Isaiah 45:22 "Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other."
At this time of year, there are a few words which gladden the heart and lead one to rejoice, and those words are -- No Assembly Required. Its not that things are hard to assemble, but usually it takes longer that the time allotted. There is more than one way for it to be done, the chief difference being either with instructions, or without reading the instructions. And this fits with the culture we live in, one which keeps saying that there are many paths, but they all end up at the same place. Its a dangerous world we live in, because few will openly tell you if you are doing it the wrong way, for someone has said that it is wrong to say, Wrong. It may be less productive, but its not wrong, at least according to the experts. So it is that we can take trips, and when we miss a turn, and are heading the wrong direction, it is not wrong -- it is just a scenic route.
How do you know what is right, if you are never taught? There is a right way to make a bed. There is a right way to hand clothes on a hanger. There is a right way to wash and dry the dishes. And they way we learn, is someone teaches us. When we are young, we might ask, is this the only way? We might wonder why it couldnít be done this wayÖ but education answers these questions so we know why the right way is right. Just as there are 10 commandments, every house has its own rules, and so we are taught, this is how it is here. Oftentimes when we visit other houses, we find that they do things the same way. The good thing about the 10 commandments is that they are universal. They apply to everyone. They apply in every age. Everywhere, the rule is the same. And so they are taught, everywhere, to everyone. After all, who do you learn, if you are not taught?
Some things are not always as clear as the 10 commandments. Which is the right way to go to Sioux Falls? Some go Hwy 9 and some take Interstate 90, each will get you to Sioux Falls, each has advantages. While there might be several ways to Sioux Falls, neither Estherville nor Spencer is usually consider on the way.
However there are some things where there is only one way. How do you find peace with God? While many people are doing many things, there is only one way that leads to peace with God, and that is by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. And though there are many people trying to do enough good works to obtain forgiveness of sins, again, there is only one way which leads to forgiveness of sins, and that again is by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. There is only one way which leads to heaven, and that too is by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.
What do we mean when we say: by grace through faith, in Jesus Christ? We mean this - grace, is the free gift of God, which we have neither earned nor deserve, but God in mercy and love, gives us what we need, grace is a gift of God. And when we speak of faith, we are talking about the trust, confidence, and knowledge that causes us to believe and rely on the gracious promises of God. God gives faith, just as God gives grace and forgiveness. There is no merit in accepting and using a gift we have received, but there is much benefit. There is benefit, in that we receive what we need, mercy, peace and forgiveness. But there is no merit, in that by using this gift we do not earn or deserve any credit. And as grace and faith are gifts of God, so also in Jesus Christ -- we confess, that God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, so that whosoever beleiveth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. So we are taught all that Jesus has done to bring us life, peace, and forgiveness. Jesus is the one way, and there is no other way, no other name in which we may find salvation. We have been taught that too.
But some people donít know. Some people think that there are many gods, and many ways to heaven. Some people donít know that they can turn to God and be saved. They are frightened of God, because they have been bad, and they know they ought to be punished. Sometimes children run away to avoid punishment, but running away is always worse than the punishment, because we are alone, with no one to love us. And parents punish us so that we can learn right and wrong, and so that we can always go the right way, discipline is something which is done in love.
So at this time of year, we need to reach out and help those people who thought they could get to Christmas, without Christ. They need to hear about Godís love, and about his mercy and grace, and chiefly about forgiveness, which is ours in Jesus Christ. God has given us a full and complete salvation -- with no assembly required. All the world will rejoice to hear this good news.