Love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because He is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.
Who you are matters. And what you do matters. If a parent doesn’t parent the child they gave life to things aren’t right, if the police don’t police there can be death, and if a child rejects their parents, rejects those who gave them life, something is terribly wrong. We all know that stereotypical teenage rebellion, where the teenager refuses to listen to their parents, rejects their teaching and way of life, and goes after something else; or when they finish school, they leave cutting ties with the rest of their family and living a new and different way. Unfortunately today sometimes it’s even the parents who reject who they are to their children and run off. But who you are matters and what you do matters.
Your Christian Faith matters. Itis not, ‘God’s done it all so you can relax’ rather it’s ‘God’s done it all now you can live!’ It’s as if you are a dead man, or woman, God comes and raises you to new life because of course you can’t do it yourself; yet now you are alive, you can choose to act like a living person, or choose to act like a dead one again. The Christian Faith is ‘God’s done it all now you can live!
Yes Christ has defeated sin, death and the devil; and yes the Holy Spirit unites you to Him saving you; and yes Our Heavenly Father dearly loves you and wants the best for you and all His Creation. The Most High God is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked, we know this and confess this, and this is why He is kind to you and adopts you. For we know that Jesus forgives those who crucified Him, and St Stephan, truly living as a son of God, forgave those stoning him as he saw Jesus standing in the Highest. The Most High God is kind to the ungrateful and wicked, that is why He sent His only begotten Son to save sinners (1 Timothy 1:15). You who are ungrateful, wicked, sinners; God saves you from your ungratefulness, from your wickedness, from your sin. He saves you so that you may be grateful, righteous and complete, that you may live as His children.
This is why Jesus Himself says, then you will be children of the Most High. When you listen to Jesus, the Word of God, and trust His teachings; when you love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, and lend without expecting any returns. Then your reward will be great and you will be sons of the Highest. But are you not already children of God? In Holy Baptism He adopted you into His family, the Church; He united you to His Son, and so as part of Christ’s body you too are called God’s son (Romans 6; 8:15). So then what does it mean to be children of the Most High?
You have been adopted, no one can take that from you; yet here is a question, “are you really your father’s son?” or are you ‘a son of a gun’? Is my son Nathaniel really a father’s son, or is he more a son of his mother? As it happens at the moment, Nathaniel is more a son of his father and Karissa more a daughter of her mother; but they still have a lot of growing up to do. Now you have been adopted by the Most High God, Creator of Heaven and Earth; you are His child. Do you live like Him or do you still live like the family you came from? He has adopted you, because He is kind to the ungrateful and wicked; this might even be your lived experience for you who came to Faith later in life. Now Jesus calls you to live like your adopted Father, to be kind to the ungrateful and wicked. To be merciful as your Heavenly Father is merciful. And He is merciful, we know this because we know Christ. WE know because of His example.
So here is His challenge for you who are adopted in Christ. How well do you measure up to Him? Do you trust your Heavenly Father like Jesus trusts Him? Do you love your enemies so much that you are willing to die for them, to forgive them with your life as Jesus does? Do you lend not just your possessions and your time, yet also your entire life to those around you not expecting any returns; just as Jesus does? Today I leave you with a question, as the baptised children of God, newly forgiven, spoken to and strengthened by Him today, will you live as a child of the Most High God?
As you answer that question, the peace of God which surpasses all understanding guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus, now unto the Resurrection of all God’s family. Amen.
Pastor Joseph Graham.