[A Sermon offered to the congregation of the Evangelical Christian Church of North America (Restoration Movement) out of Clifton Heights, Pennsylvania this Sunday, April 24, 2022.]

I am saved by Christ.

Jesus’ sacrifice of the cross has freed me.

Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross and His resurrection has restored me.

I am a citizen of the Kingdom Jesus ushered in from the cross when He declared, “It is finished.”

I have work to do!

Brothers and sisters. I am coming at you from Romans, Chapter 8.

This past Friday was, as is commonly called, Earth Day. On this day people take a moment to reflect on humanity’s care for the earth. People gather to do some good work – whether a neighborhood clean-up, planting trees and such, or some other effort. They might say – I have work to do!

None of these things is bad, for indeed God gave us stewardship of His creation. We are to see to His work and treat it with respect. However, from what perspective are most people seeing this day? Where are they coming from who exert so much effort to care for creation? To whom is their work dedicated?

You might agree that many see no hand of God in creation. They see no place for God in this work, or in fact in anything. It is merely human endeavor, human work. We, on the other hand, see differently. We see in all things God’s righteous and mighty presence. This is because we are the children of the Kingdom. We live in the Kingdom. Our perspective has been changed. Our vision is clear. Our call to God’s work is here and now.

As children of the kingdom, we live a different existence, an ‘other’ existence. We, as St. Paul tells us, live by the standards of the Spirit, who gives life through Christ Jesus. We have been set free from the standards of sin and death. (cf. Romans 8:1-4)

God condemned what was broken, futile, hopeless, and against Him in His Son Jesus Who took on our corruption to free us from it. Free from condemnation, from brokenness, futility, and hopelessness we live now in the Kingdom by our faith filled confession and acclimation. We live spiritual lives; lives of peace that do not regard or grasp after the world’s peace – for indeed Jesus told us on the night before He would suffer, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27).

Since we live in peace and by a much different standard than those who belong to the world, how should we view “Earth Day?” What is our call to work?

The clue to this is found is Jesus’ post resurrection discourses with His disciples: 

From Luke 24:46-48: He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.”

I say it again: “You are witnesses of these things.”

From Mark 16:15-16 He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved…”

I say again: “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation”

For us Earth Day is not about just a day, but about continuously seeing the world for what it is, and for what is possible because we belong to Christ. The Kingdom Jesus ushered in is not a someday somewhere else place. Indeed, the Kingdom, I say again, is the very place we dwell, with the Holy Spirit in us. Therefore, having a realistic and honest view of what is out there, and where we are, we are called to the work of remaking the earth, to bring to fulfillment the Kingdom, to draw many to know, love, and serve the Lord, to confess His Holy Name.

Earth Day for us as followers of Jesus must be a call to respond to creation groaning with the pains of childbirth up to the present time. (Romans 8:22) Our work is to give birth to the kingdom in the hearts of those who do not know Jesus or who fail to acknowledge Him as their Lord and Savior.

The worldly are groaning in their ignorance. They desire to really know Jesus, to enter the Kingdom life, but they need the work of witnesses to show them the way. They need people of faith to stand up and say – see Your salvation is at hand, repent. The Kingdom is at hand for you. Confess, profess, and enter.

You see my beloved brothers and sisters that Earth Day is a constant call for Christians to view the world as it is – a sin destroyed landscape that rejects God, the dwelling of the evil one, and the opportunity to offer that landscape hope and salvation. That is our everyday earth day work. 

Thus, we have mission work to do. Wherever we go, in our work, driving about, shopping, selling, family time, cooking, eating, planting and growing, morning, noon, and throughout the night, we must be prepared to give and account of our reason for hope. (1 Peter 3:15) We must be constantly on alert for the chance to change the landscape, to bring souls to Jesus, to expand the Kingdom with the very next soul we encounter.

Is remaking the earth easy, is the work of bringing the Kingdom to its fruition and flower a casual task? Of course not. But we have assurance, Divine assurance.

St. Paul goes on to tell us in verses 14 through 16

Certainly, all who are guided by God’s Spirit are God’s children. You haven’t received the spirit of slaves that leads you into fear again. Instead, you have received the spirit of God’s adopted children by which we call out, “Abba! Father!”

We must not walk in fear or quiet ourselves for we have a great and mighty God to proclaim, the salvation of His Son Jesus, and the outpouring and indwelling of the Holy Spirit. We are not slaves to the world and its agenda, but free citizens of the kingdom with much work to do.

Listen to Romans 8:31-39 for it instructs us on confidence and assurance:

What can we say about all of this? If God is for us, who can be against us?  God didn’t spare his own Son but handed him over to death for all of us. So he will also give us everything along with him. 

Who will accuse those whom God has chosen? God has approved of them. 

Who will condemn them? Christ has died, and more importantly, he was brought back to life. Christ is in the honored position—the one next to God the Father on the heavenly throne. Christ also intercedes for us. 

What will separate us from the love Christ has for us? Can trouble, distress, persecution, hunger, nakedness, danger, or violent death separate us from his love? As Scripture says:

“We are being killed all day long because of you.
We are thought of as sheep to be slaughtered.”

The one who loves us gives us an overwhelming victory in all these difficulties.  I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love which Christ Jesus our Lord shows us. We can’t be separated by death or life, by angels or rulers, by anything in the present or anything in the future, by forces or powers in the world above or in the world below, or by anything else in creation.

We, my friends, my brothers and sisters, have much work to do – but we Count it all joy (James 1:2). We are opposed, but the world opposed Jesus Who has the ultimate victory. He will not let our work of winning souls and remaking the earth fail. He will bless and grant abundance to our work of evangelizing and taking the gospel of grace to the streets and the door posts of all people.

I am saved by Christ.

Jesus’ sacrifice of the cross has freed me.

Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross and His resurrection has restored me.

I am a citizen of the Kingdom Jesus ushered in from the cross when He declared, “It is finished.”

I have work to do!

Now let us set to it.

The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to till it and keep it. — Genesis 2:15

In celebration of Earth Day, Saturday, April 22nd, Holy Name of Jesus is hosting a community clean-up of the Mont Pleasant neighborhood. Please join us in caring for our community and cleaning up the streets.

Share with your friends or get a group together to join us. Even one hour of your time can do a lot! All supplies will be provided. Wear green if you feel festive!