Archive for the ‘Trinity Sunday’ Category

A Creation Community

Saturday, June 10th, 2017

After half a church year today we arrive at Trinity Sunday. Last week we heard how the Holy Spirit was given at Pentecost; ten days before that the Ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ; another forty days again and it was Easter Sunday, Good Friday, and Lent. These days introduced the suffering, death, and resurrection of Jesus after the proclamation of his divinity in Epiphany, his humanity at Christmas, and his coming into the world at Advent, way back in the four weeks of December.

Now from today we focus on the Christian life in God’s fallen creation, redeemed and being redeemed by the blood of Christ who is seated at the right hand of God the Father, together with the Holy Spirit, three persons in one God.

However, there is a tendency for us to believe if Jesus is at the right hand of God, in heaven, he is no longer here with us. That perhaps we have been, more or less, left to our own devices to fend for ourselves. Or we might recognise the presence of the Holy Spirit, who gives us the power to escape this world so we might ascend with our hearts and minds to a place were we see God. Since he is not attainable by our natural senses anymore! Right? Well no it’s not! God’s written word from Genesis one to Revelation twenty-two tells us otherwise!

In fact the thought that God is not with us in our creation, is a thematic thread right the way through the bible demonstrating the sinfulness and faithlessness of humanity. But rather, the Trinity is present in creation, giving us God’s creation, so we might dwell with God in his threefold holy community of being and love.

Atheism and atheists, mock us because of our confession of an unseen Triune God and our hidden communion with him in his creation. However, these western infidels and scoffers of the Christian faith only exist because of Christianity. The Romans, who believed in a pantheon of gods, scoffed at the Jews after bursting into their temple in Jerusalem some two-thousand years ago, finding no visual God in the Holy of Holies. Go to a Hindu or a Buddhist country today and atheism is basically nonexistent.

Yet in the Christian world where God is hidden and there are no idol images of gods, it’s not a big step to believe there is nothing. So today the modern cynical athiest claims there is no God and the word of God is just “pie in the sky, for those who are going to die”.

On the other hand, we in the church in the second half of the church year celebrate the victory of Christ in his creation. However, neither the victory in creation, nor the God of this creation, is seen in the normal sense. God, Father Son and Holy Spirit, is not seen, and our world still seems to be spiralling out of control into greater and greater turmoil. Perhaps we might be tempted into the epitome of negativity with the atheist, and believe there is no God and therefore lose hope.

But God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit calls us back into his word, and today especially his “word of beginnings”. His victory calls us to see creation as it was at the beginning and as it will be at the end. And we’re called to see what it is today with the eyes of faith in a world that would rather look into the misery and darkness of the hopeless self with human reason.

When we look at the creation account in Genesis one, God reminds us he loves us. He created the heavens and the earth for one purpose; for an environment where we might be with him in a threefold community peace. In his creation he created a paradise garden so that he might rest in it with us. However since the fall, it’s been lost to our sin, but now since the cross access has been won by Christ’s bloody death and glorious resurrection. And all creation now rejoices and looks forward in hope to the full restoration of creation.

So for us who believe in Christ’s incarnation, death, resurrection, and ascension; for us who believe the Holy Spirit has been sent to reveal Christ to us in this creation; and for us who believe the Holy Spirit and Jesus Christ exist and work together so we might live in the presence of God the Father in peace — can turn back to the beginning and see the unseen reality of a hidden paradise won for us by Jesus Christ on the tree of life. Added to this we can examine the last chapters of Revelation and see the exact same reality, and continue in the same hope.

Many get caught out when looking at the creation account by falling into the debate on whether creation is seven literal days or perhaps something different. This argument only leads one away on a tangent from a correct emphasis on the creation text, regardless of what position one takes.

For us everything is a distant second from the little phrase in Genesis one, “And God said”. In fact in our search for answers to creation, this simple phrase is in danger of being overlooked. But the whole point of the creation account is to draw our faith to God’s word, in all its power and glory. God’s word needs not our proofs or reasoning, but rather it demands our trust. God said it, it happened — do you now believe it?

The other thing we need to take notice of is the order of creation, and in understanding its order, we soon come to realise its function.

First we hear, “In the beginning God created…” To imagine nothing in the beginning, is impossible, and added to it pondering the beginning as an eternal timelessness, will only make you go completely crazy. We are beings in time and place, and have not the capacity to contemplate boundless nothing. But having said that, God was there before any of it and this can only be believed by faith.

At the other end of the creation account, in Genesis 2, after all had been created by the word of God, God now rests in time and space in his creation.But God created this day of rest for a holy community – us and him together in peace.

All the events of creation fall between these two events in a very deliberate order, so this community of peace can exist in a perfect paradise with a thrice holy God. In fact creation’s order rolls along like a snow ball growing, or like an onion having its layers put on one after the other. In this way the first event of creation, serves the second, and so on until God rests in its completion.

The second last event God commanded in creation is the making of us, and in seeing the order of creation we learn that God created one thing after the other for you and me, in community. And at the very last he desires to be present with humanity in peace and perfect joy.

Now we know a lot has happened since God created the heavens and the earth. But he also calls us to now know that this reality has been restored in Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit.

So as we travel through the next half of the church year, we are called to see with the eyes of faith that the Triune God is present, although hidden.That we are called to peace with God, peace that passes all human understanding, peace that enables us to realise we are already in the arms of a loving God who calls us to rest with him, and trust that an eternity with him has been happening since our baptism and will continue on unto eternity.

We can all take stock from the last words in the bible from Revelation chapter twenty-two, where Jesus assures us that “Yes I am coming soon!” And we rest in response, “Amen, Come, Lord Jesus come.” As we trust the ever-present reality of the last verse, “The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen.” (Rev 22:20-21)

Till death us do part

Saturday, May 30th, 2015

Romans 8:12-17

StMarksAfter the wedding, an invited guest after being asked how it went replied: “Oh they’re very much both in love, he with himself and she with herself.”

Hardly the recipe for a long life together when the “for better or worse, for richer or poorer” are realised as not some silly words put together to get a laugh from the crowd, but prophetic words of how relationships continue to remain strong when the rose tinted glasses are taken off.

The saying to “Burn one’s boats” alludes to certain famous incidents where a commander, having landed in a hostile country, ordered his men to destroy their ships, so that they would have to conquer the country or be killed.

No retreat and no surrender and in 1st Corinthians we are told to “Be on guard, stand firm in the faith: be courageous, be strong.”

Burn our boats and stand firm in the battles knowing that come what may be it for better or worse, that our relationship with our Lord will hold together strong and intact.

In the last verse of our Romans reading today Paul talks of suffering and ironically, we may just be at the pointy end of the wedge where we are heading into a time where the rules of society  stand in clear contradiction to that of the Word of God. A time where standing firm would be seen and felt in a tangible manner. A time where fence sitting is not a quantifiable response to the world or our Lord. A time to take a side and stand firm come what may.

Serious stuff that unless grounded on an absolute truth would see us drifting in oceans of despair like that of a refugee still hoping to find dry land.

The Word of God is that absolute truth and in his Word, though we may occasion to feel still at sea, God the Father gives us the solid ground that we can stand firm in our lives with Him of not that of a refugee looking for a home, but that of his child already home.

The Word of God like Jesus parables can cause wonder, debate and different perspectives while in our growth in Christ and that’s O.K. as it’s all in the growing of ourselves in His Kingdom.

In some of the things of God it is good that we ponder on them through our experiences and see them gradually unravel in a time that befits our situation.

Today’s message is not one for another time yet to come, it is for those times that have and will come.

The message not to the refugee that he seeks, but to his child he has found.

“For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons and daughters of God. For you not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons and daughters, by whom we cry “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children then heirs-heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ.”

These spirit filled Words of God through Paul were given very clearly in the context of the day to those present they stand firm for what may await them because in the Roman world, adoption like now was taken very seriously. When you are adopted into a family you truly become part of that family and this was true of the Roman emperors who frequently chose their successors not from the child born to them, but from the children whom they had adopted. The adoption into the family so real that an emperor could even pass the inheritance on to somebody who was adopted over the child of his own loins and similar, should it be a slave-that slave would no longer live under the bondage of his former master but as a free person able to serve not in fear, but in love. Living no longer as a slave but in being son or daughter.

Paul’s words and imagery were not imagined but from God himself. God’s words to us that don’t say “I will think of you as though you were my sons and daughters”, but his Words stressing that in Christ, “You are my sons and daughters in the fullest sense of the word.”

The first funeral I conducted was my Fathers and too this day I’m not sure how I got through it. But the fact is I did and so now when conducting similar work in God’s name and feeling vulnerable I think back to that time because though I don’t understand how, I do know it happened-it’s a fact that cannot be changed. A fact that I can draw on when situations of the like present themselves.

You too would have experienced times of past that once the dust settled you came to clearly see Jesus in it with you. Times that give you courage in the face of times of adversity since and to come.

That’s the faith that sees the words of Romans 5: 4 come alive for us  that that we trust “tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and (a)hope (that) does not disappoint.”

A faith as 1st Peter tells of as tested by fire.

But what if the fires so hot its smoke clouds our vision and confuses us like that of the ambulance officer who when tending to a man hit by a car and asking him if he was comfortable, heard him reply “Yes I make quite a good living.”

Life can be confusing and we may wonder what’s next, but let us never wonder of God because God does not lie.

God who promised Abraham descendants as numerous as the stars, and though later when Abraham and Sarah were aged, it came to be through the birth of Isaac. God’s promise to Abraham of a homeland as resulting after his descendants release from Egypt, following Moses through the desert for forty years and eventually led home at God’s command by Joshua.

God does not lie as seen when the Jews were gathered together once again as a nation after World War 11.

God does not lie and so matter the circumstance, the spiritual attack or the physical attack: stand firm and rejoice that in Christ you are forgiven and saved, and rejoice that in Christ and through the Holy Spirit, we know the truth of God the Father, our Father whose will cannot be changed nor contested by our opponents, but his Will and Testament written in the blood of his Son that declares his gift of eternal to all his sons and daughters. His unperishable gift to you and me that allows us to not be guided by earthly currents or the cry of societies whims, but to stand firm in the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ who will not disappoint. Amen.

An offer too good to refuse

Saturday, June 14th, 2014

“An offer too good to refuse”

Matthew 28:16-20

Saturday morning, at the end of the Australia vs. Chile world cup soccer game in which we lost 3-1, an interviewer remarked to the Aussie goal scorer Tim Cahill that “though they had lost, he had played a great game.”

He responded “to play these games for Australia is a great honour” and then speaking metaphorically finished with “and when you’re invited, you have to turn up.”

What an honour it would be to represent our country, even if only just once in soccer, test cricket, rugby league or nik, nat, paddywhack.

To be invited and “turn up” as if our life depended on it.

What an honour it would be to soar to such heights and see all the hard work and the honing of skill had been worth it and be amongst the best of the best.

For most of us, those days have long gone and we never got to send back a RSVP and so slip back into our day to day “grind”.

If it was a dream, that’s all it was. Unlucky, didn’t want it hard enough or probably just not good enough.

Sounds like the story of my life. Maybe yours too. Not good enough, but seemingly to have been “good” enough to given an honour so much more greater and more precious than we can ever imagine when Christ tells us, that in him having been given “All authority in heaven and earth”, has turned to us and said so now you, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.”

Jesus him very self has sent out the invite and we need to “turn up as if our life depended on it.”

So we suit up and break from the huddle ready to break through the lines, don the baggy green of righteousness ready to take on the 150 plus kilometre thunderbolts of life and “turn up.”

And then ready to rock and roll we have our Luther moment where the powers of darkness come to us as they did to him mocking and ridiculing our aspirations with taunts of “who do you think you are,” “you’re not good enough-your nothing,” and worst “you yourself are just another hopeless sinner.”

1st Peter tells us that “our enemy the devil” with his tricks of the trade of deception and lies “prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” So Peter adds be alert, vigilant and of sober mind that we hold firm.

Deceit, trickery and lies-so be alert to fend off these false accusations. We can do that because we know the truth of how this plays out. The results are in and Christ has won and we can see the lies for what they are. Faced with lies through personal strength of character and in good conscience we can turn away and think say what you want. But it’s not so easy when the lies aren’t lies, but the hard faced gut wrenching truth and see that our character is not of strength, but at best a flawed and blurred imagine of what we wish we were.

We like Luther face the truth “who do you think you are you flawed sinner to think that you could ever possibly help God do his business,” and yet, we too like Luther have been given authority to not run, but to turn and rebut not the character assignation, but to rebut the result and respond, “yes it is true, but I’m a forgiven sinner baptised and saved by grace.

Martin Luther when still overwrought by his sins and failures found the Gospel of Jesus Christ for himself-because he had too, and having found it became a great servant for the Lord. Eleven disciples, having run from Christ in his time of need are gathered together, hiding and poor in spirit from knowing they had left Him, feeling inadequate, confused and doubting. Then Jesus comes to them and says peace be with you and sends these same men without phone, Facebook or the world wide web at their disposal to take His message of forgiveness that they came to known first hand that a Church be built. The Church that now touches virtually every nation on earth.

C.S. Lewis said that “Miracles are a retelling of the letters of the very same story which is written across the whole world in letters too large for some to see.”

In knowing of Christ’s great love and His gift to us of being saved through faith in Him, and through faith in Him alone without any prerequisites of our own goodness or abilities may not seem like miracle, but the faith to believe it most certainly is.

Martin Luther, eleven disciples, you and me have all been given the prerequisite to go and make disciples and to bring them to baptism. The prerequisite that yes it may be true that we may seem to have little to offer, but in knowing that we are forgiven sinners, baptised in Christ and saved by grace we have everything to offer and just need to turn up.

In 1994, led by the spirit a group of Christians did that in venturing to Russia to distribute Bibles. While there a local citizen led them to an old warehouse that held many boxes of Bibles. They had been confiscated in the 1930’s when Stalin was sending Christians to the labour camps as prisoners. Amazingly, they were still there. So the volunteers arranged to use them. Among those who showed up to help load the truck to earn some income was a young agnostic, being a person that neither believe or disbelieves. Soon though he slipped away from the job and when a team member went looking for him, he found him sitting in a corner with a Bible he had taken from the boxes. He was crying because Bible he had picked up from the hundreds that were there was signed by his grandmother who had been persecuted for her faith. No doubt she had prayed for her family and probably for this grandson, and now all the years later, the Holy Spirit was using her Bible to bring him to faith.

A group asked to turn up and give away Bibles, and the Lord who showed up and changed a life.

The Lord has invited us to teach and bring others to know Him in Word and Sacrament and we need only open our hand and be led to those awaiting His Word.

Our business houses, our jobs, our families, the pubs, the clubs, the Church and its work. To these we go, as we are. Maybe not great in speech. Maybe shy and reluctant. But still we can go because we have been groomed throughout our lives to come to know the miracle of faith and in that faith we can go and attest to the love of the Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit. And in that faith we go knowing of His promise to great and small missionaries of the past, and now to us, “That behold, (as you go) I am with you always to the end of the age.”

“Miracles are a retelling of the letters of the very same story which is written across the whole world in letters too large for some to see.” So we go and tell the story of our Saviour and His love, not in our need to be seen to do so, but in their need that they see Him also.  Amen.

Explaining the truth.

Friday, May 28th, 2010

Trinity Sunday John 16_12-15 Explaining the truth

Here’s a little survival trick (get water out of mud through a sock)

Now I learnt about this while watching Bear Grill on ‘Man verses Wild’…watched that show?  What’s Bear’s purpose?  He wants to demonstrate and pass on some survival trips in the case that you may become lost or marooned on an isolated island or remote area in foreign country.  With a few survival tips from Bear, we have a better than even chance of getting out of our situation alive; we have been equipped with the necessary knowledge, tools and skills to survive.

While survival training is on the extreme end of preparing for a holiday and I doubt anyone here intends to use this sort of skills.  Yet it would be foolhardy if we thought we could go off on a trip across Central Australia, or to the Kimberly region, or to Cape York without first making some inquires and seeking advice on making the trip.

What are some of the things you would do or ask to be prepared?  A good thing would be to talk with a local about what to expect, or at least converse with and seek tips from someone who has already made the trip; that’s what magazines and books are for.  Even better than this, would be what…?  To actually have a local guide with you; someone who let’s you take the trip, but who also guides and shows you all that is needed to ensure you make it safely.  Now to have such a companion would be something special, we would enjoy all the remote locations in the security and knowledge that we are in safe hands.  To do otherwise would be foolhardy.

What if I was to tell you that there are people among us who are taking a very dangerous journey without any preparation, having no skills or equipment or even considering the free offer of a guide for their journey…what would you say, they are foolhardy?  What if I were to say that perhaps some of these ‘foolhardy’ included me or you …what would you say?

Since our baptism, we are all on a journey of faith; a journey that started at the font with the in pouring of the Holy Spirit, as John the Baptist said ‘I baptize you with water, but [Jesus] will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.’  And this journey of faith continues to this very day with the Spirit’s power, as Jesus promises ‘…the Spirit of truth will guide you…’

A journey in spirit and in truth that will take us to the greatest heights of human experience; pinnacles of joy and mountain top revelations of God’s love with vista’s of his grace spread out before us; where we echo out from the peaks, the words of today’s Psalm ‘O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!’  Then also, this journey of faith drags us down to the lowest of valleys, to the darkest of caverns where God’s presence has vanished, where it seems to be a place of devil’s; like howling hyenas, our troubles just wait to gobble us up and we can barely even stammer the words of Psalm 22 ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’

Foolhardily we often take this journey of faith without any thought, preparation or guide.  Each day, each rising of the sun, we step out into a dangerous journey without a thought, without a survival tool, skill or guide, and head off into the spiritual temptations and dangers, as if we were the Bear Grills of the spiritual world; as if we were lone survivors capable of enduring whatever comes before us.  It may seem a little dramatised, a little over the top, but sadly it is more often the case.

Our journey of faith is not visible, nor the dangers seen, and so we think we are safe and are able to journey alone without the guidance of the Holy Spirit, without reading the bible, without prayer or without going to church to receive the sacrament where the Holy Spirit is given, as Jesus promised, and without starting the day in the name of the Triune God; the name in which God claimed us as his own and so protects us.

We live in a safe country physically, without wars or terrorist, we can journey to the Top End knowing we are not going to step on a land mine or be shot by a sniper.  We convince ourselves then, that this safety transposes over to our spiritual journey.   However, this is certainly not the case and never has been, the journey of faith is dangerous, as Jesus warned the 72 followers ‘Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves.’

And even said evil attacks would come upon all who believe ‘Blessed are you when men hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man’   We cannot presume that that we, our husbands or wives, our family members, our brothers and sisters in Christ here at church, will remain safe and immune to spiritual danger; will not be attacked and fall for the devil’s lies or fall away from the faith.

Foolhardiness is to journey through remote areas of Australia without preparation, without the survival skills and without a guide.  To journey in faith without the same sort of preparations, and having the Holy Spirit as our guide, is also foolhardiness and even more so as St Paul warns ‘fight the good fight, holding on to faith and a good conscience. Some have rejected these and so have shipwrecked their faith.’  Jesus returned to the Father, not to leave us as shipwreck survivors, like lonely lost people in a wilderness, without hope or rescue, but in order that the Holy Spirit, the comforter, the Spirit of truth, would equip and prepare us for our journey.

In fact the Holy Spirit does more than just prepare us, he is our very own guide for our earthly journey of faith, who protects, leads, gathers and unites us to Jesus.  He speaks the truth to us, about Jesus, about sin, about the world and about salvation, as Jesus said ‘But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth.’  Everything that we need for salvation is given through the Spirit, who together with Jesus and the Father announces the victory Jesus won for us over sin, death and the devil on the cross.

This is the gospel, the truth that the Spirit conveys to us, to empower us and guide us in our journey; the very truth of the Spirit that also spoke through Paul when he wrote in Romans 5 ‘since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.

As our Holy guide, the Spirit gives us all that is needed for this life’s journey, like faith itself, like discernment over false teachings, like power to overcome temptation, like authority to say no to sin and evil, like protection from evil, and like fire, which ignites hope and endurance in the face of adversity and suffering.  Sometimes we may wonder why we should go to church, why we should regularly read the bible, receive the sacraments, be committed to daily devotions and pray, when after all, everything seems fine.  Well, seasoned explorers and travelers will always tell you, it is precisely because you are prepared and are equipped that you don’t meet disaster and everything goes fine.

In the same way, as we remain in the word of God, in devotion and in prayer, and continue to partake of the sacraments, we receive the promised guidance and protection of the Spirit. It is precisely because we remain in the Spirit that no spiritual disasters have overcome us, as Jesus said ‘…apart from me you can do nothing.’   We can never be over prepared for our faith journey; we can never have ‘too much’ of the Spirit’s guidance, too much of the truth of the gospel, too much of the Spirit’s protection from evil.  This is why the writer of the book of Hebrews warns ‘let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another.’

Jesus, together with the Father, through the Spirit’s power has given us everything we need for our journey of faith, for life and for salvation.  Let us rejoice in this gift and continue to seek and to receive the Spirit of truth and of life.  For, as Jesus said ‘The Spirit will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you.’

Trinity Sunday 2008 – Matthew 28:16-20

Sunday, May 18th, 2008

As with many blokes, I love things with power.  Blokes, and many women of course, enjoy the benefits of power.  Take for instance, the humble family car.  We could be driving around in a small 3cyl Suzuki, but no, we have to buy a V8 Holden or, dare I say it, a Ford, to feel the excitement of unleashing all 250 kilowatts of power.

We love power and we love to use it, ever faster, ever higher should be our motto.  Drag racers strive to go faster with their super powerful cars; cars that can now go down the ¼ mile in under 5 seconds.  From a standing start, they can reach speeds in excess of 450km per hour.  Wow!  That’s power.  Or, what about the space shuttle?  Its powerful engines propel the shuttle into orbit in 8 ½ minutes during which it will reach a speed of 24,500km/h.  Now that’s power.

Or is it?  Our first reading this morning was about how God created the heavens and the earth.  God, our Father, spoke creation into being.  By the power of the word, the world as we know it came into existence.  Now, I don’t know about you, but I don’t think we have seen anything as powerful as God’s word; would you agree?

I have a DVD by Louie Giglio, who examines this sort of power better than I can; let’s take a look.

When we understand the power of God’s word in scientific terms, termes we can understand, we begin to realise the immense power of God’s word.  What God says happens!  Creation is a living example of God’s powerful word, still being sustained by his word as he speaks new life into existence.

Yet, God creating the universe by the power of his word is not his most powerful act.   The power of his word has achieved something far greater; the word of God, the same powerful word which brought the universe into existence, became flesh and lived among us in the man Jesus Christ, as St John writes ‘the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.’

Yet, this powerful fete is still not the word’s most powerful act.  No, we need to go to the end of the gospels to find that; Matthew writes ‘The angel said to the women (at the tomb) “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified.  He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay.  Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead’

The word of God has the power to raise the dead to life!  And for us, who are dying, this is the most powerful act of God because his word raises you and me to life.  We were once dead in our sins, separated from God, but now, by the power of Jesus Christ, we live a new life in him.  This is real power, life changing, creating power spoken to us from the word of God himself.  Remember earlier, God spoke ‘let their by light’ and it came into being?  Jesus spoke to you saying ‘whoever is baptised and believes will be saved’; you are baptised, you believe –you are saved’.  Now that’s the power of God’s word.  What God says happens.

This is the good news we have, the incredible power of the word in us; we are raised to new life in Christ to live with him eternally, even though we die.  This is the power given to us in our baptism as Luther says ‘Stated most simply, the power, effect, benefit, fruit, and purpose of baptism is to save.  No one is baptized for the purpose of making him a prince, but as the words say, that he may be ‘saved’.  To become saved is, as we know, nothing else than to be delivered from sins, from death, and from the devil, and to come into Christ’s kingdom and live with him forever.’

And this powerful word of God, the word which raises people from the dead, is precisely what Jesus passes on to his disciples and on to us when he says ‘All authority on heaven and earth has been given to me, go and make disciples of all nations baptising them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them everything I have commanded you’.  Jesus, the word of God, the power of God, passes on to you and me, the power of his word to raise the dead; to bring to life people who are still dead in their sins; sin which separates them from God.

Its like when your parents pass you the keys to the family car; you now have the power to get around and the freedom to use it.  However, you also know, that the power does not belong to you, it has only been passed onto you for you to use; hopefully for your benefit and the benefit of others.

Jesus’ passing on of the powerful word works the same way.  We don’t own it, all authority has been given to Jesus, not us.  However, as we speak God’s word to people in their need, their suffering, or in their desire just to know about the hope we have, the power of the word given to us, the good news of Jesus, changes lives and raises the dead.  Just as written in Hebrews ‘For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.’

Of course, the power of God’s word is always a hidden power; not dramatic or spectacular, but hidden in the soul, like a seed underground.  We plant the word as we speak it and only in the future will we see the fruits of God’s word, only in the future will we witness the life changing power.  For now, all we may see is small and insignificant things or perhaps nothing at all.  However, the power of God’s word is indeed at work in those we speak the good news to around us.  In the coming months, we as a church will be looking at how best we can enact Jesus mission command in our community and how we can best equip you to go unleash the power of God’s word in the lives of the people you know personally.

For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” and it was so, will make the light of his Son Jesus Christ shine in our hearts and in the heart our community as the gospel is proclaimed, because – what he says happens.  Amen