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Sunday 17th December 2017 11:00
Sung Eucharist for the Third Sunday of Advent followed by Coffee Hour
Celebrant and Preacher: Rev'd Nathanial

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7th June 2015 – First Sunday after Trinity – Jack Noonan

Sermon (Click Link to Listen)

Bible Readings: Psalm 130; Genesis 3. 8-15 ; Mark 3. 20-35

Sermon 7.06.2015………………..

In the economy and wisdom of God, it is primarily through ‘the foolishness of preaching‘ that His Good News regarding the salvation, through faith, in Jesus is announced and declared.

God’s Living Word is declared in its logos and rhema formats and through the wondrous love of God’s Spirit, His Word resonates in the heart of our spirit.

There is no accounting for the intensity of this resonance of the Holy Spirit with our spirit…

Whether it be a spiritual tsunami or the silent music of a tiny seed-thought dropping on soft earth… depends on our learner readiness.

For we co labour with God, and much depends on the openness and preparedness of our spirit to respond to the knockings of Divine Love.

This morning’s lectionary readings from, the Word of God, make for pretty sober reading.

The Genesis reading gives us an account of humanities catastrophic declaration of independence from the LORD. Declaring through our actions: ‘We do it our way.’

Then, Jesus, in Mark, in highly politically incorrect mode, puts a shot across the bow of our ‘sacrosanct’ notions of self-determination and self-righteousness, by telling us, whether we like it or not, that sin has consequences and especially so in relation to the eternal/unforgivable sin whose consequence is absolute alienation from God resulting in eternal damnation.

So it is comforting to turn to our morning psalm and hear words of reassurance and comfort;

‘’Lord hear my voice; let you ears consider the voice of my supplication. If you Lord were to note what is done amiss, O Lord, who could stand?

For/But there is forgiveness with you…there is mercy …there is plenteous redemption.

Our 2nd reading was from Genesis, God’s book of origins, of beginnings….of resting seeds.

It is a book of potentials… It is God’s Word encountered through the eyes of faith.

Our extract from chapter 3… is most significant, dramatic, and fast moving.

The two preceding chapters deal exclusively with creation. Our chapter deals with the consequences of mankind’s sin of wilful disobedience, our subsequent fall from grace, and the change it wrought in the quality of human existence.

When you go home look at the opening;

Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field…’

This chapter demands an attentive read.

Read between, above and below the lines.

The anatomy of this pivotal temptation is worthy of forensic examination…( homework set)

The voices, the argument, the anticipation, the reflection, the eyes, the promises, the truth, the alluring half-truths, the downright lie, the pauses, the actions, the realisations, the accusations, all fruitlessly culminating in our loss of intimacy with God, and our becoming beings-unto- death.

It is well to note God’s judgement on all involved; The serpent facilitator was cursed; mankind was not cursed but the ground was.

Adam’s dereliction of duty in relation to both God and Eve had consequences.

But… even in the throes of this disintegration, God, plants the seed of hope;

‘’I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will strike your head, and you will strike his heel.’

This passage, establishes the trajectory of our salvation history…a history which achieves fulfilment in Jesus.

Fast forwarding now, down the generations, to a fishing village on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee, called Capernaum, and the house of Simon Peter. The house is surrounded by a large crowd. In the centre we find Jesus with His newly formed band of apostles.

For our Jesus it was a physically demanding day. Prior to selecting the 12, He had spent the night in prayer. The next day, having appointed them, He started their instruction. Later with pressure mounting +no time to eat, Jesus ministers to the large crowd; teaching, preaching, and healing all manner of spiritual and physical sickness’.

Capernaum is abuzz with unprecedented excitement because of the miracles being performed by this new, radical, unauthorised rabbi, who spoke with authority.

Within this crowd are 2 special interest groups.

  1. His agitated family and concerned friends; and
  2. A delegation of ecclesiastical lawyers from Jerusalem sent to assess this Jesus from the ‘sticks’ of Nazareth.

But something is up. What was it about Jesus that day, that greatly agitated both these groups.?It was His behaviour. And how folk ‘saw’ His behaviour depended on whether they were looking through the eyes of faith or the eyes of unbelief.

It is important to remember that during His time among us, Jesus was always simply a man …He had to be.

His divine attributes were laid aside…

He was tempted in every way we are…

Yet because of His intimate, extensive, prayerful attunement and love for the Father’s will… Jesus hosts within Himself the Presence, without measure, of the Holy Spirit. This is what sets Him apart. This was then and is now the only source of all living power.

Christ said before His ascension that it was good for us that He should go. Jesus does not lie.

At Pentecost this potential; to host the Spirit that resurrected Christ became ours.

Jesus told us, that empowered by the Spirit, we would do even greater things than He did… Jesus does not lie.

But the question is are we courageous enough, willing enough to take up whatever our cross is, seek the will of the Father and follow the lead of His Spirit? What might the price of expressing such radical love be for us?

Meanwhile back in Capernaum Jesus is totally immersed in ministering to the people.

He epitomises Psalm 69 ‘’ for zeal for your house has consumed me, and the insults of those who insult you fall on me’’.

It is the zeal of Jesus for God that causes trouble with his family, and the religious authorities.

It seems to be an axiomatic truth, that once a person is being transformed by the Spirit of God, and sings; ‘I’m not half the lush/drughead/psycho I used to be’…and now goes about doing good…that the green eyed slithering from hell raises it insinuating voice.

What is s/he up to?

I’d be suspicious of him?

S/he’s too good to be wholesome.

Many times, we listen to the drip feed.

This is part of what was going down in Capernaum that day.

To the family and nazarethian friends of Jesus…His zealous commitment to doing the works of God, created such consternation that they wanted to seize Him, restrain Him and forcibly take Him home for He was ‘beside Himself’.

In there eyes ,doing God’s work had unhinged Him.

The Jesus they see, that day, stands in marked contrast with carpenter Joseph’s son who they ‘knew’ almost 30 yrs.

Now He suddenly left his job…

His home…His mother and everyone He knew…

He’s now a celebrity with a motley collection of followers…

But no-one from Nazareth is in His group?

It is significant that only in Nazareth, due to their lack of faith, that Jesus did not perform many miracles. And incidentally we have no record of Jesus ever correcting Nathaniel for his comment ‘’Can anything good come from Nazareth !’’

To the home crowd, Jesus had become a cause of comment, jealousy and ‘scandal’.

While the family charged Jesus with frenzied and delusional madness; the ecclesiastical representatives response to the evident miracles, is not to deny them as magic tricks ,but to accuse Him of being possessed by beelzebub, prince of demons, lord of the flies; and that it is by satan’s power and authority that Jesus works wonders.

Jesus shows no indignation in his response to that accusation, but patiently and deliberately draws a frighteningly firm line.

As if to say; ‘Insult me….that’s fine; but do not, in your malicious blindness, and malignant antagonism blaspheme the person of God’s Spirit.

To blaspheme the Holy Spirit of God is symptomatic of a heart and mind at enmity with God. There are eternal consequences for ascribing diabolical powers to the person and work of the Holy Spirit.

This sin remains unforgiven because the offender is fixed firm in impenetrable impenitence and seeks no forgiveness. For all sin, but the sin of not desiring pardon, is pardoned.

Many times Christians fear that they may have committed the unforgivable sin… but the fear that it has been committed is proof positive that it has not been committed.

Throughout His time with us, all that Jesus did and said was through the Holy Spirit’s presence and divine power…thus revealing the heart and will of the Father to human kind.

For Jesus Christ is our perfect theology.

So in conclusion…What speaking wisdom can we draw?

  1. We need to feed our spirit with the food of the Spirit. Pray unceasingly …search the scriptures daily in the company of the Holy Spirit.

Privni Pozor( First Alert)… Be careful the Holy Spirit is not particularly religious and will push against our comfort zones.

  1. Druhy Pozor … Our Scriptures are not called ‘sacred’ for no reason…They are the Living Word of God…..words activated in us by the Holy Spirit speaking to our spirit. Deep calls to deep.
  1. Treti Pozor…Some day we will give an account of ourselves.

Not in relation to God’s gift of our salvation, but in relation to what fruits was the Holy Spirit able to accomplish through/in our lives.

This is still our grace driven quest. But rest and wait alertedly…..what grace demands grace supplies.

But…….Ctvrty Pozor

We must not waste time on that useless, spiritually debilitating, and paralysing emotion called guilt.

Jesus took all our guilt on Him to the cross.

Time to move on; but move on in Him.

Paty Pozor …

We need to avoid going down the by-roads of;

religious self-effort ,

self-determination

self-generated will-power and

debunked self-righteousness

If not, we will burn out in the cul-de-sac of despair. Remember it is Jesus and only Jesus who is the author and finisher of our faith. Fakt! Fakt.

  1. ‘’Late have I loved Thee’’

If ,like me, the infernal locusts have stolen from you more years than you like to remember… remember the LORD-God has promised to restore the years the locusts have taken.

Look to Jesus, listen to Jesus…He does not lie.

5. And all of God’s people said…..Amen ; )