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Summary: A sermon for the fourth Sunday after the Epiphany Tansformers

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Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany

I Corinthians 1: 26-31

"Blessed are the Transformers"

We are a country, a people who love winners. We adore, almost worship those people who have made a success out of their lives. Success, fame, fortune, are the rules which we live by. We have no time for losers, for those people who don’t measure up to our so called values or standards. Nobody likes a loser, we all like winners. We like people who are strong, successful, who are fun to be around, because we think secretly inside that maybe somehow their formula for success will rub off on us.

Maybe, we will somehow become like them. Notice even on TV, the commercials call for people to bring out their best, or go for the gusto, or if you brush with this tooth paste somehow that guy will notice you, but if you don’t use this shampoo, your dandruff will show and people will walk away from you so on and so forth. Success is the name of the game.

I would like to describe two different groups of people and as you listen to them, think about whether they are successful people or loser, whether they are people you would like to associate with, or people YOU would want to stay away from.

The first is a man about 35 years of age, he is strong with golden muscles, a large, tall man with a rough skin and an even rougher personality. Whenever he enters a room, people stare, they listen to what he was to say, because he is impulsive and always has something to say on any subject. He usually talks, acts, then thinks about what he has said or done. typically , he will get into a fight once a week, because he is impulsive, acting first then thinking. People talk about him behind his back, and wish he wasn’t always around causing so many problems.

In that same group is a second man, a businessman, but one who is looking out only for himself. Because he has the only business in town, like his, people are forced to go to him even if they feel he is cheating him. His scales usually weigh less that the producers thinks it should, many times when he has given out change, he has short changed people, and if the financial dealings are real involved, when you leave you aren’t sure whether you paid the right price or not, because he always has a way of making things sound better than what they are.

Then in a completely different group of people, a man who has changed jobs 3 times in 6 years, recently divorced, he has a drinking problem and has joined an AA group. He talks rough, likes to tease everyone in sight and sometimes gets carried away.

A woman who is recovering from a nervous breakdown. It caused her engagement to break up, has forced her to look for other work and to question the meaning her purpose of her life.

And finally a man who is always looking to please others. His life is measured by what others think of him. He can never find peace, but is always searching, always looking for something, someone to give him peace.

Are these the kinds of people you would like to be associated with? Are they the successful kind of people our society upholds as ones to be honored? Are they losers by society’s standards??

Do you know who they really are?

The men in the first group were disciples of Jesus, Peter and Matthew.

Peter who was the rough and impulsive person who acted and talked first before thinking, and Matthew, the tax collector, cheated the people, and was looking to get rich off of the taxes that he collected from his fellow Jews. Losers right??

The next group are all pastor I have come to know in my years of ministry. Losers right?

Paul says, "But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise, God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong, God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are...."

God doesn’t do things the way we think he should. He chose not the successful, not the noble, not the famous, not the rich, but he chose the weak, the humble, the people who have felt and experienced the brokenness of life to bring his message of salvation to the world. God knows that those people who are well aware of their own humanity who have lived with their own brokenness, who have felt their own sense of sin before God, it is these people who understand, appreciate, accept, and live in the freeing grace of God. It is only when one is aware of his or her own brokenness, own fallen state before God, then one is able to accept the grace and forgiveness of God.

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