"Have a Heart"
Sep. 22, 2018
Then they said to Jesus, "What must we do, to be doing the works of God?" Jesus answered them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent."
~ John 6:28-29 (ESV)
God provides, because He has a heart. It is hard to believe, but it is true. The truth becomes a reality to those who believe it. The Bible calls that kind of belief "faith." It is more than believing something is true. It is confidence in God Himself, trust in God, reliance upon God, complete submission to God, depending upon God to make His promises come true.
That's faith -- faith in God. It is a kind of a miracle in itself. People don't come by that naturally; it is a special power in God, to give people faith in Him almost against their own will. Left to ourselves, we don't believe in God. We would rather believe in ourselves than believe in God. Picked up by the power of God, we learn to believe in Him. While it is not our nature to believe in God, it is not unnatural either to have confidence in Him who made heaven and earth, who redeems our life from destruction, who forgives our sins and gives us life, simply because He has a heart.
It is not so hard to believe that there is a God. It is much harder to believe that God cares. Only the fool says in his heart, "There is no God" (see Psalm 14:1). A lot of intelligent people have serious questions, however, about whether God cares.
It was just this very human issue that Jesus Christ faced squarely, in language that cannot be misunderstood when He said, "Do not be anxious about tomorrow." (See Matthew 6:25-34) He was talking about the ordinary needs of life like food, drink, and clothing. In effect, Jesus was saying, "God feeds the birds. He will feed you, too. Don't worry. God will provide. He clothes the flowers, and He will provide clothes and house for you, too. Just believe in Him. Don't fear."
That's hard to believe. The words of Jesus are not an encouragement to sit down and do nothing, but they are an encouragement to believe in God, in spite of everything.
When people asked Christ what they should do so that they would do the works of God, He replied: "Believe in Him whom God has sent." To believe in Jesus Christ is to believe in God. Believing in Jesus Christ, in His atonement for your sins, is to accept the forgiveness of God. Believing in Jesus Christ, and His resurrection from the dead, is to accept the life God gives to people who have faith in Him. Believing in Jesus Christ, the beloved Son in whom His Father was well pleased, you know God has a heart, and you get a new heart with faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. That's the way faith in God works; it works by love.
THE PRAYER: Heavenly Father, we cherish the gift of faith we have been given. Remind us daily that You provide for all our needs and will keep us safe unto the day Jesus returns. In His Name we pray. Amen.
From "Have a Heart," a sermon excerpt from, Rev. Dr. Oswald Hoffmann, Speaker of The Lutheran Hour. Used by permission; all rights reserved by the Int'l LLL (LHM).
It is hard to believe, but it is true.