Sermon for Sunday 08-15-2021 Proper 15
Psalm 111; 1st Kings1:10-12, 3:3-14; Ephesians 5:15-20; John 6:51-58
Our lesson from Psalm 111 this morning reveals a history of God’s people giving proof of God’s enduring covenant love. His love and mercy are more than theological teachings we have to believe to be part of God’s people. They are the life experiences of God’s people to which we testify in praise and thanksgiving for our relationship with God
In its use here, the “fear of the Lord,” appears to be a Hebrew idiom referring to a reverential attitude which leads us to obey God’s law and revelation. This relationship to God and His revealed Word lets people find true wisdom. Such wisdom centers on obedience to God rather than demanding obedience to or acceptance of our opinions and knowledge. God’s righteous actions are not a, “think of the past,” rather He continues to perform majestic works for His people. Though God’s redeeming acts and covenant promises are so far beyond our comprehension, that we see how holy and unique God is though them.
Turning to our lesson in 1st Kings, we see the end of David’s reign as King of Israel coming to an end, and the beginning of his son Solomon’ reign. The reference to the “Gray Head” is none other than David and he knows he is nearing death and gives instructions to his son, that would not be in line with love your enemies.
This second part in chapter 3 is more of a prayer, and its importance comes in where the Lord came to Solomon in a dream and asked in the pattern of Jesus’ teaching in the Sermon on the Mount. God invited Solomon to ask; Jesus said, ‘Ask and it will be given to you.’ God commended Solomon for not asking for long life, wealth, and victory. Jesus instructed the disciples not to worry about physical needs. Because Solomon’s request was godly, God promised to grant the blessings he had not asked for. Jesus promised God would give life needs to those who seek His kingdom and righteousness first. Solomon had asked for a discerning heart to govern God’s people and to distinguish between right and wrong. In short, Solomon had asked for what made him a great king and a leader well known for his wisdom.
From our lesson from Ephesians, we are taught that we are a worshiping community. The early church held a simple worship style; giving praise, prayer thanksgiving, and singing. Also the services featured Scripture reading, instruction in Christ’s teachings, the Lord’s Supper, and fellowship. It is important to understand that worship music is important, but it is a part of the worship experience, not the worship service itself. The early church did not have the advantage of everyone having a Bible in their home to study at home, so worship was very important for the early church. The Lord’s Supper is a focus of my church’s worship, as is the preaching and teaching, and of course the fellowship in the early church was a time to ensure everyone got something to eat that day, as well.
Paul also addressed the importance of the Holy Spirit and that the filling of the Spirit is contrasted with drunkenness. Both wine and the Spirit do their work deep in the human psyche. They affect people below the level of consciousness, down at the foundation of personality. The Spirit is not merely with God’s people but in them. The meaning of the present text is : let all the church cooperate with the Spirit who lives down, deep in the hearts so they will spontaneously overflow with orderly and joyous worship of God. Paul often spoke of avoiding drunkenness, for all sorts of other evils could follow. He exhorted the church then and still today, by letting us know true euphoria through a life fulfilled in the Holy Spirit. So the taking of wine or symbolic substitutes of such, does not diminish the taking the “Body of Christ” alone in the Lord’s Supper.
Our Gospel from John this morning begins with, “I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bred, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” Beloved, even God’s love and provision does not exempt His people from the normal experiences of life, including physical death. Belief in Christ brings hope of resurrection from the grave and into eternal life. The vestments we wear for a funeral are white, which is symbolically significant to the death of our Lord Jesus Christ on the cross for our sins. This act on Jesus’ part is the single most important self-sacrificial act ever taken on this earth. Jesus’ resurrection provided a pathway for each one of us to also be resurrected; thus, allowing us to have eternal life. If this is not a cause for a celebration, then what it??? For those of you who are still sitting on the fence about accepting Christ as your Lord and Savior, this act should prove to you just how much we are loved by our Trinitarian God. Now is the time to take action for yourself; now is the time to enter a meaningful relationship with God for now and for all time. Amen