Tuesday, August 07, 2018

The Bethany Bullet Sermon Message - Week of August 5, 2018

Sermon: “One”

When I was young I spent vast times in my own world.  I listened to music and read books.  I like to play make believe with my hot wheels cars, or digging in the dirt or just gazing at the clouds wondering which one Jesus was on.

For those who know me it often comes as a surprise when they find out that I am, by nature an introvert.  I love being alone and in fact a party of one sounds pretty good to me.

At some point in my early adolescence I stumbled across my parent’s record collection.  If you are younger, what I found was some sweet vintage vinyl albums.  Up to this point the only records I listened to were storybooks, Sesame Street Sings, or my favorite, The Bear Country Jamboree from Disneyland.  

But as I flipped through the covers little did I know that a new world would be opened to me.  Artists like Peter, Paul and Mary, The Beatles, Iron Butterfly, and Three Dog Night were waiting for me to explore. 

I’m not really sure which album I dropped the needle on first but from that time on I was hooked.  To this day, anytime I hear a song from one of my parent’s albums I am transported back to lying in front of the huge HiFi system in the living room perfectly placed between the left channel and the right for that amazing stereo sound.

This past week as I spent time with our text, I was transported back to that place.  I’ll get to that in a minute but if could open your Bibles to Paul’s letter to the Ephesians starting at Eph 4:4. 

“There is one body and one Spirit. In the same way you were called to share one hope.  There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over everything, through everything, and in everything.” (Ephesians 4:4-6)

As those words washed over me again and again this week my mind kept going to a song from one of my parents records.  The song “One” from Three Dog Night has been stuck in my head for the better part of a week. 

Don’t feel bad if you don't know this song.  It was originally released in 1968 on their self-titled album and made it all the way to number 5 on the Billboard music charts. If you would like to hear this song, click HERE to watch a YouTube video of the song. *If you’re unable to open link, copy/paste this into your browser: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UiKcd7yPLdU.

The opening line of the song is, “One is the loneliest number that you’ll ever do.”
The chorus repeats the phrase “One is the loneliest number” over and over again. 
The song hits on the idea that isolation and separation bring about loneliness.

It is said that the feeling of loneliness is a major factor in depression and can impact relationships and contribute to other issues like self harm or substance abuse. 

For an introvert like me, “one” is not a lonely number at all.  In fact I kinda like it.  But I know for many the idea of “one” can be frightening. 

Here in our text we are confronted with the concept of one. 

A cursory reading of the text might lead you to the conclusion that Paul is putting limits upon what it means to be a Christian.  But upon further inspection we find a delightfully complex relationship between the “ones” of the text and the loved ones of God…you and me. 

I do not think it is an accident that Paul uses a series of seven “ones”.  Paul, knowing his Old Testament Scriptures uses the number seven as did the writers of old to point us to something important. 

Seven is often used to describe the things of God.  Seven is a number of completion; first laid out by God Himself at creation with seven days in a week. 

I think there is something more here. 
Let’s look at each of the ones.

One Body - I don’t think Paul is talking about our physical bodies.  Looking at his other letters he uses the idea of a body to describe the church and I think he does it again here.  The church is united in one body with Christ as the head, we are the hands and the feet in community, equipped to serve.

One Spirit - Before Jesus ascended into heaven He promised to send His Spirit that will remind us of everything He taught.  This one Spirit calls us to faith, gathers us into community with one another and enlightens us with many and varied gifts that enable us to serve others.

One Hope - This is the hope that we cling to when things are not going the way we might want.  The hope we have is the promise of Salvation in Jesus Christ and an eternal reality with God in heaven. 

One Lord - This is a confession that Jesus is true God, promised by the prophets, born of Mary, who suffered and died and rose again so that our sins might be forgiven.

One Faith - This is not simply the act of believing but what is believed.  The one thing that is to be believed is that Jesus died for you and rose again to defeat sin, death and the power of the devil.

One Baptism - Baptism is a powerful thing.  It creates saving faith and is an entry point into the life of a Christian.  The one baptism Paul talks about here is the one in the name of the triune God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

One God - This is an echo of the great Shema from Deuteronomy chapter 6, “Here oh Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one.”  This is a confession that the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of Peter, James and John, the God of Paul, and Seth and Kevin/Karl is our Savior. 

In this divine complexity of one-ness, we find our identity and live in community.
One is not the loneliest number but one brings with it all of who God is, all of what Jesus has done, all of the Spirit who calls us to faith and sustains us. 

If you feel lonely, our one God is with you. 
If you feel adrift or bewildered or confused, our one God will help you find your way.
If you feel unlovable because of your past, our one God reminds you that you are deeply loved by Him.
If you feel hopeless, our one God comes to you to lift you up and set your feet on the rock of His Word.
If you feel lost, our one God is here to remind you that all your pain, and regret, guilt and shame has been nailed to the cross and Jesus has won the battle and you are forgiven and you are His. 

Perhaps that is a good way to look at this passage.  Let’s substitute the word one, o-n-e, with the word won, w-o-n, and look at our text again. 

This body, the church has been won on the cross by the death and resurrection of Jesus.  We are called to share that hope has been won by Jesus who won his way to be our Lord, who won the faith that we stand, who by baptism claims us as a won child of God who won it all in Christ. 

 “There is one body and one Spirit. In the same way you were called to share one hope.  There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over everything, through everything, and in everything.” (Ephesians 4:4-6)

Those seven won’s, w-o-n’s remind us that we are never alone and never forsaken. 
Won is in the past tense, because Jesus has paid it all, he’s done it all, and all he has is yours. 

Even when bad news comes, even when life seems to be taking a turn we don’t like, in Christ, the battle has been won.

Won is the greatest word you will ever know.
-Pastor Seth Moorman


Post a Comment

<< Home

Free Hit Counter