Sermon for 5th Sunday of Easter – 05-15-2022
Psalm 148; Acts 11:1-18; Revelation 21:1-6; John 13:31-35
From Psalm 148 we hear that praising of God is a central purpose of creation. Every element of existence, even the heavenly bodies so often worshiped by humans, exists because God had a purpose for it and created it. Each can function only in the place and manner the Creator decreed in creation. Chaotic ocean depths and fearful sea monsters should not frighten earth’s inhabitants, for they have a place in the chorus of praise to God. Storms and animals do not frighten God. They, too, are His creation under His sovereign control. Foreign nations may exercise military might, but ultimately they must sing God’s son! A “hallelujah” psalm calls on all creation to praise the Lord. Only loud voices can give adequate voice to God’s praise. Human beings alone cannot give sufficient praise to the Creator, who gives political leadership to His people. In His sovereignty over all the earth, God alone is high and lifted up, above all persons and things. He is qualitatively superior to everything and everyone. He is Lord, and there is none like Him. Still His people are close to Him, as that is His hearts desire.
In Acts, we read that Peter had an encounter with the Roman Centurion Cornelius in his home. As he entered there was a room full of men. Peter said that by Jewish law, it was illegal for him to associate with a Gentile outside or inside of his home, but that the Holy Spirit moved him to engage with them. Peter knew that God wanted people who had witnessed Jesus in His ministry, how He had healed people, how He had talked and preached to people, and how both the Roman and Jewish religious authority had taken Him and crucified Him on the cross and three days later, had see him walking among the people. Then he remembered what Jesus said: ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit. Therefore if God had given the Gentile the same gift as they received, because they believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was he to think that I could oppose God? When Peter said this, no further objections were heard, but that they praised God, saying, ‘So then, God has granted even the Gentiles repentance unto life.’
Beloved, the final vision of the age to come is told in terms of a new heaven and a new earth. John saw the Holy City, the New Jerusalem descending from the heavens down to earth, and God Himself would finally is with His people and He will live among us. The image of the church coming down and fitting for the Groom says that those in the kingdom will finally live among God, as we will have become acceptable to God. Those who are not, will reside in the Lake of Fire, within close enough proximity, that they will see the kingdom, but never enter it. God our Savior is the beginning and the end of our salvation. He continues to offer His salvation freely to all who thirst for the water of eternal life.
Finally from the Gospel of John we hear Jesus say, “Now the Son of Man glorified and God is glorified in him. If God is glorified in him, God will glorify the Son in himself, and will glorify him a once.” He told His disciples that He would only be with them a little longer and that where He was going, they could not come. Jesus said, “A new command I give ou: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that yo are my disciples, if you love one another.”
You have hear me state many time before that once you claim Christ as your Savior, people will watch you closely. It’s not what you say, but how you live out your daily life that reveals the validity of your faith. If our claim is real, then we will treat all people in the same manner. We will help the poor, the sick and dying, those who are struggling to live and work in a society that only lifts up the successful and disdains the lowly; those who have money and power and looks down on those who must work for every single cent they have and have no power. God honors all people of faith, obedience, and trust. God loves us more that we could ever deserve, yet is the first One to reach out to save us, if we will only trust Him. Who are you trusting in your life? Who says they love you and reveals Himself to you in multiple ways; the One who seeks to give you the desires of your heart, or the one who only uses you for their own gain? May your Sunday bless you in ways you may have never felt before Amen