Ecclesiastes 1:2; 2:18-26 

Psalm 49: 1-11 

Colossians 3: 1-11 

St. Luke 12: 13-21 

“The Red Heart” 

Grace and Peace to you my brothers and sisters in Christ, Amen. 

Last week I started the first of five sermons reflecting on the  Luther Rose of which is the symbol of the Lutheran Church. Once  again I profess that this symbol is just a mere symbol that we  don’t need to tie ourselves done with, but to those who willingly  use the symbol, such as myself, when asked what is this symbol,  a good response is to explain what each part means. By  explaining each of the five parts of the Luther Rose you will  likewise explain your faith, providing a testimony of what you  believe. On the flipside, if someone asks you what do you believe  and you find it difficult to find your words, reflect on this symbol  and use it as a guide to help you provide a testimony of your faith. 

Now at the center of this symbol is the cross, which is the  absolute center of our entire faith and of which without it our faith  is meaningless. Now that cross is black, not merely because the  cross in of itself is a killing device used to murder our Savior and  King, but because it takes on the sins of the world. It is for this  very fact that the Heart is red. 

Everyone who is capable of artistic endeavors knows that  when you draw a heart, whether the physically accurate or the  artistically more appealing version, that you are to draw it red.  Red is the natural color that comes to our minds with regards to 

the heart, for the heart naturally should always be red. If we were  to reflect on a healthy beating heart then we would naturally  envision it as red. For if the human heart was of a different color,  then we would understandably differ that said heart is diseased,  sickly, or dead. But a healthy living beating heart is red. 

As Christians, we are to place Christ in our hearts for it is  only through faith in Him that we are saved. To be more exact, the  faith that we have with regards to our salvation is that Christ died  on the cross to take on our sins; going to Hell in our stead. Thus,  it is the cross that should be placed on the central throne in our  hearts. Therefore, just as how the cross is the center and core of  our faith, as individuals, the cross should also be the center and  core of our very being, nested in the center of our heart. 

And though this cross in our heart is filled with pain, the pain  of the cross does not taint nor ruin the heart. In fact the pain of the  cross is endalgia (endo + algia) not exalgia (exo + algia); the  cross absorbs outward pain inwardly and does not outwardly  expel pain from within. The cross does not injure our heart but in  all reality takes on the sin which is wounding our heart. 

You’ve heard the statement that in sin you are dead. God  warned Adam that if he ate of the tree of knowledge then he  would die, and the moment he disobeyed God and sunk his teeth  in the fruit he died. Because of his sin, Adam is dead, and through  this original sin which passes on to all humans we are all born  already dead in sin. On top of that we have the actual sins we  ourselves commit. All of which prevents our hearts from beating  red, vibrant with life.

One common way of viewing sin is to view it as a disease. It  is an all-consuming illness that infected every pore of our every  being, so much so that every thought and action and word has  been infected with sin. Sinfulness is not connected to humanity in  that it is a part of it, but rather sin is an invasive species foreign to  God’s all-good design. It is sin that corrupts the heart and taints it  so that the human heart is no longer naturally red but a diseased  black color. 

When the cross enters this diseased heart, it absorbs the  infection known as sin. Jesus who is on the cross is taking on the  sin that is deeply rooted in our dead hearts. And as the cross  absorbs the darkness of our hearts, the Holy Spirit breathes new  life into our heart. By taking on sin, our hearts are brought back to  life and the vibrant red color Adam had upon creation once again  becomes the color of our own heart. The cross doesn’t kill; no  more to us is it a killing device. Instead, the cross brings life and  so long as the cross is nested at the center of our heart it will also  keep us alive. 

Therefore, sin is not a part of humanity; in fact it lessens our  humanity. Before Christ, we are not fully human simply because  sin damages our humanity. This is why before eating of the fruit  Adam was indeed deemed good, but after eating he was no  longer good. The sin he committed caused irreparable harm. But  for this very reason we are also capable of proclaiming that  Jesus, as oppose to us, is fully human for Jesus as God cannot  sin and because He cannot sin nothing is damaging His humanity.  Jesus is more human than us because unlike us He is sinless.

So as we keep on sinning, our heart grows darker and more  damaged, but through the cross, Jesus takes away from us that  which truly harms and lessens our humanity. The disease which  attacks our heart and eats away at it is taken on by Jesus. The  cross takes on the disease becoming blacker and blacker in sin  while our hearts become redder and redder as it once again  retains its former liveliness. 

And again this is all possible through faith. The only reason  why the heart is red is because of the black cross resting in the  center. For within each of our hearts is a throne, and who ever  sits on that throne is our god. For Christians, the one who is on  that throne is Jesus Christ. But competing against Christ are  things such as money, fame, family, security, humanity, etc.  There are things that compete against the throne, dying to be the  thing which sits at your core. This can be any of the fake gods of  old, of those made up religions. This can be any of the newer fake  gods invented through commercialism or peer pressure. Anything,  absolutely anything, can be your god. Anything can sit on that  throne, and what does sit on that throne will rule supreme. But  compared to Jesus, all other things that can sit on that throne  share one thing in common, none of them will ever bring life into  your heart. 

Whereas the cross keeps your heart a vibrant red, all other  things that becomes to you a god are worthless for they are all  wholly incapable of doing remotely anything for the heart. To a  diseased heart, all false gods and dumb idols are meaningless for  they do nothing to help the diseased heart. The only thing that 

can help a diseased heart, a heart infected with sin, is Christ  Himself. Thus, as Christians, nothing sits on that precious throne  except Christ. Nothing receives our adoration and praise and faith  more so than Christ. Nothing can enter into us and boldly  proclaim to Jesus, who sits on the throne in our heart, get off my  seat. For us Christians, this seat belongs to Christ alone, and it is  in Him alone that we place our faith. 

No philosophical idea, no amount of material treasures, no  political system or prince, no angel or demon, no saint or sinner,  no height or depth can compete for the love we have in Jesus  Christ our Savior and King. We bow to no one but Christ alone.  To the cross alone do we bow and give reverence. And when we  must choose between Christ and anything else, if something  demands us to choose, because Christ sits on the throne in our  hearts, because Christ and the cross is the center of our very  being, we will not fail to choose Christ always. 

And likewise, nothing can separate us from the love that  comes from Christ. Though we may become distracted by dumb  idols, this does not mean that said dumb idols are withholding the  grace of God. Christ is always at the ready to forgive you of your  sins, He just asks that you place your faith in Him. 

Now the love of Christ is unconditional. It has no criterion. It  does not demand anything from you, for if it did then it would be a  conditionally gifted love. Thus, because of the unconditional  nature of Christ’s love, it is provided not because of who you are,  but despite who you are. So as oppose to those who falsely claim  that Christ’s love proves that he accepts who you are, it is more 

proper to proclaim that Christ loves us despite who we are; aka,  unconditional love. In addition, if Christ loved us for who we are  then there would be no forgiveness of sins. For to claim that  Christ loves us for who we are is no different then also claiming  that Christ loves our sinfulness, and if that is true then He is no  different from dumb idols which does nothing to our aching hearts. 

But because Christ loves us unconditionally despite who we  are, dying on the cross because of our sinfulness, he doesn’t  accept our sinfulness but takes it on. He loves us so much that he  places no conditions on His grace and instead, seeing our  sinfulness, proclaims that He is going to die for our sake. He will  take our burdens. He will hold the weight of the world on His  shoulders. He will take on our illness. He will take on the  blackness in our hearts. Thus, it is because of love for us that not  only is the cross black, but that also our hearts through the cross  is red. 

Let us pray, 


Dear Heavenly Father, without you and the sacrifice of your  Son we will still be dead to sin, but through the cross you Son  took on our sins and the Holy Spirit breathed new life into our now  beating hearts. Keep on taking our sins and filling us with your  Holy Spirit, keeping us alive in faith. In your most holy name we  pray: father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

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