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Monday, November 27, 2006

Sunday Sermon Summary #3

The sermon on Sunday, November 26th was entitled: Is This Good News?

Spike began the sermon by telling us he had a special relationship with an adorable little boy named Sully Carroll (a little boy of one of the church members). Last summer during VBS Spike and Sully were talking about the gospel lesson. Sully's understanding was that Jesus died, came back and is now the president. He is just a very little boy and his parents still have a lot to teach him about Christ, that He is Lord of Lords and King of Kings. What does that mean for us? Do we confess He is Lord of Lords and King of Kings? Do we understand our place in the world? Jesus is not valued at all until we value him above all. We really do not do this. He must be our first love. He gives us life and redeems us from sin.

In the scripture lesson for today (Revelation 1: 4-8), Paul is writing to the seven churches in the province of Asia Minor. There were more than seven churches during that time. The seven churches represent our struggles. The Asia in the Revelation passage is really Asia today. God speaks to us through his word and lets us know what is expected of us. Paul was specifically writing to the Laodicean Church. People during that time were still under the control of the Roman empire. Domitian was emperor at the time and he commanded that Caesar be worshiped as lord. He was first above all things.

Christians were not persecuted in ancient literature, instead they were persecuted for treason just like Benedict Arnold. We worship god and not Caesar. The Greek word martyr also has the meaning of 'witness.' Revelation was really written to people to people who knew that suffering in this world was not God's intention. Only God can validate our faithfulness and make us new. It is difficult to remain faithful in hard times. Keep the faith! God is with us. John begins his writing with grace and peace. They begin Paul's writing as well. Grace is God's free choosing of us because of God's love for us. We have peace in chaos with God's love. He is the God who is, was and is to come. This refers back to Moses and the burning bush.

In John 15, Jesus is the faithful witness. He takes witness to the heart of God for us. His love is unconditional. Jesus reveals that to as a faithful witness. Witness also means martyr. The Word became flesh and dwelled amount us. He was nailed to the cross and died for that witness. The One who loves us is still alive--he does not use past tense. He freed us from sin.

God calls for salvation and service. We are called to be a bridge. We are bridge builders to God's kingdom so when our family and friends are stuck in suffering, we are the bridge between them and God who loves us. What does it mean for people we meet everyday? 6 And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. When John thinks of the goodness of God he erupts into praise. Do we? Do we get excited about what he had done for us and given us? What kind of priest are we? What kind of bridge are we?

John offers words of assurance. 7Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindred of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen. Is this good news? We will be called to account and to answer to him as he is the first born--Lord of Lords and King of Kings! Is this good news?

Spike used to work for a moving company and he had a friend named Dennis during that time. Dennis wanted to make lots of money, have lots of nice things and have lots of girls. That may be typical of many men. Spike tried to show him a more excellent way...that he did not need all that money, stuff and girls. Dennis did not change his views at that time. He felt he was in his twenties and that was what his goals were. He indicated to Spike that the more excellent way would have to come later.

The same God, or Yahweh that delivered the slaves out of Babylon is the same god who offers us grace and peace. Grace and Peace are ours in the midst of trials. The baptism that was held a few minutes ago is indicative of promises the congregation makes to children through the sacrament of baptism. We make promises to children and we have to show them a more excellent way. Jesus loves us and has set us up free to be a bridgebuilder.


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