Monday, August 31, 2015

Bethany Bullet - August 31, 2015

Living H2Oh!- The River of Life

“... it was very good!”  With those words, Moses, the writer of Genesis describes the creative work of God.  Six days had passed and as the Spirit hovered over the waters, the Almighty God spoke creation into existence.  He had formed humanity from the dust of the ground and “it was very good!” 

In paradise the water was pure and clear, life was abundant, light was plentiful and humanity saw God face to face as they walked with him in the cool of the day. 

But it was not to last.  Soon the serpent began spinning his lies and a curse fell upon the earth, and things were not so good. 

The waters were muddied with sin; darkness descended upon the earth, sinful humanity was separated from a holy God.

If you are not familiar with this story, the first three chapters in the Bible from the book of Genesis set the scene and the story for all of the pages that come after. 

But our text for this morning comes from the complete opposite end of the scriptures. In John’s Revelation chapter 22, verses 1 through 5.  Hear the words of John again, “The angel showed me a river filled with the water of life, as clear as crystal. It was flowing from the throne of God and the lamb.  Between the street of the city and the river there was a tree of life visible from both sides. It produced 12 kinds of fruit. Each month had its own fruit. The leaves of the tree will heal the nations.  There will no longer be any curse. The throne of God and the lamb will be in the city. His servants will worship him and see his face. His name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night, and they will not need any light from lamps or the sun because the Lord God will shine on them. They will rule as kings forever and ever.” (Revelation 22:1-5)

John’s vision of heaven hearkens back to that scene in the Garden of Eden where paradise was lost and the curse began.  There is a tree, and water but although the end will be like the beginning it will be so much better, it will be, “very good.”

This summer we have used water as our thematic element and today we look to the living H2Oh that flows from the throne of God in the new Jerusalem of heaven. 

Earlier in the service you heard the words, “There can be no life without water.”  This is literally true for our physical bodies.

Without water we can become dehydrated.  According to WebMD, “Dehydration occurs when your body loses too much fluid. This can happen when you stop drinking water or lose large amounts of fluid. Not drinking enough fluids can cause muscle cramps. You may feel faint. Usually your body can reabsorb fluid from your blood and other body tissues. But by the time you become severely dehydrated, you no longer have enough fluid in your body to get blood to your organs, and you may go into shock, and death can result.”

Back in the Garden, Adam and Eve delighted in the presence of God, face to face.  They had everything they needed.  They were well watered, well fed, well taken care of.  They drank deeply from the well of living water as they were in the presence of God himself.

Dehydration was not an issue.

Then the serpent reared his ugly head and began to sow the seeds of doubt and deception.  “Did God really say…?”  “You won’t surely die!”

Spiritual dehydration would soon set in, & death would be the result. 

The world’s first snake oil salesman began his destructive pitch to our first parents and the curse descended upon creation.

Under the curse, we all actively seek not to drink deeply from the living water of Jesus Christ but to sip seductively on the snake oil of Satan himself.  We become dehydrated and lured into a false dependence upon a perceived elixir that promises salvation. 

The term “Snake Oil Salesman” for most people brings to mind notions of a “charlatan”, the “huckster” who, in years gone by was noted for his peddling of worthless wares and quack remedies that made all manner of health claims.  

The salesman’s character was that of a fast talker who with a certain twisted charm and verbal misdirection, could convince the consumers that his medicinals were capable of curing all manner of disease or for that matter, regain lost youth or grow hair on a billiard ball.  

The devil is a true charlatan, a huckster who makes his pitch to sell you a lie.  There are two main snake oil recipes that tempt us daily. 

They are the same ones used in the garden, doubt and deception and they bring about spiritual dehydration to us today.   

Under the influence of the snake oil we, like generations before, doubt that God can do what the Bible promises and are deceived to believe that we can do it all ourselves. 

A few sips of this elixir are believed to be a cure-all.  By our own efforts and strength we can get through the trials of life.  The headache and pain that comes with spiritual dehydration will be gone. 

When something ails us, just work a bit harder, do a bit more, a sip here and a sip there and the destructive deception and doubt decreed by the devil begin to direct us to distrust and do things our way. 
Just a cursory look back on your life and you will find times when you sipped the snake oil with good intentions yet sunk into greater despair and spiritual dehydration set in. 

The curse of sin becomes all too real when we see that we have no control.  Death and disease, heartache and pain, the stillness of the grave awaits those who have given in to sly words of the original snake oil salesman.  We are all under the curse.

Scripture tells us that there is no one who is righteous, not even one.

But as the Spirit carried the writers of scripture along, we begin to see that God has a plan.  There was a plan to crush the head of the serpent, to reverse the curse of the garden; to point to a way beyond human imagination or intuition and to Living H2Oh!

The Spirit of God hovered over the waters at creation, living water from a rock provided for the people of God wandering in the desert.  The soul quenching water of God is described by the Psalmists, and the Prophets, and was promised by Jesus himself to the woman at the well.

This same water is offered here to you this morning.

For all the times you have sipped the snake oil of doubt or deception, Jesus has words for you, “whoever drinks the water I give will never thirst.  Indeed, the water I give will become a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:14)

That water comes to you as you hear the word, as you study scripture.  It comes in the waters of baptism and the life giving meal of bread and wine, His body and blood.

This living water is pure, it is clear as crystal, and assures you that you are forgiven and heaven is yours in Christ. 

On the cross, the snake oil salesman has been crushed; doubt and deception have been replaced by hope and happiness. 

On the cross, Jesus took our place, died for our disobedience, but rose again to secure salvation.
The prince of this world tries to convince you that eternal hope is a sham and that this sad world is all there is. 

In the face of the deception of the devil, Jesus assures us the reality of our eternal home.  A paradise without darkness or night, where grace flows down like a river, where we are fed with the fruit that will heal the nations and where the curse will be eternally reversed and we will see God face to face. 

One day we will drink deeply from the river of life in eternity, but that does not mean that we are left to fend for ourselves until that day comes. 

Here in this place is an oasis of grace; forgiveness of sin is offered freely and abundantly, the life giving water is poured out in baptism, consumed as the Word is proclaimed and lavished upon you at his table. 
Here in worship, we, like John, catch a glimpse of heaven and experience life giving water. 
In this place you can rehydrate and have your sins washed away.

So, when you are feeling spiritually dehydrated, when you are tempted to sip on some snake oil, come to the water, the living H2Oh!  In Christ, Living H2Oh is yours, now, and in eternity forever.  And that is very good.

-Pastor Seth Moorman


Post a Comment

<< Home

Free Hit Counter