Tuesday, August 20, 2019

The Bethany Bullet Sermon Message - Week of August 18, 2019

Sermon: “Back to School…’er Church. The Three R’s – Reflecting Christ”

The “3-R’s”  Raising, Reflecting, Relaying:

You HAVE BEEN raised with Christ.  A resurrection was needed because you WERE DEAD in your sins and trespasses.  All of us have seen the movie or TV show in which someone who was medically dead, through heroic efforts and intervention was brought back to life.  Such efforts and intervention was needed because the dead cannot bring themselves back to life.  You, I, We were DEAD in our sins.  GOD made us alive.

His effort was heroic: His incarnation and His perfection in regards to obedience to the law, His pure and holy life lived for you, for me, for ALL.  Divine is His intervention:  becoming our substitute and an acceptable sacrifice in our stead.  Along with Him, our sins were nailed to the cross, our guilt as a result God has tossed as far as east is from west, in baptism we were buried with Christ and through the powerful work of the Spirit and His gift of faith God has raised us up!  We were dead in our sins, but God has made us alive in Christ and we have been raised in Him!

As raised people, we are called to RISE.  Rise daily through repentance and contrition and drown the old Adam/Eve.  The apostle says there is a purpose in our rising… “That we might reflect Christ.”  “As God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, humility, gentleness…and do all you do in the name of the Lord Jesus.”  

Christ Jesus lived for you and He lives in you, He has shown His goodness and grace upon us and He would show His goodness and grace through us and thus we Reflect Christ.  Now, in my opinion Paul isn’t providing a list of actions for us to attempt, a series of characteristics for us to pursue nor an inventory of achievements for us to check off…NO Paul is describing who Christ is in and of Himself, Who Christ is FOR and TO you, and Who Christ is IN and THROUGH you and thus you reflect Him!

He is compassionate.  From a lone leper to the hungry hordes Jesus was filled with compassion for people.  Reaching out and restoring the singular disease stricken man, lifting up the loaves and fish and then filling the bellies of thousands.  In both accounts the two disciple who recorded the event used the same word…Jesus had compassion on them.  Jesus is compassionate…but He doesn’t simply commiserate.   That leprosy is awful stuff, I’m so sorry….He had compassion and reached out, touched the man…who hadn’t felt the warmth of human contact since he contracted the illness and healed him.  Seeing their hunger He didn’t join the disciples and commiserate the situation… your right, they are hungry – let’s send them somewhere to get something…He has compassion – we will feed them.

Jesus Himself when painting the picture of God’s love for His children, erring and wandering as they are prone to be, said and I quote, “When the boy who had run off and squandered his inheritance came to his senses, he said, “I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: I have sinned against heaven and you.  I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired me.”  So he got up and went but while he was still a long way off his father saw him and was filled with COMPASSION; He RAN to his son, threw His arms around Him and Kissed Him.  Jesus told the parable to people who thought some ought not be welcome into His company…His point…this is who God is…it is who we are to be…put on compassion … Reflect Him!

Reflecting upon this it strikes me that Jesus is more than compassionate…He is PRO-Passionate.  He endures His passion for us!  So that our greatest ailment might be cured – Father forgive them – even for the times we’ve looked like the elder son in that story and the Pharisee to whom it was told; Jesus is PRO Passionate – He endures His passion for US; so that our greatest hunger (to be whole and at home with God) might be satisfied, so that the Father might in run to prodigals like us – and in Christ throw His arms open FOR us and then throw His arms around us. 

Jesus is humble.  From the start of His public ministry, in which the baptizer correctly saw the irony of the situation – “You need not repent, for You are the Lamb of God who takes away the world’s sin, and yet You have come to me to be baptized.”  From the start of His public ministry to its conclusion – it was on the night of His betrayal that He took a basin and a towel and the role of the lowest servant and the posture of the lowest slave, “Lord, You surely won’t kneel and wash my feet, I ought be washing yours.”

Humility was His hallmark – humility but He was never cowardly.  “Away from me Satan it is written.”  “I must keep going for no prophet dies outside of Jerusalem.”  “You would have no power over me if it were not given you from above.  Jesus humbled Himself…for YOU.  He humbled himself, wrote Paul elsewhere, and became obedient to death even death on a cross.  Let your attitude by the same as His, is the way Paul introduces Jesus willing humility.  Jesus Himself said it this way…I came NOT TO BE served but TO serve and to give my life as a ransom for many.  Therefore humble yourself before His mighty hand.  Put on humility and Reflect Him.

Jesus was gentle.  That is not to say Jesus was a push over…He pushed over the tables in the temple and pushed back against the teachers of the law…you brood of vipers, hypocrites that you are…but He was gentle.  To the foreign woman who begged for scraps though He had come for Israel’s lost sheep… gently he said, “Your faith is great. Your request is granted.”  To the woman caught in adultery… gently He knelt and whispered “Has no one else condemned you?  Then neither do I.  Go and leave your life of sin.”  To the blind man who had no one to help him get into the Bethesda’s healing pool Jesus gently said, “Pick up your mat and walk home.”  These individuals with child healed, guilt absolved, sight restored understood what Jesus meant when He declared of Himself, “I am gentle of heart.”  That gentleness is extended to us, “take my yoke upon yourself and learn from me for I am GENTLE…” putting on His yoke includes putting on gentleness and Reflecting Him
-Pr. Kevin Kritzer


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