Thursday, 29 January 2015

3rd Sunday after Epiphany 25 Jan 2015 Sermon

3rd Sunday after Epiphany 25.1.15 Authority

The strange thing about this world is that it was made by God, but He is not acknowledged by most of the inhabitants of that world!

Many do not believe in Him. Many believe in false gods. And those who do believe in the true God often ignore Hm.

How did such a strange state of affairs come to be in place?

Ever since the original sin there has been a disconnection between man and God.

The coming of God as Man has re-connected us but we still see lots of signs of disconnection - not least that there is still so much sin being committed.

The Gospel today illustrates the good that can happen when things are put in the right order.

The centurion understands the chain of command: when he says ‘go’, they go. So when Jesus says ‘be healed’ they stay healed!

The centurion has the whole Roman army behind him to back up his authority. The Christian has the whole of Heaven behind him when he gives a command. At least this is how it is meant to work.

If we would obey God the rest of creation would obey us. The only reason that spiders bite us, and sharks eat us, and all the others things that express disorder in our world - is that the chain of command is broken.

We should all be doing whatever God tells us to do; and that on every topic.

Then there would be a smooth flow of authority through the whole universe.

If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land (2 Ch 7,14).

Australia Day (Jan 26) is a good chance to think of turning from our sinful ways.

Australia, like probably every other nation, commits the same sin of ignoring God; putting Him to the side.

We try to run our affairs without Him. We are not allowed to mention Him in public debate because it might offend someone who does not believe in Him!

But that does not change the fact that He is still there, and is still the origin of all things

There is little likelihood of any sort of national repentance to God in the near future. So we who understand the issue must make a sort of bridging repentance. We pray on behalf of others, as Abraham did at Sodom (Gen 18, 16-33).

Lord, hear our payers for this troubled land that thinks it can get by on its own.

Do not treat us as our sins deserve. We have repeated the same sins of the Israelites and gone down the same path.

We have put pleasure ahead of His holy will. We have made for ourselves false gods.
We have abandoned the Sabbath. And countless other things of the same sort.

And yet we ask Him to bless us.

He has blessed us in spite of our obstinacy, for example in the prosperity of our country, and that we have enjoyed peace all these years.

We have had abundant chance to notice His blessings but we have grown complacent instead, thinking it is all our own doing.

And many will say He has not blessed us enough; that He is at fault for the world being the way it is.

But look at the chain of command – we have broken it. (Is 53,6: All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way).

This is why the graces have dried up.

If we pick up the chain – if we obey Him – everything else will obey us, and our fortunes will be restored.

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