Listen to the Rock 5-22-16 sermon
Psalm 18:1,2; 62:1-8; 1 Cor. 10:4
The Lord is my rock , my deliverer, my refuge, my salvation; rock-salvation-fortress
4and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ.
A few weeks ago the grandchildren were here and I was chasing these two toddlers around playing tag. My legs are long and theirs are short. Soon they were out of breath and they didn’t know what to do. So they went up to my wife- ran to her and shouted, “Nanna’s base! Nanna’s base!” She gave me the look- and sure enough she became base. Today on this graduation Sunday I want to tell the graduates and really all of us where our base is. Our base- our rock- is Jesus Christ. He is the one to whom we can go when we are out of breath- when we don’t know where else to turn. He is always our foundation.
I. A BASE OF SUPPLY- When Kay became base, that is when the kids would catch their breath and then run some more. One of the names of God in scripture found many times is “Jehovah Jireh”- the Lord my provider. God is the base for our provision. I remember my days in college when I would take the food money my parents gave me, spend 1/3 on books and eat Peanut Butter and Jelly the rest of the month. When we first got married we had no meat to eat but maybe once a week- we had a lot of rice and beans in seminary. I learned to rely on God as my provider- my supplier. I hope those of you graduating and all of us here- if we do not really know God provides for us will learn that some how.
Don’t forget your spiritual supply. Do not forget to nourish your soul. There are Christian campus groups on every college I know of. Do not forget you must nourish your soul as an individual. Do not be ashamed to read your Bible in your own room, to pray. College can be a place where you lose your faith- but it also can be a place where your faith is enriched.
Remember your base of supply.
One of the great songs of all ages was put back into the new Presbyterian hymnbook- “Rock of Ages Cleft for me.” Now the verb “Cleft” as far as I can tell was invented for this song. Rocks are just there- they don’t cleft. This great hymn, as far as I can tell with research, conflates two stories about rocks. In Numbers 20 it records the story of when the people of Israel were in the desert of Zin with no water and lots of hear and they thought they and their livestock were about to die, Moses prayed to God who told him to speak to a rock and the rock broke in two (or cleft in two) and water poured out. Jesus is the rock of our salvation broken for us- that brings us life and hope. He is still the rock that supplies our needs today. The other story in this is in Exodus 33- when Moses asked to see God’s glory, and God said you can see a filtered version and hid him in the cleft of a rock and he got a glimpse of the full glory of God. “Let me hide myself in thee” is a reminder that when we hide ourselves in the rock of Christ- our shelter we can get a glimpse of His glory. God is our provider- physically- but also of what we eternally need.
II. A BASE OF SAFETY AND SALVATION- He is our salvation. In Psalm 62 it says this three times: “My rock- my salvation- my fortress.”
He is our FORTRESS- When you feel beaten up emotionally, intellectually- go to your fortress. He is your base- where you are re-energized, healed with His love, bound up by His Spirit.
God is our SALVATION- God rescues you. When the people were in the desert- with no water and the heat beating on them- the rock that split saved them. God is the rock who provides help when there seems no help. He provides streams in the desert. He will rescue you from the evil around you if you call out to Him and do not forsake Him. He will rescue you from those who would destroy your purity- there are people out there who just love to dirty things up- especially human beings.
Jesus is the Rock of Ages whose water of life washes away our sins- whose blood cures us of our guilt and sin. Today you may not think you will ever feel guilty, and you may with all your might try not to feel guilty- but you will. You get rid of guilt not by pretending it doesn’t matter- or running away from the pure One- you get rid of guilt by coming to the Rock of your Salvation for help, forgiveness, and health.
Trust in Him at all times- good times (rejoice), bad times (look for help). He is your hope. Do not ever forget your hope. You can always come back to LMPC- we hope you will and you will find people here glad to see you. Stay in touch- you can see our sermons on the website or on Facebook. We are your base church where you first were exposed to the message of Jesus- the message of the rock of our salvation- the message of hope.
Many years ago a sailor was thrown overboard and onto a huge rock off of the coast during a storm. He clung to the rock until the tide went down. Later a friend asked him if he shook with fear when you were hanging onto that rock?” He replied, “Yes, but the rock didn’t.”
III. A BASE FOR SERVICE – When I was an older scout we would go on long hikes to repair hiking trails and shelters on the trails. We would return between hikes to our base where we would get more matches, more food, fresh supplies, fix what was broken and then go out. Remember where you get resupplied so that you can go out and serve.
Always remember we are kept safe and supplied not just for our own comfort. This week I was talking to a Presbyterian minister friend who told me about his trip to Haiti- the poorest country in our hemisphere. He said on every church above every door are these words, “Depart to Serve.” Graduates- you are departing- leaving us to make a difference for Christ. In some ways- your leaving this nest of Chapin and LMPC is a way to spread the light in the darkness. It is a way to spread kindness, love, and grace in the world. Do not be overwhelmed with darkness- but overcome darkness with good the Bible says. Look for ways to help others in Christ’s name. Look for those left out downtrodden and seek to lift them up- without being pulled down yourself. Jesus spoke on Palm Sunday that if we wouldn’t serve Christ in worship the very rocks would praise Him. Don’t leave it up to the rocks- serve Him in worship and by loving your neighbor.
I used to go to Edisto beach as a young boy and build sandcastles. I remember another boy beside me built these really intricate castles with nice towers, and straight motes. But there were some older kids who loved to run through his work. The builder boy told me he was going to fix that. So he put a couple of cinder blocks, and some large rocks at the base of his towers. When the bullies came by their toes met their match. When your foundation is built on the rock, and you keep that foundation as part of your life, the bullies, problems and heartaches of life can’t destroy what you’ve really built. Build your life on the rock- on Christ, keep Him as your foundation, your base. Continually listen to Him- your rock- your salvation.