Sunday Service Sermons


The Great Salvation That Creates Fellowship
Scripture for today: Luke 4:16-30
Focus Scripture: “His disciples followed him. And on the Sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue; and many who heard him were astonished, saying ‘Where did this man get all this’ What is the wisdom given to him? What mighty works are wrought by his hands!’ . . .  And they took offense at him”.
Luke four begins with Jesus being lead to the wilderness and being tempted by Satan.  This has always amazed me for it is hard for me to reconcile that Satan knew who Jesus was yet hoped to bring him to his side.  Might we say the dark side of the Force?  Evil anyway.  If Satan knew who Jesus was he should have known that he would never, and I mean never, join forces with Satan.  Maybe this is for us, like several happenings in Scripture it is for those who believe, then and now, that the event took place like it did.  After the temptation the Bible states: “Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole country side.  He taught in their synagogues and everyone praised him.  Then he goes home and on the Sabbath, he is in the synagogue, as was his custom, and he stood up to read.  Do you understand this scene.  Jesus is home, they have heard about him, he is  not a Rabbi, that is taught and trained as one in their tradition.  Yet at the proper time he stands up to read.  It was time to read Scripture and Jesus is saying, I want to do it.  And they bring him the Scripture for the day.  He knows what it is and what it declares and that it is about him.  He is declaring to his home town that he is the one that they have been waiting for.  Why?  So many times to come he says, quite, it is not my time.  But here he steps out and declares himself to be the One.  He must have known that was about to happen.  I have to wonder who it was that heard, understood, and believed.  They begin to question him.  Don’t we know you?  Aren’t you the son of Joseph?  They were saying that no Messiah would come from the family of Joseph!  He then states how hard it is for a person to accomplish their mission in their hometown.  I could not have been hired as pastor in Waterford for they “knew” me to well.  But it has been like home here in Empire for my family has strong connections here and attended here when they first settled in Waterford.  What Jesus says makes the crowd furious and they take him out to end him.  They take him to a high place, as if they were going to throw him down to his destruction.  “But he walked right through the crowd and went on his way.”   I think that I have shared before that I would like to know how he did that.  Were the people frozen in place, suspended, and he walked through them.  Or did the crowd see Michael with his sword and froze in fear.  However he did it he was on his way having declared to his hometown who he was.  Did they remember it?  I am sure that they did.  “Hey, where did he go?  Were we not about to end him?  And now he is gone.  How did he do that?”  Some must have said, “Maybe he is the One.”  And I would expect that they followed his career over the next years.
The salvation we receive when we become Christian is more than the salvation of our souls, our free gift from God.  It includes more than new bodies and a heavenly home.  It involves living the heavenly way of life here and now in the power of the risen and living Lord.  Jesus saves us from the penalty of sin by his death and resurrection.  He conquered it once and for all for those who believe and accept him as Lord.  It is by the Holy Spirit’s teaching and work in our hearts that we experience spiritual transformation.  New birth in Christ conforms us to the image of the Son of God.  Once saved we begin our journey toward this image though it will not be completely accomplished in this life on earth.  God is at work bringing about spiritual transformation in the here and now of our Christian lives.  This great salvation that Jesus brings within us is a salvation from fear and prejudice.  It creates a brotherhood and a fellowship among people of diverse backgrounds, cultures, and colors.  Jesus came that the human family might truly become the family of God, but people have not always welcomed this thought in actual practice.  Do you believe that God is the Father of all people who come to him though faith in Jesus Christ?  Can you accept them as brothers and sisters in the faith?  Do you respond to them with the kind of love that the Master Teacher requires?
If Jesus is our example and pattern in life then what did he teach and promote?  He taught that he himself is the way to an abundant life.  We can live in the heavenly reality now.  He spoke with authority for he was from God and was speaking for God.  He spoke nothing but truth and truth that could set people free.  He spoke with complete and absolute love.  By his teachings, our Lord comes to correct us, inform us, and change our lives.  He wants to instruct our minds, stir our emotions, and affect our will as we make the decisions that will be pleasing to him.  To be a true follower of Jesus Christ, we must let his teachings determine our attitudes, actions, and ambitions.  It is impossible to be a human being without being prejudice to some degree.  It is  everywhere around the world.  Jesus taught and lived in opposition to this.  His treatment of the Samaritan woman at the well crossed racial, gender, religions and cultural barriers.  His kindness toward her, not only ministered to her but also taught his disciples that God loves everyone.  In cleansing the ten lepers Jesus revealed that praise and worship of those from this hated race was pleasing to God.  As we extend acceptance to all who are acceptable to God we experience the fellowship of God and of his family as well.  In the story of the good Samaritan Jesus revealed that the service of a hated foreigner was to be commended and was also to be imitated.  Anyone in need is our mission field.  The conversion of the Roman soldier Cornelius is perhaps the most dramatic demonstration in all of the New Testament that reveals how God would have us relate to people of  other colors, cultures and conditions.  As Peter declared: “Truly I perceive that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him.”  Acts 10:34.  Two entire chapters of the New Testament are given over to the conversion of Cornelius and his family.  This is not accidental or incidental.  The living Lord through the ministry of the Holy Spirit was trying to teach his church some of the things that he had wanted to teach them during his earthly ministry.  
The words of our text declare, “His disciples followed him”  Mark 6:1.   Are you willing to let Jesus, heaven’s Master Teacher, deliver you from ugly prejudice, destructive fear, and hate?  Only as we do so, can he bring about the great salvation that can be ours right now.  Following Jesus begins with belief in him and continues with listening to him and obeying him as heaven’s Master Teacher day by day.

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