September 2, 2022

The Victory Service of James Lester Goodman

Passage: Galatians 3:26-27
Service Type:

Christian and Kea,
Matthew and Sarah,
Justin and Jessica,
Family and Friends,
Members of Calvary Lutheran Church,

The Word of the Living God to which I direct your hearts and minds this morning is taken from the Apostle Paul’s Letter to the Galatian Christians, Chapter Three (26-27, NKJV):

26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

In the name of Jesus,
Who lived, died and rose again,
So that we might be part of the Family of God –

Saul of Tarsus had a family, a father and mother, almost certainly he had siblings...even though we are told nothing about them in Holy Scripture. He grew up in Tarsus like any other child would have in those days.

But as a result of the decisions that he made in life, he was likely disowned by his earthly family. He had been a faithful pharisee, taught by the most famous pharisee of his time. He was a zealous Pharisee, taking the fight to what he thought was the enemy...the followers of Jesus of Nazareth. He was in the process of doing that when Jesus Himself confronted him outside the city of Damascus, Syria.

Saul of Tarsus learned that his life had been a lie. Jesus recruited Saul to serve Him. He, of all people, became a Christian and Apostle of Jesus.

Even more importantly Paul by faith became family with God, a child of God and heir of everlasting life. He was, like everyone, born outside of God’s family, destined for eternal death in Hell.

The Holy Spirit would later move him to write to the Galatian Christians (3:26-27, NKJV) that one becomes part of God’s Family not by being born into the right family, but through the re-birth of baptism:

26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

I’m sure he was heartbroken to be forsaken by family and friends. But in the end, for Paul, being united to Jesus by faith was most the important thing. He wrote to the Philippians in Macedonia (3:7-11):

7 But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. 8 Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; 10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, 11 if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.

It’s accurate to say that family was important to James Goodman. I understand that he chose to set aside his personal plans to become a lawyer, because it was more important to him that Dianne stay home and raise their children...which she couldn’t do if he pursued law. He loved his family. He was proud of his children and grandchildren.

But we aren’t here today merely because James Goodman was a man who loved his family. All the love in the world couldn’t make up for Jim’s sins...much less those of his family. While he is to be respected for being a faithful husband and father...our hopes today and tomorrow don’t rest upon such things.

In fact, long before James Goodman met his future wife at a dance and long before they considered that they could be a family... Almighty God was making plans to adopt James Goodman into his family.

It wasn’t a simple task. Since Eden, every single child of every single couple was born in sin and proved it by thought, word and action. The Eternal God is no daft old man who overlooks sin. God’s justice will not allow him to sweep sin under the rug. Something had to be done.

So, God sent his own Son into human flesh. God’s Son lived without sin in life. He laid down his life as the complete payment for all human sin including those of James Lester Goodman. He was raised the 3rd Day as proof that what He said on the cross was true: “It is Finished!”

God did this for all of humankind. James Goodman became a beneficiary when he was baptized into Christ and he came to believe in the living, dying and rising of Jesus.

It was then that these words then became true of Jim Goodman:

26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

Now perhaps some of you are wondering to yourselves...what good did it do to Jim Goodman to be a Christian? He developed Parkinson’s Disease and then Cancer. How did that bit of water on his infant head do him any good later in life?

It did for James Goodman what nothing else could changed his status with His Creator. He was born a stranger to God’s Promises. He was born a sinner destined for eternal death. He was born without hope and without God in the world.

In Baptism God washed away his sins. The perfect life of Jesus was credited to him and he was accounted by God as righteous. Then in mercy, through Word and Sacrament, his faith in Jesus was nourished and strengthened. God promised him a new life apart from sin, where sickness doesn’t result in death. He looked in faith to that promise.

James Goodman is the head of this branch of the Goodman tree. James Goodman was also grafted into the family of the Savior and made an heir of life everlasting.

Therefore, the day will come when the Savior Jesus returns in glory. On that day Jesus will call James Lester Goodman from his grave and restoring body and soul, and making it perfect, he will go with Christ and all who believe to Life Eternal.

God has arranged the same for you. He has reconciled you to Himself through His Son. He has promised to stand with you in life and through death to life eternal.

He wants you to be a full-fledged member of His Family...through faith in His Son. He’s done everything to make it possible and has offered it to you in Christ, a free gift.

Family is important. But the thing is that sharing the same last name doesn’t guarantee access to heaven. The fact that your parents were believers isn’t a ‘get into heaven free card.’ It won’t matter at death if your name is Goodman or Schaller or Knutson or Fassbender or Weigold.

What will matter is that you trust in Jesus Christ, God’s Son.

For by faith in Christ ‘you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God (cf. Ephesians 2:19).’

Family with God in Jim Goodman.

Praise God.

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