Sermon for 12th Sunday After Pentecost-07-24-22
Psalm 85; Hosea 1:2-10; Colossians 2:1-19; Luke 11:1-13
Our psalm this morning begins with God’s obvious intent to take His wrath away and to forgive Him people. Suffering is not something to be endured one time and then forgotten, nor does it last for a specific amount of time. There are times when we are to prepare ourselves for multiple times of His wrath. Generally because we have not learned a lesson and must be reminded that we have a responsibility as well. In a world dominated with sin, we can almost expect God’s intervention, but remember suffering does not endure forever, God’s righteousness and salvation do. The psalmist appealed on the basis of God’s former favor. He appealed to the Lord’s expression of His nature in covenant and committed himself to Hear God’s word. He looked to God in time of drought and famine, confident He would faithfully give a rich harvest.
The power of a holy, revived life is great in evangelism. Revival comes when God’s people seek forgiveness and a new sense of God’s love. All believers are to seek that constant spiritual renewing that they may be holy people, powerful in God’s hands. Holy live are vital to evangelism and revival, that we will then sense His love near us once again.
When God addressed Hosea about taking an adulterous wife and unfaithful children, it was a metaphor concerning Judea rejection of God in favor of Baal and his ways. Worship had become integral to Canaanite worship of both God and Baal. In fact the worship employed prostitutes, so men could participate in sinful rites supposed to ensure good harvests. This made adultery a powerful word o describe Israel’s rejection of God for Baal or their mixture of Baal an Yahweh worship. In short, God had been rejected in favor of Baal. As a covenant people of God, they had broken the covenant relationship with God in favor of sin and evil deeds. Beloved, how can we maintain our relationship with our Father, if we continue to live sinful and evil ways of lives? You cannot! You have to decide if you will commit to the God of all Creation, or to the god of evil! You must reject the god of evil and fully commit yourself to Almighty God, through His Son Christ Jesus.
From Colossians we see that the absence of sound teaching, distortions of truth will always rush in to fill the vacuum. Paul expressed the hope that his teachings of the believers at Philippi would establish them in the faith firmly enough to enable them to distinguish, between Christian doctrine and human philosophies parading around as religious teaching. Today, no less than in the first century, Christian education stands as a bulwark against false teaching. Such education must be grounded in Christ Jesus as Lord of life not on faith in deceptive human teachers. In Jesus of Nazareth, God was uniquely and bodily among us. Since the power of God rested in Jesus Christ. Christ overcomes all other powers. Jesus’ mark is not physical circumcision. Rather, Jesus circumcision is a symbolic expression to describe the exercising of humanity’s lower nature to bring the renewal of being in Christ. Baptism is the outward sign of the renewal. Paul employed a serious of metaphors to describe this cosmic Christ. Paul contrasted our development of character as proposes by the pagan world with the Christian approach. Motto’s are not enough. Religious rituals and prohibitions do not develop character. Personal character grows as a part of the church. Christ’s body. Only as we are directly connected with Christ do we grow and such growth leads us away from self indulgence of worldly desires to be like Christ. Sin infects even the “spiritually minded” when their speculations separate them from union with the rest of the body of Christ. Religious knowledge and spiritual experiences can be occasions for sin when they lead us to pride. Pride makes us concentrate on ourselves and our desires rather than on Christ and the needs of His church.
Jesus’ disciple asked him to teach them how to pray, and noted John had taught his disciples how to pray. Jesus’ “Model Prayer” is sightly shorter than the version in Matthew 6:9-13. It provides a form for unison prayer in public worship but is so much more. It illustrates the relationships and subjects of prayer. It encourages us to learn through practice and imitation how to pray openly to the Father for His kingdom purposes. God is holy and we should acknowledge His holiness when we approach Him in prayer. Holiness is the boundary that marks off God from all else. It is the continual reminder that God is God and humans are but His creatures. When we come before His throne of grace, we should do so reverently, with respect and awe. God is approachable but He must approached in the proper manner.
Requests for our daily bread and forgiveness of sins come after the address of praise for the holiness of God and the coming of the kingdom. The order is proper; a vertical relationships is established from individual below to God above; then, one’s relationship to others on a horizontal plane as equals in God’s sight builds out of that. Both relationships depend upon our own sense of forgiveness when we both receive and extend. We must be persisted in our prayers and never allow for fear, pride, or shame to interfere, and God will accept our holiness.
The Old Testament promised God would someday give His Spirit to His people. Jesus announced that the promised gift was available to His followers, they simply needed to ask. For Jesus’ original disciples to ask for the Spirit was to ask for God’s promised age of salvation, thus equivalent to asking for the Kingdom of God. This prayer found rich answer at Pentecost. Christ’s followers are unique because the Spirit indwells us. In time of need we can call on the Spirit for help. We can expect God to provide the Spirit’s needed presence because God is the perfect Father. Amen