Faithlife Sermons

07 12 2020 NC

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Morning in his presence in the name of the father and of the son and of the Holy Spirits are men. Our help is in the name of the Lord who made heaven and I said, I will confess my transgressions on to the Lord and you forgave the iniquity of my sin in today's epistle Paul reminds us that the spirit himself Bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God. Let us therefore go to our gracious Heavenly Father confessing our sins this morning and we'll pause first for a few moments required for personal confession.

In the Old Testament reading God promises my word shall not return to me empty it shall accomplish and it shall succeed. You can press together. But I do not trust you in all things. I have sinned in thought word and deed for give me Heavenly Father. And then God tells us you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace and we can press together. But I am captive to sin and cannot free myself here mean free me and leave me in paths pleasing to you Heavenly Father.

Brothers and sisters in the gospel of Our Lord explains that the one who hears the word and understands it bears fruit and by the grace of God, we believe and understand that Jesus the word of God In the Flesh succeeded in destroying death and Rising Victorious for us for his sake God forgives us and uses us to be approved for him. So now is a called and ordained servant of Christ by there for four give you all of your sins in the name of the father and of the son and of the holy spirit's met the word planted inside you produce a great harvest. What are gracious Lord. I'm in thanks be to God. Assured of his complete forgiveness. We are free now and able to say to each other the Peace of the Lord be with you and also with you and now let us pray.

Bracers God who is giving us this good earth on which to live and who sends rain and sun to cost plans to produce fruit and grain for Harvest. Continue. We pray to send your life giving word to us so that we can resist the cares of this world and return to you a harvest of new Sons and Daughters through Jesus Christ your son our Lord who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit as one God now and forever man, please be seated.

I guess that mean you're going to reach today, okay?

The Old Testament reading is from Isaiah chapter 55. Whereas the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there. But water the Earth making it bring forth and Sprout giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater. So shall my word be that goes out from my mouth. It shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose and she'll succeed in the thing for which I sent it. Will you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace the mountains and the hills before you shall Break Forth into singing and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. Instead of the thorn shall come up the Cypress instead of the Brier shall come up the Myrtle and it shall make a name for the Lord and everlasting sign that shall not be cut off. This is the word of the Lord.

The epistle is from Romans chapter 8. So then Brothers we are debtors not to the flesh to live according to the flesh for if you live according to the flesh you will die. But if by the spirit you put to death the Deeds of the body, you will live for all who are led by the spirit of God are sons of God for you did not receive the spirit of Slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the spirit of adoption as Sons by whom we cry Abba Father. The spirit himself Bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God and if children then heirs Heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ provided we suffer with him in order that we may be that we may also be glorified with him. This is the word of the Lord.

Please rise for the reading of the Gospel.

The good news of Jesus for today is taken from the accounts of Saint Matthew and chapter 13 beginning at verse 1 Glory To You O Lord. That same day just went out of the house and sat beside the sea and great crowds gather about him so that he got into a boat and sat down and the whole crowd stood on the beach and he told them many things in Parables and said a software went out to show as he sold some seeds fell along the path and the birds came and devoured them. Are the seeds fell on Rocky ground where they did not have much soil and immediately they sprang up but since they had no depth of soil when the sun rose they were scorched. Since they had no root they wither away. Are the seeds fell among thorns and the Thorns grew up and choked them other seeds fell on good soil and produce grain some a hundredfold some 6730b who let him hear. Hear then the parable of the sower when anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it the evil one comes and snatches our way. What was sold in his heart. This is what was found along the path. That's what was sewn on the rocky ground. This is the one who hears the word received it with joy and yet he has no root in himself but indoors for a while and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word immediately Falls away. That's what was showing among the Thorns. This is the one who hears the word but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word and it proves on fruit. As for what was told on good soil? This is the one who hears the word and understands it bears fruit and yields in one case a hundredfold in another 60 and another 30. This is the gospel of the Lord praise to you o Christ in response to the reading of God's word. We confess together and start over Christian faith as we find it in the Apostles Creed.

I believe in God the Father Almighty maker of heaven and Earth and in Jesus Christ his only son our Lord who was conceived by the Holy Spirit born of the Virgin. Mary suffered under Pontius. Pilate was crucified died and was buried he descended into hell the third day he rose again from the dead. He ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty from thence. He will come to judge the living and the dead I believe in the Holy Spirit the holy Christian Church, the communion of saints the Forgiveness of sins the resurrection of the body and the life Everlasting. Amen. Please be seated as we continue with our next song.

Mercy, and peace be to each of you from God our Father through Jesus Christ. His only son and I are only Lord and Savior a Man 2 weeks ago before I went on my little staycation. We began a little journey to the summer time to get to know the closest friends of Jesus a little better. That would be his Twelve Apostles from among his disciples. He called together 12 men and ordained them as Apostles and this little journey is going to come inside very well with the gospel readings to some extent as we go through the summer time because it is in these gospel readings that Jesus is interacting with these Apostles and he is teaching them and they are watching him and they are sharing him and they are learning from him and once in awhile to get to practice it they usually don't get what he is saying, but they are interacting with him and and the Sea the seeds if you will are being planted so very often they will need an explanation. And so that's what we have today. For example in the Gospel reading. We don't know whose house it was that Jesus was in more than likely it could have been one of the disciples house cuz I'm number of them wore from a Galloway right there by the Sea of Galilee is obviously the see that they were near or on the beach the Sea of Galilee and I was but again, it was most likely one of the disciples because at least four of them were fisherman by trade and they had these boats We have this opening a portion of the Gospel reading where Jesus then goes from the house to the shore to the boat and teaches them in in this parable of the soils if you will and then we have a couple of missing verses. And then we have an explanation and it is in those eight missing verses from the reading that some interesting intimate stuff happens in those eight missing verses he explains to his disciples and to us all so why he uses parables. Can you tell something tells him something? A profound on the one hand and you'd be fuddling on the other hand because he says the secrets of the Kingdom of Heaven are given to you disciples. They are not given to them the General Public. It's almost as if there are. Certain things that not everybody is meant to know. But only if you are a Christian only if you go to followers of Jesus, do you get your eyes open and do an enter your ears actually hear the real meaning in content? And then it what he's done teaching from the boat. He shares another one of those sort of kind of intimate relationship moments with the apostles because he tells them that many Old Testament prophets longed to see what you see and they long to hear what you hear in other words him. But they didn't. What do you do? You get to be with me. You have to stand on the shoulders of these prophets and he's a righteous man of the Old Testament that God used as his servants. And you get to actually see with your eyes and hear with your ears what these people who are long dead looks forward to God promised them. They predicted this they wanted. But they didn't get it. You get it? So these Apostles are truly blessed. And before they even asked the meaning of the parable, then Jesus gives the explanation of what the parable mean stand in the second part of our Gospel reading today and inverse 18 + and following. It's a parable the number of us have heard and and are familiar with I'm not going to go into that terrible today. I want to talk instead. Like I said, we're on this journey to get to know these Apostles. So were these blessed men? What more can we say? What more can we learn about them today? We can say that that there are actually Four lists in the New Testament of these 12 blessed men is Apostles. The first one using Matthew 10. The next one is a Mark 3. The next list is in Luke 6 and finally there is one in Acts chapter 1 and each one of the list all four times Peter, excuse me is always listed first. He's always ahead guy and then there seems to be three groups of four names following theater. So usually it looks in the works like this in group one. There are the names of Peter James John and Andrew. Those are always the first for that are listed in all these lists in group 2. Philip is usually the first Apostle name in that group and then comes Bartholomew otherwise known as Nathaniel then Matthew otherwise known as leave fights and then Thomas all right, so that's the second group of four in the third group. It all people sometimes complain that Christians don't know the names of the 12 apostles. I'll tell you why in group tree. That's usually a letter off by James the son of alphaeus not to be confused with James the brother of John. All right. So there were two James is in there. Then there was Simon the Zealot not to be confused with Simon Peter. So they were to Simon then there was Judas son of James also called Thaddeus or Levi is not to be confused with Judas Iscariot. And then finally at the bottom of the list is Judas Iscariot. He's always this the last in the list. So now it's it's one thing for people to try to know 12 names. It's something else for people to find no 17 names, especially when five of them overlap. You know what? I mean, so I don't hold it against anybody that they don't know the names of the 12 apostles. You're okay. Don't worry about it. It's fine. Please list all four of them seem to be a listed and shall we say a descending order of intimacy with Jesus a higher up on the list the name appears the more the better they knew him. The lower down the list and name appears the less they knew him so it would seem okay then group one. For example, they were the first disciples that Jesus cult to follow him. So they were with him the longest that they are the inner circle basically and they were certainly eyewitnesses to a lot of major events in true. These are nevertheless still significant figures in the gospels. They appear they have interactions that are recorded with Jesus, but their allotted more distant from him and they have a lower profile as the story of the church and Jesus unfold in group 3 is practically unknown even though they have so many names. They're practically unknown except of course for Judas Iscariot betrayed her in group 3. He is obviously the most famous for what he did during during what we call now Holy Week.

So two weeks ago then we looked at the fourth member of group one, which is Andrew. He wasn't really as much of an Insider is Peter James and John those three with a real Inner Circle. Andrew was a little bit on the periphery of the Inner Circle and he was okay with that. He didn't mind having less prominence. We're having a little less the significance. He eat almost kind of preferred serving in obscurity because Andrew was the one that was always bringing somebody to Jesus if you remember, he's the one who brought Peter his famous brother to Jesus. He's the one that brought the little boy with the lobes in the fish the Jesus so that he could feed those thousands of people. He's the one that brought a bunch of Gentiles to Jesus when they were in Jerusalem. That's what he was famous for. That's what he did. Today. We're going to look at the fourth member of group 2. Which is Thomas? Thomas is in group 2 usually listed 4th and his day as as Andrews day was November 30th. We're going down the calendar his day is December twenty one. Anybody remember the same time as day before Christmas we do that when we are so wrapped up in the Christmas madness in a Christmas rush. But his day is December twenty one. We do not know how Thomas became a disciple of Jesus. There is no record of Jesus telling time has come follow me what we do know about Thomas is he had a twin? There were two of them. Okay, because he is called didymus in the Gospel of John and didn't miss is the word meaning twin. In fact, the name Thomas comes from a Hebrew word which also means twin. So he had a little brother or sister has a twin and Thomas appears in 3 significant conversations with Jesus in The Gospel of John. First on the night that Jesus was betrayed. He is comforting his disciples. He is preparing them for his death and Thomas says to him. That was the he's preparing that he's going away and Thomas says to him Lord. We do not know where you are going. How can we know the way? All right. This is the Gospel reading in John 14 that we always do at funerals and he's going away. He's preparing a place you know the way to where I'm going. I want you to be with me and Thomas says. Lord we don't know where you're going. How can we know the way? This is a perfectly logical rational question. Unfortunately, it's somehow likes a little bit of faith and relax a little bit of that understanding Jesus is talking about in The Gospel reading. So when Thomas asks his famous question, Jesus gives him his famous answer anybody know what it is. I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the father, but by me, so he not only answers Thomas's question, but he also gives more depth and more meaning he's not only the way to the father. He also is the truth about the father. And he also is what it means to live with the father. There's no such thing as getting too God apart from Christ. Around Christ. There's no such thing as knowing god. Unless it except knowing Christ. There's no such thing as living with God either on Earth or in heaven except through Christ. He is the way he is the truth. He is the life there is no God apart from Christ. And no access to God apart from Christ. Later on that evening then. With the other 10 Apostles that that are left cuz Judas has gone now to do his betraying dirty deed Thomas then abandons Jesus in The Garden of Gethsemane like 10, he is not present at the crucifixion as far as I know. And here's the more Curious part. He is also not present when the resurrected Jesus appears on Easter evening through the 10-room. That's at least 10 of the 12 and he appears to him and he reinstates the 10 back into their apostleship. He breathed on them. He says receive the Holy Spirit it gives them the authority to forgive or not forgive. Send. Thomas misses all this where is he? What we don't know. All we know from the Gospel of John Dan is at some point during the week. The other Apostles found him and told him we have seen the Lord.

And this is where Thomas has another one of those famous sayings of his unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were and put my hand into his side. I will not believe it.

This is not famous saying of his that has given him the name doubting Thomas. This is why Thomas is very very often known as a doubting Thomas. This is conversation number two. So this wasn't really actually with Jesus, but it was with his Apostles about Jesus.

but conversation number three happens very soon after that following Sunday the Sunday after Easter B11 are in the same place Jesus appears again. Thomas is there. And then Jesus has his famous conversation with Thomas. He says put your finger here. See my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Stop doubting and believe.

So what time is it was wanting sometime during that week between Easter evening and the first Sunday after two words? What time is it was wanting was to be treated just like the other 10? We kind of give him a bad rap like he was he was the daughter but like nobody else was no they all doubted. They all disbelieved for Joy. I were told they all needed to be shown his hands and his side. They all needed the evidence the same thing the Thomas wanted for himself.

Many have to wait who knows how long it might have been 6 days and might have been two days. I know we don't know. And then on that Sunday following Easter Jesus treats him the same as he treated the other 10. Except for Thomas he tells Thomas stop doubting and believe and do you know what happened after that? Ben Thomas said five words. That we do not have recorded in the Bible that any of the other Apostles set. He said my Lord and my God.

He had that great confession of faith. He was so struck. And you understood if you will. What this means that this is the resurrected Jesus. This is not only a rabbi in a teacher from Nazareth. This is the Lord. This is God In the Flesh. He confessed that and he embraced that and he was not reinstated with the other 10 to be an apostle. After the Ascension of Jesus then tradition tells us that Thomas traveled East even as far as India tradition says he reached India and he apparently even built churches with his own hands. He was known as one of the Apostles of the East and for all these witness during his life and for all his work for Christ his life ended by being murdered with a spear.

And that's why his shield. or his emblem looks like that. It is a square indicating. He was a builder of churches and it would have spear indicating how he died.

What's our take away today as we wrap this up. What are take away from Thomas?

What are we get out of this? Well, I guess you can't remember things out of it. I got out of it or what I want to import to you is doubt. Is okay.

Dog is okay. It is okay to wrestle with God when you doubt and you're trying to understand something and you're just not getting it it is in your not believing it is okay to argue with God it is okay to wrestle with God it is okay to ask God for some sign proof or evidence on answer. This is what Jacob did in the Old Testament when he wrestled with the angel.

This is what time is did his life? During that week between Easter and the Sunday following. You can do the same thing also. Now you have to understand that God usually wins the wrestling and the struggle, but that's what you want. You want him to come through for you. It's the angel who won the the struggle with Jacob. It's Jesus who won the does the wrestling with with Thomas? And it's going to be more than likely God who wins the engagement that you will have with him to see the folks. The point is God will engage with you. God will engage in your struggle and in your wrestling. Jesus is not afraid of an honest inquiry of an honest struggle. That's going to lead the face. That's going to lead to understanding that's going to leave the truth that's going to lead to trust. He's not afraid of that kind of wrestling and struggling people are.

He is not. I can't tell you how many times people who either are church people or who were raised in the church have have said we're not supposed to question that you're not supposed to die. Or that they have said this is what they were taught. You're not supposed to question. You're not supposed to die out.

I don't mean to go against people who you respected when you were younger, but that's nonsense.

That kind of an approach only leads to people who are religious. Metro people who Trust That's what that's what you get when you get religion. as opposed to face which is why Christianity really is so if you have questions if you have struggles with God or with his word or the things that he says if you have doubts

I'm asking you today and I'm inviting you to date to go to him and ask. Go to Jesus and ask him. He is not afraid of an honest question and an honest doubt.

He loves you. Tide for you. He lives for you to explain The Parables to his disciples.

It showed himself the comments.

And by God, he will reveal himself to you. And the answer you're looking for as he sees fit. And as you are able to handle it.

Please trust him. Please don't settle for some sort of relationship with Jesus where you're not allowed to question and you're not allowed to down.

No. You go and you ask him like Thomas did.

American Senior Services we pause for a few moments for the offering if you had if you were brought an offering and you're here then of course there's an offering plate on your way out on the right side. If you're sending your offering online, you can take a few moments to do that. But but maybe let's let's watch this first.

It's hard to be judged for one mistake, but it's what I'll be remembered for I guess.

I wasn't always the doubter. That's not who I am. I have a Zeal for Jesus. I always have

When Lazarus died no one wanted to return to Bethany with Jesus. Fallas dangerous

Jesus said he'd show us his glory. Don't we all die there still? I'm the one who said let's go.

Then came this room.

nice

What's the time? None of us understood as we sat at the table. This is my body. This is my blood.

I didn't have this when they told me he was dead. But how can you not doubt someone coming back to life? But for me, it was harder. Maybe it's just that I didn't want to be disappointed.

Many came after me leave without seeing when I scroll. Jesus called them last.

I touched the place of the nail.

the hole in his side

definitive proof that I cried out my Lord my God.

the almighty one he came back for me. You just want to leave me behind in my route.

Who says I'm worth it. And I'll follow him anywhere for the rest of my life.

Please rise for prayer.

Our dear Father in heaven we do thank and praise you for this day. Not only that it is a new day, but that it is a day when we can be gathered together. Either here or through the wonders in technology of the internet. Around your word and around specifically today this word concerning Thomas and the lessons that his life and his experience can teach us? Lord we thank you for the love and the concern that you had for all 12 of those apostles. Especially for this one who missed that great event when you when you showed up. after your Resurrection

And he just simply wanted to be included like everybody else.

And you included him? So you also include us?

we can't touch you and be touched by you like they were able to be or or or the Thomas was able to but through that word Could you have seen fit to preserve for us through the scriptures as holy writings? You still touch us? And by your spirit communicating with our spirit, you still? Reveal yourself to us and you still revealed truth and you still give us understanding. And you still enable us to bear fruit?

We thank you God. We pray that you would never stop never cease. Trying to touch Us in this way that you would. Grant has permission to further and deepen our relationship with you by asking questions by my sharing our doubts.

And our struggles and that you would answer us. quickly Even though we know we will be in your time and then you are way.

By the way, especially today pray for those who are experiencing doubt. Who are experiencing struggle? For doubting Your Love who are doubting Your Truth or doubting your sacred writings. Who asking on his questions who are seeking you even though they may be sitting in the wrong place and asking the wrong questions, but father, please. Look at their hearts. And please provide answers. In the way that you see fit best for them.

And for us as well, help us to never be complacent. As if we had arrived at our peak level of understanding and now we can just simply post our way into heaven. Help us always to be growing in faith and in understanding and in love and in service. Lord in your mercy hear our prayer father also today we pray for those who are near and dear to us those who are experiencing not only doubt but any kind of issue and struggle of Body Soul or spirit. We have that you would bless them according to your good and gracious will and Grant them their needs. as you see fit Best For Your Glory hear us as we pray in these next moments either quite the order out loud about the people that are near and dear to our hearts.

We commend them. Oh Lord into your gracious hands care and keeping trusting that your will will be done then. And their good will be accomplished. Lord and your mercy hear our prayer finally father we pray for Our nation for our state not only for those who are in Authority but also an especially for those who are in the medical field helping us all figure out. What is the best way to handle this pandemic. We pray that you would give wisdom to those in Authority as well as in the medical profession that they may come to conclusions and decisions and insights and recommendations that are truly helpful and beneficial. Especially at your bless the doctors and the nurses and all those folks who are taking care of people trying to bring them back to health. Be with their families.

Be with all those who are ill and their families.

Let this Scourge pass from us, but let us not.

Moving to the Future and not learn anything.

Let this be a time of increase learning inside wisdom understanding about our lives about our Frailty about our dependence upon you and also of Hope As we trust in you. Lord in your mercy hear our prayer it is into your hands dear Lord that we come into all for whom we pray we do that trusting in your mercy. We do that in the name of Jesus your son Our Savior and Lord and we do that with the words. He taught us Our Father who art in heaven Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come thy will be done on Earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us and lead us not into temptation. But Deliver Us from Evil for thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever amen.

I know the Lord bless you and keep you in the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you the Lord look upon you with his favor and Grant you his peace always a man after our closing song, but just be a few announcements.

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