Faithlife Sermons

Who are you

Notes & Transcripts

style='margin-left:18.0pt;text-indent:-18.0pt;mso-list:l2 level1 lfo1; tab-stops:list 18.0pt'>Ø      May the words of my mouth and the meditations of all our hearts be truly acceptable to you - Amen 

Growing up my favorite band was – The Who

It was an English band from the late 60’s and 70’s and is actually still putting on reunion concerts these days

Last fall Kelly, surprised me one day, by arranging for me and the husband of one of her colleagues to go see them

Kelly and her colleague had, as she put it “no desire to see them”

But both husbands were very happy to take a trip down memory lane

It was great – I knew all the words and Roger Dalton’s powerful voice did not disappoint

They were known for their big sound and for the writing of one member – Pete Townsend

They were a four man band that really played it loud and sometimes would finish the concert by smashing their instruments

            It was the 60’s and 70’s…

One of their albums was titled “who are you” - and there is also a song by the same name

            Some of you might be recognize it from the popular TV show - CSI

Although a nice memory for me - it asks a very important question

A question that is not far from the surface for every teenager and is a deep important question for everyone else – Who are you?

It is the question that is at the heart of the message from our Old Testament lesson of 2nd Samuel - and also from our New Testament lesson from Ephesians

            “Who are you…?”

2nd Samuel

WHAT WE DO - even things that on the surface look righteous and pleasing to God

Mean nothing to God - if we don’t do them with a truly sincere heart – it is who we are that matters to God

Ø      Our Old Testament reading, shows us how even one of the greatest heroes of scripture, King David, gets it wrong

o       Wrong, yet on the surface it all seemed right

Ø      Today’s passage - starts out innocently enough

o       we are told that the Lord had given David rest from all his enemies

Ø      David - in this moment of rest - gets a bright idea

o       David contemplates that he is living in a mansion - a house built of cedar, the finest material of it’s day, and he wants to build a temple for the Lord to house the ark of the covenant

§         The prophet Nathan, David closest advisor - agrees

·         As far as he can see the Lord has been with David, therefore the Lord must be with David in his intention to building the temple

Ø      On the surface it all looks to make sense

o       On the surface David’s intentions seem honorable

§         David is showing his respect for God and the things of God, by wanting to build a temple for the ark of the covenant

But God knows better!

Ø      There is an old joke “how do you make God laugh?

o       tell him YOUR plans” (pause)

§         This joke speaks to the very heart of David in the passage today

Now, this passage makes little sense until we realize that the word “house” (as it is used here in Hebrew) has three different meanings:

·  palace,

·  temple, and

·  dynasty

The story continues and we are told that God instructs Nathan through a vision that David’s is to be rebuked (told that his plans for building a temple are not going to happen and why)

o       Nathan was a faithful servant and prophet of God, in touch with God’s will and ways

§         And Nathan understands the vision from God clearly

God questions David with a wonderfully sarcastic line “Are you the one to build me a house to live in?”

o       You see David thought he was doing something for God

o       And God called him on it

§         God says through Nathan…

·         “Go and tell my servant David” - no longer is this David the King - but David the servant

·         he says that God has been present with them in all their wanderings in every situation

·         God says through Nathan that All of David’s success is due to God and not to David’s effort alone

o       David is taken “From the pasture to the prince”

·         He says that It is God that has defeated his enemies

·         And finally That God will appoint a place for his people

o       NOW… This is a promise and prophecy

§         This is the Davidic covenant

§         God will make David a great name

§         God will make a House for David – a dynasty in the line of David

Ø      Why was God putting a halt to the best intentions of David

§         Or at least - what on the surface seems like the best intentions

o       Because God knows our hearts - God sees through it all - and knows our true motivation

God knows that David was trying to do something FOR God - and God’s calls him on it

David was rightly rebuked for thinking of doing anything FOR God

o       something that God didn’t ask for

§         something David wanted to do for his own pride

·         “look what I built for God”

I guess here I should be careful what I say about “temple building” in light of the new Narthex plan….


o       God doesn’t want our stuff

§         God wants our hearts

§         There are countless examples of how God through the prophets telling us that what WE give to God is not the important thing.


§         Our duty given as an heartless offering does not impressed God


Ø      To illustrate the point here is a passage from the prophet Amos

I hate, I despise your festivals, and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies.

Even though you offer me your burnt offerings and grain offerings,

I will not accept them; and the offerings of well-being of your fatted animals, I will not look upon.

Take away from me the noise of your songs; I will not listen to the melody of your harps.

 But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.

Ø      You see just as God spoke through Nathan and Amos

o       God wants us – all of us

§         God wants our hearts directed to him

·         Who we are is what matters to God

Ø      In all this you may be wonder why is David the most famous king of all time for Jews

and Christians alike

o       The person which served as the model for the messiah figure

o       The one in which Jesus, our Lord and saviour - genealogy is prophesied and fulfilled…?

Ø      Because David gets it right some times

§         And when he does – he gets it right in a big way

o       in David we are shown our human frailties and our greatest successes

o       even in this story there is good news, immediately after today’s passage 

§         there is a prayer of David

§         a response to the rebuke from God – David concludes with

“therefore may it please you to bless the house of your servant,

so that it may continue forever before you;  for you, O Lord God, have spoken,

and with your blessing shall the house of your servant be blessed forever.

            Although David is rebuked his heart is truly “who he is”

o       In David we see the power of God working through one - that - when he is truly listening to God’s will - achieves the two greatest commandment of them all

§         Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength and Love your neighbours as your self

·         Jesus said on these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets


Who are you?

            As I said, this is an important question and message from our passage from Ephesians as well

                        And it is the Best News Possible…

“you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God”(Ephesians 2:19)

This passage was written to a people that were not Jewish

in birth - or identity,

not the historic chosen people,

they were Gentiles

Paul is writing to tell them that, they too! like those who were circumcised (Jews), they are also members of the household of God

                        The message is not limited only to the people of Ephesus – it is a message for every age

                                    God is our peace by breaking down the walls

God is both the promise and the responsibility

You are no longer strangers but citizens

and therefore given: identity – reason - and purpose

St Paul writes in this passage a message that is so vital for all humanity – then and now

His message is: beyond ethnic norms

beyond national boundaries

beyond even the family in which we are born into

It is certainly a message for those that were baptized today

and for each and every one of us as we restated our own baptismal vows

our own identity is in God’s family

It is a message of peace

It is the very reason for peace

It is the message of who we are

We are alive… together – in Christ

By the saving atoning sacrifice of the blood Christ

By grace we have been saved

We find our identity together - united with all Christians through-out the world and through-out time

 Who are you?

            You are one of God’s family members – a member of the household

You are a child of God

You are a Christian

            Thanks be to God … Amen

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