Sermon-04-24-2022-2nd Sunday of Easter
Psalm 130; Acts 5:27-32; Revelations 1:4-8; John 20:19-31
Psalm 130 is one of the traditional penitential psalm, stressing repentance and forgiveness for sins. Without God’s forgiveness, we would be crushed under the weight of our own sins. We do not suffer all the punishment our sins deserve only because of God’s grace and mercy. The message this morning is about true love between our God and us and how we are to be examples of that love with everyone we come into contact with, with our voices but especially with our actions, and the care we give towards the least of our fellow human beings, no matter their race, country, gender, or language, and anything else we come up with to separate us from God’s love. This is the core message, that if we cannot forgive other of their sins, how can God forgive us of our own sins? We must love one another as He has loved us, then we are not the Christians we claim to be.
In Acts, we see that the apostles had been let out of jail, and allowed to go back to the Temple Court to preach and teach in Jesus’ name. The Captain of the guards and his men took the apostles back before the Sanhedrin, where they were vilified for preaching and teaching in Jesus’ name. The chief priest said, “We gave you strict order not to teach in this name,” he said. “Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and are determined to make us guilty of this man’s blood.” “Peter and the apostles replied: ‘We must obey God rather than men!’ The God of our fathers raised Jesus from the dead—-whom you had killed by hanging him on a tree. God exalted him to his own right hand as Prince and Savior that he might give repentance and forgiveness of sins to Israel. We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.
In Revelations John writes to the seven churches in the province of Asia, and his greeting was: “Grace and peace to you from him who is, and who was, and who is to come, and from the seven spirits before his throne, and from Jesus Christ who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. John says, “Look, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him; and all the people of he earth will mourn because of him. So shall it be! Amen.”I am the Alpha and Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.” For many beloved alive at the time, Christ’s return will be a dreadful event. It will be worthy of mourning and weeping due to the recognition that He truly is indeed Lord and they have rejected Him. For these, only judgment and external punishment will remain. I pray you now see the significance of God’s providing a way of being forgiven our sins. It requires us to pray come before Him in prayer seeking His forgiveness and naming our sins and our desiring to repent for our actions. However this is not enough, because God sees our hearts and minds, and knows whether or not we are truly repenting or just saying the words. If He sees our repentance in our hearts and minds, then forgiveness and mercy will be poured out on us, if not, nothing happens. Furthermore, you cannot wait until you see Jesus’ return, for it will be too late, you must repent every single time a sin is committed and mean it, and then there will be joy in the kingdom of heaven.
Finally in the Gospel of John today, we hear that Jesus’ resurrection body was easily recognizable. It also reveals that He was able to be seen and disappear, remember his entering the locked door where His disciples were twice, once to show He was not dead, but alive. Even his scars from curcifixation were evidenced and the second time, He allowed Thomas to touch them.
Jesus came back to remind them that they were responsible for continuing His earthly ministry of evangelizing. If you think about what He did, He went from village to village, town to town, city to city and at every stop people would come rushing to see Him heal people, which he did and had given the disciples to ability to do the same in His name. With the people there, He was able to preach and teach the people, who became believers to do the same as He had done; thus, mission work was the key work of Jesus and now has become the key work of His church and all churches. We come to church to be trained or taught and to worship God through His Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and to go out into the world continuing the mission work that was begun by Jesus.
So beloved, we cannot all go to other parts of our state or our of the state or out of the country doing mission work, but we can and should help support the work of those who can both financially and in providing goods to help them perform the work. We can do things within our own community and neighborhoods, especially in the latest events of tornadoes and the damage they left behind and many groups did, maybe we help them; maybe be can help support their efforts; maybe we can begin storing up things like water, some prepackages foods to hand out to those affected by the storms and begin forming teams to help deliver these to the specific areas for distribution. When safe, we can form teams to help in clean up, or helping residents to determine what their needs are, etc.
Whatever we are able to do will certainly be appreciated, especially if we do simple things like listening to their problem, irregardless if we can fix them or not, just being able to tell someone else is a help and may be good information for storm team adjusters if you simply write down what they identify and then to give it to them, for others to take and help them, The important thing is to reflect God’s love to and with all people in any condition, for this is what Jesus did and we are to follow His model, when working with other people. Pray on this, beloved. Amen