Tuesday, December 17, 2019

The Bethany Bullet Sermon Message - Week of December 15, 2019

Sermon: “Sharing Intentionally – Cancellation, Celebration, Conversation”

How good does it feel when a debt is paid off?  Whether it was as the last check was sent finally paying what was lent or when the balance has been paid by some other way, the cancellation of that debt most likely brings about celebration, which leads to conversation to tell everyone that it is done! 

Last week in worship we heard that it’s all about location, location, location.  It's what underlies Advent’s promises, proclamations and prophecies.  In that first Advent, Christ made His location among us to be one of us, to take upon Himself sins shame and sharing with us His name.  And no matter what location you find yourself, He intentionally intends to share Himself through you…that was last week’s sermon, if you want to catch it in its entirety, check out the podcast. 

This morning we will see that Advent is also about:
·         Cancellation
·         Celebration
·         Conversation

In the spirit of the Christmas season, Mary Horomanski decided to put some new Christmas lights on her house. Seeing the house at night, she had to acknowledge it had been a good investment, Clark Griswald would have been proud! She just hoped the electricity to run those lights wouldn't become a burden on the family budget.  Sometime later, Horomanski received her first bill from her electricity provider.  She took a look at the email, took a look at the figures, saw lots of figures. She saw this figure: $284,460,000,000! That's billion with a B!!

For just a split second or so, Horomanski wondered if she had strung those lights incorrectly. She hadn't. Everything had been done correctly. As she scanned her bill, she noted the debt could be paid off in a lump sum or by her making monthly payments. She opted for the second method, and she scratched out a check for $28,156. To make a long story short, Horomanski appealed her bill, and the embarrassed power company quickly adjusted her bill to where it should have been. The new figure she owed was $284.46.

Now I like that story. I like that story because it deals with a debt, which is so absurdly large it could never be run up by an individual, let alone paid by a single person. I think Jesus would have liked that story, too. 

You heard the text read (if you were here on Sunday, if not click HERE to read the text) from Mathew 11 and like many of the Gospel texts this season it doesn’t seem to fit the season…especially if that season you are expecting is Christmas.  But it’s Advent, the season of expectation that we find ourselves in for a few more weeks. 

Yes, we take a peek at Christmas but as we learned last week, Advent is about location, the location of Christ with us as He intentionally shares Himself so that we would be located with Him forever and the debt of sin that we owe has been paid in full. And if this sounds like news that is too good to be true, you are in good company, for John the Baptist thought so too.  Even though he was the one who was to prepare the way for the Messiah he doubted the news.

John sends some of his disciples to ask Jesus if He was the Messiah, the one promised of old.  Sin had blinded John of the message he had been sent to proclaim.  Doubts began to devour the faith in his heart.  “Are you the one who is coming, or should we look for someone else?”  (Matthew 11:3)

John the Baptist, the one who in the womb leapt as Jesus’s mother entered the room herself pregnant with the Christ Child, finds himself now wondering if the Messiah has even come. 

It’s a familiar tune, one played out in countless lives since John’s.  Is Jesus the one, or should we look for someone else?  The devil and this world try as they might to convince you that we wait in vain.  That there is no Savior of the world who walked on earth let alone will come again. So, to answer John’s question, Jesus engages in conversation.  “Go back and tell John what you hear and see.” (Matthew 11:4) And what did they hear and see?  The blind received their sight, the lame walked, diseases were cured, the deaf could hear and even the dead were brought back to life and the poor heard the Good News. 

This was a cancellation of the curse that goes all the way back to creation and the promise of Salvation given to our first parents.  It’s the forgiveness of a debt that humanity has been carrying for generations, a debt we could never pay. This is the fulfillment of prophecy; this is why Jesus came; this is why His Advent among us is so important.  And His is the message that John’s disciples took back.  In this moment of cancellation there is celebration. 

John needed to hear once again that Good News that the Messiah had come.  He needed to come face to face with the One who had come to cancel his debt, to open his blind eyes, to set him on his feet again, to cure the disease of sin, to unstop his ears to the message that even when he is dead in his sin and poor in spirit the Good News is proclaimed to him and that the faith given to him that moment he celebrated in the womb all those years ago brings blessings beyond measure. 

Cancellation brings about celebration initiated by conversation.  This is the life of the Christian.  No doubt you’ve had times like John in our text, wondering, waiting, hoping, and praying that Jesus is the One, the Savior of the world.  

Here in this place as you encounter the Divine in word and worship you have a safe place to ask those questions of faith.  “Are you the one who is coming, or should we look for someone else” and Jesus invites you into conversations as well.  “What do you see and hear?” Here in this place the blind see, the lame walk, the sinful are made clean, the deaf hear and the dead are brought back to life as all those poor in spirit hear the Good news that in Christ your sin is forgiven. 

What are those things that blind you?  What has made you unclean?  Do you find it hard to hear the voice of Jesus? 

In your sin, you are dead but in this place there is life! You have a debt so absurdly large that you could never pay it off, but in Christ your debt is cancelled, you sin is forgiven and all creation celebrates as you are invited into conversations with others to intentionally share this Good News with others. 

That's what the shepherds did when they heard the news from the Angels.  It’s what the magi did when they went home by a different route.  It’s what the woman at the well did after she encountered Jesus and countless others who shared what they saw and heard from Christ the Messiah, the Savior of the world.

Cancellation, Celebration, Conversation!

It’s the story of Anna, a Simeon, who waited for the consolation of Israel that came in Christ and they celebrated the cancellation of sin that was to come in Christ.  “Lord, now let your servant depart in peace, according to your will.  For my eyes have seen your salvation which you have prepared before the face of all people.” 

No matter what doubts you are having, no matter the fears you are facing, no matter the sin you are hiding no matter the questions you are wondering, your sin has been cancelled and on account of Christ you are forgiven.  That calls for celebration and conversation.

Jesus could have thrown his cousin under the bus, casting him away because of his doubts, but he doesn't.  He lifts him up, reminding others of the greatness of John’s calling and yours as well. 
Jesus reminded his cousin in the midst of his doubts and questions, and he will remind you in the midst for yours, in water and word, bread and wine that you are his precious child and calls you into conversation, “What do you see and hear?” 

In this place I see the dead come back to life.  I’ve witnessed it at the fount where in water and word the dead are raised to newness of life. In this place, the ones with questions are unconditionally loved, the poor provided all they need, the sick healed, the blind received sight, and the deaf able to hear the voice of the promised Messiah and that is something to share intentionally and to have deep and lasting conversations about. 

Advent is about cancellation, celebration and conversation.  I invite you to find ways to intentionally share the promises, proclamations and prophecies of Advent, that our God is a God of location, cancellation, celebration and conversation and no matter where you find yourself, we know that Christ is there with forgiveness for all!
-Pr. Seth Moorman


Post a Comment

<< Home

Free Hit Counter