6/5/05 Communion P3A
esus called sinners and they came. He called Matthew, the sinner and outcast of the Jews because he had sold them out by becoming a tax collector for the hated occupying armies of the Roman Empire . However, Matthew came to Jesus and ended up becoming a leader of that first group that followed Jesus. Matthew even became the author of this Gospel from which we have found our text this morning. Jesus invited Matthew, forgave him his sins and called him to become an Apostle. God in Christ has a way of forgiving people's sin and giving them a new life.
Sin has always been the issue between the Creator and His creatures. Once humans began to sin it became harder to resist. We have each inherited a rebellious and sinful human nature. Indeed, we are capable of what many theological systems call, “Total Depravity.” It is my humble opinion that we will probably have nobody at worship this morning who is totally depraved: We who like to hope for the best somehow thing that in the worst of us there is some spark of flickering goodness. We believe that there can even be honor among thieves. However, we sometimes watch news stories on television that test our hopefulness. Saddam Hussein committed mass murder by gassing his own Iraqi people and seems to be a modern example of the evil in Hitler's Nazism. So, maybe those of us who are all dressed up and voluntarily at worship can consider ourselves not totally depraved, but we are all sinners.
One of our older ministers told me this week about his sermon title against sin: “Yes Lord I know that I have sinned, but I have several excellent excuses.” He claimed that he illustrated the excuses by telling on his wife who came home from a shopping spree with a two-hundred dollar dress on a student preacher's pay. He asked how she could have done such a thing, and her excuse was that, “The Devil made me do it!” The preacher asked why she did not tell the Devil to “Get behind me Satan!” She replied that she had told Satan that but he had said to her that the dress looked fabulous on her from the back side too.
Seriously however, our sin is our sin and it's a real inhibiting problem to us. We can feel the grip of sin and see its effects and we can not control its limiting forces. However, God has a plan to renew our hearts and to enable us to focus on higher values beyond that which attempts to drag us down; He wants to unleash spiritual forces within us to help us achieve our very best. He is the power at work within our lives to enable His best for us. Our response is to confess our sin and to allow Him to do His best work in us.
If we will confess our sin He will forgive our sin and give us a sense of freedom that can remove limiting forces from our lives.
The invitation to communion is to those who see their sins as grievous and the remembrance of them is a thing we want to overcome. The overcoming is enabled by God's redemptive work within us that supplies the desire and power to be more like Christ.
C. S. Lewis believed in God's “Sanctifying Grace,” and focused upon bringing our attitudes into alignment with those of Christ. His emphasis was upon commitment, truthfulness, honesty and God's love in human interpersonal relationships.
In his essay entitled “The New Men,” chapter eleven, the final chapter, in Mere Christianity , C. S. Lewis analogized the person living with Christ in their heart as a new step in evolution, not a biological step of physical development, but a spiritual step forward. It is the change from being creatures of God to being sons of God.
Lewis goes so far as to speak of us as “Little Christs.” Here are the last two sentences of Mere Christianity , “Look for yourself, and you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin, and decay. But look for Christ and you will find Him, and with Him everything else thrown in.”
And it all begins with one's commitment to Christ. It includes saying that we believe that Jesus is the Son of God and our Savior, Which we believe in the Bible as the Word of God, and other vows; but being a Christian is so much more than a series of vows. The beginning of The New Man in Christ starts with an inner and spiritual experience on the emotional level: Then begins the vows and much spiritual growth. Indeed, you can spend the rest of your life in learning about what you have already experienced and still never be able to fully explain it.
The salvation that can begin in you this morning is indeed, “much too marvelous for words.”
As sinners came to Jesus during His earthly sojourn; will you come to Him as His Holy Spirit calls you to come to Him?
Communion would be a great time for you to come to Jesus. Won't you come!
sermon synopsis by C. Robert Allred, Th.D., Pastor