WHEN TIME GIVES WAY
A Sermon from 1.Cor.3:11
“For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Christ Jesus”(1.Cor.3:11)
The time in which we now live is in some way noteworthy. All men’s thoughts, more or less, are turned to the fact that we stand before some threshold of time. As the signs of the times indicate, we are at the close of one millennium, and at the commencement of another. Yes, what will these times be like, this new millennium? How does one prepare for it? What is one to do to, and with what sort of well wishing is one to welcome and inaugurate this most noteworthy time?
Today we celebrate Reformation, or the Renewal of Faith day. This holiday in large measure, in some strange way, conflates with the approaching transition of millenniums. Almost five hundred years ago mankind, the Christian world, had come to a parting point, a point at which time gave way. In this one moment of time, some mighty and wonderful force awakened in the Christian church. Outwardly, so few noticed that only a monk raised his voice, took up the pen and wrote. He did not write much, merely a page long message that he posted for all to see and read. And this one page; this message of one simple monk, Martin Luther, ushered in a new era.
In the history of the Christian church and in particular in the evangelical world we felt this parting as something extraordinarily mighty and real. What had happened? The renewal of faith had been translated into something uplifting for all mankind. Yet this word (faith) has a deep foundation. Something is being renewed, something which has been forgotten or neglected, or in some way has dimmed, gains a new brightness and a new beginning. If we now look back at these five hundred years we see that the Christian church had come to a unique ebb; an era characterized by, bewilderment, and a misunderstanding of both its(the churches’) outward and inward brightness. There has been much said and much pondered concerning this. At that time so much worldliness, secularism, and worthlessness had established itself in the church, so that what was of importance was masked by human traditions, laws, self-love, and love of ostentatious displays so as to debase the truth. What had happened? Why do we call it the Renewal of Faith day? It is because as the Apostle has stated in one sentence,” For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Christ Jesus.” This raises the question; to renew, build something anew, repair what has been laid, strive for something better, more valuable, more desirable? We pause at the Apostle’s words – there already is a foundation. And if we think that something new needs be laid, then we need only uncover the foundation, from that which has been built upon it. Never has it been more important to take heed of this irresistible reminder than in these days. As we await the year 2000, we hear people’s wishes and well-wishing as to how the world should be, how the world must become – better, more acceptable, more interesting. These last few years brought about the great collapse, in which a godless superpower crumbled, and whose demise meant not only a freeing from some horrible yoke put upon man’s mind and life, but meant the opening of a new beginning, the start of a new life. We see it when we open the newspaper, and hear it as we listen to the news on the airwaves. When we overhear people speaking, we are overtaken by a sense of something terrifying. We hope for something new, we want something better, but what we see, is more like the ghostly hour in which we ask, “Is it true?” A great display is taking place – never before experienced, unparalleled. With a word we can speak – freedom for man, freedom from all sorts of bondage. It sounds so wonderful. A few hundred years ago it might have meant, for someone in bondage or slavery, being equal to others, or that each one now had the opportunity to mold his own life, home, and family however he saw fit – upon a good foundation, upon the love of Christ, upon His foundation of truth to build relationships, to build a human life. Yet great destructive forces have been unleashed. Our hearts constrict in pain, and fear as we see images of destroyed cities and villages; we see orphans who have nowhere to stay amid the rubble. In a way it is terrifying, what this new foundation has brought and will bring to whole nations, and a harsh premonition that all this could come upon each and every one of us, for a monstrous force of hatred of one man toward another is unfolding as never before.
This time like a mighty force pits man against man, and divides man from man. This terror reaches even further. It infuses our homes, our places of residence, our interpersonal relationships. We look upon all this with horror. Children are not being born. They have no place in this world, because the parents have no bonds to keep them together as one flesh. A time has come, a so called, “time of setting free”. No, not the freeing of slaves and servants, or the freeing of those incarcerated who have served their sentences, but a time of setting free from the bonds that have been instituted by God. We can no longer talk about things such as marriage. We can now only talk about men and women. They have no bonds, but those of a monetary flash of lust one for another – and nothing else. Today, we see that an ancient institution is being set aside. That word was in the commandments from the moment man was created, as one of the mysteries and miracles of God’s work of creation. This institution for the continuance of life; this union of man and woman, the future of all nations, of the whole world, is being unraveled. No one any longer even sees the necessity to observe it. Even if it has been entered into, it can be undone, so that only these two created beings, men and women, continue to exist. And they have no other bond, but that moment for their own caprice and desire. Something new has begun. And this new creation is as a ripping current that tears asunder marriage and the family. We await something new, we await something better. And this is being offered to us – this something new, this unprecedented, this so much better thing. Not marriage between a man and a woman as the bond of life, but a position before a destructive onslaught. We are experiencing things our fathers and mothers, and we ourselves, could not have imagined a mere few years ago. We now hear, and see pictures in the newspapers that marriages are being performed between members of the same sex. Laws have already been passed that this sort of unnatural communal lifestyle, this form of perversion is recognized as lawful marriage. This is the new thing. We now hear that in our country too this question is being raised concerning the recognition and adoption of this new institution.
Do we fully grasp and understand the consequences of this? When such incidents did occur in society in the past they were condemned as perversion and unclean. From ancient days, from the time of Abraham, as we read in Genesis 19, the rich and prosperous city of Sodom was destroyed due to its unnatural perversity. The judgment of God comes upon it with fire and brimstone. This is the new thing that now is knocking at humanity’s door. And also at our nation’s door. Who now is man? Will we any longer be able to just talk about men or women? Those persons, who enter into this lifestyle of perversion, are lower than livestock and beasts. Even the animals are more chaste and faithful to one another. There is none of this unnatural mixing. What than is this new thing? It is this new age that is invading, more frightfully than bombers and tanks, than poisonous gas. Never before has mankind been in this dreadful a state of degradation; never before has the mind of man been so darkened by its insane arrogance, that it elevates this obvious debauchery, and obvious horror, as a goal toward which mankind should strive.
We are searching for foundations for the new century, for the new millennium. We flatter ourselves, with our knowledge and ability to communicate across the ocean, or gaze into the depths of space. But upon all this lies an oppressive darkness. The very darkness of hell has ascended, and mockingly offers us itself as the future of mankind – this unnatural and foul communion of man.
We, the Christian Church, on this the renewal of Faith Day, are gathered in the House of God and ask, “Where are the foundations?” We are disturbed, by what is offered concerning these foundations. But, dear brothers and sisters do you not sense, that amid the stench of this hell hole of depravity we sense clarity. Thanks be to God, to Jesus Christ, and to His unspeakably mighty Word, that has lifted mankind from a beastly naiveté, and raised it to the very apogee of light.
No one can lay a foundation in another, or in one’s own life, or in the life of humanity, than the one which has already been laid. He is not destroyed, nor abandoned, though all the forces of hell raged about Him. This foundation cannot be moved – Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, our Redeemer, our Life. And so this Renewal of Faith Day, this Renewal of Faith holiday compels us, with all our Holy might to realize that our faith is strengthened, and will continue to strengthen us, amid all this confusion and hellish racket around us, to stand, endure and live.
Have a blessed Reformation Day. We take with us this encouragement, as our strength to endure in the battle in which the confusion of hell abounds, as man sinks, seeking for a new life in this time they call the new age. Blessed be our Lord Jesus Christ.