2/20/2000, Ep7B

“In Him It Is Always, Yes!”
I Corinthians 1: 18-22

olks sometimes change their minds. You say, “I would never drive a Ford, its just a piece of junk, just like its name--- Fix, Or Repair Daily.” And then your uncle dies and leaves you a Ford Mustang, a red one, a convertible, and you can’t remember why you were so against such a fine American made automobile.

We are fickle--- even Christian people sometimes change their minds, and it is a good thing, because we are also often wrong about our concrete notions and have to sledge hammer them back to dust. Unlike God who is always right, we are often wrong, and it is a good thing that we can modify our attitudes.

Doctors now say that because we all have a limited number of brain cells, loss of memory is natural and necessary and it’s good because we need to forget some of the stuff from our past. However, the trick is forgetting all the bad and remembering the good. Many of us native sons of the South have fortunately had our caches cleansed of why we were prejudiced against so many minority groups. Our memories have been cleansed of the old and new, more tolerant, loving, and Christlike attitudes have been formed. Naturally, not all new notions are good and sometimes we let negatives replace our positives; but in either case, we stay attached to The Rock.

Our text begins with an affirmation by Paul that, “As surely as God is faithful (a Rock), our word to you has not been Yes and No... but in him it is always “Yes. For in him every one of God’s promises is a ‘Yes.” (v.18 & 20). In other words, Christ is the great affirmation of what is eternally true on earth and in heaven. As Christians, our selective memory is rebuilt upon the truth that has been revealed to us through Scripture, and years of cultural conditioning within the Community of Faith. Thus, our proposition still today takes on an air of certainty and absoluteness concerning the core of doctrine. There are some things that are best forgotten; but, there are many basic truths that are built upon.

Yet, I encounter people all the time who are paralyzed by their past limitations and have come limping into the 21st Century. Then, we see others who have thrown the baby out with the bath water, and don’t have any anchor points of truth. It was the same way in Christianity’s 1st Century. The First Theologian of the Church is telling his Church at Corinth, and he is still trying to remind us, that only in God’s Son is there a certain “Yes!”

Our response to the “Yes!” is to allow Him to confirm in our hearts the reality that is beyond our knowing, but can be felt in our souls. And that’s somehow enough. Sure, we believe in scientific advancements. We have felt good about the body of scientists being honored as the princes of the 20th Century. Albert Einstein was selected as TIME’s “Person of the Century,” representing the Wright brothers, Jonas Salk, and thousands of others who have discovered many principles and used their new information to make life longer and better. However, I was reminded of humanity’s continuing mortality by a sign board on a city bus that read: “Celebrate This New Millennium as if it Were Your Last!” Marilyn and I have been shocked by four funerals this week. We have been reminded that in Christ there is an eternal “YES!” from The Creator. God’s fidelity stands behind His own steadfastness as He sounds the Amen down through the centuries. From Adam to Christ He has always said “Yes” to His creation.

God can always say “Yes” because He is always right; but we, are seldom 100% right about anything. God looks ahead and plots the scenarios that could happen as a result of the many choices that we make, and He has foreknowledge of how things will work out. However, we are like the person in the Robert Frost poem who dances through the mystery will little knowledge and God sits in the midst of us and knows all things.

“We dance round in a ring and suppose,
But the Secret sits in the middle and knows.”

Note that the “Secret” is capitalized and is the Infinite Creator who knows.

But will we join in “the dance?” Will we choose to resound the “Amen” with Him? Will our response be to yield, and experience the promises and assurance of God in Christ by resounding the “Yes?” And will we continue to repeat the “Yes” daily in all situations that demand a certain answer? Will our souls be remolded by God’s certainty in uncertain situations? And will we begin to be the people that the Spirit can enable us to become through His Grace?

Yet, as precious as the gift of the Holy Spirit is to our souls, there is an even more inestimable prize that we are promised in this text. Indeed, Paul says that giving us the Spirit in our hearts is “a first installment,” (NRSV) or foretaste, or “earnest” payment (KJV) toward that ultimate reward. (v.22).

If you have done business with a realtor, attorney, or other professional person, you have usually paid “Earnest Money,” or a retainer, or first installment, to show that you are serious. When we “closed” on our home we paid a lot of folks “earnest” payments up front and have been paying a lot of folks ever since. The analogy here is that of our present spiritual benefits as being seen as merely small pre payments toward that ultimate prize.

As meaningful as our current calling from God is, and as comforting as our assurance of eternal life is, and as wonderful as all other benefits we now experience through the inner presence of the Holy Spirit are ...”none of it is worth comparing to the glory that is to be revealed to us.” (Ro. 8:18).

Don’t we all want it all? Would it not be a shame to have heard all our lives about this ultimate “Yes” from God at death, and to miss out on it? Well, it is ours then, if it is ours now. And this is The Good News today!

a sermon synopsis by C. Robert Allred, Th.D., Pastor

2/20/2000, Ep7B