Tuesday, June 25, 2019

The Bethany Bullet Sermon Message - Week of June 23, 2019

Sermon: “All Dressed Up and Now Where to Go”
Text: Luke 8

Undressed was He…without clothes…without home.  This sounds like it could be a headline from just about any city paper…while it might sound contemporary, this is actually the account of Luke’s Gospel written 2 millennia ago. 

The passerby of course, the One who is the ever-present way; Jesus, crossed Galilee and entered the region of the Gerasenes when suddenly He is met by “A demon-possessed man who for a long time had not worn clothes or lived in a house, but had dwelt in the tombs. Upon seeing Jesus he shouted while lying at his feet ‘What do you want from me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God?  I beg you don’t torture me!’” 

Of course after quoting the demonic, Luke records the true torture the man had endured; “Many times the demon had seized the man, who was chained, enabling him to break those chains and then drove him into solitary places.”

If a naked homeless man shouts at you as you are passing by, what is the first thing that you do? 

Keep on passing!  Pick up the pace even. 

What is the first thing Jesus does?  Look at the text, v. 30.  Jesus asks him his name. 

Now, I think that Jesus is talking to the man but it is the demon that gives reply!  We are legion, we are in charge here. For about as long as it took to get the word legion out, they immediately concede who is in charge…don’t toss us into the abyss!

Jesus sends them into a heard of pigs, which promptly rush down over the cliff, into the lake and drown.  The commotion brings the town out and even concludes with the formerly naked and crazed individual sitting at Jesus’ feet, dressed and in his right mind. 

Then Luke wraps up the event by giving us a glimpse of the man’s heart, which in Christ has also been made right as he begs Jesus to join the disciples and go follow Him.  Jesus had a different plan as he tells the man to “Go home.”

At first this might sound like the case of being all dressed up with nowhere to go. 

Are you familiar with that phrase?  Apparently the earliest recorded usage is on a tombstone in Maryland and it reads, “Here lies an Atheist…all dressed up and nowhere to go.” Now I don’t know if the story is true but C.S. Lewis heard the tale too and replied, “I bet that Atheist wished it were true”…that is he had nowhere to go.

Perhaps you've seen that phrase used if someone gets stood up on a date or maybe a business person is ready to make a big pitch or presentation and learns of a last minute cancellation. 
In our text, Jesus doesn’t deny the man a destination he just sends him to an alternate location.

“Go home and tell how much God has done for you!”

This is a story of being “All dressed up, now, where to go!”

The fella freed from the foe wasn’t denied the designation of disciple.  “Let me go with you!” he said, “no, God home,” said the Lord.

You go that way, and do what these disciples will do this way…tell what God has done!  Tell what God has done for you!!

This story is also your story.  On the day you were baptized it became yours! 

Whether in a brand new white gown, one worn by generations at their baptisms, or something else, we all come to the waters of Baptism naked; that is the biblical metaphor for our sinful condition, our natural separation from God. 

At the fount an exorcism takes place, the devil is cast away, rejected along with all of his works and all of his ways, his threats as well as sins guilt, like the pigs in the Gerasenes, it is drown in the waters over which Jesus crosses and you are forgiven.

And baptized into Jesus we are freed from bondage and brokenness. 

The tombs that taunt and haunt have no power and even when our bodies go to the grave, our souls do not.

For baptized into  Jesus we rise, naked no more but rather robed in righteousness, adorned with the grace of God, clothed in Christ, “All dressed up…NOW, where to Go?”

That’s simple…home…to live, laugh, learn, love, and to tell how much God has done for us!

So, go!  Go home to tell what God has done for you.  Go and tell it to your family, your friend, your neighbor, your coworker, for you are all dressed up…now go!
-Pr. Seth Moorman


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