Sermon at First Presbyterian Church Lockhart

"The Righteous Call of God"

Jeremiah 1:4-10,Psalm 71:1-18,Hebrews 12:12-18,Luke 13:10-17

August 22, 2010

by James Greene

 

In todayís sermon we will see in the texts the dynamics of Godís Righteous Call. This call sometimes comes to the most unlikely of people, and often times, the ones who seem to be those most ill equipped, ill prepared, or the wrong person.Three key elements that we reflect upon this morning is Godís call upon us to righteousness in our past, present, and future.

 

†††††††††† During this past week Bill Millin passed away at 88.He was a Private, and a Scottish Bagpiper in a British Brigade during WW II.Before the D-Day landing, his Brigade Commander Lord Lovat, asked him to play his pipes, when they landed on the beachhead to raise morale.This was against the British regulations established in

WW I, to keep from attracting enemy fire.When he reached the beach he proceeded to march up and down the beachhead in the midst of the German machinegun and artillery fire, as the Brigade personnel advanced through the smoke and gunfire, some dying as they advanced.He was unarmed, as he continued to play the Scottish tunes with their movement inland off of the beach.His tunes inspired and reminded the commandos of home and why they were fighting, - for their lives and their loved ones.

†††††††††† It wasnít until later, after they had taken the gun positions, that they found out that the reason the Germans had not shot him,

(quote) was ďbecause they thought he was crazy.Ē

He had followed the call of his Commander.It resulted in his being able to inspire his countrymen in the battle.Because of his answering his call, he survived the landing, and the war.

 

†††††††††† We see in Jeremiah this morning the call of the prophet Jeremiah. This takes is around 610 BC during the reign of Josiah the King. This entire call of Jeremiah is written in the prophetic style.We can see in the bracketing phrases ďThe Word of the LordĒ and ďDeclares the LordĒ.God reassures Jeremiah of His presence and guidance, (ďI am with you and will rescue youĒ) and that what is spoken by Jeremiah is Godís Word.

God came to Jeremiah and called him.He declared him Holy, and set apart, for Godís use and purpose.Godís power was to be made known through Jeremiahís weakness,- a youth.God is the author of his life, in spite of his reluctance.God, not only, works his will through Jeremiahís words and deeds, but also uses his life to touch future generations, in ways that believers could not have known.When the Lord touches Jeremiahís mouth he is declaring Jeremiahís words to be holy.This is reflected with the prophet Isaiah before him, when Isaiah is called and anointed with the live coal touching his lips.Both of their words were to reflect the righteousness of the God who had called them. †††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 1

Jeremiah is a prophet to Israel, and to the nations, and God reassures him like Joshua.Joshua 1:9 ďHave I not commanded you?Be strong and of good courage; be not afraid, neither be dismayed; for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go

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We see today, how God calls us to him, in spite of ourselves. There is nothing complicated in the way God calls us into fellowship with Him.He reassures us that he will be with us in his righteousness and integrity.He comes to us and sets us apart.

 

†††††††††† In Psalm 71, we the psalmistís calls for Godís help: in the Past, the Present, and the Future.He calls upon God to deliver, save and rescue him.†† Like Jeremiah, he reflects upon his reliance upon God from birth; how God has been his rock and fortress in the Past. God has also been his hope, and confidence in the Present.

 

He declares that God will also be our hope and confidence for the Future.It is a realization, that we praise God in all times - Past, Present, and Future.God is his refuge.It is the call of the faithful believer, upon God, to help him in his existence.He proclaims that God is the God who delivers and saves us.It is his trust and confidence in God (in all things) in his life.†† God is his reason to always have hope, and the source of his salvation.

This Psalm is also an overlay of Christís anointing call in the New Testament.It is in his humanity, that He calls upon God to deliver and to save.It is His awareness of His call to be a witness, and the implement of Godís saving grace and salvation, and His trust in Godís call on His life.It is Godís call in our lives.Christ shows in his praise, and declaration, that God will always be his strength and refuge.Just as this church remembers its history, we are called to remember our own history and our relationship with God, who has called us, from before our birth, into His Righteousness.

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†††††††††† In Hebrews, Godís righteousness is seen as a consuming fire.We cannot bear to be in the presence of The Lord.The passage, where even the animals should be stoned that come to Godís mountain, is a reference to Exodus 19:12-13 and Deuteronomy 9:19.They refer to the righteousness of God, and how that righteousness is holy and set apart from the common and the profane.

An example of the righteousness of the Lord is displayed in Numbers 16:35concerning the separation of what is holy from the profane when Korah, Dathan, and Abiram led 250 people in their contempt for the call of the Lord, rebelled against Moses in ďAnd fire came out from the Lord and consumed the 250 men who were offering incense.Ē

 

Jesus calls us in his righteousness, and in His love.Paul states that, ďyou

have comeĒ voluntarily, (to Godís holy city) to Mt Zion, ďyou have comeĒ to the church of the first born.This is a reference to Jesus who is the first born from the Dead.†† He says you have come - to Jesus and to the sprinkled blood upon the alter.

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This sprinkled blood refers to the sacrifice of the lamb of the Passover, where the blood of the lamb, was sprinkled upon the horns of the alter, as the atonement for the sins of the people.This is referring to the atoning death of Jesus, our savior, for all people.Hebrews calls us to worship God in his righteousness.We are called by Jesus into righteousness to bring about Godís Kingdom.We are to be Godís righteous work on the earth.We are to reflect Godís love and compassion.We are to be Godís example of what it is to be called and to be holy, to those we come in touch with every day.It is Godís righteous call upon our lives.We are reassured that Godís Kingdom will not be shaken.

 

In realizing Godís Grace and Call, we like the psalmist, worship God, in thanks, in reverence, and in awe; because his love and his righteousness is a consuming fire in our lives.We, in Godís righteous call upon our lives, praise God for being our refuge and salvation, when both the earth and the heavens will be shaken.We are separated and saved because of the sacrificial love and death of Jesus, who calls us to him.

 

In the gospel of Luke ,we see, Jesus teaching in the synagogue.In the middle ofhis teaching, he notices and calls a woman who has been crippled in spirit.He is acting out of his love, and in his righteous compassion for this woman.It is becomes a part of his teaching the congregation the heart of Godís intent for all people, even the marginal.He is teaching the example of Godís love for all people.

There are two results of his call and action in healing.

First the leaders, in their legal tradition and focus, criticize Jesus for healing on the Sabbath.It is their belief, that he is violating the law by Ďworkingí on the Sabbath. In his righteousness, he shows them their error.

Second, in Jesusí ministry of deliverance and release, the womanís response, in being called and healed is immediate:In her immediate response is to praise God for her salvation from being bound.Just the hymn: it is Jesus who calls us across the tumult of our life struggles and crippled conditions.He is bringing about the righteous call of God and the Kingdom of God.He calls us to healing and into righteousness, of a relationship with, God the father.The result of Jesusí action is seen in the delight of the people who witnessed his healing.It is bringing about that right relationship, that righteousness of Godís call to the brokenness of this world.It also illuminates the legalism that binds up, and cripples people.He has also, in his righteous call, healed the people bound in that legalism, that they may be freed to praise God.††

 

Finally, Godís righteous call in our lives yields praise and worship, whether we are the prophet, the psalmist, the Christ, or those who have come to God.Weather in our worship, or when we are called and healed through Godís love, there is Godís call upon our lives.Our right and righteous response results in the praise of God for his healing and his salvation in our lives. Just as in Jeremiah, God says he will be with us in our trials and in our struggles.He is the source of each blessing and healing. Thepraise to the Lord for his healing and salvation is also the call to us in Psalm 71.

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It is all about Godís righteous call upon and in our lives.Just as Hebrews reminds us of Godís consuming fire, we also must remember that we have been called to righteousness by Jesus in our relationship to God, and to those around us.

 

In the both the New and the Old Testament, God calls us, and comes to dwell in our midst.He calls us in his righteousness to be his people.We are called to care for each other, just as Jesus cared for the woman who was bound in her condition.

We, like Jesus, are to bring in The Kingdom through Godís righteous call and healing.We are Godís witness to salvation.It is the call of God through Jesus, bringing in His Kingdom.

Now is the time for us,-††† to hear the call of God.

Now is our time,-††† to respond in righteousness, to his salvation,

 

 

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

 

 

 

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