Summary: To be in the presence of Jesus is all we need. Yet simple message gets so distorted and confused. People need to return to what is important and that is Jesus. This sermon explains why. Read and enjoy!
This sermon was delivered to St Oswald’s in Maybole, Ayrshire, Scotland on the 18th January 2015 (a Scottish Episcopal Church in the Dioceses of Glasgow and Dumfries).
Today we shall return to our Gospel readings and the theme for today is to meet with, or be in the presence of Jesus. It is a rather simple Gospel reading as you will here, but anything from Johns Gospel is full of meaning.
“Please be seated, and join me in a short prayer.” Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of our hearts, be acceptable in your sight, O Lord. Amen. (Psalms. 19:14)
Over the last few weeks we have been looking at the book of John, and as you know, John is described as the disciple whom Jesus loved; so you could say John was the disciple who was closest to Jesus; ... and that is one of the reasons why John's gospel is so much richer than any of the other gospels. The entire book focuses on Jesus and any mention of anyone else, is only there to support Jesus. ...
The purpose of the book of John is revealed in chapter 20 verse 30 which says, " But what is written is done so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name". … I like that, "you may have life in his name".
That phrase, which says life, means true life, life with power, and so power comes from our relationship with Jesus, and nothing else. John 10:10 goes further and says, "The thief cometh not but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that you may have life, … and that you may have it more abundantly". And this too is a good verse, because we are not just taking about living it up, we are talking about God channelling his life through us, ... so that we may pass it on to others.
And yet, we are so used to this type of thinking that we forget how others receive life, or how others worship different Gods. Two weeks ago in my sermon on the two kings we looked at how some people receive life from bullying, … and intimidating others, ... they take life with menaces, ... and they keep this life for themselves, ... destroying everything they come into contact with.
And others receive life by worshiping different Gods by different names and by different methods; … for example, some religions require an intimate knowledge of rituals, or even ceremonies. Others are steeped in philosophies and laws just like our books of the Old Testament, like the Law, the Proverbs and the Psalms, but especially the law. … In fact, from what I see from all other religions, atonement is by a persons good deeds and, … by their efforts to become “good people”, and by changing their ways of life.
Christianity is so different … atonement in Christianity is only achieved by what Jesus did on the cross for us. … Yet many so called Christians do not understand that. They say all the correct phrases, but live completely different life, a life trying to live up to the law in the forlorn hope that God will accept them.
Yes we Christians will become better people, … yes we will change our ways, and yes … we will help others, but it is not because we will or want it to happen, … it is not because we strive to achieve it, no, … in Christianity we only succeed through our relationship with Jesus, … and nothing else.
Christianity is about a person, and seeking that person, … and then everything will be added. Matthew 6:33 says simply, "But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you".
Those whose ministries are Evangelical, must convey this message, they must point a person directly to Jesus, … nothing else. No church, … no doctrine, … no set of rules or regulations or guideline, … only Jesus, he is all that is needed. … Yes Jesus may, and probably will point us in the direction of those things, but, … we must seek him first, … and through the holy spirit, we will be channelled onto a path that Jesus wants us to follow. This path cannot be determined by man, ... it can only be determined by him, … him our personal saviour. … I just wish I heard this message 20 years ago, instead of all the doctrine and dogma, and all the to gooder type of things that we are supposed to do.