gal 4,4)

Slavery of course has been abolished here. In many places in this world but it still exists.IN the context ofthe letter ofthe Galatians, it deals with a description of slavery, for the condition of the people in the face of God: I cannot comply with the law. I cannot do it on my own. And because I recognize this, I feel like I am a slave – I cannot do anything about it, I am at the mercy of someone else.

What a liberation that ist o be redeemd by Jesus from this hopeless situation: I have called you by your name, you are mine.(Jes 43,1)

Our reading today goes beyond the liberation, „because you are his sons and daughters now, God has sent the spirit of hiss on into your hearts.“

What does it mean to be God’s child?

In order to get closer to this topic, we have to feel for ourselves what it feels like to have children or to be a child.Unfortunately, as human beings we are prone to error, so the following description does not always apply to but basically childhood is a close relationship: With which people in the whole wide world to I feel closest to? What does this mean to me, who can hurt me most easily and to whom do I cry about after they die?

As mentioned, as human beings we are prone to error and we do not only good but also bad.What does it mean that our memories can be not only positive?I believe there is no doubt that we as parents feel particularly connected to our children.

Some of us would say that the closest connection that we have is to our children. Others would say to our spouses. Others would say to our mothers – the topic about children I would not like to generalize.

I hold that the connection of a father or a mother to their child, this connection is very strong and in particular is with a lot of love.

The Ruler of the world gives us this connection.

The salutation of God as, “our Father“ is very familiar to Christians but it should not be taken for granted..

How intimate this connection is, how lovingly my father was with me as a child, does not essentially depend on my answer but basically God has delivered the spirit of his son in my heart, so that God can approach me as a child.

Children are not super thrilled that they are children and are not allowed to do everything that adults are allowed to do. We are invited to trust in God as a child. Unconditionally, with a deep belief in the good, loving Father, God wants to be.Paul answers the question about our status as children in the last verse, „ So, if you are a son or a daughter of God, you are also an heir. We are not under-aged children who are not allowed to do everything, we are the heirs.

What does it mean to be an heir or an heiress?

First and foremost, this is about salvation that Christ has gotten for us. We inherit the reconciliation with God, which Jesus did for us.

With inheritance there is also a legacy.The person who bequeathed the inheritance to us also leaves something behind. Something that we are responsible for after the person dies.Whatcouldthisbe?

In realityitisvery simple. Very simple and aptly summarized in the double commandment of love: We are to love God and our neighbor and our next like ourselves.

Paul and Wesley write about faith which is active in love. (Gal 5,6)

Being active in love involves to many areas of our lives and is not limited to a diaconal action. To be active in loves includes good words that we give one another, it can be a prayer that we say to God for someone in trouble, it includes services that happen in secret and which are so important for our community.

Heritage. Heritage also means to receive something, something that we have not created or earned.Thus, the essence of faith is actually very well described. Neither have we created the world in which we live nor earned our salvation through our actions. No, a gift, a great, wonderful gift from God is our life and our faith.

„So you are no longer servant, but child; but if a child, then also God’s heritage.

I hope that we can really believe this.

Not only take not of it but really believe.

This Christmas I realized again, what a difference it makes if we really believe or just acknowledge.

When I believe, that Jesus is really God’s son and that his birth is really something new, then the only thing I can do is to be happy. Stirred, full of thanks, I am happy about God.

If I acknowledge the child in the stable like other news items,then nothing or not much touches me on Christmas day.

To believe means to trust, to bear witness, to stand behind this message, whether or not it is socially said. Whether or not the others do it.

God’s spirit produces my spirit, that we are God’s children and so we are.

If a childthen also Der Geist Gottes bezeugt meinem Geist, dass wir Gottes Kinder sind und wir sind es auch.

If a child, then inheritance from God.

This I believe.

Amen.

 

Translating: Elisabeth Jansen