Thursday, 10 January 2019

Epiphany 6 Jan 2019 Sermon

Epiphany 6.1.19 Response

Epiphany can be understood as our response to God’s initiative in coming to us at Christmas.

God started something when He took on human nature and dwelt with us.

Now it is up to us how to respond.

Our response can come in two parts: the first is we must believe in these events. The second is we must take that belief out to the whole world, all the nations.

His coming has meant so much – enabling us to be saved from our sins, to reach Heaven; and many blessings for this life as well.

But being essentially an offer, the Incarnation has to be accepted to take full effect.

Each one of us is asked: will you be My disciple, or Will you walk away?

It is easy to reject Christ through denial, or indifference, or delay.

We want to say Yes to Him; we want to mean it, and to stay with that answer till the end.

He entered the process fully; so must we.

He committed to us in becoming Man, and going even as far as the Cross.

He has put action where his words went. Love songs say that we would climb any mountain, swim any ocean etc. Maybe we would but we know we are never going to have to put those ideals into practice.

God says He would do that kind of thing for us; He would even die for our sins – and He does exactly that.

He was not just words, impressive as they were. He practised what He preached without any loss in translation.

He wants to give us a chance to prove our love for Him, so that we are not just words or theory.

We say we would be prepared to suffer for Him, so He lets us prove that.

That is one reason why so many things go wrong for us. We are being tested; not in a cruel way but to help us to fulfil our potential, to grow to the stature which God intends us to have.

If we can get through these difficulties it will bring us to a deeper love for Him.

It is easy to be a part-time or  half-baked disciple. We can say all the right things, as they are written into our prayers, such as: I will not sin again.

He will put steel in to us, enable us to make genuine change in our lives.

Whatever He gives us to do, He will enable, by giving our humanity a share of His, which is perfect.

If we give Him our attention, give Him time; let Him work on us, we will get better at this.

The second part of our response is to take it to the nations. (The wise men from foreign parts represent the rest of humanity, besides the Jews.)

Everyone needs to know the scope of what is being offered to them.

The Christian faith is not just theory; it is the way to live. It takes in every aspect of life.

To possess this faith and to live by it is the happiest we can be in this life.

We are privileged to know what we know; we share in the great commission to make Him known to the ends of the world

There is much resistance but His ‘word does not return empty’ (Is 55,11).

We can do ourselves and everyone else a favour by picking up our share of the Cross, and proving (in practice) that our words of love are not empty.

Lord, make us strong enough for this!

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