The Word Lover: A Brief Sermon

Below is a brief sermon I preached a while back. The setting is a retirement home and thus, those in the congregation were quite a bit older than me; I was 25 at the time.

The Word Lover

By: Michael Halcomb

Preached at: Richmond Place Retirement Home (02/05)

Well, it’s great to be here this afternoon. I am blessed to be in your presence and am always excited when I can fulfill an opportunity to share the Gospel. Through Bible College, I was an itinerant preacher and traveled to a good number of Churches, to share with unfamiliar faces, much like today and that’s always a joy. And in my studies and in my traveling, I have found out from a man by the name of Gyles Brandreth that, “the most frequently used words of introduction among Americans are ‘Hi,’ ‘Hello,’ ‘How are you?’ ‘Good to meet you,’ and ‘How do you do?’”—in that order. So, “Hi, hello, how are you, good to meet you and how do you do?”

I must confess before I go any further, that I am a word lover. I love words. Did you know that, “If you are a typical American, by the time you [pass away] you will have uttered a total of not less than 860 million, 341 thousand, 500 words?” Or were you aware that, “‘No,’ is the first word spoken by over fifty percent of the population of the English speaking world?” I am a lover of words.

I love quotes. Like when Mark Twain said, “kindness is a language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” Or when Henry Ford said, “It has been my observation that most people get ahead during the time that others waste.” I like what mother Teresa said about money, “Money is a very excellent servant, but a terrible master.” I love words. Do you know why I love words? Because they are powerful, they shape reality.

Words don’t just say something; they do something. And so it is with the Bible. It’s not just the words in the Bible, but the reality of them that make them meaningful and powerful. For instance, our Bible declares that, “Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” That is reality. That Jesus died and was raised so that we might be reconciled (or reconnected) to our Heavenly Father, is for real. And really, for us, that’s what ultimately makes life meaningful, our relationship with God Almighty. Ravi Zacharias says:

The Scriptures open with the words ‘In the beginning, God.’ There is no other rational starting point for life than God. That is the axis upon which life turns. That is the source from which life begins. That is the reference from which all definitions arise. What emerged immediately in the Genesis story (the beginning of creation) was God’s original intent to walk and to talk with His own creation, to commune with them. But then that communion was ruptured by Adam and Eve choosing their own terms of engagement.

But God wants you to choose His terms of engagement. To quote Zacharias again:

You see, [friends], we can never be self-sufficient; we can never be independent. We can never be masters of our own souls. We are dependent [on this God]. For He is not a God who set the worlds in their place and then left them, but a God who is there…moving, reigning and working His will through the generations of [people] one after the other. Why does this God take such an interest in what is going on in this tiny little planet of ours? We have it here in Acts 17:26-27: “That men might seek after Him, and find Him.” What a spirit of seeking there is in the world today! Have you found God?

Have you allowed Him to find you out? Have you allowed the Creator to meet with His creation: you? He wants to know you? And friends, I know I am young and often times I find it a challenge to preach to persons who are so much older than me because there is a wide age gap there, but even at this age, I have come to realize that you cannot even really know yourself until you know God. That is, you cannot know the reason you were created until you meet with the Creator and experience true meaning and purpose in glorifying Him.

I have many lost people in my family and I have lost friends, youth and adults alike whose lives are empty and dreadfully boring, who have no clue as to why they’re here; they are wading through life with no purpose and no meaningful identity. All of this heartache though stems from the fact that they don’t know their Maker, God. They may know of Him but they don’t “know” Him.

I was reading an article one lady wrote about Dietrich Bonhoeffer and how he too struggled with his identity. This was early on in his life. She says:

Dietrich Bonhoeffer is best remembered as the young pastor martyred for his leadership against Hitler and his army. Speaking up with a faith that confronted evil, he had a passion for truth and an approach to following Christ that is truly inspiring. Nonetheless, Bonhoeffer’s transparent wrestling with matters of identity has also been a significant influence in the lives of many. Indeed, it is comforting to know that even one willing to die for something, at the very core of his identity still struggled, at times in anguish, with the question: “Who am I?” In a poem written in prison, Bonheoffer offers both the cry of his heart and the only Hope that can answer it:

Who Am I? This or the other?
Am I one person today, and tomorrow another?
Am I both at once? A hypocrite before others
And before myself a contemptible woebegone weakling?
Or is something within me still like a beaten army,
Fleeing in disorder from victory already achieved?
Who am I? They mock me, these lonely questions of mine.
Whoever I am, You know, O God, I am Yours.

Bonhoeffer was stared in the face by that question: “Who am I?” In the same way then, I ask you a question today, one that also looks you in the eye, that stares you in the face and asks, not who are you, but rather: “Whose are you?” Do you belong to God? Because, you see, in life, who you are is not nearly as important as whose you are. Do you belong to God? Jesus died and was raised so that you might have eternal life. This Living God who made you in His image, longs for you to enter into a living and loving relationship with Him.

My wife told me a story recently that just broke my heart. She told me of an elderly man at the hospital, who when the time came for him that he was healthy enough to go home, had no way there. He said that he had told a friend that he would pay him five hundred dollars if he would pick him up after he was better. Even with that amount of money on the table, nobody came, no family, no friends, no neighbors, nobody. Nobody was there to pick him or celebrate his healing. It reminds me of just how disheartening and lonely this life and this world can really be. Loved ones, I am so thankful that my Friend, Jesus Christ, came for me. He came to this hellish world to atone for my sins and to reconcile me to the Godhead. He took to that cross for me and for you. He didn’t pay for our way home with five hundred dollars; He paid for it with His life. And I’m thankful that soon, He’s going to return and I will get to see Him face-to-face. What a day of rejoicing that will be? Are you ready? Do you belong to Him?

This afternoon, if Christ has touched your heart, and if you would like to accept Him, I am going to ask you to make that decision. Don’t wait any longer. Let your pride fall down and let Christ come into your heart. Then you will find that it’s not just the story or the words of the story of Christ that are so powerful, but that it is the reality of it all of this that makes it powerful. If you would like to, this afternoon, I am going to offer an invitation and you don’t have to get up but you can remain seated where you are; you can get right with God sitting just as well as you can standing.

I told you early on that I am a lover of words. I believe with all my heart, that today, to say the word “YES” to Jesus would be the best choice you’ve ever made. Say yes to "The Word." Would you do that? If everyone would bow their heads and close their eyes, I’d like to ask a question and then pray together. Is there anyone here this morning that would like to accept Jesus Christ into his or her life? Let’s pray…

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