SER # 2W
FIRST UMC – NEBRASKA CITY
COLOR: WHITE OR GOLD
SUNDAY JANUARY 12TH 2020
TEXTS: ACTS 10: 34 – 43
THEME: THE GOOD NEWS FOR EVERYONE
Today we have commission leaders who will guide our mission for 2020. Among them we have new one who are stepping up for the first time while other have been serving in the previous years and continue their term. I like to remind you that it is an accident that God has given you this opportunity. God want you to accomplish something special. I therefore call upon you to seek the will of God each day as you lead his church through the responsibility that you have been given. This might be the beginning and God might be calling you to greater thing or responsibilities. I wish you to know that we will be praying as a church as we have committed in our service today.
Jesu is the bearer of the good news to the world. John the Baptist came to clear the way and to point people to the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world. John came to be the one to call for people to repent and to be baptized. That is why we see him baptizing in River Jordan. John even baptized Jesus on River Jordan. John was not an ordinary preacher God had set him apart. He was a Nazarene. Never drunk wine and never had his hair cut. John was straight to the point and never compromised in matter of the gospel. That is why he got in trouble and eventually killed by Herod for telling him that it was wrong (sin) for him to take his brother’s wife as his wife. John the Baptist was simply put as one of the great prophets of his time for he declared the mind of God to his audience. He may not have been liked by everybody especially those living sinful lives. It was john who preached that people have to repent before they could be baptized. In many ways we can say that john was teaching on adult baptism not children. Children are not able to repent first for they may not understand what that means. In this text there are some truths that we will need to lift up:
- God does not show partiality to one group: God is the creator of all human beings. To each he gave them same capabilities and freedom of choice. God does not care if one is black or white, short or tall, poor or rich, educated or uneducated and the list goes on. God sees in each of us his own image for that what he put in us. It is us human being who are good at zoning, labelling, categorizing other people using different measurements. At the time of Jesus there was conflict between the Jewish and the gentiles. Peter himself struggled with this but he gave in to reach to a Roman soldier -Cornelius (Acts 10: 23ff). Peter being a Jew later struggled with the same challenge Jesus was making it clear that we should not allow any barrier when it came to spreading the love of God (Galatians 2:11-14). we should not allow the barriers of: language, culture, race, geography, economic level or education level keep us from telling the love of God.
- Jesus send us the message of peace: Jesus comes as the prince of peace. Jesus came to offer the peace that passes all understanding. It is that peace that gives us the calmness regardless of what is happening around us. we live in a world where there is so much unrest. Times even in our neighborhood, schools and other social groups. As messenger of peace we have to live that life so that the world may see that God is able to stabilizing his people.
- God is the LORD of all: It is very easy for people to want to own God. At the beginning we read of Israel being chosen to be God’s people. But they were chosen to be an example of what God is able to do. To show the world who God was. That is why when Jesus was preached on earth taught that there were other sheep that were outside the fold that need to be brought back home. God is looking at us to be that instrument of reaching out with his message of love, kindness inclusion and trust.
- Jesus healed and did good things to everyone oppressed by the devil: When it came to actions, Jesus was guided by mercy not judgment. He healed those who came to him without first wanting to know if they were Jews or non-Jews. When he healed the 10 lepers there were 9 Jews and one none Jew but he healed them all. This teaches us that when we do good things, we can’t allow ourselves to be partial but do them out of the love of Christ and his people. our call when it comes to relationship with others is to love them. The two great commandments are to love God and then to love our neighbor.
- We are the witness of God’s working – witness to the resurrection: The word of God has used many examples as a way of reminding us we are to be witness to the world: We are to be the light, ambassadors, letters, lamb, the salt, city build on a hill…… All these images the bible uses tell us that we can’t hide who we are. We as believers are the children of the light and we have to shine so that the world may know the light. We are not the source of this light Jesus is but we reflect that light from Jesus to the world.
- Called to preach and testify that Jesus alone is the judge: He is the one only who can forgive sins and open or shut the gates of heaven to those who are coming. Our responsibility is to point people to Christ and let them discover who he is. Two of John disciples one time wanted to know more about Jesus and Jesus invited them with these words “come and see” (John 1:3 5 – 39). Churches today including our own church the United Methodist Church are faced with the question of deciding who belongs and who does not belong. What sin is bigger than the other hence who are the true God worshippers. My take is that we are called to preach the gospel of love and be that extension of Christ love to the world by loving our neighbor and loving God. we may have our personal dislikes but our encompassing call is that of love. Where there is love all bad things don’t live there. Love can’t mix with anything else.