An excerpt from yesterday's sermon... (full text attached)‚Äč

 

Convenient Christianity  is more than ‘unfortunate’… it is actually quite tragic on a couple of levels.  It is tragic because when we do not live our lives with God at the very center of all things, our lives are negatively impacted, and the lives of others around us are not blessed through us according to God’s plan.   Think about it: who knows better than the One who created us what is involved in living the most wonder-filled and purpose-filled life possible?  We think that living with ourselves at the center of everything is the way to go, getting what we want and pursuing our own self-centered goals.  How foolish on our part!  The God who created us, and who has recreated us, and who desires to continually recreate us knows the best way for His beloved children to live, a way that blesses them and everyone around them.

 

In our reading this morning from John’s Gospel we hear the story of Jesus cleansing the Jerusalem temple.  Jesus makes a bold and exceedingly important claim at the end of that story when He basically states that He had come to replace the temple as being where God encounters His people.  Jesus was—and is—the very presence of God… in our world and in our lives, and His presence has the potential to change everything.  The only things that blocks that potential is our exercising of our free will in such a way as to neglect our vocation, our mutual calling to follow Jesus by denying ourselves and taking up our crosses, our calling to respond to Jesus’ laying down His life for us by returning the favor.

 

The so-called “Ten Commandments” were given as a gift from God to the people He had rescued from their enemies.  Obedience was to flow from their grace-based relationship with God.  In the New Testament we hear Jesus say these words: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.  This is the greatest and first commandment.  And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'  On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets."  These words are given as a gift to us from the God who has saved us from our enemies-- sin, death, and the devil.

 

God’s commandments are gifts from our loving Creator and serve as a guide to living our lives as children of God, fulfilling our common vocation by loving and serving God and others.  It is good for us to embrace them, to commit ourselves to them, and to pray that they Holy Spirit inspires and empowers us to living by them.  When we do, we discover the best possible life.

 

With You in His Service,

Mark

 

 

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