Sermon for 3rd Sunday After Pentecost – 06-26-2022
2nd Kings 2:1-2, 6-14; Psalm 77:1-2, 11-20; Galatians 5:1, 13-25; Luke 9:51-62
God’s leaders are led by the Holy Spirit and God’s Spirit is the bridge between generation gap via His own free way. Elisha wanted the firstborn’s double portion of the father’s estate. Elijah’s most valued possession was the Spirit of God. Though I called it a possession, it really is not that at all. It is a gift from God alone. Elijah had told Elisha to stay at Gilgal, but Elisha would not let him leave without him. He vowed to Elijah, “As surely as the Lord lives and as you live, I will not leave you.” Elisha had left home and Elijah to serve God and Elijah and was now committing pledged himself and now was pledging his faithfulness and did so in God’s name, which fully commits him from that time forward. Both the prophet and his younger servant knew that Elijah’s time was growing short on his earthly journey. As young Elijah had walked with God as had Enoch, God took him in a chariot of fire with horses of fire; though search party’s looked, but could not find him anywhere. As Elisha came to the waters of the Jordan he took Elijah’s cloak and rolled it up and struck the water and the water moved to the right and to the left and they walked across on dry land. Those around Elisha stated, “the spirit of Elijah is resting on Elisha.”
This somewhat singularly depressed prayer in Psalms states the dread questions which occur to Christians in affliction. The psalmist, however, base faith not on present circumstances but on the pas record of God’s might and His redemptive used of that might on behalf of His people. The hope of the future is not in the disastrous potential of circumstances, but in the unchanging record of God’s salvation in the past. Prayer can raise any question with God and find hope in past experiences with Him.
Paul’s concluding argument in chapter 3 and 4 of Galatians ought to be somewhere that we can see as a reminder for almost every Christian situation or circumstances is: “Law is not, never was, and never can be God’s way of salvation for humankind. Believers are called to be free. They are o stand fast in the liberty given them by Christ, but should never abuse or misuse their freedom. Trying to follow legalistic religious rules is slavery. Serving our own fleshly desires because we refuse to discipline ourselves is also slavery. Obeying Christ in faith and love is true freedom to achieve our potential.”
From the Gospel of Luke, we see the Samaritans not welcoming Jesus, as He was headed to Jerusalem. God’s people included all who serve Him and do His will. The people of God are multinational, bearing differing gifts and speaking a multitude of languages. This great throng of people are united by common allegiance to Jesus Christ as Lord. Samaritans thought Jesus was going to Jerusalem, but in reality His ultimate goal was to death, resurrection, and ascension and had been God’s plan the whole time. His ascension enabled Him to have a universal, eternal mission. On his way, Jesus encounters several people. One man said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” Jesus replied: “Foxes have hole and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” This means the King had no home. His followers were to have no excuses. Jesus said to another man, “Follow me.” The man replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” Jesus said: “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” Another mane said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say good-by to my family.” Jesus replied to him, “No now who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the Kingdom of God.” This is about Christian ethics, otherwise known as our character. Inherent in these passages are Jesus’ thees of denial of self, the priority of the kingdom of God, and the single-mindedness necessary for discipleship. Jesus does not accept excuses beloved. He seeks volunteers who will give their lives for God’s kingdom as He did. God’s kingdom, not personal fortune or lists of rules, establishes the priorities in Christian ethics. He is asking for us to commit to work in expanding the kingdom of God and it requires total devotion and absolute attention. Are you committed? Amen