Things we should do, things we should avoid…this is called life (you could also call it Free Will.)
This morning we prayed that the Holy Spirit will direct and rule our hearts, and are warned, not to walk (as the world walks)
in vanity of mind through a darken understanding, which alienates us from the life of God,
through the ignorance and a blindness of heart.
We are told to put away bitterness, wrath, anger, yelling and screaming, and speaking evil;
and to be kind, tender-hearted, forgiving one another.
And some people may ask why?
And we are told the reason; because Jesus has forgiven us!
Unfortunately, we have an “inclination to evil,
as this infection of nature (this disease) – doth remain until this day,
even in them that are regenerated” (article IX of the Articles of Religion) –
and yet, even us who are unworthy should be of good cheer,
for our sins are forgiven by our Lord and Savioiur Jesus Christ.
What good news this is – there is hope for all of us – every one of us –
you and I are forgiven and invited into “The Eternal Kingdom” of our God.
We read in Book of Common Prayer as part of our healing service
“that there is none other Name under heaven given to man, in whom, and through whom, thou mayest receive “health and salvation,”
but only the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ, (P 314)
and in this morning’s Gospel from St. Matthew, we see that Jesus says “thy sins be forgiven thee”
and then tells the man with palsy “Arise, take up thy bed, and go into thine house.”
He heals this man – thus giving him “health and salvation.”
None other name under heaven can do this,
and yet it is our nature to battle His Will, within our own lives.
He who offers us a joy, peace, and happiness that is beyond our ability to understand,
awaits each of us to come unto him completely and fully.
He reaches out His hand for us to grasp;
yet we float over the abyss of this world with its death and its pain, and
we grasp-hold of this world, with all of its false hopes and fame.
We allow the pleasures of this world to drown out God, to squeeze him from our lives –
as we are tempted by the sin and Satan to be here or there,
just anywhere else, instead of with our Lord;
especially within his house of worship, and especially on Sundays.
Our God is a loving God; although, many of our brethren in Christ speak of a God of vengeance who is angry…
a God who demands for a “justice” (as we understand justice);
you know, I will forgive you if you do this or that for me
… a transactional type of justice demanding a payment be made.
Let me ask you, does someone who is angry give up His Only Begotten Son, that we may have eternal life with Him?
Let me be clear,
nothing is further from the truth…
In II Corinthians we read (5:17,19) “if ANY man be in Christ, he is a new creature…
God was (and is) in Christ, reconciling the WORLD unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them,
and (HE) hath committed – unto the world of reconciliation.”
You see, there are no tests,
or trick questions,
or a demand of payment awaiting you at the day of judgement…
For Jesus has told us “I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them…
And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.” (Heb 10:16-17)
It is the Love of God that is revealed to us in Scripture if we accept that Love which is revealed.
What a wonderful and beautiful offering…
an offering so great that it can be to some overwhelming, and frightening …
for to be with God can be a scary thing to some – such awesomeness can fearful to some – but remember,
our God is a Loving God –
nothing to fear here, except maybe our own sense of unworthiness and sinfulness.
(ah- but remember, he just told us our sins he will remember “no more.”)
Remember my words that I used to begin this sermon
Things we should do, things we should avoid…
Many will strive their entire lives, searching here and there for a satisfaction, a feeling of accomplishment,
sometimes this searching for this feeling of accomplishment occurs at the expense of things that may be even more important.
Often we get into this lifelong battle for “success”,
and often the accomplishment sought is good, worthy, and healthy…
but sometimes not,
if we act out of pride of oneself in seeking this power and fame,
at the exclusion of being with our God and blocking Him from our lives,
then this search becomes something not good but rather something for
ourselves, and not for God as the search has pulled you away from Him.
Peace with God is a two way street. He has offered to us the whole world of reconciliation…
come unto me…he tells us.
But each of us has to say yes or no to this offer, and not just say, but live it.
God has made peace with everyone in this world, but not everyone has made peace with God.
Once again we come around to:
things we should do, things we should avoid.
Do we allow the Holy Spirit to direct and rule our hearts?
Do we follow and walk, stand, and sit with the godly or the ungodly?
Is our mind void of truth and appropriateness, do we allow emotions to rule us, or the Word of God to steer our thought process?
Do we enjoy places and things that promote an understanding and knowledge that causes us to become darkened,
which causes an alienation of us, from the life of and with God?
And our heart – do pour-in light or darkness?
All of situations can promote and allow bitterness, wrath,
anger, clamour, and evil speaking…
However, all this can be fought
by being kind to each other
and tender hearted
as we forgive one another –
just as Christ has forgiven each and every one of us.
Christ has come into the world to save your body and soul, but you must come unto Him by placing His Will – His desire and Love for YOU
above your own.
Come to Christ: not just partially, but totally.
Not just in words, but in life as you steer you heart, soul, and mind towards Him –
Be strong – be forceful in abandoning those things that pull you away –
and partake in the life of His Church.
Allow yourself to grow, by shunning Satan and sin.
Tell the world to take a hike –
and fight with all your might
to walk with your Lord into the land of living.
The hour cometh….