Sermon at First Presbyterian Church Lockhart

"God Who Leads And Loves"

Hosea 11:1-11,Psalm 107:1-9,43,I Colossians 3:1-11,Luke 12:13-21

August 1, 2010

by James Greene

 

The title of todayís sermon is God who leads and Loves.The key focus of our four readings is how God continues to love his people and lead his people through His Word today and through history.It shows the caring heart of God and his call to us as his people to be and to live holy examples, because God is Holy.It is in Christ that we see the example of the complete person, the whole person, who is fulfilled in living into their God given purpose.†† It is the intent of God, that we live into the fulfillment of our potential as the people of God.†††††††††††

 

In Hosea we see God teaching and loving Israel and Ephraim.We also see them pulling in the opposite direction from Godís intent for them.God intends to bless them, yet they still turn from His guidance and pursue Baal worship and the material things of this earth.They are not focused on the values of God, and his intent for their lives.

God takes the high ground, and chooses not to vent his wrath and anger upon his people.Instead, Hosea shows how God leads by example, like Jesus, and says ďthey will follow the LordĒ.Godís people will come to Him, and God will settle them in their homes.It is a picture of a God who loves his people even in, and through their rebellion.Much like the father in the parable of the prodigal son; the father still loves the son through his rebellion and his return to the father.God chooses to redeem his people.†††††

In Psalm 107 we see the theme of the redeeming love of the Lord and his unfailing love and goodness towards His people endures forever.We also see the same theme of the peopleís rebellion and in their hunger and thirst, they ďcried outĒ to God to save them.Here, God in his love delivers them from their calamities, and leads them in a righteous way.Here too, the people give thanks for Godís deliverance.

How many times have we experienced that love and deliverance in our lives?Many times, we only recognize it, in hindsight, after times of trial.One person described this experience after going through a difficult period in their lives the following way:In looking back over the difficult time they could see where God lead them and loved them through a difficult period.It was laid out over their lives like a fine lace that covered that time with the love of the Creator.So like the Psalmist they experienced how Godís redeeming love endures forever, and we are saved.

 

In our trouble and darkness we turn and call dial 911 for an ambulance.But we also know, that when we are pressed down by our sorrows, and our worries in this world, we know we can call upon the Lord; the maker of Heaven and Earth, because He will answer, and raise us up, and lift us up in the midst of our distresses.

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We see in Colossians, the letter by Paul that calls us to Holy living.It is an instruction to die to our earthly nature, of this life, and live into our new self, that is hidden in Christ, in God.The elements of death kill the spirit, and the earthly passions and emotions (anger and malice) kill the soul.God is calling us, like Israel and Ephraim, to live in His Ways and to follow His lead.

 

Just as the laws of physics, are Godís laws.We understand that two elements cannot occupy the same space.The same thing applies here in Colossians.You cannot have the earthly elements of greed, hate and malice cannot occupy the same space as the Spiritual elements of faith, love, and compassion.The characteristics of God need to be reflected in the characteristics of Godís people.We have to know ourselves, as Godís people, and we have to be in tune and in harmony with Godís call upon our lives and the path that we follow on our journey in this life.We are both sinner and saint, bitter and sweet, but we need to live into His call upon our lives to follow his lead and his love in the way that he shows us through the example of Jesus.†††††††††† ††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††

 

In Luke, we see a man focused upon his earthly inheritance and getting his share of the family wealth.He is concerned with following the value of things, rather than the relationship within his family.He is focused on the old self, described in Colossians.He has forgotten the lesson about placing his treasures in Heaven, instead of demanding them here on earth.He like Israel and Ephraim, have missed the mark in their value system.††

It reminds us of the lesson in Matthew 6:20 ďBut store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.Ē

Jesus in his parable of the rich man describes a man who is rich in treasures for himself that involves his own greed and idolatry.He forgets that God is the source of all of his wealth, and the source of his life.

It reminds me of the short novel that I read by Tolstoy about a shoemaker and a malicious rich prince who orders a pair of boots from the finest leather that he brought to the cobbler.The cobbler begins cutting the pattern for a pair of slippers.The cobblerís friend says that the prince will kill him.The cobbler remarks that he saw the Angel of Death standing behind the prince and that he would not live the night.The word comes back that the prince has died, and that they now need a pair of slippers for the princeís burial.Sometimes, with our worldly possessions, we forget that our time here is limited.That our focus needs to be on following the path that God leads us, and reflecting the love that God shows us through the life of His Son Jesus.

 

Just as in Hosea, and the Psalm, we see how God continues to lead and love His people even in, and through their rebellion.We are to keep our focus upon Godís standards for our lives as the people of God.We are to reflect the spiritual element of placing our treasures in heaven, that we may follow Godís lead, and reflect Godís love in the way His Son taught us, and we are to do it allÖ..

ÖIn the Name of Ö††† the Father,†† the Son,†† and the Holy Spirit.Amen.