Sermon at 1st Presbyterian Church Lockhart

"To Whom Do We Belong?"
Isaiah 43:1-7, Psalm 29, Acts 8:14-17, Luke 3:15-17, 21-22
January 10, 2010

by James Greene

 

           In this time of Epiphany, we see God calling out and claiming His people.  It is a God who loves and cares for his people.  We see God in action through out the readings this morning.  He calls Israel, he calls the gentiles, and he calls his Son, and claims them by the authority of his name.  We, here, have been called and claimed like that as apart of God’s people.  So, the question to us today is: To whom do we belong? 

          

           As a kid, I remember my father calling my name to get my attention.  He had

a way with calling my name.  He would use, what is known as, the “Command Voice”.  I could hear him, 3 blocks away.  There was, nowhere to hide, and you didn’t run, because he would catch you.     I know, because I tried.

It is amazing how you can pick out one of your kids from a crowd of thousands.  (at a football game, in a mall, or on the town square)  You just ‘know them’ by the way they walk, their mannerisms, and the way they move.  But when it was important, and you called them, and you usedThe Voice”, they knew “whose” they were, and “who” was calling them.  They would always get that “deer in the headlights look.”

Like – Who - Me?

 

It is like that, with us, and being God’s people.  We know God’s Voice, and his Claim on us because we are, His.

          

I  God’s Claim – God’s Voice are seen in our readings in the Old Testament.  

In Isaiah, we hear God’s Voice with the introduction of the bracketing phrase of prophecy:  This is what the Lord says”.  Israel is God’s, and is redeemed by Him.  We see God’s Voice, and God’s Claim on Israel, in the end of V-1 where God has “summoned you by name, -  you are mine”. 

Because of God’s love for his people, he has redeemed and protects Israel.  He has called them to him and claimed them.  The other key element is that God is with them in the midst of their existence and that they should not be afraid.

 

In Psalm 29 we also see the effect of God’s Claim on and God’s Voice to His people.      The word “Ascribe” is just too technical for me.      It is to belong;

so both glory and strength “belong toGod, and to God’s Name. 

We see God’s Voice as powerful and majestic.  You know when God speaks.

 

           It reminds me of the Aggie who crossed a tiger with a parrot.  You didn’t know what it was but when it spoke you better listen,

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           God’s Voice is like that, it strikes with lightening, shakes the earth and the desert, twists the oaks, strips the forests, and breaks the cedars:    it is the power of God. 

It is with that power he gives strength to his people and blesses them with peace. 

 

II  This is how the Apostles claimed God’s people.

It is in that same power that the Peter and John prayed for the Samarians and placed hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.  It was the early church claiming the Samarians as part of the church; as part of the Body of Christ.  They had been baptized into the name of Jesus, but they had not been claimed by the Holy Spirit until Peter and John did a laying on of hands.  It was the power of the Holy Spirit working through them. 

 

III  The Text Luke 3:15-17, 21-22

We see in Gospel of Luke the witness of John the Baptist, where he says, he is not the “Christ”: he is only a witness to the coming of The One.  The term “Christ” is translated as “The Anointed One”.  This is the title of Jesus, the Anointed One – “Jesus the Christ”.  The anointed one is the same as the title of “Messiah”. 

           This text is one of the few places in the New Testament where we see the language describing the Trinity.  We have a brief description in intimate action of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  We have the Voice of the Father reaffirming whom “he loves”, and Claiming his Son of whom he is “well pleased”.  We have the Son in his obedience praying to the Father, and we have the physical description of the Holy Spirit descending upon Jesus.  God the Father holds this same affection towards his people Israel, and toward those he calls to his Son. 

           Here also is Jesus fulfilling the Will of his Father (as we saw in Isaiah) with his coming to redeem God’s people.  Jesus (who was with out sin) comes to be baptized, not because he has sin to repent, but to identify with us in the midst of our humanity and our sin.  Jesus becomes one with us in our humanity. 

          

IV  So, whose are we?  To whom do we belong

           We are The people of God called by Him.  We have heard his voice and his claim upon us as His people.  Just as I have heard and use my Dad Voice, and my daughters, have heard me.  We know, who it is, that calls us, and who it is, that claims us.  It is The One who is bringing the redemption of the world. 

God, speaks.  His voice calls out to us.  He tells us that “we are his” and he has claimed us, just like his Son, that we may be redeemed, and live through him.  He sends his Holy Spirit to us that he may blesses us with His Peace, and His Promise to all his people.  This is all accomplished in His name so that all glory and strength belong to God.   That we may know who it is to whom we belong.

All in the Name of The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit.   A-Men

 

 

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