Monday, February 22, 2021

February 21 Sermon and Announcements




Romans 2:12-16


A couple weeks ago we read in Romans 2:10 and 11 that while the Jewish people hold a special place with God, we who are Gentiles also have access to everything the Jewish people have available to them at this time. God gave the law to Moses around 4,000 years ago and that law has been the guiding force to the Jewish people ever since. The Jews wanted God to tell them what they could and could not do. They wanted to know what things would save them from punishment. The verses we read today explain how God views the law and what its value is. We see that all who sin, whether they understand the law or not or whether they even know what the law is will be judged by God. We see also in these verses that being a Jewish person or being a Gentile does not really matter to God. What does matter is how you obey the law. For the Gentiles, who at this time were not allowed to have access to the law of Moses, we see God writes his law on the hearts of those who are not of the Jewish faith. It is the attitude of the heart that God is looking at.


I have begun to read the book, Mere Christianity, by C.S. Lewis. This book was written in 1952. Many of you know who C.S. Lewis is. He wrote not only truly Christian-based books but also a variety of other books, including a series that not too long ago was made into a movie or series of movies called The Chronicles of Narnia. As I was reading the verses we are looking at today, I was struck by what C.S. Lewis said early on in the book, Mere Christianity. From his own observations, he is saying exactly what Paul is telling both Jews and Gentiles in Rome. God’s laws are obvious to virtually everyone, whether you have been exposed to the Jewish faith or Christianity or not. I would like to share just a little from his book. He says, “This law was called the Law of Nature because people thought that everyone knew it by nature and it did not need to be taught. They did not mean, of course, that you might not find an odd individual here and there who did not know it, just as you find a few people who are color blind or have no ear for a tune. But taking the race as a whole, they thought that the human idea of decent behavior was obvious to everyone. And I believe they are right.” C.S. Lewis continues to make the case for a God-inspired natural law everyone understands.


Before I share these final thoughts from C.S. Lewis, I am not sure everyone realizes he started his adult life as an atheist, but he could not ignore God’s hand on not only his life, but in the world he lived in. Continuing on he says, “I know that some people say the ideas of a Law of Nature or decent behavior known to all men is unsound, because different civilizations and different ages have had quite different moralities. But this is not true. There have been differences between moralities but these have never amounted to anything like a total difference. If anyone will take the trouble to compare the moral teaching of say, the ancient Egyptians, Babylonians, Hindus, Chinese, Greeks and Romans, what will really strike him will be how very like they are to each other and to our own.” C.S. Lewis was a man who wanted to understand why things happen as they do and why people do what they do. Nearly 2,000 years after God inspired Paul to write this to the church in Rome, C.S. Lewis observed the exact same thing. God sees what we do whether we have some formal law or not. God has written his law on every person’s heart. By what we read this morning, some might say, “See I do not need to go to church. I do not even need the Bible. God will let me know what I need to know when I need to know it.”


When we continue on in Romans, we will see that is not what Paul was saying and that is not what God wants us to do. The reality is the less we know about God’s word, the more likely Satan is to come in and trick us and deceive us. Paul was talking about people who, at that time, had not opportunity to know much of anything about God. What Paul was saying first of all, to the Jewish Christians, is do not look down on the Gentiles. We were given the law and did not do a very good job of following it. God wrote his law on the Gentiles hearts and if they observed that natural law, they would be in a better place with God than us. This again is Paul talking to the Jewish Christians.


The question for you and me today is what do we believe and what is it that guides our lives? These verses we read today shows us God loves all of his creation, and he has made a way for each of us, no matter what our life has been like. As we continue in Romans, we will see more and more God’s love, his patience, and his grace for us. Paul closed out these verses that we read by saying this. “God will judge men’s secrets through Jesus Christ as my gospel declares.” Jesus Christ is the one who paves the way for us. God wants us to be ready to face every challenge that comes our way. God has given us his holy word so we can stand against Satan’s lies. What guides our lives? I pray it is a relationship with Jesus Christ and the law that is not only written on our hearts, but also in the Bible that give us all the encouragement and direction we will ever need as revealed by the Holy Spirit.


Every Tuesday 9:30 Bible Study. All are invited to attend.


February 27 7:00 p.m. Denomination-wide worship via Zoom

February 28 10:00 Tom West will be our guest speaker.

 2:30 Moderator’s Q&A via Zoom. Talk to Carol for the links.


Lenten Devotionals are available in the back of the sanctuary.


New directories are in your mailbox.

Copies of the February newsletter are in the back. Submissions for March newsletter are due March 3.


March10 Full board meeting


March 16-20 District Potluck via Zoom. See details on bulletin board. Carol will send you the links if you are interested in attending any or all of the sessions.


Please place your offering in the plates at the back of the sanctuary. Thank you for your continued giving!


Thank you for wearing masks and helping contain the spread of the virus. Extra masks are at the back of the sanctuary.


Donation Box: Utilities


First Sundays: food donations for food banks


Pastor Larry Traxler- (217) 454-2362

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Keep in Your Prayers

Holly Flenner; Carl and Wilma Cable; Larry Albro; Mike McCleery; Sherry Wright; Tim and Betty Sue Laird; Mike and Carol Seidenstricker; Sonna Hall; Brittany Wright; Evelyn Eads; Mike Gentry; Anna Gentry Thompson; Marlene & Arnold Schultz; Clyde and Nancy Fansler; Adiline Young; Kim Lehmann; Dylan Junior; Doug Fansler; Liza Yore; Candy Dobson; Anna Rose Larrick; Gary Jesse; Norm & Marge Starr; Shawn Cain; Robert Cripe; Mayo & Darlene Hanaver; Zola Copeland; Patty Cripe; Lauren Gross; Stacie Warren; Nancy Gorrell; many unspoken requests; Coronavirus crisis; healthcare workers and first responders; the families of the 496,000+ people who have died from COVID-19; those who are ill from the virus; the unemployed; school teachers, staff, and students; victims of natural disasters; District of IL/WI search committee; nursing home residents; the Nigerian church; our nation’s government

Military and Other Services and their families

Brethren Volunteer Service workers; Disaster project workers

Our Mission Statement:

Love God, grow with others, serve faithfully, reach the lost, find peace.

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