Pastor Todd Mathison's Ash Wednesday sermon will center on the transformative power of "yes" in contrast to the challenge of accepting "no." Through Jesus, God offers a resounding "yes" to forgiveness, peace, and entry into the heavenly Kingdom for those who place their trust in the Cross and Resurrection, God's Promises in Christ.

Pr. Todd Mathison

God’s Promise in Christ

God’s Promise
2 Corinthians 1:18-22
February 14, 2024
Pastor Todd Mathison's Ash Wednesday sermon will center on the transformative power of "yes" in contrast to the challenge of accepting "no." Through Jesus, God offers a resounding "yes" to forgiveness, peace, and entry into the heavenly Kingdom for those who place their trust in the Cross and Resurrection, God's Promises in Christ.

Beginning a Lenten message series of God’s promises and looking at God’s promise in Christ Jesus. Our text comes from the second letter to the church in Corinth, 2nd Corinthians chapter 1. If you have your Bibles or devices, feel free to read along there, or you can follow along on screen. Verses 18 19. But as surely as God is faithful, our message to you is not yes and no. For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us, by me and Silas and Timothy, was not yes and no, but in Him it has always been yes. For no matter how many promises God has made, they are yes and no. And so through him, the Amen is spoken by us to the glory of God.

Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us. And put his spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. The word of the Lord. Let’s pray. Lord God, as we consider your living word now, centuries after it was written, make it alive in our hearts by the working of your Holy Spirit, that we may receive it. Believe it. Know that we are released, freed, and ransomed because of Christ. Living new life now, and claiming the promise of everlasting life to come, through Jesus Christ our Lord, in whose name I pray. Dear friends, grace to you, and peace from God our Father, and our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

This letter was not, of course, the first time that Paul had written to the Corinthian church. Some scholars think that 2 Corinthians, the book of the Bible from which we just had our lesson, was actually the fourth letter to that church. The first two verses in our text point to an issue or a problem that Paul was having with this congregation. He says to them, our message to you is not yes and no. With these words, Paul was telling the believers in Corinth that what he told them and what Timothy and Silas, his gospel partners, had told them was absolutely true. And it was necessary for Paul to defend himself because there had been a group of high minded teachers in that congregation that had been talking Paul down.

They criticized him to the Corinthians and suggested that Paul didn’t teach them all that they needed and so they tried to lead this fledgling church astray. We know this is the case actually because in another place in this letter Paul writes the following, but I’m afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpents cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough. But I do not think that I am the least inferior to these super apostles.

Paul is trying to really sort out a serious problem associated with his credibility and his ministry. He’s trying to demonstrate to the Corinthian church that the message that he preached was credible, is believable, it was real and true. But what does this disagreement of Paul with these high thinking False teachers and the church in Corinth have to do with you and me today. What’s so important about Paul’s words that we should pay attention to them on this Ash Wednesday? Well, I mean, listen. Credibility is at the core of one’s faith. Credibility is at the core of the proclamation of the gospel truth. Paul was, in effect, making an argument for faith in the promises. And the challenge is, I think, because what wars against credibility is our experience with other people. I mean, have you found that when you interact with some people, it’s not always easy to get the straight skinny from them? You know what I mean? And sometimes it’s because folks simply aren’t honest. Sometimes it may be because they don’t want to say what they’re really thinking. You see, I think we can often say yes when we mean no, or we may say one thing and do another.

And perhaps it wouldn’t be all that bad if all that were at stake were simply human interactions. But the real problem is far deeper, in that we often project that same kind of double mindedness. We can begin to doubt that God will actually do what He says, especially as it pertains to our salvation. But God’s way is not that way at all. When God says no, He means exactly that. If we are tempted to love anything or anyone above God, the commandments say no, and God means it. If our anger drives us to despise our parents or hate another person, the commandments tell us, no, and God means it. If our lusts drive us to abandon our spouse, the commandments tell us, no, And God means it. If we are tempted to spread gossip about our neighbor, the commandments tell us, no, and say it with me, God means it. God’s no is harsh and immutable. It doesn’t change. And going against it places us under his judgment. No, the word no, it’s a hard one for us, isn’t it? It’s a word that can have harsh or difficult associations.

I mean, in my own life, these can range all the way from perhaps a more humorous anxieties as a young man, working up the courage to ask a girl out on a date, fearing the word no. And all the way up to the crushing no of my mother’s death. The fear of no. Surfaces everywhere we turn. Am I good enough? Smart enough? Pretty enough? Secure enough? Do I have what it takes to excel in my job? No. Is my health okay? No. Does my wife or husband or mom or dad or children, do they love me? No. It’s a hard word, and all of these bad connotations with the word no surge from the very doubt that we find as we search our own hearts. When we gaze into our own hearts, we find that truth be known. We are not right with God. You know, this doubt became a part of our bloodline. This doubt is a blight.

It’s inherited by all humanity from the disobedience of our first parents, Adam and Eve, and as it plays out then in our own lives as we struggle with sin. The no that we feel comes from a real rupture in the relationship between God and humanity. between God and us. And we live with this brokenness and somehow we sense, at least from our side of things, that apart from Christ, all on our own, God is not pleased with us. The Bible tells us that Jesus came to change all of that. We know that He took on the burden of our sinfulness with Him to the cross. We know that Christ willingly took up our infirmities and carried The scriptures tell us that Jesus was pierced for our transgressions. He was crushed for our iniquities.

The reason that God is at peace with us is because Jesus has paid for every time. We have disobeyed God’s no. The Bible says in Isaiah 53 the punishment that brought us peace Was upon him and by his wounds we are healed. Paul had shared this good news with the church in Corinth But the doubt about God’s forgiveness kept surfacing with them and that’s why they were so susceptible to false teachers who came to offer them a way to get around God’s no, in a way that did not include the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ. And I think that can happen for us today. When doubt surfaces, it can bring with it a desperation, perhaps even a sense of hopelessness. It might put us in a, oh, what’s the use frame of mind? And that’s why Paul is writing this to the church in Corinth. And that’s why these words are so vital, important for us today.

In verse 20 of our text, Paul says, For no matter how many promises God has made, they are yes in Christ. And so through Him, the Amen spoken by us is spoken by us for the glory of God. I mean, listen. Yes, God says, to forgiveness and love. Yes, God says, to making us His children and heirs of heaven. Yes, God says, to being with us even though we often stray. Yes, God says, to my children rescued from sin and death by my beloved son, Jesus. God’s yes in Christ has done amazing things. Isaiah the prophet foretold this when he wrote, and Jim just read for us, forget what happened in the past, do not dwell on events long ago. I’m going to do something new. It’s already happening.

Don’t you recognize it? I will clear away in the desert. I will make rivers on dry land. I alone am the one who’s going to wipe away your rebellious actions for my own sake. I will not remember your sins anymore. What a wonderful yes! When Jesus walked the earth, God’s yes was abundantly visible. His healing and forgiveness during His earthly ministry just emanated a resounding yes. And today, God’s yes is still among us. It’s here now with us as we come before His altar to confess our sins. We receive, like those healed by Jesus, or even raised from the dead, God’s word of forgiveness and his most resounding yes in Jesus Christ. And as we prepare to gather round the table to receive the body and blood of Jesus, God confirms his yes with you right now.

As we see his word come together in the waters of baptism, he shouts, Yes! In all these things, God says to you and to me, Yes! You are my child. In the last two verses of our text, it reads, Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us. Set a seal of ownership on us and put his spirit in our hearts as a deposit Guaranteeing what is to come you want to talk about a cap all caps? Yes, not only are we forgiven? Not only are we made heirs of the kingdom of Jesus, but God seals us. Yes! In our lives, by making us His. Giving us the power to become the children of God. So if the evil one should ever try to accuse you or steal you from God, God says, hands off. These believers are mine.

They trust in my son’s cross and resurrection. And just in case we need more proof, the Holy Spirit comes into our lives and makes our hearts his home. This deposit of the Holy Spirit in our hearts is the most wonderful yes that we live with 24 7. A living testimony of God’s love and forgiveness. A promised seal inside of you. A guarantee of everything that God has promised you in Christ Jesus. So can we not say, with a whole heart, Amen to that? So let us say that Amen together. Amen. Let’s pray. Thank you, Jesus, that in you all things are yes. Before a holy, powerful, righteous God. And now strengthen our faith. It is you that keeps us standing firm. We look to you, Jesus, now and in all things. With a heart full of gratitude. Pray this, Jesus, in your name.

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Follow Jesus

Whether you are new in faith or are seeking to deepen your walk with Jesus, we are eager to connect with you.

Don’t hesitate to reach us out at (480) 830-5024, or message us filling the form below.

GriefShare

The GriefShare Program is a 13-week series of videos that we watch each week of the meeting. Each weekly GriefShare group begins with a 30-minute video featuring respected experts on grief-related topics and helpful stories from people who have experienced loss. Their insights will help you manage your emotions, gain clarity, and find answers to your questions as you walk through the grief process. We welcome everyone who has a loss; whether it be a child or a parent or spouse.

The videos are followed by discussion. Talking with other people who understand what you’re experiencing brings great comfort, normalizes the grief experience, and offers a supportive environment to work through your grief.

Each session stands alone, so you can join anytime. Consider a single session to learn about the program.

We meet every Monday from 12:30-2:30pm here at Victory.
Check out the schedule.

Sign up today!

Do you have more questions? 
Don’t hesitate to reach us out at (480) 830-5024, or message us filling the form below.
Learn more about GriefShare at their webpage: www.griefshare.org.

WOMEN’S MINISTRY

We meet throughout the year on the 2nd Tuesday of the month for Bible Study.

Summer Schedule (May-Sept): 2nd Tuesday of the month all groups meet together on campus at 9:30am

Winter Schedule (Oct-April): 2nd Tuesday of the month

Esperanza Bible Study – 9:30am

Mary Bible Study – 1:30pm (in home)


Women’s Ministry

PURPOSE STATEMENT

As a community of women created in the image of God, called to discipleship in Jesus Christ, and empowered by the Holy Spirit, we commit ourselves to grow in faith, affirm our gifts,  support one another in our callings, engage in ministry and action, and promote healing and wholeness in the church, the society, and the world.

We meet throughout the year on the 2nd Tuesday of the month for Bible Study:

Summer Schedule (May-Sept)

2nd Tuesday of the month all groups meet together on campus at 9:30 am.

Winter Schedule (Oct-April)

  • 2nd Tuesday of the month
  • Esperanza Bible Study - 9:30am
  • Naomi Bible Study - 2:00 pm
  • Mary Bible Study - 1:30 pm (in-home)
  • Women’s Ministry

    PURPOSE STATEMENT

    As a community of women created in the image of God, called to discipleship in Jesus Christ, and empowered by the Holy Spirit, we commit ourselves to grow in faith, affirm our gifts,  support one another in our callings, engage in ministry and action, and promote healing and wholeness in the church, the society, and the world.

    We meet throughout the year on the 2nd Tuesday of the month for Bible Study:

    Summer Schedule (May-Sept)

    2nd Tuesday of the month all groups meet together on campus at 9:30 am.

    Winter Schedule (Oct-April)

  • 2nd Tuesday of the month
  • Esperanza Bible Study - 9:30am
  • Naomi Bible Study - 2:00 pm
  • Mary Bible Study - 1:30 pm (in-home)
  • Stephen Ministry

    Stephen Ministry equips lay people to provide confidential one-to-one Christian care to individuals in our congregation and community who are experiencing a difficult time in life, such as grief, divorce, job loss, chronic or terminal illness, or relocation.

    Stephen Ministers are trained by their congregation’s Stephen Leaders using resources from Stephen Ministries St. Louis. The training they receive in the congregation equips them to provide high-quality care to people who are hurting.

    Care receivers are individuals in the congregation or community who are going through a crisis or life difficulty. Potential care receivers first meet with a pastor or Stephen Leader, who assesses their needs for care and matches them with a Stephen Minister.

    After being matched with a person experiencing a life crisis, the Stephen Minister meets with that person on a weekly basis for about an hour to listen, care, encourage, and provide emotional and spiritual support. The caring relationship lasts as long as the need for care exists.

    “Bear one another’s burdens, and in this way, you will fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2, NRSV)

    FAMILY PROMISE

    Four times a year we host families experiencing homelessness at Victory for a week at a time. Volunteers needed to set up rooms, preparing a meal, serve/clean-up dinner or stay as an overnight host.

    Upcoming Host Weeks: April 16-23, 2023 & November 112-19, 2023

    STEPHEN MINISTRY

    Stephen Ministers are lay congregation members trained to provide one-to-one care to those experiencing a difficult time in life. 

    GRIEFSHARE

    A grief recovery support group where you can find help and healing for the hurt of losing a loved one.

    13-week Program: Mondays, 12:30-2:30pm, February 13-May 8, 2023
    (No meeting April 10th)
    GriefShare.org

    LSS-SW

    Lutheran Social Services of the Southwest (LSS-SW)

    I-HELP PROGRAM: We provide a safe and secure place for women who are currently experiencing homelessness the 2nd & 4th Thursday of the month.

    FOOD PANTRY: Food boxes distributed Mondays & Wednesdays, 9:00-11:30am.
    Utility & rental assistance by appointment only 480-654-4539.

    Victory Quilters

    We meet the 3rd Tuesday and Wednesday of the month at 8:30am. Come when you can, stay as long as you can; everyone can cut, sew, pin and tie knots. You do not need to be a church or circle member to attend. Bring a friend! The quilts are donated to Navajo Lutheran Mission, Orchard: Africa and Lutheran Social Ministries. We typically break for the summer. Please check schedule.

    MUSIC MINISTRY

    Ensembles at Victory practice weekly during the high season to prepare for weekly worship and special events. In addition, many people share their talents individually. Click here for our concert line-up!

    NAVAJO LUTHERAN MISSION

    Serving the Navajo community of Rock Point, AZ, a remote, isolated village near the Four Corners. The Mission campus includes a K-2 private Christian school, clinic, cultural center, water project and food bank.  (nelm.org)

    FAIR TRADE

    Victory Women support Lutheran World Relief (lwr.org) by selling Fair Trade hand-made crafts, jewelry, coffee and tea that generates income for small-scale businesses in third world countries. 

    OPERATION CHRISTMAS CHILD

    A “shoebox ministry” of Samaritan’s Purse, delivering gift-filled shoeboxes to boys and girls around the world.

    ORCHARD: AFRICA

    To equip the church to respond to poverty & injustice, thereby caring for the vulnerable using four programs: Food & Agriculture, Care, Education and Ministry.  (orchardafrica.org)

    Stephen Ministry

    Stephen Ministry equips lay people to provide confidential one-to-one Christian care to individuals in our congregation and community who are experiencing a difficult time in life, such as grief, divorce, job loss, chronic or terminal illness, or relocation.

    Stephen Ministers are trained by their congregation’s Stephen Leaders using resources from Stephen Ministries St. Louis. The training they receive in the congregation equips them to provide high-quality care to people who are hurting.

    Care receivers are individuals in the congregation or community who are going through a crisis or life difficulty. Potential care receivers first meet with a pastor or Stephen Leader, who assesses their needs for care and matches them with a Stephen Minister.

    After being matched with a person experiencing a life crisis, the Stephen Minister meets with that person on a weekly basis for about an hour to listen, care, encourage, and provide emotional and spiritual support. The caring relationship lasts as long as the need for care exists.

    “Bear one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2, NRSV)

    WOMEN’S MINISTRY

    Welcome to the vibrant women’s ministry at Victory Lutheran Church! As a community of women created in the image of God, called to discipleship in Jesus Christ, and empowered by the Holy Spirit, we are committed to growing in faith, affirming our gifts, and supporting one another in our callings. Our purpose is to engage in ministry and action, promoting healing and wholeness in the church, society, and the world. At Victory Lutheran Church, our women’s ministry provides a nurturing and empowering space for women of all ages to connect, grow, and serve together. Through uplifting worship, inspiring Bible studies, enriching events, and impactful service opportunities, we equip women to live out their God-given purpose and embrace their unique gifts. Join us as we journey together, fostering fellowship, spiritual growth, and making a lasting impact within our church, our families, and our wider community.

    PURPOSE STATEMENT

    As a community of women created in the image of God, called to discipleship in Jesus Christ,  and empowered by the Holy Spirit, we commit ourselves to grow in faith, affirm our gifts,  support one another in our callings, engage in ministry and action, and promote healing and wholeness in the church, the society, and the world.

    We meet throughout the year on the 2nd Tuesday of the month for Bible Study:

    Summer Schedule (May-Sept)

    2nd Tuesday of the month all groups meet together on campus at 9:30am.

    Winter Schedule (Oct-April)

    • 2nd Tuesday of the month
    • Esperanza Bible Study – 9:30am
    • Naomi Bible Study – 2:00pm
    • Mary Bible Study – 1:30pm (in home)