Romans 15:4-13/AdventWED2-07

 

            How DO you put up with God? What a good question!

 

Last Wednesday we heard God’s holy apostle tell us: “Cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.”

 

How do you put up with a God who says – No more orgies and drunkenness? No more sexual immorality and throwing yourself like a cheap whore at the pleasures of this world?

 

How do you put up with a God who says – No more quarreling and jealousy? And how does GOD put up with people He has say that to? And by the say, No more orgies!

 

This weekend, we heard Jesus warn us not to get weighed down with carousing and drunkenness and the cares of this life.

 

Does it seem like God is kinda taking the JOY out of the season? How do you put up with a God like that?

 

To make matters even worse, God’s holy apostle is back at it again this evening. He says, “Let’s get on the same page with all this, shall we? Live in harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus. Endure. So that, TOGETHER, you may with ONE voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

 

Dear Christian, God makes Himself such a problem for sinners like us, doesn’t He? He just won’t get out of our face. Thank God for Advent!

 

In the midst of this world’s total and complete self-absorption, where all anybody wants is what THEY want – our Lord keeps turning us away from ourselves.

 

It sounds like so much Law. Don’t get caught up in STUFF. Don’t get lost in the mess of Christmas preparation, where no one gives a rip what GOD has to say, but everybody only drowns himself in what HE figures is important. Don’t get lost like that, forgetting, spread thin – not even time to hear how all of life is so much different than we’re thinking that it is.

 

Sounds like Law.

 

OK, it’s Law. How do you put up with a God Who talks like that? Who doesn’t let you act like the fatherless children the rest of this dark world is running around like?

 

How do you put up with a God Who loves you enough to call you to repentance?

 

Dear Christian, you put up with a God like that the way He puts up with sinners like YOU – and that’s going to be the same way sinners like us put up with one another.

 

There’s only one answer to the question, isn’t there?

 

Christ Jesus! Given into Flesh for us by the God and Father Who has to tell His children not to keep on having orgies.

 

You should read the Bible sometime, and learn what God has to tell His people not to do. We’ll get to some of that in our study of Leviticus.

 

How does God put up with us – when He has to keep sitting us down and having these talks; so stern sounding, but really, so full of His desire to save sinners!

 

God is not intent on seeing us damned, so, He talks the way He does. He’s putting up with us a little longer, because of Jesus! In Christ, the wrath of God has been contained. In Him, God can even look at people who throw themselves into orgies of spending and eating and drinking and running about as if they had no time for God or anybody else, and He call them children, as if He’s not about to throw in the towel – not about to rush down to Wal-Mart and buy out the plastic Barbies, so He can at least have some obedient people in heaven!

 

God’s not doing that. He has Jesus. At least ONE Son in the Family is of ONE mind with the Lord.

 

Remember how that went?

 

How do you put up with a God Who wants you DEAD?

 

You think YOU’VE got it tough – when God gives you people He wants you living in peace with, in love, in forgiveness? When He says, “Get on the same page now, and agree with me that so and so is JUST the person that I want you loving, serving, living for, laying down you life to help.”

 

Jesus had US to do that for! And He really didn’t want to.

 

But He was on the same page with God! He was in harmony with His Father – and that didn’t have a thing with how He felt the night they started beating on His body! No way!

 

He prayed, “Nevertheless, not My will, but Thine be done!”

 

There you go. Jesus goes along with the God Who wants Him DEAD – for your sake and for mine! And that’s how God goes on with you and me for children – people whom He has to tell, “Cut down on the orgies, will ya? Don’t drink and eat so much, you’ll only kill yourself and then how will you serve your neighbor? I didn’t put these things into the world so you could turn ‘em into idols. Will you please pay attention?”

 

How does God put up with people like us? The same way we put up with HIM – even when He’s speaking hard words.

 

JESUS! Jesus in our place on the cross, and Jesus over us in Words and Water. Jesus in us through the Bread and Wine – until God can’t see anything of us but JESUS!

That’s how God puts up with us. And that’s how we put up – how we endure, keep going on – with Him. Even though, each time we sit down in a place like this, He’s talking like He doesn’t want us running over one another, casting everybody off, or living like the drunkards, sluts and children of the darkness, who don’t have a Father in this world – not that they’ll put up with!

 

We have Jesus. And Jesus is for us, even to the point of taking all the death and hurt and pain we owe. He kept His head about Him as we all were losing ours, and He gave His heart to God and did what even HE was really not to keen on doing. He lifted His heart to the Lord, and saved us.

 

That’s how you endure, dear Christian – with a God who calls you to lay your life down for each other, if not to the point of shedding blood, at least to the point of enduring those who are no worse off than you are; who don’t stink any more than you do; who aren’t any more apt to lose themselves in orgies and sensuality and drunkenness and all the cares of this life!

 

We’re all in the same boat, are we, or there isn’t any need for Jesus. No need for the Father to send the Son. No need for the Son to lift up His heart and agree with God over something as hard as our salvation. No need for the Spirit, Who keeps calling us by the Gospel; Who keeps us WITH Jesus Christ – by Baptism, Absolution, the Word and the Supper – in the one true Faith.

 

With Jesus. In Jesus. Because of Jesus. That’s how God puts up with us and how we put up with God. And if there’s putting up like that in the Christ Who keeps sinners and God on the same page, with one mouth confessing that heaven now has a place for sinners – dear people, don’t you think you can put up with the next guy?

 

In Christ, you know what the answer is. Go ahead and let me hear you say it . . . All mouths together on this one, and your hearts will begin to follow . . . In Jesus’ Name . . . AMEN!