February 2018  
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1-28-18 Sermon


Epiphany 4                                                                                                                                                

Mark 1: 21–28                                                                                                                                                     

How is your relationship with God?  This may seem like a strange topic, after all we are all Christians - or at least we try to be.  We know a lot about God and about Jesus, yet, be that as it may, consider what you believe and what you perceive as the way of truth, faith, and obedience. 

Many Christians relate to God, as we would talk to a loving parent who would never deny his children anything that they want—they treat him like a sugar daddy.         

Or we call upon God as if he was a storekeeper, again expecting him to give us whatever we desire.  Some see God as a first responder in times of trouble, but otherwise ignore him.  Is that really all there is to the God who created all things?                       

Has familiarity with the giving and forgiving side of God led us to forget the awesome power of God?  We tend to forget the need to reverence God.                                                                                  

Many people have come to believe that God will not punish us for our sins as long as we believe in Jesus.  Have we become so familiar with God's mercy that we forget how that mercy came about?                                       

God is to be feared and respected.

If we disregard the Holiness of God, the authority of God is eliminated.

The scriptures clearly state:  The fear of God is the beginning of Wisdom.               

The people of Israel had to learn that lesson over and over to keep them from sinning.  The truth about God is that he has all authority and he has power. And further - the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom to keep us from sinning.                                                                 

Moses was made the spokesman for God, and had God's authority, because God wanted and desired the people of Israel to live.  We too need to hear the word of God that we might live.              

Jesus came so that we might hear the word of God, and be able to meet God through him, and live.                       

The very first time Jesus spoke in public, at the synagogue in Capernaum, the people recognized His authority.                                         

Demons recognized Jesus’ authority and responded to his command crying out:  "Holy One of God".  Demonic forces listened to Jesus, and fled at His command.  

Who has authority in your life?  Who do you listen to?  Who do you fear?   False prophets tell us God doesn’t need to be respected.  Do whatever you want to do and don’t worry about the consequences. If we listen to half-truths and outright lies, we really don’t want to be obedient to the one we say is the LORD our God. 

Some how we have the idea we don’t have to obey every word of Jesus. 

We’re influenced by those who don’t need the church Jesus established—the very same people who mock those of us who worship faithfully in God’s house.  We listen to those who tell us God doesn’t judge his children, even though the Scriptures clearly reveal that God does judge and discipline those He loves.

We willing listen to false prophets who speak gibberish-- so-called tolerance, to blind us to the word that Jesus not only taught, but also demonstrated.  Jesus is the Holy One of God, He is God's Son, and he came to show us what we cannot see without His help—specifically--how to please God.

Who do we fear? Who do we listen to?  Jesus has the authority of God, He is God’s son and our mediator, He is the one who allows us to meet God and yet live. He is the word of God's uncompromising love, a love that is tender and compassionate, demanding and strict. 

Do not allow anyone to deceive you. Jesus can and does dwell in all who sincerely call upon His name. His love is meant to set us free from sin.  But also keep in mind that the love of Jesus, which casts out demons, is the same love that warns of death.      

Anyone who rebels against Jesus’ authority is rebelling against the LORD God and brings judgment on himself. 

A bride, who was extremely nervous on her wedding day, was not sure she could make it all the way down the aisle. So the very wise pastor gave her a bit of advice.  "When you start down the aisle, just remember this three things: First, look straight down the aisle; second, when you get about half-way, look straight at the altar; and third, when you get to the front of the church, look straight at your groom. First look at the aisle, then look at the altar, then look at him." The trembling bride agreed.                   

 So with a radiant glow on her face and confidence in her step, she walked down the aisle. But you can imagine the surprise of the congregation as they heard her repeating over and over, "Aisle, altar, him!"  "Aisle, altar, him!" Well, the truth is, most brides aren’t very successful in altering their husbands. But the good news is that God can alter us! 

The authority of Jesus Christ, to heal, to proclaim, to change, to bring redemption is available to all of us. If we accept Jesus' authority, we need not fear death or life, angels or rulers, things present or things to come for Christ has all authority over heaven and earth.                                                      

 A response is required. How then shall we live?  AMEN