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Reading Someone's Mail

Man does not live on bread alone
Luke 4:1-13

Sermon Topic Security

Sermon Week First Sunday of Lent Cycle C

Scripture Summary Luke 4:4


There is a "Peanuts" comic strip in which little Linus meets Charlie Brown on the street. "Where have you been?" Charlie asks. "Church school," Linus replies. "We've been studying the letters of the Apostle Paul." "That should be interesting," Charlie offers. "It is," says Linus, "although I must admit it makes me feel a little guilty. I always feel like I'm reading someone else's mail."

"If your lips confess that Jesus is Lord and if you believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, then you will be saved. By believing from the heart you are made righteous; by confessing with your lips you are saved" (Romans 10:9-10). I'm sure some of you have recognized that I've just been reading someone else's mail -- the Apostle Paul's Letter to the Romans to be precise. In the "Peanuts" cartoons, little Linus never lets go of his favorite baby blanket. Like Linus, we're all in need of a security blanket. In the midst of our anxieties, in the midst of our uneasiness about the future, in the midst of our apprehensions and doubts about the meaning and purpose of our very life, we need to be comforted. We need to be reassured. We need something to hold onto.

We need to open Paul's mail. We need to be told that, because God raised Jesus from the dead, we will be saved. We need to be told that if our lips confess Jesus is Lord, we will be saved. We need that kind of spiritual security far more than we need any kind of social security. In the complex world we live in, programs of social security are important and even necessary. But, as Jesus tells Satan in today's Gospel Lesson, "Man does not live on bread alone" (Luke 4:4).

Our spiritual security and our social security are not mutually exclusive. We need both. We must have bread in order to survive physically. We need money to get through life. But in terms of our human fulfillment, in terms of our achieving wholeness of life, in terms of our growth [...]

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