3rd Sunday of Lent -03-20-2022

Psalm 68:1-3; Exodus 3:1-15; 1st Corinthians 10:1-13; Luke 13:1-9

This sermon if dedicated to my loving wife of 51 years, as of today!

This psalm could be a prayer from God’s people as He guides and directs the nation of Israel. It is almost a remembrance of past deeds God has done for His people, but this even includes those who are believers, not just those O Israel but other nations. It notes His rule over the poorest people up to and including the most powerful leads of other nations. God uses events, people of all walks to accomplish His purposes. He has power over all that burdens us, even death.

You could be oral or written responses to worship ceremonies. Those ceremonies might be to note the extent to which the people describe the ceremonies whereby God’s victories took place for His people. In this case, it might be more of a congregational prayer or petition to praise, to recite the historical traditions, affirming His saving presence, a statement of confession, that he is our Father; thus affirming our relationship with Him and His commitment to protecting His people. God is our refuge in times of trouble, always, and He states this a number of ways. God wants us to live in families and why His relationship to us is as a Father. After all, human nature is rooted in a desire to be related to others, though in this sense God is our Creator God. He created this world and all that is in it and wants us to recognize that He desires to be our refuge.

In the lesson from Exodus, we come to understand that when God redeem His people and was going to give the message to deliver to Pharaoh to let God’s people leave Egypt. Moses was the man of whom He was going to send to bring His people out of slavery and into a new land to worship and serve Him. God caught Moses’ attention via a bush that burned with fire, but was not consumed. So he was intrigued and went up on the mountain to see this bush. God then revealed Himself to Moses, told him what he was to do and Moses kind of shrinks back and says, “Who am I to go to Pharaoh Israelites out of Egypt?” God said, “I am with you,” and that I will be with you. Moses said, “Who am I to tell them sent me?” God said, ‘I am who I am.” Tell the people that I have heard their cries and am sending you to take you out of slavery, to the land of ‘the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites.’”

The lesson from 1st Corinthians is not to be ignorant of history, that our forefathers all crossed the sea; they were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea; they ate the spiritual food and drank; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ; nevertheless, God was not please with most of them as their bodies were scattered over the desert. Conversely, even the best of us have been less than perfect, but He has given us a way to restore our relationship with Him. We confess our sins, to clergy or in a corporate confession, or even directly to Him. The point being we must be penitent of our sins, desiring not to repeat them, so that we can be forgiven and our relationship with Him fully restored. We can depend upon Him to watch over us and to help us in the times where we need Him, but He expects us to have right actions and a right attitude at all times, but He understands our temptation natures. When we fall into temptation, He gives us power to overcome them. When we succumb to temptation, we cannot blame Him. We did not take the help available to us from our faithful God. Understand?

In our Gospel of Luke this morning, we learned that traditional Jews believed that good people succeeded in life, but the wicked suffered. Catastrophe indicated the victims were wicked. Jesus refused to interpret two contemporary tragedies within this viewpoint. He called religious people away from judging other people. He warned the self-righteous to repent before they faced even worse tragedy at the final judgment. There were some discussion regarding “levels” of sin, but Jesus would not have any part of it. Instead he placed all of us in one category. We all deserve death! We will get it if we do not repent of our sins and trust Him for salvation. Some sins do have worse consequences in this world than others, bu the wages of sin is death. Me, I’m choosing to repent of my sins and trust in Jesus. What about you?

Can you say “NONE.” None of us is excused from repenting. God does not categorize sinners and seek more repayment through suffering and sacrifice from some than from others. All have sinned. All must respond to God with repentance. Otherwise, we get what we deserve (death) instead of forgiveness (through forgiveness). Beloved, God expects His believers to be fruitful. His patience with fruitless believers has limitations!

Some call the God of the Old Testament to be harsh and hurtful and warlike, etc., while others only read the New Testament, but the entirety of the Bible was meant to be studied and understood. He is truly a Loving God, but you don’t want to test Him either. Repentance means to be sorry for committing a sin, so that you fully confess your sins to God regularly. It is in this manner that our relationship with Him is maintained. If we truly are sorry, then forgiveness will be given. The purpose is to really try to not repeat them, over and over. It is this manner, that our relationship with Him is nurtured and we will live in relative peace and harmony. He asks us to help our communities, with young family with kids, with more mature families, with the elderly and always with the love of Christ in our hearts to love others the same way we are loved. Amen


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