Summary: A sermon about dwelling in relationship with God.
“Do You Know The Way?”
by: Rev. Ken Sauer, Pastor of Grace United Methodist Church, www.graceumcsd.org
I watched a sermon by an elderly black United Methodist Bishop this past week at our monthly clergy meeting.
This Bishop has been in the ministry for many years.
He’s seen it all.
Early on, when he was a young associate pastor, a woman called the church and said she hadn’t received her monthly check, and she needed food.
“Would someone from the church be able to bring me some groceries?”
This young pastor took it upon himself to do the grocery shopping and the grocery delivering.
He says that when he got to the apartment building the doorman was a bit taken back by the color of his skin.
Granted, this was probably back in the early to mid 1960’s.
The doorman had been made aware that a pastor was coming to deliver food to this white woman’s apartment, but he did not expect the pastor to be black.
Nevertheless, the doorman escorted the pastor up to the woman’s apartment and as he did so he mentioned to the pastor that the woman was blind.
The pastor sat down in the woman’s living room and they had a nice long chat.
Before the pastor got up to leave he asked the woman if she had a church home, and if she did not, his church would love to have her visit with them.
To this, the woman (who was blind) told the pastor, “I’m looking to move out of this area. There are too many niggers around here!”
That’s when this man who would some day become a United Methodist Bishop realized that he was going to have to have a whole lot more Jesus in him if he was going to be able to be Christ to all people!
We all need a whole lot of Jesus living in us in order to be God’s Royal Priesthood—God’s Holy Nation to the world!!!
How much Jesus lives in you, in me?
Are we able to love and minister to persons who insult us; are we able to love and serve persons who do not like us for whatever reason—perhaps they even hate us…just because of something as ridiculous as the color of our skin!
Is our relationship with Christ strong enough to withstand the evil of prejudice, put-downs, persecution?
In John Chapter 13, Jesus washes His disciples’ feet.
After this He tells them, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”
Are we able to love others like Christ loves us?
Remember, while we were sinners, Christ died for us!!!
Remember when hanging on the Cross, Jesus loved those who had crucified Him and prayed to the Father, “Forgive them…”
Can we love like Jesus?
Do we even want to try?
John Wesley, the Founder of Methodism, defined our ultimate goal as Christians on this earth and called it Christian Perfection.
By Christian Perfection, Wesley was not necessarily talking about perfection in the sense that we will never sin…
…what he was talking about…
…which should be our constant goal is this: Christian Perfection means to have a habitual love for God and for our neighbors.
It’s about relationship is it not?
It’s about relationship with God and relationship with our fellow human beings.
And it’s a loving relationship.
A relationship which consists of unconditional agape love!
There is nothing we can do to cause God to love us more than God already loves us.
There is nothing we can do to cause God to love us less!!!
This is unconditional love!!!
Are we nurturing an unconditional love for God and for other people?
If so, how?
Are we growing in our Christian journey?
In our Epistle Lesson from 1 Peter…
…and Epistle simply means Letter…
…In our letter from Peter that we read earlier…
…Peter instructs us to “crave spiritual milk, so that by it [we] may grow up in [our] salvation.”
And that means replace our thirst for selfish gain with a thirst for God, and to quench that thirst for God by reading our Bible, coming to Sunday school and worship, joining a Band Society, tithing our money to God’s Church, sharing our faith—putting our faith into action through love and words!!!
What an awesome way to live!
There is no higher goal.
There is no grander life!!!
The folks that Peter was writing to were a community of converted slaves, Jews who had been cast out of the synagogue, a few merchants or traders.
None of them had any power, status or religious standing.
They didn’t amount to much in the world’s eyes.
But in God’s eyes?
That’s always a different story isn’t it?