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LENTEN SERMON

Story ID:8680
Written by:Frederick William Wickert (bio, link, contact, other stories)
Location:Gilboa New York USA
Year:1950
Person:Jesus Christ
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The following was written and delivered by my father in the late 1950's. My sister passed away in October of 2012 and my brother in law found it among her papers. She had saved it all these years. I thought Christian members might like to see it. I suggest atheists and agnostics not read any further. If you do and become offended, it is your own fault for reading it.

Fred Wickert



LENTEN SERMON
by Fred Wickert, Sr.

During this Lenten season we must, if we are to live in a Christian world, review the life of this Jesus of Nazareth. If we are unbelievers, then we must study this greatest occurrence in the history of mankind that has had a far greater impact upon the lives of more people than all the wars of history. It is the story of a man who is either the son of God or the greatest faker this world has ever known. If we are followers of Christ, then we need to study the evidence again and again that we might know the truth since it was Christ himself that said, “And ye shall know the truth and the truth will make you free.”

I must assume that all who are here tonight followers of Christ for my remarks will be directed to that group. I believe that 2000 years ago Christ gave us the first practical philosophy of achievement that will enable us to live a life of richness and crown it with the glory of everlasting life. He gave us as a legacy the Holy Spirit – the richest storehouse that mankind has ever known if he makes use of it.

Lest you do the perfectly natural thing that many would do – that of reaching the false conclusion that the conditions under which you may share in this huge legacy are too rigid to permit you to comply with them – let me relieve your mind by saying that the conditions are well within the reach of any adult with average intelligence and there are no tricks or false hopes connected with it.

Now the first of these conditions is that we have FAITH. What has faith to do with success in life? Faith is commonly understood to be something we use in church. We consider it to be some vague religious sort of thing and that people who are not religiously inclined have nothing to do with it. FAITH IS A PART OF LIFE. It is as impossible for a man to live without faith as for him to live without breathing. Faith is our point of view – the way we look at the universe. Faith enables a man to penetrate deeply into the secrets of nature and to understand God's language as it is expressed in all natural laws.

From this sort of revelation have come all the great inventions that serve mankind and a better understanding of the way to human freedom through harmony in human relationships. Faith makes it possible to achieve whatever man can conceive and believe.

Many of us think that the acceptance of some fantastic and entirely unfounded statement is faith. That is not faith at all, but superstition or fancy. A short time ago a college professor knew that the world was coming to an end and the oceans would cover us. Let us get such ideas of faith entirely out of our mind. Faith is not something which insults our intelligence, but confidence in that which inspires our intelligence. Christ died upon the cross and rose again yon Easter morn. In that I have faith. All of my reasoning powers tell me it is so. The right kind of faith does not demand of a man that he resist his reason, but that he use it. Real faith is not belief in any creed or statement, but confidence in certain principles. The life of Christ has, by analysis, taught me certain principles. They are my faith.

Jesus showed us that if we would have faith, we must keep our mind on that which we desire. Edison tried for 10,000 times to make an incandescent lamp. Marconi tried for years before he perfected wireless. Columbus believed the world was round in the face of a world of unbelievers. Helen Keller believed that she could learn to speak. There is no such reality as a blanket faith. It must have a definiteness of purpose. “I must be about my father's business.” “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” “Our Father, who art in Heaven.” Always in the same direction.

Faith is guidance from within. The guiding force is the infinite intelligence of God directed to definite ends. It will not bring that which you desire, but it will guide you to the attainment of the object of desire.

Do you know how many rules Jesus kept? None. Only underlings keep rules, but followers of Christ follow principles. What about the Golden Rule, you say. Well, we are always hearing men say the golden rule will not work. Of course, the golden rule won't work because it is not a rule but a principle. The one thing Jesus persistently refused to do was to make rules. He did say, “Nan, who made me a judge or divider over thee?”

A rule is for immature or deficient minds. The only reason we have rules in school is to train a child up to where he can operate by principle. Then we throw away the rule as a cripple does his crutches.

I get a big kick out of some rules that some of our Roman Catholic teachers are following this lenten season. They frankly tell of the rules of abstinence of certain kinds of foods on certain days, but they may break the rule if they feel weak. A principle is an inner force. A rule is an outward restriction. The rules say you must avoid lying, stealing, murder. A principle is “Love thy neighbor.” A principle makes us grow. A rule prevents growth. Rules make Pharisees, Inquisitors, “nice” children, but principles make us strong, noble men and women. Rules support us by the armpits over life's mountains, but the Golden Principle “Love thy neighbor” gives us a solid footing on the rock of ages.

Faith then, is a state of mind which may be enjoyed only by those who have learned the art of taking full and complete control of their minds. Faith expresses its powers only through the mind that has been prepared for it. Even Thomas' mind was prepared when Jesus asked him to put his hand into the riven side and his eyes beheld the nail marks. Things are happening in this world pretty fast these days. They happen as if by shaking dice. True! But the dice of God are always loaded. Certain great principles run through all great men, at all times. Not only at the time of Christ but at this very hour. Find them, follow them, ride them and you will find that luck has a habit of coming your way. I too have my laws and my will. If my feet are planted upon truth, if my heart is running with fires from the central sun of God's love, if my mind is in tune with the wisdom of Christ, then God is holding me by the hand.

The way of preparation to receive that faith is well known. Here are the fundamentals, you see I cannot avoid being a teacher.

1) A definiteness of purpose – and it must be supported by action. You believe in going to church. Your purpose is to be a Christian. Then why aren't you in church on a Sabbath morning?
2) The habit of going beyond what is the necessary minimum in human relationships. It's the little extras like washing your windshield with the sale of a gallon of gas that pay off.
3) An alliance or friendship with one or more people who radiate courage based on faith – the disciples of Christ.
4) A positive mind like that of the master – free from all negatives such as fear, envy, greed, hatred, jealousy or superstition.
5) A recognition of the truth that all tough breaks carry with them, the seed of a greater benefit. Christ suffered the agony of the cross, but he gained eternal life for himself and you if you want it. Temporary defeat is never failure until you accept it as such.
6) The habit of affirming your purpose in life in a period of meditation and prayer at least once daily. Christ showed us the way. Numberless times we find him leaving the crowd and going up in to the heights to pray and think.
7) A recognition of the existence of infinite intelligence which gives orderliness to the universe, that all matter, including ourselves, are expressions of that intelligence. “God is a spirit and ye shall worship Him in spirit and in truth.”
8) He taught us to take careful inventory of past defeats, which will reveal the truth that each one carried the “seed” of an equivalent benefit. Christ is saying, “Cast your net on the other side.”
9) Self respect – expressed through harmony with our own conscience. Come what may, my conscience is clear.
10) Recognition of the oneness of all mankind. We are but projections of the infinite.


My friends, the application of these truths given us in that great legacy do not call for you to be superior in any way, but application does call for intelligence and a keen thirst for truth and justice. The Master taught us this principle: No man who fears anything is a free man!

1) He had no fear of poverty – the miracle of the loaves and fishes.
2) He had no fear of criticism for what he did – but the Sanhedrin feared for it.
3) He had no fear of ill health – numerous instances - “I would give thee living water.”
4) He did not fear loss of love.
5) He did not fear loss of liberty.
6) He did not fear old age even though there was no Social Security law.
7) He did not fear death.

Go home and read the 27th Psalm of David. The Lord is my light – Whom shall I fear? Of what shall I be afraid?

How can you demonstrate your new power of faith? Here they are:

1) Know what you want and determine what you have to give for it.
2) When you affirm the objects of your desires through prayer and meditation, inspire your imagination to see yourself already in possession of them. Remember possession first takes place in the mind.
3) Keep your mind open at all times for guidance from within. If you have “hunches” move without hesitating.
4) When you come up against temporary defeat, and you will, many times, just remember your faith is being tested. Accept defeat as an inspiration to greater effort.
5) Remember that any negative state of mind will destroy faith and put you on the skids.
6) Associate with people who are in harmony with you.
7) Don't let a single day go by without doing something to attain your goal. “Faith without works is dead.”
8) Choose someone whom you can look up to as an ideal and peacemaker. Then make up your mind to go him one better.
9) Read the Bible and other books that show what faith can do for you.
10) Never run away from unpleasant things but build a counter-fire against them right where you are.

Never forget that to get, one must first give. Let’s take up our cross and follow him.

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Please visit my website at: www.fredsstoryroom.com