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Sermon Easter 6 Year A Dinner Is Served

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SELMA ORIGINAL FREE WILL BAPTIST CHURCH

SIXTH SUNDAY OF EASTER – MAY 5TH 2002

THANKS. 

LET US PRAY: COME HOLY SPIRIT, FILL THE HEARST OF YOUR FAITHFUL AND KINDLE IN US THE FIRE OF YOUR LOVE.  SEND FORTH YOUR SPIRIT AND WE SHALL BE CREATED.  O GOD, WHO BY THE LIGHT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT YOU DID INSTRUCT THE HEARTS OF THE FAITHFUL, GRANT THAT BY THE SAME HOLY SPIRIT WE MAY BE MADE TRULY WISE AND EVER ENJOY YOUR CONSOLATIONS, THROUGH JESUS CHRIST OUR LORD.  AMEN

“DINNER IS SERVED”

JOHN 14:1-21

14Do not let your hearts be troubled. You trust in God, trust also in me.2In my Father’s house there are many places to live in; otherwise I would have told you. I am going now to prepare a place for you,3and after I have gone and prepared you a place, I shall return to take you to myself, so that you may be with me where I am.4You know the way to the place where I am going.5Thomas said, ‘Lord, we do not know where you are going, so how can we know the way?’6Jesus said: I am the Way; I am Truth and Life. No one can come to the Father except through me.7If you know me, you will know my Father too. From this moment you know him and have seen him.8Philip said, ‘Lord, show us the Father and then we shall be satisfied.’ Jesus said to him,9‘Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? ‘Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father, so how can you say, “Show us the Father”?10Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? What I say to you I do not speak of my own accord: it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his works.11You must believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe it on the evidence of these works.12In all truth I tell you, whoever believes in me will perform the same works as I do myself, and will perform even greater works, because I am going to the Father.13Whatever you ask in my name I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.14If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.

15If you love me you will keep my commandments.16I shall ask the Father, and he will give you another Paraclete * to be with you for ever,17the Spirit of truth whom the world can never accept since it neither sees nor knows him; but you know him, because he is with you, he is in you.18I shall not leave you orphans; I shall come to you.19In a short time the world will no longer see me; but you will see that I live and you also will live.20On that day you will know that I am in my Father and you in me and I in you.21Whoever holds to my commandments and keeps them is the one who loves me; and whoever loves me will be loved by my Father, and I shall love him and reveal myself to him.’[1]

IN JOHN 14:1-21 JESUS SAYS:

            1.  FAREWELL

            2.  BE OBEDIENT

            3.  THE SPIRIT WILL COME

A RECENT SURVEY ASKING PEOPLE WHAT ARE THE MOST COMMON THINGS PEOPLE SAY TO EACH OTHER AND ALSO WANT TO HEAR.  THE TOP THREE IN THIS SURVEY WERE:

1.      I LOVE YOU.

2.      I FORGIVE YOU

3.      DINNER IS SERVED

WHAT DOES JESUS SAY AGAIN IN JOHN 14:1-21?

1.      FAREWELL…AND I LOVE YOU

2.      BE OBEDIENT…BUT I FORGIVE YOU

3.      THE SPIRIT WILL COME…TO FEED YOU…DINNER IS SERVED.

JESUS ALSO SAYS ABOUT HIMSELF IN THE PASSAGE THAT HE IS THE WAY, THE TRUTH, AND LIFE.

1.      THE WAY…IS LOVE.

2.      THE TRUTH…IS WE ARE BROKEN BUT ARE FORGIVEN.

3.      LIFE…IS  A MEAL WHERE FRIENDS AND FAMILY GATHER TOGETHER TO EAT AND CARE FOR EACH OTHER.

JESUS GOES ON TO SAY IN THE LAST HALF OF THIS PASSAGE, “IF YOU LOVE ME, YOU WILL KEEP MY COMMANDMENTS…”

WHAT ARE HIS COMMANDMENTS? 

John 15:12       12This is my commandment: love one another, as I have loved you.[2]

John 15:17       17My command to you is to love one another.[3]

BY DEFINITION, TO LOVE ONE ANOTHER MEANS TO FORGIVE ONE ANOTHER.  TO TRULY FORGIVE ONE ANOTHER ALLOWS FOR DINNER TO BE SERVED AND FOR THE HOLY SPIRIT TO COME AMONG US TO FEED US AND STRENGTHEN US.

WHEN WE FINALLY ACKNOWLEDGE THE HOLY SPIRIT, WE DISCOVER THAT THE HOLY SPIRIT IS VERY NEAR TO US, INDEED EVEN IN US.

THE HOLY SPIRIT IS GOD’S BREATH IN US…RUACH…THE WIND OF GOD, THE BREATH OF GOD, THE SPIRIT OF GOD…AS SOME CHRISTIAN MYSTICS SAY…THE BREATH WITHIN OUR BREATH.

THINK OF IT!   GOD IS SO CLOSE AS TO BE PRESENT IN OUR BREATH.

TAKE A BREATH…HOLD IT IN A FEW SECONDS…BREATHE IT OUT.  PART OF THE BREATH YOU TOOK IN WENT INTO YOUR BLOOD STREAM AND IS NOW A PART OF YOU.  IT IS HELPING TO CARRY OXYGEN AND ENERGY TO YOUR HEAD AND YOUR HEART AND YOUR ENTIRE BEING.  THE BREATH OF GOD…RUACH…ALSO ENTERED US WITH OUR FIRST BREATH AT BIRTH AND CONTINUES TO ENTER US WITH EACH BREATH WE TAKE THROUGHOUT OUR LIFE.  I GOT TO SEE MARSHALL TAKE HIS FIRST BREATH…I WILL NEVER FORGET IT.  AS GOD’S SPIRIT ENTERED HIS LUNGS WITH THAT FIRST GULP OF AIR, HE LET OUT A CRY AND EVERYONE IN THE BIRTHING ROOM WAS SMILING AND LAUGHING.

TO BE ALIVE MEANS TO BREATHE…

TO BE ALIVE MEANS TO BE LOVED…

TO BE ALIVE MEANS TO BE FORGIVEN…

TO BE ALIVE MEANS TO BE INVITED TO DINNER…TO BE FED BY THE SPIRIT…

JOHN 14:18    18”I shall not leave you orphans…”

TO BE ORPHANED HAS OFTEN MEANT TO BE LEFT OUTSIDE THE CIRCLE OF LOVE…TO BE ORPHANED HAS OFTEN MEANT TO BE LEFT OUTSIDE THE CIRCLE OF FORGIVENESS…TO BE ORPHANED HAS OFTEN MEANT TO BE LEFT OUTSIDE THE FAMILY FELLOWSHIP OF DINNER.

ONE OF THE GREAT MINISTRIES OF THIS DENOMINATION IS THE HOME AT MIDDLESEX FOR ORPHANED AND TROUBLED CHILDREN.  PRAISE GOD FOR THAT MINISTRY.  IT IS GOD’S WORK.

NO…JESUS SAYS…I WILL NOT LEAVE YOU ORPHANED…THE FATHER LOVES YOU AND FORGIVES YOU AND DESIRES TO HAVE DINNER WITH YOU AND SO THE FATHER WILL SEND THE HOLY SPIRIT AS PROOF THAT WE ARE LOVED, AS PROOF THAT WE ARE FORGIVEN, AS PROOF THAT GOD DESIRES US TO COME TO THE TABLE AND BE FED BY GOD’S SPIRIT BOTH NOW AND AT THE GREAT WEDDING FEAST AT THE END OF TIME.

BELOVED…GOD REALLY DOES SAY ALL THE TIME AND THROUGHOUT SCRIPTURE JUST THE WORDS WE DESIRE TO HEAR:

            I LOVE YOU

            I FORGIVE YOU

            DINNER IS SERVED

BUT JESUS, AS ALWAYS, CALLS US TO NOT ONLY BELIEVE THESE THINGS, JESUS CALLS US TO HOLD ON TO THESE THINGS, AND TO DO THESE THINGS FOR EACH OTHER IN A COMMUNITY OF LOVE.

JOHN 14:21    21Whoever holds to my commandments and keeps them is the one who loves me[4]

WE ARE CALLED TO DO AS GOD DOES.

WE ARE CALLED TO SAY, “I LOVE YOU”, TO EACH OTHER.

WE ARE CALLED TO SAY, “FORGIVE ME AND I FORGIVE YOU”, TO EACH OTHER.

WE ARE CALLED TO RESPOND TO THE DINNER INVITATION BY INVITING OTHERS TO THE TABLE…NEVER TURNING ANYONE AWAY.

LUKE 14:12-24           12Then he said to his host, ‘When you give a lunch or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relations or rich neighbours, in case they invite you back and so repay you.13No; when you have a party, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind;14then you will be blessed, for they have no means to repay you and so you will be repaid when the upright rise again.’[5]15On hearing this, one of those gathered round the table said to him, ‘Blessed is anyone who will share the meal in the kingdom of God!’16But he said to him, ‘There was a man who gave a great banquet, and he invited a large number of people.17When the time for the banquet came, he sent his servant to say to those who had been invited, “Come along: everything is ready now.”18But all alike started to make excuses. The first said, “I have bought a piece of land and must go and see it. Please accept my apologies.”19Another said, “I have bought five yoke of oxen and am on my way to try them out. Please accept my apologies.”20Yet another said, “I have just got married and so am unable to come.”21‘The servant returned and reported this to his master. Then the householder, in a rage, said to his servant, “Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in here the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.”22“Sir,” said the servant, “your orders have been carried out and there is still room.”23Then the master said to his servant, “Go to the open roads and the hedgerows and press people to come in, to make sure my house is full;24because, I tell you, not one of those who were invited shall have a taste of my banquet.” ’[6]

GOD REFUSES TO HAVE DINNER ALONE.  GOD CONTINUES TO INVITE UNTIL THE BANQUET HALL IS FILLED.

JOHN 14:21B              “whoever loves me will be loved by my Father, and I shall love him and reveal myself to him.”[7]

TO BE LOVED BY THE FATHER IS TO EXPERIENCE REVELATION, TO HAVE GOD THE FATHER, GOD THE SON, AND GOD THE HOLY SPIRIT REVEALED TO US.

AND FOR WHAT PURPOSE?  SO WE MIGHT CLAIM RIGHTEOUSNESS?  I THINK NOT!

SO THAT WE MIGHT SHARE THAT REVELATION WITH OTHERS?  I THINK SO!

CHRISTIANS THROUGHOUT 20 CENTURIES HAVE BELIEVED THAT GOD HAS BEEN REVEALED TO US IN THE BIRTH, MINISTRY, DEATH, RESURRECTION, AND ASCENSION TO GLORY OF JESUS THE CHRIST.

BUT THAT’S NOT ALL THERE IS…WE ARE CALLED TO FOLLOW JESUS INTO THAT REVELATION…TO LOVE AS HE LOVED…TO FORGIVE AS HE FORGAVE…AND TO COME TO DINNER WITH HIM AS WE EAT THE BREAD AND DRINK FROM THE CUP.  WE ARE ASKED BY JESUS TO COME TO THIS HOLY MEAL AND TO DO THESE THINGS “IN REMEMBRANCE” OF HIM.  THE GREEK WORD TRANSLATED “IN REMEMBRANCE” IS ANAMNESIS WHICH MEANS TO REACH INTO THE PAST, BRING THE PAST INTO THE PRESENT, THEREBY CHANGING THE PRESENT AND POTENTIALLY MAKING THE FUTURE DIFFERENT…MAKING POSSIBLE A FUTURE WHERE WE CAN SAY…

            I LOVE YOU…AND MEAN IT

            I FORGIVE YOU…AND MEAN IT

            DINNER IS SERVED…AND THERE IS ROOM FOR ALL

WHEN THESE THINGS HAPPEN WE ARE TRANSFORMED…WE ARE BORN AGAIN…THE CHURCH IS TRANSFORMED AND THE KINGDOM OF EVIL IS REPLACED BY THE KINGDOM OF GOD.

MY PLEA TO YOU TODAY IS TO

BELIEVE GOD WHEN GOD SAYS, “I LOVE YOU”.

BELIEVE GOD WHEN GOD SAYS, “I FORGIVE YOU”.

BELIEVE GOD WHEN GOD SAYS, “DINNER IS SERVED”.

IF YOU HAVE NOT PUBLICLY ACCEPTED JESUS AS YOUR PERSONAL LORD AND SAVIOR,

IF YOU HAVE NOT ACCEPTED THAT GOD LOVES YOU,

IF YOU HAVE NOT ACCEPTED THAT GOD FORGIVES YOU,

IF YOU HAVE NOT ACCEPTED THAT GOD DESIRES TO HAVE DINNER WITH YOU,

THEN I INVITE YOU TO COME FORWARD DURING THE COMMITMENT HYMN AND PRAY HERE AT THE ALTER WITH ONE OF THE DEACONS.

I PROMISE YOU THAT YOU WILL BE WELCOME AT THIS TABLE EVERY TIME DINNER IS SERVED.

IF YOU HAVE ALREADY MADE SUCH A COMMITMENT, I ASK YOU TO RECOMMIT YOURSELF TO A LIFE OF LOVE, TO A LIFE OF FORGIVENESS, AND TO A LIFE OF FELLOWSHIP AT THE DINNER TABLE OF OUR LORD.

AND NOW UNTO GOD THE FATHER, GOD THE SON, AND GOD THE HOLY SPIRIT BE ASCRIBED ALL MIGHT, MAJESTY, POWER, DOMINION, AND GLORY, THIS DAY AND FOREVERMORE.  AMEN.

HYMN 470     “FOOTSTEPS OF JESUS”


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[1]The New Jerusalem Bible. 1995, c1985. Includes indexes. (Jn 14:1-21). Doubleday: Garden City, N.Y.

[2]The New Jerusalem Bible. 1995, c1985. Includes indexes. (Jn 15:11-12). Doubleday: Garden City, N.Y.

[3]The New Jerusalem Bible. 1995, c1985. Includes indexes. (Jn 15:17-18). Doubleday: Garden City, N.Y.

[4]The New Jerusalem Bible. 1995, c1985. Includes indexes. (Jn 14:21). Doubleday: Garden City, N.Y.

[5]The New Jerusalem Bible. 1995, c1985. Includes indexes. (Lk 14:12-15). Doubleday: Garden City, N.Y.

[6]The New Jerusalem Bible. 1995, c1985. Includes indexes. (Lk 14:15-25). Doubleday: Garden City, N.Y.

[7]The New Jerusalem Bible. 1995, c1985. Includes indexes. (Jn 14:21). Doubleday: Garden City, N.Y.

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