A Death In The Family
Sermon shared by David Perkins
Summary: Are the church house doors open to all or not? Do we, as followers of Christ, welcome everyone or not? Are we going to judge those passing though our doors, especially in time of death and the sorrow that surrounds that? Christ wants us to be includers
Audience: General adults
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There’s the story of President Calvin Coolidge who was better known back in the 1920s when he was President of the United States (1923-1929), he was known as “Silent Cal” because he didn’t like to speak very often. This drove the reporters of that day up the wall. The story goes that he attended church there in Washington D.C. one Sunday morning and as he was coming out there was a reporter there who wanted to get a quote from the President. So, the reporter asked President Coolidge what the preacher spoke about that morning in church. Silent Cal, without batting an eye, said “Sin.” The reporter was taken aback by this but really wanted something to quote, some question that Silent Cal would have to answer at length. So, the reporter asked the President “Sin, huh? Well, what did the preacher have to say about sin?” Calvin Coolidge kept on walking and over his shoulder said to the reporter “He was against it.”
It’s a cute story but it does bring home a point; that we, most of us, anyway, are against sin. Whether you’re conservative in your outlook or liberal in the way you view the world, we don’t like sin and we’re against sin.
We don’t like it when people break our laws whether they’re God’s law or our government’s law. So, we all work hard to keep “the law.” Whether it’s going to jury duty or not littering, I love what we have here in Texas “Don’t mess with Texas” or obeying President Bush, as the commander in chief of the armed forces and going to Iraq for the 2nd and 3rd time whether you want to or not.
But there’s the law and there’s the spirit of the law. What’s behind a law. Why do we have this law? The scribes, the lawyers, the Pharisees never looked at the spirit of God’s love, only the words of the law itself. And so they missed the message of love and inclusion Jesus came to give us.
There’s a church over in Arlington that a few weeks ago refused to bury a gay man. At first the church officials said they would because, although this man wasn’t a member of the church, the church’s custodian was related to the dead man. Then they found out he was gay and decided not to have the funeral at the church. Since then there’s been a debate going on.
It’s a worthy debate. Just who can have funeral services in church? Do we as church members have a right, indeed an obligation to stop a sinner, or anyone for that matter, from being brought to a church one last time before burial?
That this man was gay and his family and friends were going to celebrate his life and mourn his passing in their own way seemed to be an impediment to this church and many Christians, followers of Christ, those who sometimes call themselves “In Christ.”
Are they confusing living to dying? That is, if living a life of sin will keep one from the Kingdom of Heaven, when we die, is that different?
It seemed to be to Jesus Christ. Paul wrote about what is a sin and homosexuality was just one of the many sins Paul listed. But listen to the list of sins. In First Corinthians, chapter 6 verse 9 Paul writes
Do you not know that wrongdoers ( or the wicked) will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived! Fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, male prostitutes, sodomites, 10thieves, the greedy, drunkards, revilers, robbers—none of these will inherit the kingdom of God.
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