“WHO WANTS HIM – JESUS DOES”

Text – MARK 2:13-17

GRACE BE UNTO YOU AND PEACE FROM GOD THE FATHER AND FROM OUR PERSONAL LORD AND SAVIOUR....JESUS THE CHRIST.

“Just as I am, without one plea,

But that Thy Blood was shed for me,

and that Thou bidd’st me come to Thee.

O Lamb of God, I come, I come.”

How powerfully those words spring to life as we read “Then Jesus went out again by the sea and all the multitude came to Him and He taught them.” Word had spread throughout the area about this Man who healed the sick, gave sight to the blind, gave mobility to the lame and spoke with greater authority than the most learned rabbis.  

Large multitudes were flocking just to see Jesus and hear Him talk about the relationship God is offering all of us.

As Jesus passed by, He saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax table. Walking, teaching and showing miraculous signs among the multitude , Jesus’ attention turned to a man totally despised by everyone in that multitude. That man sitting at the tax table was  a Galilean man named Levi who turned against his own people and even took a Gentile name Matthew to enhance his position with the Roman conquerors.

Rome ruled the world and it takes money to rule the world ... a great deal of tax money.  Rome had conquered most of the nations of the world — including the people of the Holy Land. Rome’s worldwide system of taxation involved prominent Romans or local officials in league with Rome buying the right to collect taxes in a given area.  In the Galilee, the publican with the tax franchise was the despised Herod Antipas — tetrarch of  the Galilee and Perea.

"THE GOD-GIVEN REST WE ALL NEED"

 

Text - DEUTERONOMY 5:12--15 and MARK 2:23--28

 

GRACE BE UNTO YOU AND PEACE FROM GOD THE FATHER AND FROM OUR CRUCIFIED AND RISEN LORD AND SAVIOUR JESUS THE CHRIST.

Linda was teaching classes for the Ohio State Extension Service. One day, while she was on a break, several staff members joined her at the table. One of them said “I heard you are going to marry a minister. I guess you go to church every Sunday and support that church.” The woman continued “Not me, I’ve been a cafeteria Christian for years.  I pick and choose what I need and no strings attached. Need a baby baptized, call the church.  Need a spiritual visit to the hospital, call the church.  Get married or have a death in the family, call the church. I get all the service you do and none of the responsibility.  I’m a cafeteria Christian who can pick and choose what I want – no strings attached.”

This month 54 years in the ministry I’ve met my share of self-proclaimed cafeteria Christians.  I’ve felt sorry for each one of them.

 

In our Gospel text, Jesus reminds the Pharisees and us why I feel so sorry for cafeteria Christians. Jesus said, "The Sabbath was made for humanity, and not humanity for the Sabbath."  

In the First Table of the Ten Commandments – the ones related to our relationship with God – God commands us to “Remember the Sabbath Day to keep it holy.”  That word holy describes something that is set aside by God for a specific God given purpose as we live temporally and eternally in the Presence of God.

“GOD Enabling Life Or Humanity Building Babel”

  

Text - ACTS 2:1--21 and GENESIS 11:1--9

 

GRACE BE UNTO YOU AND PEACE FROM GOD THE FATHER AND FROM OUR CRUCIFIED AND RISEN LORD AND SAVIOUR JESUS THE CHRIST.

Guenther Tharp and his buddy Chester were in the lunch line at the Lutheran school.  At the head of the serving area there was a large pile of apples and, in front of the apples, the pastor-principal had printed a sign which read "TAKE ONLY ONE. GOD IS WATCHING". Moving to the other end of the serving area, there was a table with a large pile of chocolate chip cookies.  Guenther gently poked his pal, "Take all you want, Chester, God is watching the apples."

       

    

There on that plain in the land of Shinar words of faith and obedience to The Divine Will were rarely used as people decided to build the most magnificent city human ingenuity could conceive and to crown the glory of that city with the building of a tower whose top is in the heavens -  challenging The Lord’s Authority – glorifying what humanity can achieve with or without God. They truly planned to make a name for themselves. 

“ONLY THE TRUE GOD COULD COME TO US AS THE TRINITY”

Text – MARK 16:14-20

GRACE BE UNTO YOU AND PEACE FROM GOD THE FATHER AND FROM OUR CRUCIFIED AND RISEN LORD AND SAVIOUR JESUS THE CHRIST AND FROM THE HOLY SPIRIT WHO ENLIGHTENS AND EMPOWERS US.

Today is a most important celebration on the Church Year calendar for the name, focus, and theme of this day is The Holy Trinity – a distinction by which God sets us apart from all other religions.  For centuries Holy Trinity Sunday was followed by the Trinity Season – a season that focuses on and celebrates the work The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit does through the people of God – Christ’s Church.

I was embarrassed several weeks ago when I read the religious section of THE TOLEDO BLADE.  The feature article which several of you have mentioned to me was written by Nicki Gorny and dealt with the question of whether God is male or female. It was one of those situations where someone raises a question solely for the purpose of promoting some non-Christian cause of their own.

First Gorny quoted the pastor of a Christian Church who adamantly stated he makes a point of never using the word “He” in a sermon about God.  Then they quoted several Moslem authorities who agreed with the pastor. I began our Christian View of Islam series by pointing out that Christianity and Islam are not similar religions and that Allah is not the true God we have come here to worship today. I am not being prejudiced or bigoted for the truth is no knowledgeable Christian or Moslem authority believes that Allah is the God we worship.  In fact, Islam teaches Christians are idolaters because we believe in Jesus.  

GRACE BE UNTO YOU AND PEACE FROM GOD THE FATHER AND FROM OUR LORD AND SAVIOUR -- JESUS THE CHRIST.

As Jesus prepared to ascend into heaven, He called His disciples to continue to be His disciples and also to be His apostles.  Well, how many of Jesus' disciples can you name?  We can all fairly quickly list the eleven who were His original disciples and who were present with Jesus when our text took place. 

A disciple is a student studying life with a master teacher like Moses, Plato, Aristotle or a Pharisaic rabbi.  On the day of His ascension, the eleven disciples who gathered together with Jesus were truly disciples of our Ultimate Teacher Jesus and that Christian discipleship belongs not only to those eleven original disciples – but to every one of us who have accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior and who seek to constantly increase our knowledge of Jesus and His Word so we can also read disciples’ names in our Church Directory.

How many of Jesus' apostles can you name? Again, we list those eleven – add some like Paul – and, of course, there are those apostles in our church directory. Apostles are "ambassadors, envoys, representatives" who are "sent by Jesus to proclaim" what we have learned as His disciples and been called by The lord Jesus to proclaim and share.

Today is The Last Sunday of The Easter Season in Christ’s Church and Mothers’ Day in our nation and last Thursday was celebrated as The Ascension of Our Lord. How powerfully our Lord Jesus calls us to Discipleship and Apostleship in these three festivals.

Bible Verse of the Day

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