Summary: Difficult teaching from Jesus to his disciples is much easier for us today, now that we understand the Eucharist and that the Holy Spirit is working us from within, if we only knew.
This sermon was delivered Gordon McCulloch to the congregation at Holy Trinity in Ayr, Ayrshire, Scotland on the 26th August 2018; Holy Trinity is a Scottish Episcopal Church in the Dioceses of Glasgow and Dumfries.
“Please join me in my prayer.” Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of our hearts, be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, our strength, and our redeemer. Amen. (Ps. 19:14)
Here’s a question for you … “how far will you go to prove your love for our lord”? … That is a horrible question, and a question we are all afraid or ashamed to even think about, let alone answer, because this question really proves our faith.
It is not because we want or do not want to do things for the Lord, but it is very difficult to know or find out want he wants us to do. Yes we know when we get it right, and we certainly know when we get it wrong, but I am asking, what task you thinking about or are going to do next.
If you are like me, I have absolutely no idea; non-what-so-ever, in fact I barely know what I am going to do tomorrow except go to school … but someone, some expert could answer glibly, and say, why not go to Africa and teach the word there? … We would all agree that, that would be a noble task and a worthy deed, but is that what he wants me to do? …
What about our loved ones at home … or our current responsibilities, what would happen to them? … Do we drop everything and become a crusader for the Lord in Africa just for the sake of doing something … or because someone’s told us to do it? … Do you see how horrible this question is? … And it is difficult to answer … and I do not get the impression that many people can.
And yet, I have been to church meetings where the preacher has managed to wind up the whole congregation so high, to answer that question positively in favour of their church, and I have actually seen the congregation wanting to throw everything away in gay abandon, and openly confess that they are going to devote the rest of their lives to some deed for the Lord … without any thoughts of the damage they would leave behind or the consequences.
But I have also seen those same people a few weeks later totally confused about what they are going to do, because when reality hit them, that is well after the church meeting … when the hysteria had died down … and they are left all on their own … trying to put it all together then trying to forget about it … behind a wall of shame and apathy.
… I am not getting at these people or their church because these people, these Christians do want to serve the Lord, and they are prepared to make a serious commitment publically … but the problems begin when it comes to getting started … and when there is nothing to get their teeth into, they become very discouraged feeling like a failure. … Can you relate to that? … At some stage in our lives we have been all out for the Lord, but all out for what … and to do what exactly? … It’s certainly very confusing?
… Yet we all know that there are many great men and woman of God who have answered his call, and who have or are committed their lives to do the Lord’s business every single day, somewhere on this earth, in various capacities. … So we must ask, how did they manage it?
So to make a start, we could ask someone. We could go and ask an expert … because we are certainly not short of them. … People who are great communicators … but somehow people that can never really give us the answers we are looking for, yet still manage to come across as experts.
… Now you may be saying that there are people whose words are worth listening to, and there are … and there are many people who are wise and reliable, especially those who have been through it all … but all I am saying is … all I am saying is there are many who are not … and we need to discern the difference between them, as this could result in pain and destruction.
The exact same is true for our spiritual side of life as there are many religions who claim to know all the answers. … Yes, they all have good, nae great words of advice, but we must discern whose words, and which advice to follow. … The fact that we are here this morning, or a member of a Christian church means that we have already decided who to follow, and that is our Lord Jesus Christ of course, our good shepherd, who said in John 10:26-28 ”My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: … And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand”. …