Keep, O Lord, your household the Church in your steadfast faith and love, that through your grace we may proclaim your truth with boldness, and minister your justice with compassion; for the sake of our Savior Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Fourth Sunday After Pentecost
6 So we are always confident, even though we know that as long as we live in these bodies we are not at home with the Lord. 7 For we live by believing and not by seeing. 8 Yes, we are fully confident, and we would rather be away from these earthly bodies, for then we will be at home with the Lord. 9 So whether we are here in this body or away from this body, our goal is to please him. 10 For we must all stand before Christ to be judged. We will each receive whatever we deserve for the good or evil we have done in this earthly body.
11 Because we understand our fearful responsibility to the Lord, we work hard to persuade others. God knows we are sincere, and I hope you know this, too. 12 Are we commending ourselves to you again? No, we are giving you a reason to be proud of us, so you can answer those who brag about having a spectacular ministry rather than having a sincere heart. 13 If it seems we are crazy, it is to bring glory to God. And if we are in our right minds, it is for your benefit. 14 Either way, Christ’s love controls us. Since we believe that Christ died for all, we also believe that we have all died to our old life. 15 He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them.
16 So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now! 17 This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!
2 Corinthians 5:6-17 New Living Translation (NLT)
Paul continues this second letter to the church at Corinth. In the previous paragraphs, Paul has written about the trials that he has faced in preaching the gospel. In chapter 4 he writes, “We are pressed on every side by trouble, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.”
He also writes about being a treasure in this human jar of clay. He transitions then to the hope – that there is coming a day when these earthly tents that we live in will be exchanged for eternal bodies.
This is what gives Paul his confidence as we read in vs 6. As long as we are in these bodies, we are absent from our home with the Lord. We are reminded that we walk by faith, not by sight. The older I get the more I understand why the saints of the church long to be with their Savior. Paul even mentions this. We would rather be at home with the Lord, but we make it our ambition while we are in these “earthly tents” to please the Lord. Ultimately, this is what we will be judged on.
Knowing that, we have a responsibility to live as ambassadors for Christ. Paul calls it a fearful responsibility to the Lord. We work to share the gospel of Christ. Why? because of Christ’s love. The love of Christ compels us to share the good news – that Jesus came, that Jesus died, that Jesus rose, and that Jesus is coming again.
Jesus came that we may have new life. It is different from the old life. Jesus died so that we no longer live for ourselves, but that we live for Christ, if we receive the new life that he offers us. It is this new life in Christ that compels us to live for him. Paul finishes this section with “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!
Emmaus Road has moved to Thursday nights. Here was tonight’s set list:
I opened with Dan Fogelburg’s “Leader of the Band.”
- Your Love Awakens Me
- Resurrection Power
- Holy, Holy, Holy
- Revelation Song
- In Christ Alone
This past week was a nice change of pace from the last couple for a couple of reasons. One was our schedule was a lot less hectic. In fact, I had enough extra time, I spent at least three nights working on the grass outside. It was one of the first week, we didn’t have extra events in quite a few weeks, however, this week changes and we have a few more things. This week Emmaus Road moves to Thursday night. This is a permanent change and Saturday is District Conference. We will be up in the Buffalo area. Yesterday, we decided to take the week off and went to Rochester. While it wasn’t in the original plan, we did go to the Susan B. Anthony House and Museum. It was well worth it. One of the reasons I liked it, is because our Wesleyan history blends with what was going on in the mid 1800’s. The early Wesleyan Methodists were abolitionists and were also involved in the Women’s Rights Movement. It was interesting to see another part of that story. Western New York was at the heart of many mid-century social reforms. We had a great time together.
We also visited the High Falls area and went to the Lego Store. Another highlight of the trip was stopping at Nick Tahou Hots. It is a Rochester institution and one of those very interesting places to eat.
We had a good service at McCrae Brook as I preached on being Children of God. I can’t think of much else, so signing off until next week. Blessings…
Third Sunday after Pentecost
O God, from whom all good proceeds: Grant that by your inspiration we may think those things that are right, and by your merciful guiding may do them; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Friday, June 8, 2018
- We Give You Glory
- To God Be the Glory
- How Can I Keep from Singing
- What a Beautiful Name
- This I Believe (The Creed)
Third Sunday after Pentecost
13 But we continue to preach because we have the same kind of faith the psalmist had when he said, “I believed in God, so I spoke.” 14 We know that God, who raised the Lord Jesus, will also raise us with Jesus and present us to himself together with you. 15 All of this is for your benefit. And as God’s grace reaches more and more people, there will be great thanksgiving, and God will receive more and more glory.
16 That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. 17 For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! 18 So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.
5 For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down (that is, when we die and leave this earthly body), we will have a house in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands.
2 Corinthians 4:13-5:1 New Living Translation (NLT)
I think we have all been there at one time or another. As a preacher of the Gospel, I know that I have been there several times during our time in the ministry. What am I talking about? Those times when it doesn’t seem worth it anymore. They tell us as pastors that it takes seven years to build a relationship with a church. Years 1 and 2 usually aren’t too difficult – but as you approach year 5 through year 7 – those are the tough ones.
Paul’s writing helps us all. He was talking about the things they – the early church – had to endure for the sake of the gospel – pressed on every side, perplexed – hunted down, knocked down, living under constant danger. For the most part, we don’t know these trials – especially here in America.
Still, Paul and his colleagues continued to preach the gospel. Why? Because they were serving Jesus. They believed in God. The same God that raised Jesus from the dead. This same God will also raise us with Jesus. As Paul wrote – and we looked at last week – we are jars of clay…but we continue in God’s grace and we are transmitters of God’s grace to others – and then God gets the glory!
For this reason, Paul tells us – we never give up. These trials and sufferings that we go through on the planet are nothing compared to the surpassing glory that awaits and we are reminded that glory lasts forever.
So what do we do – we fix our eyes on Jesus. Fix our eyes on the things that cannot be seen. While we can see this earth – it will soon pass away, but the things that cannot be seen will last forever – so never give up!
- Learn these tunes before you learn any others; afterwards learn as many as you please.
- Sing them exactly as they are printed here, without altering or mending them at all; and if you have learned to sing them otherwise, unlearn it as soon as you can.
- Sing all. See that you join with the congregation as frequently as you can. Let not a slight degree of weakness or weariness hinder you. If it is a cross to you, take it up, and you will find it a blessing.
- Sing lustily and with a good courage. Beware of singing as if you were half dead, or half asleep; but lift up your voice with strength. Be no more afraid of your voice now, nor more ashamed of its being heard, than when you sung the songs of Satan.
- Sing modestly. Do not bawl, so as to be heard above or distinct from the rest of the congregation, that you may not destroy the harmony; but strive to unite your voices together, so as to make one clear melodious sound.
- Sing in time. Whatever time is sung be sure to keep with it. Do not run before nor stay behind it; but attend close to the leading voices, and move therewith as exactly as you can; and take care not to sing too slow. This drawling way naturally steals on all who are lazy; and it is high time to drive it out from us, and sing all our tunes just as quick as we did at first.
- Above all sing spiritually. Have an eye to God in every word you sing. Aim at pleasing him more than yourself, or any other creature. In order to do this attend strictly to the sense of what you sing, and see that your heart is not carried away with the sound, but offered to God continually; so shall your singing be such as the Lord will approve here, and reward you when he cometh in the clouds of heaven.