Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: The business of the in-between.

Acts 1:1-11

“Is Our Guest Room Prepared?”

By: Rev. Kenneth E. Sauer, Pastor of Parkview United Methodist Church, Newport News, VA

One of the top priorities for people

who are shopping for a home is to be sure that there is an extra bedroom…

…a place where they can put an extra bed, nightstand, table lamp, and so forth so that they will be prepared if and when a guest should stop by and wish to stay the night.

Quite often this guest room is a place that we take great care to make sure it is as neat, clean, and welcoming as possible.

We want our guests to feel comfortable, we want our guests to feel ‘at home’, we want our guests to feel as if they are welcome.

For some, the guest room is used quite often.

For others, it is used maybe two or three times a year…

…but it is always clean, always ready, the bed is always made in anticipation that a guest will someday arrive.

At the same time, most of us do not spend every hour of every waking day looking into that guest room…and waiting for that guest to suddenly appear.

We have too many other things to do…

…we work…

…we live in the present reality of what is going on in the here and now…

…our lives continue…

…we go to school…

…we come to church…

…we enjoy the great out doors…

…but in the back of our minds, we know that our guest room is always prepared in the case that a friend, relative, or loved-one should come pay us a visit.

The guest room is a place that is always ready…

…it is—in a sense—in the business of the in-between.

Aunt Mary was here two months ago and it served her well…

…Uncle Pete will be here some time this summer and it is there…prepared to serve him.

…in any case, we know that we will have another guest, and the guest room waits in the ‘in-between’ as we continue with the other business of our lives.

In a similar sense, the Church is also in the business of the ‘in-between’.

We are called to be the stewards of the Gospel of Jesus Christ…preparing the world…until Christ returns.

Our Scripture Lesson for this morning deals with the Ascension of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ, God made Flesh, came into our world some 2,000 years ago.

He came out of love for a lost people… “a people without a Shepherd.”

He came into a world which is ruled by the Prince of the Power of the Air—The Prince of Darkness…

…And the Light shone in the darkness…

He came from His world…to reclaim God’s creation…

…He came as a guest.

In John chapter 16 Jesus says: “I came from the Father and entered the world, now I am leaving the world and going back to the Father.”

Jesus came into this world as an uninvited guest in order to “preach good news to the poor…to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

Some accepted Him, and many rejected Him…and continue to reject Him…

As most of you all know…this is not a world that takes real kindly to Christ.

I was talking with a friend last week who told me that most of the people he works with are not Christian…there are a few…but most are not.

He told me about one fellow who told him plainly, “I know I’m going to hell, and I don’t care!”

The world can be a very hostile place for those who have believed in God’s One and Only Son…and have come to the Light and walk in the Light.

Many of us must put up with the jeers of co-workers…the unrepentant attitude of classmates and colleagues day in and day out…while at the same time…in our hearts dwells God’s Holy Spirit Who calls us to a different way of life…to a different attitude…to a different world!

Let’s face it!

As Christians, we do not belong to this world!

Before Christ was sentenced to be crucified He told His disciples this: “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world.”

Just like Christ, we are in the world…but we are not of the world.

And as the Church of Jesus Christ, we must always keep this in mind.

When a loved one comes to visit us from a far away place…

…they stay in our guest room…

…we enjoy each other’s company…

…then the time comes for them to pack up their things and return to where they came from.

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