1 “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. 2 In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. 4 And you know the way to where I am going.”
5 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” 6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”
8 Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” 9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works. 11 Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves.
12 “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. 13 Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.”
In the name of Jesus. Amen.
Alleluia! Christ is risen!
He is risen indeed! Alleluia!
Jesus says, “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in Me.”
If your goal in life is to make a lot of money or have lots of power over others, the easiest way to do it is to stir up fear and manufacture a crisis. The first step in creating fear and crisis is to point out how things are changing and convince everyone that change is bad. Once people convinced this change is scary and terrible, you can keep dipping your hand in their wallet and controlling their behavior.
For years, we were constantly warned about global warming. The earth was getting hotter. We were told, “We are putting too much CO2 in the atmosphere. The sea levels are rising. We have to get rid of the smog over our cities.”
So, the politicians came saying, “Elect me, and I’ll save you. I’ll make sure greedy corporations don’t keep spewing poison into the atmosphere. I’ll keep your water clean. I’ll make sure your kids breathe safe air.”
And scientists and businesses followed the politicians. “Give us funding so we can do studies.” “Make people buy our lightbulb that looks like spaghetti because it uses less energy.”
It’s gotten so absurd, there are cities spending countless hours and money debating and doing studies about grocery bags. At first, they didn’t want us using paper bags because we were cutting down all the forests, so we started to use plastic. But all those plastic bags are filling up landfills and killing fish and birds. Now, we are supposed to bring reusable bags whenever we go to the store. And those bags need to get washed so we don’t die of salmonella, but washing them uses more energy. And we’re back to square one.
All sorts of nonsense was done in the name of saving the earth and handing a cleaner planet to our children. Never mind the fact that, for nearly twenty years, the global temperature has been staying stable.
So, to keep getting elected and to keep getting funding and to keep making money the scientists, politicians, and businesses no longer talk about “global warming.” No. Now, it’s “global climate change.” Hot summer? “Global climate change.” Cold, snowy winter? “Global climate change.” Rainy? “Global climate change.” Drought? “Global climate change.” And, whenever possible, make sure you call it “catastrophic global climate change.”
None of this is to say that we should be pigs and pollute the planet. Everyone wants clean air and water. And for goodness sakes, this is a sermon – not a stump speech on the politics of weather and mankind’s effect on the climate.
So what’s the point? The point is that people will use change to create fear so they can control you and take your money. It’s almost a mathematical formula: Change X Fear = Money and Power. And the bigger the change, the bigger the fear, the more money and power.
Climate change is an easy target to pick on because in all the fear and fuss about the weather, no scientist, politician, or business will tell you what temperature it’s supposed to be. They don’t tell you what the temperature is supposed to be because if we ever achieve it, there is no more change, nor more fear. And that means they lose their power to take your money and control how you live.
But this same thing happens even in the church. Change is turned into fear in order gain control. The church is aging and shrinking, so we need to do something to draw in young people. The church needs to get more with the times. Giving is down, and the church is struggling to survive. So buy this book, come to this seminar, employ these methods, or your church will die.
But none of those things work precisely because none of it is the means that God has given the Church to do ministry. God has given to His Church His Word and the Sacraments. That’s it. Through these, and through them alone, God creates faith. But that doesn’t sell. So the books, seminars, and methods don’t suggest the Word and Sacraments. And every few years, there are be new books, new seminars, new methods.
We need to repent. We need to repent of our worry when we think we need to save the world. We need to repent of acting as though God’s gifts of Word and Sacrament are no longer the answer. We need to repent of our fear. We need to repent and listen to Jesus.
Jesus says, “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe. Believe in God, believe also in Me.” So, what are you worried about? What is troubling you?
Whatever it is you fear, whatever it is that worries and troubles you, the answer is faith in Christ. In this sinful world, things change. The answer is Jesus and what He has done for you.
Troubled by politics? Jesus has died and risen for you. Believe.
Troubled by the weather? It doesn’t matter if there is or isn’t catastrophic global climate change, and it doesn’t matter if we are causing it or not. Jesus has died and risen for you. Believe.
Troubled by our relationship with Russia or North Korea saying they will wipe our country off the face of the planet? Jesus has died and risen for you. Believe.
Troubled by the decline in the church? Jesus has died and risen for you. Believe.
In Christ, God has given you promises that He will not go back on – not now, not ever. Believe.
Believe because Jesus has rescued you. Jesus has ransomed you. Jesus has gone to the cross and prepared a place for you with Him forever. Jesus has put His name upon you in your Baptism and claimed you as His own. Jesus has given you His Body and Blood for the forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation. Jesus has absolved you of all your sins.
If you stray, Jesus will seek you out. If you fall, Jesus will pick you up. If you are faithless, He remains faithful (2 Tim. 2:13). Believe.
The simple fact of life in this fallen, broken world is that things change. In this sinful world, the times are always changing. Bob Dylan once said, “There is nothing so stable as change.” He was wrong.
With all the change and decay in this world, there is one thing that always is forever stable and enduring: Jesus has died and risen for you; Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life; Jesus is the chief cornerstone of forgiveness, life, and mercy; and whoever believes in Him will not be put to shame – not now, not ever.
Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe in Jesus.
Alleluia! Christ is risen!
He is risen indeed! Alleluia! Amen.
The peace of God which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.