Messiah Lutheran Church 6201 W Patterson Av
Chicago IL 60634

January 2020

Being 'Yes Men' and 'Yes Women' for God in 2020!

Luke 2:40-52 New International Version (NIV)
40 And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was on him. 41 Every year Jesus' parents went to Jerusalem for the Festival of the Passover. 42 When he was twelve years old, they went up to the festival, according to the custom. 43 After the festival was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it. 44 Thinking he was in their company, they traveled on for a day. Then they began lookingfor him among their relatives andfriends. 45 When they did notfind him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him. 46 After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. 47 Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers. 48 When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, "Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searchingfor you." 49 "Why were you searchingfor me?" he asked. "Didn't you know I had to be in my Father's house?" 50 But they did not understand what he was saying to them. 51 Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart. 52 And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.

In the movie Yes Man, Carl Allen, played by actor Jim Carey, is a depressed bank worker who says "No!" to everything in his dull life. But when he attends a motivational seminar, he decides to say "Yes!" to everything that comes his way, such as taking flying lessons, bungeejumping, learning guitar, and even learning how to speak Korean! Well, what an appropriate application to our walk with God in 2020, that we would say, "Yes!" to God in everything and discover the: wild adventure that awaits us in the days ahead, and that our "no's" would be limited to only those things that are outside of His will for us.

However, such a resolution is easier said than done. In fact, the only person who ever fulfilled such a lofty resolution was Jesus Christ. As He says in John 6:38, "For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me". For Jesus, doing his Heavenly Father's will didn't just start when he became an adult but goes all the way back to his childhood, as depicted in Luke 2:41-52.

God in his wisdom chose not to reveal to us through His inspired Word a whole lot of detail regarding Jesus' childhood. But the Holy Spirit did inspire Luke to include this incident in his Gospel, where we get a glimpse of how Jesus was able to keep the fourth commandment to "Honor your Father and Mother", while above all saying "Yes" to the will of his Heavenly Father.

We don't know exactly the thoughts that were going on in Joseph and Mary's heads. But you can imagine the anxiety they must have felt, when their child was missing. Perhaps Joseph assumed that he was with Mary on up ahead with the rest of the women and children. Or perhaps Mary had reasoned that Jesus had lingered to. travel with Joseph and the other men, Or maybe they just took it for granted that he was traveling with the rest of the relatives and neighbors who had traveled with them from Nazareth.

But, they soon discovered that after traveling for a day that he wasn't with them. And consequently, went back to Jerusalem to. look for him. And so they begin looking for him ill Jerusalem. We don't know where else they may have looked initially, but eventually they find him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to. them and that everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers. His parents were astonished, but an exasperated Mary, says to. him, "Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you!" But Jesus answers according to. the New King James Version, "Why did you seek me? Did you not know that 1 must be about my Father's business"?

Now some translators, including the New International Version, have translated this verse as Jesus saying, "I must be in my Father's house", which isn't really an accurate translation from the Greek. For Luke, through inspiration of the Holy Spirit records Jesus as saying the Greek words tois toupatros, or literally ''the things of my Father".

And so. Jesus was emphasizing to. Mary and Joseph that he understood his mission to be about "the things of his Heavenly Father", not just being in a particular place. While it is true that being about his father's business included his conduct that day in the temple, the business of his father included all the other people, places, things, and works of his life.

And so. this is a good New Year's Resolution for all of us as well: "to. be about the things of our Heaven Father". And one of those things includes being in regular worship in the Father's House at Messiah, in keeping the third commandment, "Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy" as well as the words found in Hebrews 10:25: "Let us not stay away from our worship services, as some are regularly doing, but let us encourage one another, all the more because you see the day coming nearer".

But it also. includes all the other ''things'' of your Heavenly Father that the Holy Spirit will be leading and guiding you to. do as you allow God's Word to be the light to. your path and a lamp to your feet in this New Year.

At times saying 'Yes!" to. God may mean being misunderstood, being labeled "crazy", and forsaking so-called friends in the process. Jesus even warns in Matthew 10:36-37 that "a man's enemies will be the members of his own household, Anyone who. loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me", emphasizing that our love for God should supersede our loyalty anyone or anything else on earth, even those whom we're closest to on this earth.

Our Heavenly Father is calling us to be of a singular purpose in saying "Yes!" to his will, no matter what the consequences. It's not always going to be easy to keep such a resolution, especially when our sinful flesh doesn't feel like it or else it means suffering and being misunderstood. Even Jesus in his human nature, understandably, prayed that if there was another way, he would not have to suffer by way of the cross in the Garden of Gethsemane .. And yet, he resigned himself to his Father's will, saying, "Nevertheless, not my will but yours be done!"

Saying "Yes!" to God may involve saying "No!" to family, friends, the world, and all kinds of other pressures on us to say "Yes!" to the world, the devil, and our sinful flesh, but we are warned in Romans 12:2 "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind". Our mind is to like that of Christ, whose purpose was to do his Father's business from a child!

And the chief end of his Father's business was that you would be forgiven of your sins, and made a member of the family of God, which is why Jesus willingly suffered and died on the: cross, so that you might be a child in the family of God, and given the same privilege of calling God the Almighty One, your Heavenly Father!, and would follow the example of your older brother Jesus in being about your Father's business, no matter what the consequences.

In this narrative we get a pretty good idea of the loyalty Jesus had towards his earthly parents, while remaining loyal to His Heavenly Father at the same time. As our text tells us" "He went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them." Nevertheless, above all else, his singular focus was to be obedient to his Heavenly Father.

May each of us this New Year be resolved to be "Yes!" men and "Yes!" women of God. A::; we say "No!" to the devil, the world, and our sinful flesh and allow the Holy Spirit to lead and guide us as we like Jesus "do the things" of our Heavenly Father.

May the members and friends of Messiah be living examples of "Yes!" Men and "Yes!" Women of God to others!

May the light of God's Word guide your way throughout 2020!

Your Undershepherd,
Pastor Wendt

Copyright © 2020 Messiah Lutheran Church All Rights Reserved