Fifth Sun. aft. Pentecost
Our Savior Lutheran Church
Pagosa Springs, Colorado
June 30, 1996
FIRST, WE MUST KNOW WHO WE ARE AS CHRIST'S DISCIPLES.
We are not equal with God.
This is not a 21st century design of some cooperative, egalitarian relationship in which we may be in "partnership" with God.
How very often we attempt to dress God up in current opinion making Him conform to our prevailing views of earthly relationships.
Claims to be "god" or to contain the "deity" are a total illusion fostered by the father of lies.
Any attempt to place ourselves on an equal footing with God denies His sovereignty and His graciousness:
We deny His true nature as God when we discount Him as absolute Lord...Arrogance in action.
We deny His graciousness when we begin to think of Him as our "partner" in faith because salvation is God's act of mercy, not our act of cooperation.
He is the Master and Teacher and is superior to us.
First, He is our Creator and is hence, our true Master.
ILLUS: We own the cars we drive and direct them where to go, the cars do not tell us when and where to travel.
All other relationships pale in comparison to that of Creator and creature...foundational to all other relationships.
Second, it is a great honor and privilege to serve the Creator as His servant.
This is not a demeaning position.
The world can offer no greater reward than to serve the King.
Perhaps we, who are in democratic societies, do not fully comprehend our status as servants of the Great King because we do not know what it is like to have an earthly king.
One serves the King out of loyalty to the King, not out of compulsion.
We are His disciples.
He has called us to faith in Him.
We were truly lost.
Now comes the Creator, unlikely, surprising and eloquent.
He will stop at nothing to bring us home to Himself.
Death itself, hell itself the tomb itself would not stop Him from loving us.
He has called us to continued growth in Him.
Do you remember Peter? Explosive, unpredictable, fickle?
Yet it is Peter who is called to lead the apostles.
Three years in the wandering "seminary" with Jesus.
The rest of His life on the road, studying, speaking, dying.
He has called us to proclaim His salvation to others in service to Him.
Ready to serve Christ, all else was put into perspective.
For Peter and for us.
Our homes, our employment, our communities are venues of sacred activity...sacred because of the Christ who has made them sacred.
WE SHOULD KNOW WHAT WE CAN EXPECT AS CHRIST'S DISCIPLES.
We can expect to be students of the teacher.
That is the essence of a disciple.
A disciple continues to learn from his teacher.
ILLUS: Learning is a struggle...a painful process.
A disciple knows the voice of his teacher and won't listen to others.
John 6:68 (NIV) Simon Peter answered him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.
We are the sheep of the Great Shepherd, and we follow Him and no other.
A disciple never tires of learning from the Master.
Because He is never done telling us more about Himself for our benefit.
There is no bounds on what we may learn.
We can expect to be at odds with the world.
The world simply doesn't want to hear what we have to say.
The world doesn't want to know about sin...It hurts!
The world doesn't want to surrender its pride and admit its helplessness before a holy and righteous Creator God.
The world doesn't want to be told that it is necessary to trust in anyone or anything other than ourselves.
We need only observe how the world treated Jesus.
He came in love, but hate what His harvest.
He came to forgive, but He was condemned instead.
He came to give life, but was murdered without cause.
WE SHOULD KNOW THAT WE NEED NOT BE AFRAID IN OUR SERVICE.
The Master will not abandon His servants.
Three times in four verses Jesus repeats the phrase, "Do not be afraid".
When Jesus came to the frightened apostles tossed about on the stormy Sea of Galilee, He said, "Do not be afraid."
When terrified of Rome's soldiers in a locked up upper room, Jesus came to them and said, "Do not be afraid."
The reason for this is clear...He is still with us!
He is still the Master, still the Creator.
He is still our Savior, still our friend in faith.
The Master is in control of the spiritual resistance we will face.
Yes, life will be hard and people will be unkind, but v. 26 says that finally, the truth will be known when He reveals it on the Last Day.
The evil of the world will finally be seen for its own stupidity.
The wisdom of the faithful will finally be recognized as the very voice, hands and acts of God.
Nothing will be concealed and hidden ever again!
It is the Master whom we proclaim and the hosts of heaven applaud! (v. 32-33)
The very voice of Christ will sound the song of recognition of our witness.
No less than the Christ will acknowledge us as His own.
Therefore, who cares what the world says of our witness?
And what will He say?... What He has always said, "Come to me all you weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest.
Maria and her daughter Christina..."Whatever you have done, whatever you have become, it doesn't matter. Please come home. She did.
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