Sunday Service 09/02/2020

You can listen to the Sunday service message by Ryan Vicar in the following audio link

Date: 09/02/2020: 08:30 am

Message: Ryan Vicar

Scroll down for the written script of the message

“God’s Secret, Revealed”

Grace, mercy, and peace be unto you from God our Father and our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

I will always remember a private prayer I said during religion class in 7th grade, I’ll never forget it; it was a simple prayer to receive wisdom. James 1:5 says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given.” And when Jesus was growing up, we hear that He “increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.”
Growing up, I always felt like I was out of the loop. I had friends and even best friends, sure, but I rarely had secrets. I didn’t have cool stories to share with best friends or inside jokes to keep. And when people would pass notes in the hallway or whisper in class, I felt left out. I really didn’t like that feeling. So as the years went on, maybe I had a few secrets here and there, but they didn’t make me feel any better. They were empty, useless; they were secrets just so I could say, “Look! I have secrets, too!” Deep down, I never cared about them though, I just cared about being a friend to others, and receiving their friendship in return.
Have you ever felt that way? Left out, like you were not good enough to be “in on the secret”. For the kids and youth, I’m sure you know what I am talking about. And for the adults, I wonder how often this creeps up in your professional life. For the kids, secrets can cause divisions and quickly ruin friendships. For the adults, secrets can lead to special favors and promotions, or the opposite if you are left out. In the Department of Defense, there are even different levels of secret. And if you only have a “Secret Security Clearance” you may wish you had Top Secret, as I once did, because who doesn’t want to be in the “need to know”? Full disclosure – I will not be asking any of you what your Security Clearance is…
Focusing on Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, he uses the word “wisdom” a lot. Six times, in fact, and a seventh if we were to read verse 13. We know Paul is smart, he has a lot of education, and he writes many (13) of the books we have in the New Testament. And the people in Corinth surely knew Paul had these attributes as well. We say that he is wise. But Paul wrote that he “did not come proclaiming the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom.” Here Paul is making a point. Because although he could have used a superiority of speech, he chose not to. Although he had a better grasp on deep theology, his joy was to point everyone to Jesus and give them the theology that helped them to know their Savior.
He understood what the wisdom of the world entails, he had been sucked into it before. He understood that lofty speech and worldly wisdom can lead to power and control, because again he himself was sucked into that before his encounter with Jesus. Moving to our world today, little has changed as he wrote in verse 6 that the wisdom and rulers of the age are doomed to pass away. The problem is not information, education, language, or even wisdom itself – because these things are beneficial to the individual, to society, and even at the global stage. Many of your lively hoods even revolve around these, and we praise God for them. With more access to education, resources by way of the internet, and empirically tested human wisdom leads to improved ways of life – especially seen in developing countries.
The problem is in the lie which is often sold along with the pursuit of earthy wisdom. We hear that more information is better. More education is better. Grander, loftier language is better. We hear the promise that these things will give us a better life. The offer for wisdom and knowledge that knows no bounds is inviting, invigorating. But where is the end goal? Surely it is life-changing when there is a new medical breakthrough for cancer treatment, there is hope for the planet when there is a new invention to clean our oceans, and there is excitement when a historical discovery is made. Yet, while we can find temporary comforts in these things, and we can, there is something lacking. The missing piece is that human wisdom and the way of the world denies our sinful nature, and ultimately our need for a Savior.
But do you know what? You do not need to search for wisdom, and you don’t need a degree in theology in order to find salvation, because you already have it. When someone confesses faith in Christ with Saint Paul, and all of Christendom, you have now received the wisdom which truly knows no bounds. “For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” That statement, the word of the cross, is folly to those who are perishing. It is foolish to those who do not believe. It is a stumbling block to those who think they know better or place their faith elsewhere. Sadly, it is a hidden secret from a sinful and unrepentant world… Jesus Christ and Him crucified. This statement is the secret coming straight from God Himself. It is the Gospel, the hidden wisdom revealed to those who believe.
Back to the days of childhood, whenever a secret was being told and a child felt left out, there was a saying: Secrets, secrets are no fun, unless they are shared with everyone. I believe this silly saying actually fits well within Paul’s message, no wait, not Paul’s message, but the message of Jesus Christ. This is not a secret that is to be hidden, nor is it a secret that requires a diploma nor a special security clearance. But it is a secret that is to be shared with all nations, all races, all ages. For all people. This secret is revealed in the Holy Bible, it is revealed to babies and adults alike when they are baptized with water and the Word, and it is revealed to us when we receive Holy Communion.
We do not have the spirit of the world, whose whispers and secrets are often lies. Instead, we have been given the Holy Spirit who has both revealed the mysteries of God’s grace, and continually teaches us the words in which the mystery is spoken: that Jesus Christ is our Savior. This secret is not for only a few, select people, but for the world. And with God’s revealed mystery, we receive the comfort which overtakes our weakness and fears, the comfort knowing our faith does not rest in the wisdom of the world, but in the power of God.
And in that faith, we have been given the mind of Christ. God’s secret has been revealed, that Jesus is our righteousness, our holiness, and our redemption. By the cross, Jesus has overcome the world and its ways. So just as God answered my prayer in 7th grade, rest easy knowing you too have been given perfect wisdom from the Spirit of God, so that we might understand these things freely, given to us through Christ.

And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.

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