Summary: A sermon that explores as Christians even during our tough times we are blessed.
Who are we?
Who am I?
People and organisations are constantly asking questions like these as they try to understand their identity.
The answers to these questions are more than just a name like:
Or Martin Luther Lutheran Church (Trinity Lutheran Church Devonport).
And being a Christian is more than just the label Christian.
Asking the question who are we is about exploring:
Why we exist?
Why we are here?
What we do or do not do?
What are our priorities?
It is also about what does it mean for me to be:
A member of Martin Luther Burnie (trinity Devonport) North Tasmania parish.
And in this mornings reading Jesus teaches the disciples,
teaches those who are interested to hear Him,
and in fact teaches us,
what it means to be His followers.
Even a quick glance at this reading indicates that being one of Jesus’ followers means you are blessed!!!
That blessing is lavishly splashed upon you as a Christian by Jesus.
Some of you maybe thinking to yourself, hey wait a minute!!
I don’t feel blessed!!
Life is not totally great!!
I have problems!!
Some of you may even have asked God, hey God what have I done wrong?
What have I done to deserve this?
And you may have even questioned whether God still loves you, whether He is real, because your life is not easy, its tough!!
You may not feel blessed!!
You may feel exhausted, beaten and full of problems!!
Well in today’s reading Jesus is addressing this very issue.
He is explaining that His followers are blessed.
That’s right as a Christian you are blessed.
You have been accepted into the Kingdom of heaven!
You are blessed!
All Christians are blessed!!
Not only does he point this out!
But to understand this it is helpful to look from God’s perspective.
Did God achieve his ultimate goal of saving the world in the same way a human may try to save the world?
How Christians are blessed is different from how others believe blessings can come to them.
Many people believe the way they are blessed is by doing the right thing!
Or by being in the right place at the right time!
Or by meeting certain expectations!
If I asked you, who do you believe is blessed?
Who comes to mind? (a sportsperson, someone wealthy, someone with a grand home, etc..)
Some even adopt the slogan the harder I work, the luckier I get!
But the blessing we receive as Christians are something that are totally gifts to us!!
Its value is enormous!!
In fact it is lifegiving!!
And it is given to us, not because of what we do,
but because of who we are, baptised children of God.
In the beatitudes Jesus is not saying that you need to be poor, meek, mourning, etc. so as to inherit the kingdom of heaven.
Rather he is indicating that even the poor in spirit will be blessed and will enter the kingdom of heaven,
Listen also to what God says in Isaiah 57, verse 15
15 For this is what the high and lofty One says—
he who lives forever, whose name is holy:
“I live in a high and holy place,
but also with him who is contrite and lowly in spirit,
to revive the spirit of the lowly
and to revive the heart of the contrite.
Now remember one of Jesus’ main attackers were the religious leaders.
They had a lot of pride in how good they were spiritually.
And they were proud of what they had done.
But it didn’t stop there, they would frequently criticise and chastise others who were not as religious as them.
Unfortunately, their religious pride acted as a road block to God’s grace.
Ironically those who felt spiritually dry, were open to God’s grace.
Had room for God’s grace.
Listen to what happens in Luke 18:9-14
9 To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable: 10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood up and prayed about a himself: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’
13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’
14 “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”