Sermon at First Presbyterian Church Lockhart

"Peace At Home"

Acts 16:9-15,Psalm 67,Revelation 21:22-22:5,John 14:23-29

May 9, 2010

by James Greene

 

†††††††††† The title of todayís sermon is Peace at home.Now even though this is Motherís Day, Iím not talking about the absence of children screaming through the house playing tag.Iím not talking about the suspension of arguments between spouses, or the solving of conflicts between siblings.Iím not talking about the ability of Momís to bring order out of Chaos (but that is a law of the universe)just like the law of physics that says a ďbody in motion tends to stay in motionĒ,----†† until Mom gets a hold of you!

I am talking about the abiding peace that is a part of our identity as followers of the Christ. It is the peace that allows us to be at home, with ourselves, with our circumstances, with the knowledge that we are Godís, and God is with us in all things.We are at peace because we are at home with the Lord, who is the center of our lives.

Just as we find in Romans 14:8 ďIf we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord.So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord

 

In our reading from Acts, we see Paul traveling into the Macedonia following the call of God to preach the Gospel to the gentiles.Here are Jews who are going against their cultural history and engaging with the gentiles.Here is Lydia (a gentile woman) asking them to stay in her house.They are called, to abide with, to be at home with them, because they believe in the Lord, and believe Paulís Gospel message.They are to be at home with the gentiles and in the Lord.

 

†††††††††† In Psalm 67 is the theme of God being praised by all the peoples of the earth.Godís ways are to be known in all the earth, and He is to be a guide to all nations.We are to be at home in all the earth, because God is a personal God, who will bless all the people who praise Him.

 

In the Book of Revelation, we see where the Lamb will abide in (will be at home in) the midst of the people.Also important is that the people have the name of the Lamb on their foreheads.To have the people called by the name of the Lamb, means that they are the possession of the Lamb, and they come under his authority and his protection.They live in Peace in the Kingdom, and they are at home with the Lamb.†† This is at the end of time, in the New Jerusalem, in the Kingdom of God.We will be at home, and we will live in the knowledge of that Peace that passes all understanding, when we live in the Kingdom.

 

In the reading from John we see two key elements in the text: The element of anxiety, and the element of the message from Jesus to the Apostles and to the church of the first century.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 1

†††††††††† We can all identify with the element of anxiety.We experience that through the loss of a life friend, or the loss of a mentor or a parent.Two people come to mind as personal mentors.A neighbor of ours in San Antonio, Loyd Bentley, who taught me leadership and people skills when I worked for him during two summers when I was in college.James Curry, an elder in my church, who taught me, what it was like to be a part of the family of God.I was adopted into his family, and learned from his biblical wisdom and insight into problems.These two gentlemen passed away in the mid Ď90ís.

I experienced an anxiety that came with the loss of such good people.

†††††††††† Things had changed, and they were never to be the same again.It was like loosing the pillars that support the reality of your world.The structure of the foundation, of what we had come to rely upon, had shifted.You didnít have the chance to ask them for their advise or insight.You had to rely upon your memories and second-guess what would have been their answers.

†††††††††† There is also the anxiety of loosing a parent or a job.This kind impacts us more that the loss of friends.This shakes us to our core.In these times, God seems distant.There is something gone, that can never be replaced.There is a restless apathy.There is the emotion that comes with of the sense of scarcity.There is a feeling of being disconnected from family and from friends.

†††††††††† This is what the Apostles and the church of the first century were going through.It was the anxiety of the loss of their friend, their mentor, their teacher, and their redeemer.Jesus is telling them he is going away.It is something they donít want to hear.It was like hearing from your mom as a kid, that she is going away.It was life changing and earth shaking for them.

 

†††††††††† But Jesus is leaving the Apostles, but he is leaving them with a message of hope.He reminds them that they are always connected to Him and to the Father.They were not going to be abandoned.The Holy Spirit would help them to remember His teachings, and would continue to teach them.This was to take away their anxiety.This was to give them His Peace Ė The Peace of Christ Ė .With Christís Peace they would have a secure foundation that their existence was based upon.Their faith in His promise secured that Hope.It is the emotion of being at home and being.

 

†††††††††† It is in the knowledge that if Christ is in us, we have that kind of peace, that outlasts everything we know in this world.We are at home, no matter what our circumstance.We are at Peace (within ourselves), even if everything goes away: our job, our mentors, or our family.If we have the Peace of Christ, in our core Ė in our heart, we are at home.It is not the peace of a quiet house, but the abiding Peace that comes from Christ present within us and with in our lives.††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††††††††††††††† It is a calmness, in knowing, that we are never beyond the reach of Godís love.It is the understanding that we are Godís treasured possession and the apple of his eye.It is the Peace of Christ.It is a Peace where we are at home with the Lord, wherever we are in life.It is Peace in knowing that we are prayed for by the fellowship and by our Savior.It is that peace at home that comes to us from The SonÖ..

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

 

Pastoral Prayer†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††††††††††††††† ††††††† 5/9/10

†††††††††† Dear Lord, we give thanks for your Peace revealed to us.You are the Lord who is redeems us, to the Father.†† In our to praise you, we give thanks for the Peace you offer your people, -turn us towards You.

†††††††††† We pray for Your Spirit that moves and works within and through us through your Word.Bring about your Peace for those in our lives.Help us to live like Your Son with in attitude of grace and peace in praise of you.Turn our hearts to you, help us to live into your will.We give thanks for your love and provision.

†††††††† We pray for those in leadership in our government that their focus is in Your Word and Your Will. We pray for our President and those in Congress. Watch over the men and women in our armed forces, who answer the call to serve You and our country.Stand with and comfort them on their duty, and in their service; be their comfort, defender, and shield

††††††††† We continue to pray for the people and the country of Haiti in its brokenness and suffering.Bring them comfort and sustain them in their faith.

†††††††† Your Son laid down his life for us, in Righteousness.

Help us to live our life in Your Righteousness as The People of God.††††††††††††††††††††† †††††††††††

†††††††† We pray for those who's spirit need our comfort.For the Wilson and Hoffman families in the loss of their mother Estelle.Let us be your helping grace.

We pray for those who are sick, or in the hospital, or in need of your healing compassion.

name:

*George Miller for healing, †††††††††††††††††††††††††† *Tom Miller for healing

*Leticia Frausto for healing, and chemo ††††† *TheWallace family

*Betty Burton for strength††††††††††††††††††††††††††† *Kimberly Preweet Ė for recovery chemo

*Pastor James Lee for strength †††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† *Kay Duffield Ė for strength and recovery

*Lyle Looger -for strength and recovery†††††† *Tom Bennet Ė for strength

*David Koch - for healing and recovery.††††††

 

†††††††††† We pray for those we name, in our hearts, Ö and to remember that all things,

including this life,is a giftfrom you.

We give thanks for this Christian fellowship, that sustains us in our trials and problems;You hold us in the comfort of your loving care. We know Salvation is found in you alone.And help us to live our lives and trust in you alone, through your living Word,

Jesus the Christ,-who taught us to pray:

 

Charge and Benediction

 

 

†††††††††† "The grace of God, which passes all understanding,††††††††††††††††††††† †††††††††† TBoCP

†††††††††† keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God,

††††††††††††††††††††† and of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord:

†††††††††† And the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,

††††††††††††††††††††† be amongst you and remain with you always."