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Author:Rev. Karlo Janssen
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Congregation:Willoughby Heights Canadian Reformed Church
 Langley, BC
 whcanrc.com
 
Title:God is our Security
Text:LD 1 (View)
Occasion:Regular Sunday
Topic:Unclassified
 
Preached:2017-10-01
Added:2022-08-24
 

Order Of Worship (Liturgy)

(Call to worship)

Votum, Salutation

Psalm 121:1,4

Prayer

Scripture: Psalms 42-43

Psalm 42:3,5

Confession: Lord’s Day 1

Sermon: God is our security

1) God is able to be our security,

2) God is allowed to be our security,

3) God will most definitely be our security.

Hymn 64:1,2

Confession: Hymn 1

Prayer

Offertory

Psalm 43:3,4,5

Blessing

* As a matter of courtesy please advise Rev. Karlo Janssen, if you plan to use this sermon in a worship service.   Thank-you.


Dear children of God, brothers and sisters in Christ, guests, imagine for a moment a war torn country. Civil war. Ethnic groups at war with each other. Armies that call themselves liberation fronts but bring a reign of terror. You see it happen. Your neighbour is murdered. His wife and their teenage daughters are treated shamefully. You saw it happen, and you get out as fast as you can. But where do you go? All you have is the clothes you wear and some money you’ve hidden on yourself. The money is soon gone: paid to swindlers abusing your situation. You might make it to a refugee camp. And maybe even to a country of relative safety. Like Canada. But it’s not like that’s where you want to be. You feel lonely and insecure.

That’s the kind of person the author of psalms 42 and 43 was. Boys and girls, one day he still had everything. His family, his friends, his house. He could go to the temple. And now. Now he is alone in a remote mountain range. He’s alone and insecure.

Alone and insecure. Everybody is afraid to be alone. To be in a situation where no one concerns himself with you. Where no one talks with you. Where no one helps you. That’s what we’re scared of. To be entirely alone. Have you ever looked into the eyes of a three year old and seen his fear when he has lost his mother in the supermarket? Maybe once as a teenager you were on a hike and you lost sight of the group. Couldn’t hear them, couldn’t see them. You pretended to be brave but you were frightened. Picture for a moment the fear in the heart of a wife who loses her husband, of a man who loses his wife. The fear of being alone.

We human beings need something to hold onto. Something familiar, something safe. A child will clutch a stuffed toy. A teenager looks for an idol. Even adults are in search of security. Something to hold onto. Something to give you certainty in life. When our Catechism asks “What is your comfort?” it asks “What is your security?” What grants you comfort, certainty in your life? What do you hold onto in order to make sense of your existence, to keep you stable? What in life could you not live without, you, who call yourself a Christian?

 

This morning/afternoon we instructed in God’s truths, summarized with this theme: God is our security. We will pay attention to three matters: 1) God is able to be our security, 2) God is allowed to be our security, and 3) God will most definitely be our security.

 

(1) God is able to be our security.

 

I describe two scenarios.

You’re walking through a mountainous area and suddenly the path beneath your feet gives way. You fall and begin to slide into a ravine. As you slide you swing your arms around you. Your hands feel a sod of grass. Of course you grab it, but it gives way and you slide on.

You’re sailing out at sea. The boat capsizes and you find yourself in the water. You’re close to a reef and the surf is well and truly up. As breakers break over your head and you are tossed around your hands seek something to hold onto. You touch something, a piece of weed, kelp. Of course you grasp it but it does not help.

Grass won’t save you as you slip into a ravine. Seaweed won’t keep you afloat. To avoid sliding into a ravine you need to cling onto something that is able to save you: a little tree, with roots in the rocks. If you want to avoid drowning you need to grab something that will bear your weight: a life buoy.

Beloved, if you want to be secure in life, your security must be certain. It must be something that will take your weight.

 

Let’s for a moment ponder what kinds of things people might look to for security. What do people hold onto to stay alive? Are they like sods of grass or little trees, like pieces of seaweed or life buoys?

 

One of the most common security of our time is faith in tomorrow. Tomorrow there will be another day, just as today. Tomorrow my house will still be there, my spouse, my children, my parents will still be alive. Tomorrow I’ll go to school again, to my work again. Tomorrow the ATM will still work. Tomorrow I can do the groceries. Tomorrow there will be power and water and gas. Tomorrow my car will start. Tomorrow will be a day like today, hopefully even better.

That’s a security for many people: faith in tomorrow.

That’s what many New Yorkers thought, until 9/11. Together with the Twin Towers their world caved in. Unknown fear was unleashed. Fear for every plane that flew over. Fear for mail with white powder. Fear for every Muslim that appeared in public. A fear that decades later is still very present. Tomorrow has proven insecure. Faith in tomorrow is a blade of grass, a piece of sea weed.

 

Others seek security in personal possessions. People trust in money and assets. You expect to receive your wages. And when you get them, you expect them to keep their value. You put the money in a bank account, a savings account. You invest part of it, real estate, mutual funds. Our faith in money is such that we even dare to spend money we haven’t earned yet: you live on credit, you finance the purchase of a car.

That’s a security for many people: faith in your own possessions.

That’s how many people in western countries lived in the early 2000s. People had mortgages with conditions that could not be met. People were borrowing money to pay their debts. Then the bottom dropped out of the market, the real value of real estate became a factor, and we entered an economic downturn. Financial structures presented as gold mines in your pocket proved to be mill stones around your neck. Your possessions, riches: a blade of grass, a piece of weed.

 

Security. Faith in tomorrow. Faith in money. I’ll name just one more: faith in being self-supportive. By this I mean: try to make sure as much as possible that you can support yourself. Be a jack of all trades. Be able to build your own home, grow your own food, fill in your own tax forms, arrange your own affairs. To be independent of others, be your own boss. Not working too much with others. To be able to do your own thing in your own way. To know your abilities and limits, and on the basis of that make your plans.

That’s a security for many people: faith in being self-supportive, self-sufficient.

But then your holiday plans go awry because of a hurricane or earthquake and paradise becomes a hell. Your mother passes away and a few years later there’s a stepmother you can’t get on with. Your child does not live up to your expectations or hopes. Your spouse is not the man or woman of your dreams. You’ve got cancer, stage IV. You’re involved in a serious car accident. There’s pandemic.

And then what? Your plans come to nothing. All your abilities are gone. It’s hard to weed a veggie patch from a wheelchair. When your relationship with your spouse turns sour, that’s the end of a settled life. Your child can’t be bothered about the faith and your persuasive powers prove insufficient, and you hurt.

Self-support: a blade of grass, a piece of weed.

 

Faith in tomorrow. Faith in money. Faith in being self-supportive. Blades of grass and pieces of sea weed.

Should North Korea deploy some horrible bomb tomorrow…

Should tomorrow it become known that a previous federal government embezzled funds…

Should you, as you drive home from church in an hour or so, be involved in a head-on collision…

 

Blades of grass and pieces of sea weed. What we need is a tree, a life buoy.

 

Let me tell you, beloved, who is able to be a tree, who is able to be a life buoy. It is God. He gives true security. The only anchor that never gives way. One of whom you can say “Past achievement are an absolute guarantee for future investments.”

God. I’m speaking of the God who said to a very old man “You will have just as many descendants as there is sand on the beach or stars in the sky.” That old man and his wife weren’t so sure. But they’ve learned that one can depend on God. That old man and his wife received descendants to which even you and I belong.

God. I’m speaking of the God who covenanted with a small people, stiff necked and rebellious by nature. God wanted to go with them but that people constantly deserted God. Golden calves, Baals and Asheras, the sun, moon, and stars. That nation was like a married woman with prostitution as her career. But every time that nation repented and came back, God was there, and took her back.

God. I’m speaking of the God who made a beautiful world, with oceans and mountains and rivers and plants and animals and people. God had big plans, but man destroyed everything. Yet God did not abandon His creation. He went for restored relationships. He even sacrificed His own Son for us.

God. The God who gave Abraham and Sarah a little boy. The God who was faithful to Israel – just read the prophet Hosea. The God who provides salvation for a world lost in selfishness. This God, congregation, is a tree, a life buoy. He is able to be your security.

 

Yes, your security. Personally. God can be the true security in your life. It matters not who you are. God does not distinguish between this and that people, or between men and women, or between rich and poor, or between adults and children. Everyone is allowed to cling to God. Everyone is allowed to hold onto Him.

It’s all possible because of Christ.

The Lord Jesus for you too? Yes. For God so loved the world and that is why He gave His Son. You belong to that world too, don’t you? That’s why you may share in what Jesus means for this world. You’re not excluded. God can save everyone through Jesus, even a dying murderer who repents. Jesus can save you too.

The Father for you too? Yes. For God created the whole world and has said that He would love for all men to repent and be saved. All men. No one excluded. Don’t think you’re not allowed to come to the Father because of your skin colour or status in life or your age or your inability to study. Absolutely not. The Father wants to care for everyone, also for you.

The Spirit for you too? Yes. For the aged shall dream dreams and the young shall see visions. Sons and daughters will prophesy. No distinction. No favouritism. The gift of the Spirit is not just for some. The Spirit of God is in every child of God. If you are a child of God, you have the Spirit.

 

God is able to be a hold in your life. People look for certainty in tomorrow, in money, in being self-supportive. But tomorrow an earthquake may destroy your home. Tomorrow your bank may go broke. Tomorrow your doctor may phone to tell you that with the last operation the blood used in transfusion was contaminated with HIV. What then?

Only God can give certainty in life. Ask the destitute. Those who lost dear ones, way too early by human standards. Those who lost homes and relatives to rebels. God is Almighty and He is ready. Every moment of the day. He’s a rock, a fortress.

 

God is our security in life. He is able to be our security, for He is Almighty and Faithful. He’s proven this in the past. Let us now consider that He is allowed to be our security.

 

You see, “to be able” and “to be allowed” are not the same. A twelve year old may be able to drive a car, but is not allowed to do so on a public road. An unmarried woman is able to bear children, but God disallows it. That God is able to be our security does not yet mean that He is allowed to be our security. He is able to save all people. But not all people are saved. There are also people that end up in hell. Hence the question: is God allowed to be my security in life?

 

For there could be objections.

For example, our sins. Our lives are a mess. Who of us would dare to say that he or she is without sin? That he or she keeps all of God’s commandments? Serve God alone: or do you also trust in yourself? Worship God as we ought: or is your prayer life ritualistic drudgery? Use God’s name properly: or do you use your name as ‘Christian’ to cover a lie? Keep the day of rest: or are you too busy for that? Honour parents: or are you impudent? Protect life: or do you bully your neighbour? No adultery: or do you watch bad stuff on the internet? No stealing: are your tax forms honest? No false witness: what will we talk about during coffee after this service? No wrongful desiring: or is your service of God something on the outside and not of the heart? Let’s be honest about it, brothers and sisters, we aren’t all that pious. There is much sin in our life. To say nothing of the many good things we could do but fail to do. And if we are honest about this we may well ask ourselves: is God allowed to be my security?

 

Another objection. I’m not sure whether I’ve been chosen. Only those whom God has chosen are allowed to say “I am God’s child”. It has some say, the Catechism should be changed. That personal element should be dropped. The certainty should be removed. We should ask “What is the only comfort in life and death?” And then answer “That a human being, with body and soul, both in life and death.” Depersonalized. For who would dare to say that the Holy and Almighty God has chosen him or her? No, you can’t be sure whether God is allowed to be called your security if you’re not sure whether you are elect.

 

A third objection. My faith is not good enough. Only people who believe real well can say “I belong to Jesus Christ”. People who ask everybody they meet in the street “Have you heard of Jesus yet?” Those who visit hospitals and prisons. Who are ready to go to Africa to help AIDS patients. Who pray so well that it brings tears to your eyes. Maybe a minister has such faith. But me, with my faith. I hardly dare say anything when people ask whether I’m a Christian. No, my faith is too weak for me to be allowed to call God my security.

 

Objection 1: I am too sinful.

Objection 2: I’m not sure whether I belong to the elect.

Objection 3: My faith isn’t good enough.

 

Beloved, God responds to these objections. He says “Forget it. They don’t count. People, you have to learn to live by grace. You have to understand that it’s all free. That for me to be your God, you don’t need to contribute anything. You’re allowed to be Mine just like that.”

Too sinful? Have you ever heard of Jacob? “Jacob” that means deceiver. That’s what Jacob was. Sinful to the hilt. A liar and a coward. But I was faithful to him and Jacob became a rich man. Or consider David. Now there’s a sinful man. Goes to bed with his neighbour’s wife, has her husband killed to cover up. And that husband was one of his best friends! David was aware of his sin for quite some time and it hurt him. But when he confessed his sin I forgave him. David was even allowed to be a father of My own Son. – Thus speaks God.

You’re not sure whether you belong to the elect? – Don’t turn things around. It’s true, it depend on whether I’ve chosen you. But all those who desire to have Me as their security have been chosen by Me. The fact that you long for Me to be your security may confirm you in the conviction that I have chosen you to be Mine. Of course you’re allowed to call Me your security. – Thus speaks God.

Whether your faith is sufficient? – That’s what the disciples thought as well. Lord, our faith is too little to heal this boy. Nonsense, says the Lord Jesus. If you have faith as small as a mustard seed you can move mountains. Faith is not a matter of quantity. As if a missionary always has more faith than an organist, or a grandfather than a child. It’s very simple. God says “He who wants to believe in Me, who searches for Me, who stretches forth his hand and calls out ‘save me’ is allowed to call Me his or her security.”

 

Our Catechism has a wonderful way of making this concrete.

You are afraid that you are too sinful? Don’t be. For your faithful saviour Jesus Christ has fully – fully! – paid with His precious blood for all your sins – all your sins! – and has set you free from all the power – all the power! – of the devil. There’s no way you can claim to be “too sinful” for God to be your security.

You are afraid that you do not belong to the elect? A natural fear to have, but actually irrelevant. “[My faithful saviour Jesus Christ] also preserves me in such a way, that without the will of my heavenly Father not a hair can fall from my head – not a hair (can you think of something even more mundane?) – indeed, all things – all things! – must work together for my salvation.” When God says to you “You are my child” and you have faith in His providence, then you belong.

You are afraid your faith is insufficient? Why think that? If the Son has paid for your sins, if the Father cares for you, then you will receive the Spirit to work faith in you and strengthen you in that faith. Hear the Catechism sing it out: “Therefore, by His Holy Spirit [my faithful saviour Jesus Christ] also assures me – assures me, that’s faith – of eternal life and makes heartily willing and ready, from now on to live for Him.”

 

Beloved, it’s all grace. Nothing can prevent God’s love from coming to us. We’re allowed to belong to Christ. Just think about a child, born into a Christian family. He receives the sign and seal of baptism. He’s claimed by God. He belongs to Jesus. “Too sinful” – No, for Jesus has paid. “Maybe not elect” – irrelevant at this point in time, God has claimed Lane as His child, making this clear by placing him in a Christian family. Insufficient faith? Faith is an obligation for Lane, but right now a physical impossibility.

Our relationship with God is founded on grace. No contribution is needed from our side for God to be our security. He comes to us in grace.

 

God is the security of our life. He is able to be our security. He is allowed to be our security. Let us see in the third place, He will definitely be our security.

 

When you think about it, it all looks kind of easy. You need to do nothing to have God as your security. It’s all by grace. Even if you are a very bad sinner. Even if your faith is weak. Even if you doubt often. You’re baptized and you go to heaven. A few years of catechism instruction and there you go, to the Lord’s Supper.

There seem to be a lot of people that figure we Canadian Reformed people think and live that way.

 

But, that’s not the way it is. That’s not the way it is at all. And we certainly shouldn’t think and live that way.

Hear the words which Joshua once spoke. “Well then, fear the LORD and serve Him uprightly and faithfully; put away the gods which your fathers served in Mesopotamia and Egypt and serve Yahweh. But if you think this is a bad idea, to serve Yahweh, then choose today whom you will serve: the gods your fathers served in Mesopotamia or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you now dwell.” Brothers and sisters, when God comes to you, He expects a response. He works in you to will and to work, so that you work out your salvation. Young people, being a Christian does not happen by itself. Profession of faith is not simply a matter of knowing enough. Beloved, it’s about faith, about trusting in God, about dedicating your life to His service. When God calls, He expects a response. Baptism does not necessarily require faith as a condition, but it does come with the call to believe. God wants to meet with you every worship service.

 

How does this work?

God presents Himself as a security, as certainty. He allows people to get a taste of this. But there are people who refuse this offer. Esau, for example. He married Canaanite girls, against the will of his parents. He was uncouth: he sold the blessing of God meant for him for a plate of stew. Esau was allowed to call God his security – Esau had been circumcised –  but he refused to have God as security. Esau was more the self-supportive type. And thus God was not his security either. Not because God was failing but because Esau was failing.

On the other hand there are people of whom we might think “no way, not him, not her.” Think again of David. David and his terrible sin with Bathsheba. You’d think “That’s it. David, you’ve done it now. Now God will stop. This is the end.” But no. David confesses his sin. Admits that he was wrong. That’s why David was still allowed to call God his security.

 

Thus, brothers and sisters, it happens through faith. Not how well you believe, how much you know, how pious you are or how glad or how good at evangelism. The point is whether you surrender yourself entirely to God. Entirely. Totally. With body and soul. Tip to toe. Outside and inside. Hands and heart. What you are like is not the point. As long as you give yourself entirely. King Saul may look less of a sinner that king David. But we see the difference: the first did not repent the second did. Saul sought his own honour, David sought God’s honour. Give yourself entirely.

And give yourself for ever. In life and death. In life: that’s already now, young people. Don’t think that you can postpone believing in God. The way you might postpone a proper job or getting married. No, God has already said to you when you were baptized: I am your God. Respond as soon as you honestly can. Give yourself to God, in life and death. Also in death. When the last hour comes. When your life flashes before your eyes. When struggles arise and doubts. Depend on God, surrender yourself into His hands.

 

God will certainly be our security. Will certainly. Words of resolution, of choice, of faith. The catechism is not impersonal. No. For a very good reason we teach our young people to say “I belong to Jesus Christ.” That’s teaching them the right response. That’s responding to God’s covenant promise. That’s professing your faith.

 

God is the security of our life.

His is able like no other. He is unchangeable and Almighty, Faithful and able to do all things. His Name is Yahweh El Shaddai, LORD God Almighty.

His is allowed to be our security. For the Son sets me free from the guilt of sin. The Father accepts me as His child and the Spirit convinces me of God’s love and teaches and enables me to live as God’s servant. God, Three in One.

He will certainly be my God. For I desire this and I confess it.

Whether you are healthy and young or aged and close to death, whether a well-to-do business man or an unemployed drug-addict, a great-grandmother or single, handicapped, and wondering what I should do with my life, we are all directed to God. In one way or another we’ll be like that author of psalm 42-43. Lonely. But always, everywhere, completely at home with God.

Let your ultimate security in life be: belonging to Jesus Christ.

Amen

Prayer

Almighty God, Caring Lord, we give You thanks for the comfort of the Gospel we could hear just now. Thank You for providing us with security for our whole selves, body and soul, all the time and whatever our situation, both as we live and as we die. Thank You for the grace displayed in Christ, His sacrifice to free us from sin and Satan. Thank You for Your Fatherly care. Thank You for the gift of Your Spirit, to assure us and to make us work out our salvation by serving You from the heart. Lord, you’ve got every angle covered. We marvel at Your wisdom and find peace in how You do things, even if we don’t always get it. Preserve us in Your care and have us walk in faith, fully assured that we belong to You.




* As a matter of courtesy please advise Rev. Karlo Janssen, if you plan to use this sermon in a worship service.   Thank-you.
(c) Copyright 2017, Rev. Karlo Janssen

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