"For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, whom we proclaimed among you, Silvanus and Timothy and I, was not "Yes and No"; but in him it was always "Yes." For in him every one of God's promises is a "Yes." (II Corinthians 1: 19-20, NRSV)
Folks have all kinds of notions about God. Surprisingly many think that God is a bad guy in the sky who doesn't want us to have any fun. Some think that God is always saying No! Neither notion could be further from the truth. Sometimes we need to change our minds. You say, "I would never drive a Chevrolet, it's just a piece of junk!" And then your uncle dies and leaves you a 1968 vintage Camaro, a red one, a convertible, and you can't remember why you were so much against such a fine American made automobile.
Even some Christian people need to change their minds about God. It is a good thing to change our minds because we are often wrong. Perhaps you grew up in a negative environment and were taught that God is out to get you. Hopefully, you have heard repeatedly from this pulpit that God loves you and desires the best for you.
Medical researchers now say that because humans have a limited number of brain cells, loss of memory is natural and necessary. This is good because we need to forget some of the stuff from our past; however, the trick is forgetting the bad and remembering the good. Or, we might say that we need our outlook on life modified. Our memories have canceled old notions and more Christlike attitudes have been formed. The reason we need to associate with positive Christian friends is that they help turn us toward a positive Christian world view. Association with the Divine Yes turns us in the right way.
Yet, we know folks who are emotionally paralyzed by bent ideas and have come limping into the 21st Century carrying excess baggage. We know others who have become secularists and have lost their anchor points of truth. Much of this same kind of process of change was going on in Christianity's 1st Century. In our text we hear Paul, the first theologian, reminding the Corinthian Church that in Jesus the answer is always "Yes!" These babes in Christ had been converted to Christianity and were in the process of having their ideas recast about most things. Like them, God still wants to remold us. He wants to root out the negative and replace it with a positive new outlook on life.
Our response to God's "Yes" is to allow Him to build in our souls that same positive attitude that was in Christ Jesus. As a result, we can follow God's direction as we march forward with the confidence that we are following His road map. Thus, we become prototypes of God's new creation; not merely "yes people," but resounders of His "Yes!"
Christ's "Yes" continues through our servantship as we allow Him to turn us into what C. S. Lewis often called, "Little Christs." Jesus Christ is a reaffirmation of all the Divine Promises of the Old Testament, and all of the positive promises of the New Testament. Jesus says "Yes" to all that is in keeping with His will for our lives, and all that is according to His plan for the world. As believers we echo the Divine "Yes" in every situation. We are the salt of the earth and the light of the world as decision makers.
For example, The United States government and its people are seeking God's will as to how we should respond to the horrendous acts of terrorism that have been perpetuated against our homeland, and other nominally Christian nations, and people, throughout the world. These ultra right wing Islamic sects have also threatened the many secular Arab nations that have traditionally been our allies. Our nation stands on the brink of a one sided war with Iraq as an effort to free the Iraqi people from dictatorial oppression and to prevent weapons of potential annihilation being put into the hands of these terroristic sects that would use them to kill as many innocent people as they could.
As individual believers we must search our souls and come to a plan that we believe to be God's will in this dangerous conflict. We become a major part of the attitudes that shape our nation which pollsters measure from week to week. Hopefully, our thoughtful decisions will be persuasive in leading our nation. Our individual daily conflicts are sometimes hard enough to resolve, but as believers we must look beyond our little picket fences toward a much grander scale of helping to turn attitudes in the way that we collectively feel is according to God's plan, His "Yes."
As we reluctantly joined in World Way II there was a vast majority who felt that we had to do our part in defeating Hitler's dreams of world domination. My parents used to reminisce that they did not know anyone who was not in favor of our role in defeating Nazism. We feel that America, and the free world, did find the Divine "Yes" in defeating the Axis Powers. War should be a last straw, but is sometimes necessary.
Our most troubling problem is that this current war is different. No longer is there an identifiable enemy entrenched in a specific geographical area, but it is scattered around the globe. Occasionally an ominous tape is broadcast but we do know where they are hiding out. We never imagined that suicide bombers would consider innocent civilians as military targets. Every time a major accident or fire happens we wonder if its terrorism again. We wonder whether our neighbors hold secret desires to blow up our shopping center or office building. We wonder if there will ever be a time again in America when will not be expected to be "vigilant." As rosounders of "The Divine Yes," some are still struggling with how to feel about this war. It's not a clear cut choice. However, we do know that God has historically led His People to protect their families and to make the world free for us to live free from tyranny.
As so we wait on God to show us The Divine "Yes in going to war. Perhaps we will never know until it's over. However, right now we march forward down a road that seems to inevitably lead to war. History will teach us whether we were right.
a sermon synopsis
by C. Robert Allred, Th.D., Pastor