When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and said, “Who then can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, “With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:25-26 — EHV)
This past Sunday the sermon text was about the faith of Rahab, a prostitute living in the city of Jericho. There has been a long-running debate among archeologists as to how high and thick the city walls were. We do know, however, that they were thick enough for people’s houses to be part of the city wall (whether completely or in part). Some well respected archeologists believe there were actually two walls that surrounded Jericho at this time, with a large hill between them (Rahab’s house would have sat between the two walls with a portion of her house being part of the outer wall). These Archeologists believe that the outer wall of Jericho was about six feet thick and could have been 20-26 feet high; while the inner wall, on top of the hill reached to a height of 46 feet above the ground.
Think about those dimensions for a bit—it would have been a daunting, almost impossible, task for the Israelites to overtake this city so well-fortified. The only possible way would have been a months-long siege. So God took care of it by causing the walls to come crashing down at the sound of trumpets and shouting! It was an amazing miracle, one that rivals the parting of the Red Sea. It was abundantly clear to everyone involved that the Lord did this, he gave his people the victory over Jericho by causing the walls to come crashing down.
If God can do that—if he can cause massive walls to come crashing down at the sound of trumpets and shouts—what can’t he do? The answer of course, is nothing! There is nothing that the Lord can’t do. The one who created the world with just his voice and set the universe’s laws in place, can alone set-aside those laws whenever he deems fit!
If nothing is impossible for God, then we have no reason to doubt him—as we so often do. Instead, we can trust in him above all things. If God can cause walls to crumble, then he can take care of all things—whenever and wherever he so chooses. Even with this virus, the Lord can, and if he wants, he certainly could, make the virus go away. He probably isn’t going to do so through a miracle; but rather through natural means, such as leading his creation toward some sort of vaccine, etc. No matter what the Lord does or allows, the point is the same—nothing is impossible for God!
But greater than that—look at the context of the passage above. In the verses preceding those above, Jesus said that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter heaven. Why is that? Because we are often too concerned about money and possessions that they cloud God out of the picture. Materialism often leads to unbelief. The disciples then rightfully ask, who then can be saved? And the answer of course, is no one. No one can save themselves, because we are all sinners incapable of setting aside our selfish ways to obey God perfectly.
But what is impossible for us sinners, is not impossible with God! He saved us, not through ourselves, but through the Son. By his perfect life, suffering and death, and resurrection, he forgave our sins and won for us an eternity of glory in heaven! Through the gospel the Holy Spirit has worked faith into our hearts to save us. God did this, not us. What is impossible for us not impossible for God; and by his grace and mercy he has sent his Son who saved us for eternity.
The falling of the wall of Jericho was certainly an amazing miracle; it reminds us that nothing is impossible for God. And it also serves to remind us of the even greater miracle of our salvation, accomplished by our Savior, Jesus!
Pastor Andrew Frey
Important Update - Sunday, September 6th our Worship Schedule will be changing to only two Sunday morning services at 8:00 and 10:30 am. Note the different times. We will be Livestreaming the 8:00 am service
- Labor Day Weekend we will move our Monday evening service to Thursday September 3rd at 6:30 pm. (September Calendar is incorrect -- No Worship Service on Labor Day)
- Also take note that Sunday School and Adult Bible Class will not be starting until September 13
We are almost done with our Summer online Bible study of the book of Ecclesiastes. We are pre-recording these online studies and sending them out via a youtube link along with a study guide. Please contact one of the pastors if you want to be included on the email list.
Starting Sunday September 13 at 9:15 am, Pastor Frey will be leading a Bible Study on "The Christian and Government".
Starting Monday September 14 at 8:00 am and Tuesday September 15 at 5:30 pm, Pastor Gartner will be leading a Bible Study on "The Life Moses -- A Study of the Book of Exodus".
All these Bible Classes that will be starting will be held at church. If you are not comfortable attending them in person or can't make these times and you would like to receive a recording of these Bible Classes, please contact one of the Pastors and we will send you the link for these recordings.
Women of Faith:
We will have our Women of Faith Bible Study and LWMS this September—on Tuesday the 8th, at 1:00pm. We hope many are able to join us.
At this time we still aren’t sure about our Men’s Bible Study later in September. Please keep your eyes and ears open for future announcements.
Returning to Public Worship:
How great and wonderful it is to see people in-person as we worshiped our Lord together again! You should have received a copy of our plan for returning to public worship. Please look over the document carefully. Please note that for the time being, since only one or two ushers will be needed per service, we will not be in need of Usher Teams. If you have any comments or concerns, please contact one of the Pastors or any of the council members. The document can also be accessed by clicking the link below. https://stjohncenter-my.sharepoint.com/:b:/g/personal/pastor_frey_stjohn-appleton_org/EaBy-IahwepIjjaHxkS5IbMBC7X1SDx1pug80s5jAzCihQ?e=fJjd64
In order to encourage and practice social distancing, we are trying to limit each Worship service to 75 people. To help with this, we added an extra service on Sunday morning. We are offering 7:30, 9:00 and 10:30 services on Sunday as well as 6:30 pm on Monday. We are also asking everyone to sign up each week for whatever Worship Service you plan on attending. Please note, that we are in need of volunteers to help sanitize the sanctuary between services. When you sign-up you’ll have an opportunity to mark whether or not you are willing to help out—it only takes about 10 minutes, so we pray that you will!
You can find the link to sign-up on the front page of our website at: www.stjohn-appleton.org.
You can also signup by going directly to this link (it will be a different link each week): https://www.signupgenius.com/go/9040a4aa9a62ea6fa7-stjohn2
As we go forward, we will continue to live-stream our services and posting our worship folders online. We will be recording our Sunday 7:30 am service which means you can watch anytime after 7:30 am on Sunday morning. If you need any help accessing these resources, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
You can find our worship services at: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCCsQs-LDzlHE1NTjOaVaQ2A.
You can find a bulletin for each Worship Service so you can follow along here: https://stjohncenter-my.sharepoint.com/:f:/g/personal/pastor_frey_stjohn-appleton_org/EqetvOMWflhLsfsLRcDkxSgBL2cnYkpiuk8Klh7d-r_XQg?e=07dSma.