Sermon for 3rd Sunday of Easter-04-18-2021

Acts 3:12-19; Psalm 4; 1st John 3:1-7; Luke 24:36-48

In the lesson from Acts, Peter and John encountered a beggar who was crippled, as they were about to enter the Temple. The man sought some money from them, but Peter said, ‘money they did not have, but what I have I give to you. I give you in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.’ They picked the man up and “his feet ad ankle became strong.” The man began walking and praising God. They entered the Temple, known as “Solomon’s Colonnade,” Peter called out, “Men of Israel why does this surprise you? Why do you stare at us as if by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk? The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus. You handed him over to be killed and disowned before Pilate though he had decided to let him go. You disowned the Holy And Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you. You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this. By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through him that as given this complete healing to him.’ ‘You acted in ignorance as did your leaders.’ ‘Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.’

We see that the power to heal can still come from a human being, yet only if there is full belief and trust in Christ Jesus. I’m sure most, if not all, had seen this man begging form money or food, as he had been crippled his whole life. Yet, Peter told him he had no money or anything of value, but what he did have he would give to him. He was given a complete healing and he knew where it had come from, as he immediately began to walk and praise God. Do you do this when you received a gift from God? Remember gifts and really blessings from God and they come in all kinds of packages and even from another human being. Take time to recognize the blessing you have received and thank the One that gave it to you.

In Psalm 4, the psalmist says, “Answer me when I all to you, O my righteous God. Give me relief from my distress; be merciful to me and her my prayer.” “answer.” “Who can show us any good?” “Let the light of your face shine upon us, O Lord. “I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O lord, make me dwell in safety.”

Here, the psalmist, in distress, called upon God as the righteous One. The ideas of mercy and grace are intimately connected to the idea of righteousness. God’s righteousness not only moves Him to oppose what is evil but also to uphold and aid the cause of right when people are in trouble. Beloved, God is faithful to His people. He can always be depended on to hear and to bless when His faithful people need Him. His actions may not always suit our timetable, but the faithful God will act. We often asked to trust God. Trust (Hebrew – batach) is belief, faith , and commitment. Trust involves a feeling of security without fear, depending for deliverance on he One with power to rescue. The saved are those who place their trust fully in God.

In our lesson from 1st John, the statement in verse one says, “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should called children of God!” This is what we are and the world that does not know us, also does not know Him! God’s children are characterized by love for one another. We wait for the final realization of what we hall be through the work of Christ. Upon Jesus’ second coming, we will be like Him; we can never be exactly the same as He is, but it will be enough to be like Him. This will become clear when we are standing before Him. Our goal as Christians, is to become more Christlike, and this takes a commitment like nothing we have ever done before. Our purity is based upon the holiness of God, not on anything we can do or say. Both our words and actions after accepting Christ honor him, but in no way does it make us more qualified than others for the kingdom, as that is give to us, as our relationship with Him grows.

One definition of sin is lawlessness, in both the Old and New Testaments. Law may refer to the Old Testament commandments, or to New Testament moral teachings of Jesus. It represents a willing rejection of God’s right to direct our lives. Sin is following the law of human and satanic desire rather than following Christ in the way of God.

In our Gospel from Luke, we see that the disciples were discussing an encounter that two disciples walking to Emmaus had rushed back to Jerusalem and told the other disciples about their encounter with the risen Lord. So the Gospel begins with, “While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’” This kind of reminds me of cramming for exams in seminary with fellow students, and someone says, “I remember this, but I can’t remember the context to know where and when I heard it!” Jesus had told His disciples what was to happen, but being human, they weren’t always listening for understanding, and all of a sudden, Jesus walks in saying, “Peace be with you.”

The basic authority of Scripture is its witness to Jesus Christ, the living Word who became flesh. He claimed all the Old Testament writing pointed to Him when correctly interpreted. The task of the church (that’s you and me) is to interpret Scripture under guidance of the Holy Spirit so that the Bible points people to Jesus. We should expect Bible promises to be fulfilled. We should understand the fulfillment of the light of Jesus’ ministry, not in the light of human tradition or selfish interests. The criteria by which the whole Bible is to be interpreted is Jesus. He showed His disciples, who showed the people and all the way to us, that the entire intent of the Old Testament and, thus, of His life, ministry, death, and resurrection, pointed to the missionary purpose of Christians is to proclaim repentance and forgiveness in the name of Jesus Christ.

In our Diocese, there is a discernment process that used to be used for those who felt they were being called by God for Ordained Ministry. It now includes those who feel God is calling them to Lay ministry. It’s purpose is to help those who decide what it is God is calling them to do, and to try and place people into position to help them decide what ministry clergy/lay they are best suited for and how to go about working towards making that happen.

Mission work can be accomplished by all, to the degree they are willing and able to undertake. This church and many churches around the world do missionary work all the time. Many times, this church has crossed boundaries between us and other denominations, working together to community activities in a variety of ways. God loves us and He wants us to follow the model Jesus provided us while He was on this earth. To show our love for Him, mission work reveals just how much we love Him in return. Go to Him in prayer, and ask Him what He wants you to do, and be ready for His response to you. Amen

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