Jesus Christ Is and Will Always Remain the Same!
(Service was cancelled due to snow storm, but please read the sermon for your end of the year devotion.)
Text: Hebrews 13:8
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever!
In Christ Jesus, our true source of stability, dear fellow redeemed:
Everyone needs stability in his or her life. Even those individuals who love taking risks and who enjoy change need a certain amount of stability. Some of us need more than others, but everyone needs some! That is one reason why marriage is so important to society and why in part our marriages are so important to us. They encourage and provide stability. That is why family is so important to the vast majority of us and why phrases such as “home for the holidays” have such an emotional tug upon our hearts. People find stability in other things, however. They find it in buildings—the houses we call homes, the offices and factories we call work. They find it in financial resources—adequate insurance and sufficient savings, so that our needs can be met and bills paid. But if you consider all of the people and the places and the institutions and the things that I have mentioned, they are all only relatively stable, aren’t they?! Many marriages break up in our day. Many homes are not that happy for a variety of reasons. The homes we build are subject at times to natural disasters, while the jobs we count on can be lost. Depressions can wipe out savings. Before long and without too much trouble we can find all of those people and all of those places and all of those institutions and all of those things…can be gone!
My dear friends, there is one source of ultimate stability for you and for me in our lives—Jesus Christ! The writer to the Hebrews tells us that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever!” The Epistle to the Hebrews was addressed to Jewish Christians who were living in the most powerful and prosperous nation on earth. At the same time their lives were constantly being threatened by terrorists, known as the barbarian hordes who threatened their borders. Religiously they were being persecuted, not so much for believing in Jesus, but for what their adversaries considered being intolerant—for claiming that Jesus was the only Savior and for refusing to compromise their faith. The situation had gotten so bad and the pressure so great that many of these early Jewish Christians were thinking about returning to the Jewish faith. The Epistle to the Hebrews provided the arguments against such a choice, and its writer in his summary thoughts included the words of our text. He wanted these people to know that as they sought a release of the pressure and a return to greater stability, they would not find it in the people and things of this world, but only in their Savior. Therefore he trumpeted this thought:JESUS CHRIST IS AND REMAINS THE SAME! He is the One to whom they should turn! He is the One upon whom they could rely! He is the One to whom and upon whom we too can turn and rely!
Why is that? Why is Jesus the ultimate source of stability for our lives and our futures? The reason lies in who He is and what He has and is doing! Jesus Christ is both true God and true Man. He is, therefore, a unique Being in our universe. He is omnipotent—all-powerful, omniscient—all-knowing, and omni-present—present everywhere. He is eternal. He is good and He is gracious. He is our Ally. He became our Substitute. He is our spiritual Brother. He took on our human flesh. He endured temptation, pain, suffering, and death. He is the first-fruits of the resurrection. He sits at God’s right hand. He is our Head. He is preparing a place for us, even as He walks with us and abides in us. He listens to us. He advocates for us. He is our Savior! All these things that Jesus is…never change! JESUS CHRIST IS AND REMAINS THE SAME! For that reason we can view the past with thanksgiving, the present with resolve, and the future with confidence!
Yes, we can view the past with thanksgiving! No matter who you are, you can view the past with thanksgiving! “But,” you say, “I am facing so many problems….” No “but’s”! You can still view the past with thanksgiving. Who has gotten you through all of your problems to this day? Jesus! Who created this world and who gave you your life? I know that we confess in Luther’s explanation to the First Article that God the Father is the Creator—our Creator, but Scripture clearly tells us that God created the world and creates us through His powerful Word, which is Christ! Yes, our origin lies in Christ. Beyond that and before we were even born, we were redeemed through the substitutionary work of Christ. Our recent celebration of Christmas was not simply a celebration of the birth of Christ, but a celebration of the birth of a Christ for us! Remember, that most famous of all passages—“For God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son”—does not end there, but goes on to connect God’s love to our salvation—“that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life!” (John 3:16) Jesus created you; He redeemed you; and He has brought you safely to this day. He, together with His Father and the Spirit, have given you everything that you have and helped develop you into everything you are. While those thoughts may give you reason for the shedding of some tears as you consider a past misspent, even there we have reason for thanksgiving, for “the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin!” (1 John 1:7) Yes, JESUS CHRIST IS AND REMAINS THE SAME! For that reason we can view the past with thanksgiving!
We can also view the present with resolve! What challenges are you facing in life? The loss of a loved one…cancer or some other debilitating disease…recovery from surgery… overcoming massive debt…a D in Algebra…the possibility of the loss of your job…the possibility of family break-up…a car that is on its last legs? Need I go on? Life is filled with challenges from the physical to financial, from the spiritual to the emotional, from the trivial to the truly significant—but we need not despair…we need never despair, for JESUS CHRIST IS AND REMAINS THE SAME! He is our all-powerful God and Savior who says: “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me” (John 14:1). He assures us: “I am the good shepherd…. I know (my sheep), and they follow Me…they shall never perish, neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand” (John 10:11, 27b, 28b). He is our Savior, who as true Man can “sympathize with our weakness” since He was “tempted as we are” (cf. Hebrews 4:15-16). He can and does truly understand us, and has invited us to pray to Him and promised to listen and respond. Jesus does care about you. Jesus is present here for you. Consequently, we can view our present—no matter what challenge we face—with resolve!
Yes, JESUS CHRIST IS AND REMAINS THE SAME! For that reason we can view the future with confidence! “Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” Jesus assures us (Matthew 28:20). The Psalmist David assures us in Psalm 139 that God has a plan for each of our lives, for He has already “fashioned” every day of our lives (verse 16). The apostle Paul informs us after reminding us that we are saved by God’s grace alone through faith in Jesus, that we have been created for good works, which he then says, “God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” (cf. Ephesians 2:8-10). What wonderful reasons to look to the future, as we do this New Year’s Eve night, with absolute confidence! Our futures are not simply a matter of the “survival of the fittest” as the atheist and evolutionist would suggest, but rather they are futures filled with the exciting discovery of what our Savior God has planned for us. Each day that He gives us, you and I may rest assured, will be filled with meaning and purpose. There may be and no doubt will be days when we wonder what our Savior has in mind. But each day by our examples and through a use of our opportunities we touch the lives of others. Let us do so for good! Let us determine that from now on, no matter, what may come our way, we will meet it with determination to fulfill God’s will and thereby secure God’s blessing!
Has your life lacked stability? Look to Jesus! Has your life been filled with the blessings of God including stability? Thank Jesus! As you prepare for the future and seek ever greater stability…walk with Jesus! You will never be disappointed, for JESUS CHRIST IS AND REMAINS THE SAME! Amen.
—Pastor Paul D. Nolting