Sunday, April 17, 2016

WITH the UTMOST PATIENCE: SCS 80

MY PARENT's BURIAL SITE
Sunday, April 17, 2016, Stoney Creek Sermonette: Number 80

PRAYER for Today:
Heavenly Father,
We know we are all broken and in need of your grace. Only You are able to heal the hearts and souls of all of us who are full of sin and bring light to the darkness in our lives. Help us Father to accept your freely given gift of grace that we might be reconciled to You. We ask that Your will be done in our lives and that we may act lovingly towards our fellow sojourners who around the world are hurting so that they might see a little of You in our daily lives.  
It is in Your Resurrected Living Son’s name we pray. Amen.

SCRIPTURE LESSON for Today:  

2 Timothy 4:1-8 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

4 In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I solemnly urge you: 2 proclaim the message; be persistent whether the time is favorable or unfavorable; convince, rebuke, and encourage, with the utmost patience in teaching. 3 For the time is coming when people will not put up with sound doctrine, but having itching ears, they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own desires, 4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander away to myths. 5 As for you, always be sober, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, carry out your ministry fully.
6 As for me, I am already being poured out as a libation, and the time of my departure has come. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 From now on there is reserved for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have longed for his appearing.


SERMON for Today:

Today’s Scripture lesson is not just for those who think of themselves as ministers or evangelists.  You do not have to be making your living as a professional pastor for these words to be speaking to you.  We who have heard the Good News and believed it and were baptized are evangelists of that Good News whether or not we want the job or not.  Ephesians the fourth chapter spells out that we are all called  “to the one hope of your calling.” (Ephesians 4:4)

We must do our jobs with the “utmost patience.” That is not just because it makes it easier for you to be heard than when you are pushy and rude, but because folks are looking for every excuse not to listen to the truth.

Think about how quick folks follow preachers who preach a gospel that promises great prosperity.  If I tell you God will make you rich, coming to God sounds like a good idea.  If I say Jesus told the rich young man, “If you wish to be perfect, go, sell your possessions, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.”  then you might do as he did and simply walk away.

The Pope was more popular before he started talking about how corporations and capitalism were hurting the poor.  Jesus was more popular before He started saying hard things.  You will be more popular if you never bring up the issue of everlasting life to any of those you love or anybody you meet, but you will not be doing what Jesus expects of those who have taken on His name.

Our Scripture lesson tells us what we must do and how.  It tells us Jesus is coming back.  To me it says it is way past time we stopped listening to false teachers, preachers and politicians and started praying for understanding the will of God for our lives.   


May The Spirit of God Be With You This Week and For Evermore. Amen.

  
© Ed Cooper, April 17, 2016, Stoney Creek, Tennessee
  All rights reserved

(Ed Cooper is a retired minister and mental health advocate. He lives with his wife Patty in the mountains of East Tennessee.)

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