|送交者: 雅1 2017年03月06日18:16:57 于 [彩虹之约] 发送悄悄话|
The ‘sine qua non’ of History”
March 5, 2017 (Lent 1 A)
The theme of our sermon today is: “The ‘sine qua non’ of History” – and I fear we might not get very far without a brief Latin lesson. Have you heard that phrase, “sine qua non” before? Do you know what it means? It’s an old Latin legal term that literally means: “without which – not / nothing.” It refers to an indispensable or absolutely essential ingredient – if that “thing” (whatever it is) is not present; then whatever you are talking about doesn’t exist.
Some pumpkin pie will clarify what I’m talking about here. You can have pumpkin pie without ice cream / without whipped cream – in fact, you can make it without sugar or without any spice at all. It wouldn’t taste very good, but you’ll still have pumpkin pie – those are NOT “sine qua non” ingredients. But PUMPKIN is. Without pumpkin you can’t have pumpkin pie – you simply have an empty pie crust. I suppose you could say the pie crust is another “sine qua non” ingredient – without the crust you just have a blob of pumpkin stuff. The “sine qua non” of pumpkin pie is the crust and the pumpkin filling – all the other ingredients can be mixed and varied in different amounts, and hopefully come together to make it taste good.
We are talking about human history today – a BIG topic! There are two men who are the “sine qua non” of history. If you take either one of them out of the history of mankind – you are left with a senseless BLOB of confusion. The Apostle Paul tells us who these 2 men are, and how absolutely essential they both are to HISTORY itself: Romans 5:17–19 (NIV 11)
17 For if, by the trespass of the one man [ADAM], death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ!
18 Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act [the perfect life of Christ and His death and resurrection / what He came down here to accomplish] resulted in justification and life for all people. 19 For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners [literally: the multitudes were dumped in the “sinner” category], so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous. [The multitudes will be dumped in the “righteous / perfect” category – namely, back in a right relationship with God and there with Him in glory forever.]
Have you noticed that both ADAM and JESUS have been stripped out of what many consider “real history” and dumped over in the “myth” category? What happens when the 2 most essential and important men of all human history are removed . . . from history? Chaos. You have a blob of “something” – I’m not sure what you can call it, but it’s not history. It’s ignorance – people don’t understand sin / death / what it all means / what, if anything, happens to us after death / where humanity is headed / what, if any, lessons we should learn – anything objective and concrete is GONE . . . and sheer absurdity reigns supreme.
In a world of no meaning, no purpose, no justice, no history, no future, no design, no plan, no objective truth . . . everything is just a cosmic “fluke” – and everyone has to invent their own “truth”, meaning, purpose, and history. It doesn’t work at all! Everyone has their own “truth”? This guy believes he’s saved by grace through faith in Jesus – that person believes she’s saved by doing more good things than bad things – that other person can’t figure out what gender he/she is, but knows the only important thing is saving “mother earth” from carbon dioxide – and that other guy thinks the only certain path to glory is to die in a bloody shootout while trying to kill as many infidels as possible. They’re ALL right? That’s insanity.
Death is now “good”? It’s all part of the beautiful “circle of life”? Die with dignity and save the health care system some money? Just don’t ever kill the healthy or young – especially if they can make money and benefit society . . . well . . . except the babies, you can kill them. They are just lumps of cells. By that logic I’M just a lump of cells! But no, I have consciousness . . . just please don’t kill me when I’m unconscious, asleep, or becoming a drain on public resources. It’s lunacy!!
And – the Christian church at large is buying into this nonsense? “Sure – you can have your Jesus – without the historical ‘pie crust’ of Adam . . . no problem!” Well, unless, that is – you think, and can logically connect a few dots. Where did DEATH come from? Oh . . . it’s always been there, God needed it to get from the primordial swamp to here. He’s not exactly ALL powerful . . . he got it all started, but kind of ran out of gas, I guess. He used death, mutation, and “survival of the fittest” to get the rest of the way here. And I suppose he’s not exactly truthful, because he said he did in six 24-hour days, but now we know he wasn’t exactly honest about that. He spent millions / billions of years cheering on his little experiment to keep on evolving! Finally we got up to the monkeys – “Come on monkeys – kill off all the weak ones, and lets hope for some beneficial mutations here!” Finally it happened . . . YAY! “Adam” – or whatever you want to call it, just mutated into a human being! He just mutated moral accountability and a human soul. “OK Adam, now that you’re so advanced you must put the club down and stop raping and killing . . . you’re evolved now!” We can’t blame that poor Neanderthal for bringing sin and death into the world like the Apostle Paul did, that poor fellow need it to get where he was.
According to this “rock-solid new history” without Adam, we haven’t stopped evolving and progressing! Now we are not just “like God” – we’re BETTER – we know that any and all sexual behaviour is good, healthy, and normal – as long as there’s consent, tolerance, open-mindedness, and a good dose of environmentalism – and nobody dare say anything is “bad” or use the word “sin” or (God forbid) say someone is wrong. The church had better keep evolving too and keep up with the times, or it will become irrelevant and pass away.
Well . . . in all seriousness, when the church dumps the historical Adam of Scripture and/or the historical Jesus of Scripture – Christianity itself has already left the building. A historical Adam, created in perfection, who brought sin, corruption, and death into the world . . . along with the only Solution, a historical virgin-born Son of God who performed real miracles and died on a cross as the Sacrifice for all human sin from Adam to the End, and who actually physically and bodily rose from the dead . . . THOSE TWO MEN are the “sine qua non” absolutely essential and indispensable ingredients to Christianity / to history / to truth / to salvation. Without them you have nothing but a hot mess of confusion and craziness brought about by Satan – the father of lies.
And . . . I know – I’m preaching to the choir here. You know these 2 men and you know first-hand the power of what Paul is talking about. You know the result of Adam’s sin and what it’s done to you. You know sin is killing your physical body / it seeks to kill your relationship with God / it seeks to kill any good relationships you have with other people / it seeks to kill your peace, your joy, your contentment, and your eternal soul as well. You HATE that sin residing within you and you repent of it – turning to Jesus for mercy, grace, and forgiveness. You know that HE (and only He) can take you from the “sinner” category and put you in the “saint” category. You know He’s adopted you as His own child and given you the gift of Baptism for your comfort and certainty. You live each day knowing heaven is your eternal home and He’ll never stop loving you, and always pick you up when you fall on your face into sin again. You know what life means, why you’re here, and where you are going.
The world thinks of you as “special” in a bad way: old-fashioned, intolerant, ignorant, judgmental, Bible-thumping stodgy old Confessional Lutherans. But God thinks of you as SPECIAL in a good way – in a world of lies, you know the truth. In fact, according to Jesus (who so often turns things upside down) YOU are the “sine qua non” of history going forward! Without “backward Christians” living and sharing the historical Christian Faith . . . God would pull the plug! Jesus said, “When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith in the world?” (Luke 18:8). Yes, but His point is: it’ll be hard to find, and we are getting closer and closer to that conclusion every single day.
We are in the vast minority – don’t be sad; REJOICE. Don’t be weak; be STRONG. Don’t hide; be HONOURED. Fight lies with the truth – in love, as Jesus did every step of the way, from out in the wilderness with Satan to the cross itself. He already won the victory. He has defeated death and sin forever, and He’s coming again to put an end to history as we know it. Adam wrecked it all, but Jesus fixed it all.
You know the essentials, but there’s so much more for you to know – keep learning and growing in God’s Word, and He’ll make your journey home amazingly meaningful and powerful. For through us . . . He will keep on bringing sinners into His eternal family. As long as time marches on, HE will be making sinners righteous through faith and by the Blood of Jesus; shed for the sons and daughters of Adam.