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Jesus is Lord!

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SELMA ORIGINAL FREE WILL BAPTIST CHURCH - SELMA, NC

SUNDAY, JUNE 24, 2001

YEAR C, PROPER 7

1 KINGS 19:1-15a; PSALM 22:19-28; GALATIANS 3:23-29; LUKE 9:18-24

JESUS IS LORD!

Peter’s profession of faith

18Now it happened that he was praying alone, and his disciples came to him and he put this question to them, ‘Who do the crowds say I am?’19And they answered, ‘Some say John the Baptist; others Elijah; others again one of the ancient prophets come back to life.’20‘But you,’ he said to them, ‘who do you say I am?’ It was Peter who spoke up. ‘The Christ of God,’ he said.21But he gave them strict orders and charged them not to say this to anyone.

First prophecy of the Passion

22He said, ‘The Son of man is destined to suffer grievously, to be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes and to be put to death, and to be raised up on the third day.’

The condition of following Christ

23Then, speaking to all, he said, ‘If anyone wants to be a follower of mine, let him renounce himself and take up his cross every day and follow me.24Anyone who wants to save his life will lose it; but anyone who loses his life for my sake, will save it.[1]

 

WELCOME

THANKS

LET US PRAY:

COME HOLY SPIRIT, FILL THE HEARTS OF THE FAITHFUL AND KINDLE IN US THE FIRE OF YOUR LOVE.  SEND FORTH YOUR SPIRIT AND WE SHALL BE CREATED.  O GOD, WHO BY THE LIGHT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT YOU DID INSTRUCT THE HEARTS OF THE FAITHFUL, GRANT THAT BY THAT SAME HOLY SPIRIT WE MAY BE TRULY WISE AND EVER ENJOY YOUR CONSOLATIONS, THROUGH JESUS CHRIST OUR LORD.  AMEN.

 

JESUS ASKS, “WHO DO YOU SAY I AM?”

THE ULTIMATE QUESTION.

PETER GIVES THE “SUNDAY SCHOOL” ANSWER.

JESUS WARNS THEM NOT TO TELL ANYONE WHO HE IS.

IT ALMOST SEEMS AS IF JESUS IS AFRAID OF PETER’S ANSWER.

FOR US, THE READERS AND LISTENERS TO THIS STORY,

JESUS’ ADMONITION NOT TO DISCUSS WHO HE IS PUZZLES US.

WHY DOES JESUS WANT TO KNOW WHAT PETER

AND THE OTHERS THINK AND WHAT WE THINK,

IF WE ARE NOT ALLOWED TO TELL ANYONE

WHEN WE GET THE CORRECT ANSWER.

 

BIBLE SCHOLARS AND EVEN CASUAL READERS OF THE GOSPELS HAVE ALL BEEN MYSTIFIED AS TO WHY JESUS WANTS HIS FOLLOWERS TO KEEP SILENT ABOUT WHO HE IS. 

JESUS NEVER FULLY EXPLAINS HIS ODD REQUEST.

IT HAS COME TO BE KNOWN AS THE “MESSIANIC SECRET”.

SOME HAVE SUGGESTED THAT JESUS WAS AFRAID OF THE AUTHORITIES AND WHAT THEY MIGHT DO IF THE DISCIPLES STARTED PROCLAIMING HIM AS MESSIAH.  NOT!!

JESUS HAS NO FEAR WHEN HE CONFRONTS THE AUTHORITIES AND TURNS OVER THE TABLES OF THE MONEY CHANGERS IN THE TEMPLE AT JERUSALEM.

 

OTHERS HAVE SUGGESTED THAT IT WASN’T HIS “TIME” YET AND HE WANTED HIS DISCIPLES TO WAIT UNTIL HIS “TIME” HAD COME.

I BELIEVE IT IS MORE LIKELY THAT JESUS WANTED HIS DISCIPLES AND US TO WAIT UNTIL OUR “TIME” HAD COME, TO WAIT UNTIL WE HAVE FULLY UNDERSTOOD WHO HE IS, IN THE VERY DEPTHS OF OUR BEING. 

I BELIEVE JESUS KNEW THAT THE “SUNDAY SCHOOL” ANSWER THAT PETER GAVE WOULD NOT BE ENOUGH. 

I BELIEVE JESUS WANTED PETER AND US TO NOT ONLY BE ABLE TO REPEAT THE WORDS OF WHO HE IS

BUT TO FEEL IT,

TO LIVE IT,

TO FOLLOW JESUS IN SUCH A COMPLETE WAY AS TO LEAVE NO DOUBT AS TO WHO JESUS IS FOR US,

TO DO AS FRANCIS OF ASSISI SAID, “PREACH THE GOSPEL AT ALL TIMES; IF NECESSARY, USE WORDS.”

 

FOR WHEN WE KNOW WHO JESUS REALLY IS DEEP WITHIN OUR HEART AND SOUL, WE ARE CHANGED, WE REPENT, WE ARE BORN AGAIN, GOD’S HOLY SPIRIT COMES ALIVE IN US, AND OUR ANSWER TO THE QUESTION OF WHO IS JESUS BECOMES EMBLAZONED UPON OUR LIVES FOR ALL TO SEE AND HEAR.

 

BEFORE THE ANCIENT CREEDS OF THE CHURCH WERE WRITTEN OUT AND INCORPORATED INTO THE LIFE OF THE CHURCH AS DOCTRINE, THERE WAS A SIMPLE CREED REPEATED BY THE FOLLOWERS OF JESUS,

WHENEVER THEY MET EACH OTHER,

WHENEVER THEY GATHERED FOR PRAYER,

OR WHENEVER THEY CELEBRATED THE LORD’S SUPPER…

IT WAS ONLY THIS, “JESUS IS LORD”.

JUST THREE WORDS, “JESUS IS LORD”.

NOTHING FANCY, NOTHING COMPLICATED, NOTHING HARD TO UNDERSTAND OR EXPLAIN, JUST, “JESUS IS LORD.”

FOR CHRISTIANS OF ALL CENTURIES THIS HAS BEEN THE ANSWER THAT CAME FROM THE VERY DEPTHS OF THEIR BEING, “JESUS IS LORD”.

JESUS, LORD OF THEIR WAKING AND SLEEPING.

JESUS, LORD OF THEIR DAY AND NIGHT.

JESUS, LORD OF THEIR JOY AND SORROW.

JESUS, LORD OF THEIR EMOTION AND REASON.

JESUS, LORD OF THEIR WORK AND PLAY.

JESUS, LORD OF THEIR SICKNESS AND HEALTH.

JESUS, LORD OF THEIR LIFE AND DEATH.

 

WHEN THE WORDS, “JESUS IS LORD” FINALLY BECOME FOR US MORE THAN WORDS,

WHEN “JESUS IS LORD” BECOMES A WAY OF LIFE, THEN WHO JESUS IS, NO LONGER IS A SECRET

AND OUR VERY LIFE BECOMES GOSPEL.

23Then, speaking to all, he said, ‘If anyone wants to be a follower of mine, let him renounce himself and take up his cross every day and follow me.24Anyone who wants to save his life will lose it; but anyone who loses his life for my sake, will save it.

 

JESUS NEVER SPEAKS TO US MORE PLAINLY THAN IN THESE FEW WORDS FROM LUKE’S GOSPEL.

NOTICE THAT JESUS DOES NOT DEMAND ANYTHING HERE. 

HE SAYS, ‘If anyone wants to be a follower of mine’.

AND THEN HE TELLS US WHAT BEING HIS FOLLOWERS WILL REQUIRE…A DAILY LIFTING AND CARRYING OF OUR CROSS.

NOTICE THAT JESUS SAYS WE ARE TO CARRY OUR CROSS,

NOT HIS CROSS,

NOT THE CROSS OF OTHERS,

BUT OUR CROSS.

 

 

JESUS IS ASKING US TO PARTICIPATE IN THE DESTRUCTION OF OUR OWN SELFISHNESS AND EGO, IF WE WANT TO BE HIS FOLLOWERS.

 

VERNA DOZIER QUOTE, “WE ARE NOT CALLED TO WORSHIP JESUS;

WE ARE CALLED TO FOLLOW JESUS”.

 

ALLOW ME TO PARAPHRASE THE LAST VERSES OF THIS READING FROM LUKE,

“For those who want to continue to live the old way and to live the life you have been living…guess what…you can’t.  Because that old life will end…it will be taken from you by age, or fate, or death.  But if you are willing to lose your old self, if you are willing to live a different life of sacrifice and selflessness as I have shown you, then you will live forever.  This is a life that cannot and will not be taken from you.  You can live this new life in eternity with me.”

 

I HAVE A FRIEND WHO IS THE FOUNDER OF A MISSIONARY GROUP CALLED ANGLICAN FRONTIER MISSION.  ALTHOUGH MY FRIEND IS AN EPISCOPAL PRIEST, THE MISSIONARIES HE SENDS OUT INTO THE FAR REACHES OF ASIA, AFRICA, AND SOUTH ASIA COME FROM MANY DIFFERENT AND DIVERSE DENOMINATIONS.  THEY ARE NOT ASKED TO FOUND ANGLICAN OR EPISCOPAL CHURCHES BUT RATHER TO PREACH THE CHRISTIAN GOSPEL AND CHRIST CRUCIFIED TO PEOPLES WHO HAVE NEVER HEARD THE GOSPEL.

 

THESE MEN, WOMEN, AND THEIR FAMILIES ARE OFTEN PLACED IN HARMS WAY IN COUNTRIES AND IN SITUATIONS WHERE MERELY HAVING A NEW TESTAMENT IN YOUR POSSESSION COULD MEAN DEATH OR TORTURE OR BOTH.

FOR THESE MISSIONARIES AND THOUSANDS LIKE THEM FROM OTHER MISSIONARY GROUPS AROUND THE WORLD, FOLLOWING JESUS COULD VERY WELL END IN PHYSICAL DEATH AND SUFFERING…IN 1995 25 CHRISTIANS WERE CRUCIFIED IN THE SUDAN IN EAST AFRICA.

 

THOSE OF US WHO LIVE IN MORE TEMPERATE CLIMATES AND LESS DANGEROUS SITUATIONS ARE NEVERTHELESS ASKED BY JESUS THAT IF WE WANT TO BE HIS FOLLOWERS,

WE MUST GIVE UP SELF,

WE MUST GIVE UP EGO,

WE MUST GIVE UP OUR EARTHLY CONCERNS,

WE MUST TAKE UP SERVICE,

WE MUST TAKE UP HUMILITY,

AND WE MUST TAKE UP THE CONCERNS OF GOD’S KINGDOM.

 

WHO IS JESUS?

JESUS IS LORD!

 

WHAT DOES THAT MEAN FOR US?

IT MEANS, IF WE WANT JESUS TO BE LORD OF OUR LIFE,

WE MUST GIVE UP SELF AND BECOME SELFLESS;

WE MUST GIVE UP EGO AND BECOME HUMBLE;

WE MUST GIVE UP OUR CITIZENSHIP IN OUR WORLD

AND BECOME CITIZENS OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD

AND FOLLOWERS OF GOD’S SON, JESUS.

 

IF THERE ARE ANY HERE WHO HAVE NOT ACCEPTED JESUS AS LORD AND MADE A COMMITMENT TO FOLLOW JESUS, I INVITE YOU TO COME FORWARD DURING THE SINGING OF THE COMMITMENT HYMN.

IF YOU HAVE ALREADY ACCEPTED JESUS AS LORD AND COMMITTED TO FOLLOWING HIM, I ASK YOU TO RENEW AND REAFFIRM THAT COMMITMENT AS WE SIGN HYMN # ________.

 

AND NOW UNTO GOD THE FATHER, GOD THE SON, AND GOD THE HOLY SPIRIT BE ASCRIBED ALL MIGHT, MAJESTY, POWER, DOMINION, AND GLORY, THIS DAY AND FOREVERMORE.  AMEN.

 

LET US STAND NOW AND SIGN HYMN # _______.

 

 

 

 

CHILDREN’S SERMON

The coming of faith

23But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the Law, locked up to wait for the faith which would eventually be revealed to us.24So the Law was serving as a slave to look after us, to lead us to Christ, so that we could be justified by faith.25But now that faith has come we are no longer under a slave looking after us;26for all of you are the children of God, through faith, in Christ Jesus,27since every one of you that has been baptised has been clothed in Christ.28There can be neither Jew nor Greek, there can be neither slave nor freeman, there can be neither male nor female—for you are all one in Christ Jesus.29And simply by being Christ’s, you are that progeny of Abraham, the heirs named in the promise.[2]

ONCE WE HAVE FAITH…WE HAVE A RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD THROUGH JESUS…

PAUL SAYS THAT WE BECOME CHILDREN OF ABRAHAM…

WE BECOME GOD’S FAMILY…

ONCE WE ARE FAMILY…WE HAVE RESPONSIBILITIES…

ONCE WE ARE FAMILY…WE ARE TO LIVE OUR LIFE…

 SO THAT OTHERS WILL WANT TO JOIN OUR FAMILY…

BUT WHEN WE FAIL…WE ARE FORGIVEN…BECAUSE GOD LOVES US.

 


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[1]The New Jerusalem Bible: Reader’s Edition, (New York: Doubleday.) 1990.

[2]The New Jerusalem Bible: Reader’s Edition, (New York: Doubleday.) 1990.

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