Sunday, 14 June 2015

Transcript of Sermon Bradley le Moors and Alton

Sermon – Bradley and Alton 14th June 2015

1 Samuel 15.34—16.13
2 Corinthians 5.6-10 (11-13) 14-17
Mark 4.26-34

And Mary said,

I’m bursting with God-news;
    I’m dancing the song of my Saviour God.
God took one good look at me, and look what happened—
    I’m the most fortunate woman on earth!
What God has done for me will never be forgotten,
    the God whose very name is holy, set apart from all others.
His mercy flows in wave after wave
    on those who are in awe before him.
He bared his arm and showed his strength,
    scattered the bluffing braggarts.
He knocked tyrants off their high horses,
    pulled victims out of the mud.
The starving poor sat down to a banquet;
    the callous rich were left out in the cold.
He embraced his chosen child, Israel;
    he remembered and piled on the mercies, piled them high.
It’s exactly what he promised,
beginning with Abraham and right up to now.

The Message

In the late 70’s early 80’s I was involved with Church Army in London. Occasionally I had to take a bus up the Old Kent Road. On the way there was one bus stop outside a pub called ‘The World Turned Upside Down.’

That is exactly what is going on here as Mary burst into a song of praise.

That’s what is happening in our readings with an emphasis on judgment.

The story of David being chosen is a familiar one to us, perhaps too familiar and we might have lost sight of the radical nature of this story.

Israel was emerging from being escaping slaves to becoming a nation state. Some argued for a king to be appointed like other nations. You can read the various arguments for and against in the Scriptures. The main argument against appointing a king was that God was there King. However Saul is duly appointed and duly disappoints. In our story there are two key parts to consider. Firstly is that the monarchy once established is governed by a successor not an heir. Secondly and more obviously is the youngest son being chosen above his brothers? (Not an uncommon theme in Scriptures) 

And it is God who chooses Saul successor.

Tuck this verse away in your memory bank…

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”   1 Sam 16.7

The first of our judgments...

Let me ask you what do you think people see when they look at you - and what does God see? Does God see a heart for Him alone, totally given over and the first and foremost love of your life?

If you were to be put on trial today for being a Christian would there be evidence to convict you?

2 Corinthians 5:17 ‘Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!’

Our passage from Corinthians talks about another King and another Kingdom – talks about how one day all people will come before the King of the Universe and be called to account for their life.

2 Corinthians 5.10 ‘For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.’

So, Scriptures tell us that one day you will be in the dock and called to give an account of yourself.

I remember as young Christian, (not a Christian who is young, I was 24 when I became gave my life to Christ) I had several dreams of being in a court room. I was being accused by the Satan of all sorts of things I had done and said in my past. Nothing too horrendous I might add, no drugs, sex and rock and roll! But there was still enough to make me squirm and feel uncomfortable – and guilty. 

Romans 3:23 'for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,'

As each sentence was passed I noticed someone speak up in defense and accept the guilty verdict but then going on to say; however the debt is paid in full!

Blessed Saviour and Redeemer…

Romans 5.8 ‘But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.’

Having been acquitted the next question is ’how shall I now live?’

This passage from Corinthians might have us thinking about this future Kingdom, the Kingdom of Heaven as a place we go to when we die – another realm in another place.

We haven’t got the time is to explore this fully now but this is not the full truth of the matter.

Revelation 21 speaks of a new heaven and a new earth – the realm of our Holy God, heaven, being conjoined with the realm of creation, earth, in a glorious re-creation.   Where sorrow and death and evil are no more and where God will dwell with His people.

That new conjoined realm has already begun to be ushered in as Christ went to his death and then was raised to life.

As the People of God we are only to judge in the measure and the light of Christ and the coming Kingdom.

Isn’t that what we are asking for when we say the Lord’s Prayer?

Your Kingdom come you will be done in Alton, your will be done in my family, your will be done in my own life and heart. Your Kingdom come at each and every place I find myself and in each and every situation I face.

Isn’t that our calling, our task as the People of God?

Taking our cue from the Parable of the Mustard Seed we seek to spread the seeds of Gospel truth.

We will not necessarily know what and how those seeds will germinate and flourish.
1 Corinthians 3.6 ‘I (Paul) planted the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but it was God who made it grow.’

"Large streams from little fountains flow, Tall oaks from little acorns grow."

Little by little, step by step, God is turning the world the right way up. In this great work of redemption God invites you and he invites me to participate. 

Indeed you will be either working with God towards the redemption of the 
cosmos or against God’s plans and purposes. That is your choice – today, and one day you will be judged by that choice.

I made a choice to marry Jane on the 23rd July 1982 and enter into a covenanted relationship. From that decision I make a daily decision to continue in that covenanted relationship.

On the 1st January 1975 I chose to enter into a covenanted relationship with God. From that decision I make a daily decision to continue in that covenanted relationship.

That’s my story – what’s yours and what difference is it making?

Or to put it another way – just what on earth are you doing for God’s sake!

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