August 18, 2013
Stetson Memorial United Methodist Church
“Cruising Sacred Waters with Jesus”
Sermon 5 of Summer Series
Ephesians 2:11-22 (Common English Bible)
2 Samuel 7:1-7 (New Living Translation)
Let us pray…
Loving and gracious, ever present God. We thank you for your word that is the guidebook for our journey of life. We ask that you would open your word to us so that we may read the road map of our lives more clearly. May we hear the word you have for us this day and have willing hearts to accept and follow your direction in our life. We are here Lord…illuminate our path…
I love the saying “out with the old, in with the new”. The only problem is…I have a hard time getting rid of the old. How many of you can relate to this? The old is so comfortable. It is still good so why get rid of it. I have had the old so long that I have built ties with it and just can’t bear to get rid of it. I have both old and new which eventually leaves me no room for new. Why is it so hard to get rid of stuff that we really don’t need any more? It is either out dated or just doesn’t work as well as it used to but we still hang on to it. Why is it that we, at times, have such a hard time getting rid of the things that bind us…the things that weigh us down?
Now, at the beginning of the service you were given a rock. You were asked to think about things that hinder your relationship with God and others, those things that weigh us down so much that at times we may not even be able to breathe, and to put those hindrances into the rock. At the end of my sermon we will do something with those rocks that we hold.
We are getting ready, as a church family, to embark on a cruise this summer. We will be “Cruising Sacred Waters with Jesus”. But before we set sail, we are taking some time to learn about our Captain, our Lord Jesus. We have decided that He is our Risen Lord and King…that Jesus can be trusted to be there helping us in the “stormy season” of our faith journey. As we have been looking at the “resume” of our Captain, we know that we never walk alone. We have looked into our hearts and realized that we are precious pearls to God and that Jesus is worth all the gold in the world. We receive new eye sight from God. Is it for everyone? Do we all get to do this.
I would like to read now a passage from Ephesians, from Ephesians 2:11-22, from the Common English Bible.
In this Ephesians passage we hear about a temple of the Lord. Now this is not just any temple. It is not a temple for just a few. It is not a temple that is built by humankind by human standards. This temple in which God lives is within you and within me. It is with in all who believe and we all together form this temple of God. God wants all believers to be joined together through Christ…Jew and Gentile everyone alike. God wants to live with His people…for His people to be His dwelling place by the Spirit within each believer. Is there room in your dwelling place for God or are there other things that take His place? Do you need to make room for Yahweh, room for God?
But I think that the 2 Samuel from this morning really points to the essence of God’s dwelling place. David wanted to build a temple…a building…for God to live in. He was upset because he lived in such a grand palace and the Ark was just in a tent. He thought that that was not good enough for God. We too at times think that God lives in our buildings more than within us. But God told him that He had never lived in a building but with the people…able to move where ever the people went. God still wants to be on the move with us…going out into the world around us as we take Him to the least and the lost…to the poor and suffering people of the world. God had always been with David and still continues to be with us not just in a building. Is God confined to our church or is He living and breathing through us? Do you need to make room for Yahweh?
God wants to live in a place that He has designed not in a place where we have designed for Him. He wants to design our lives so that it fits His plan perfectly. Are we willing to let God have the grand design on our lives?
He wants to live in a place where He provides the protection. Not in a place where others decide what protection is needed…God has the ultimate protection plan for His children. Is God providing protection for us or are we still trying to do it on our own?
God wants to live in a dynamic place. He’s not satisfied with staying in one place…in our “temples” that we make. Our God is a God on the move…Moving through us, within us and out of us onto the world around us. It’s like a large RV that is large enough for all for His children to come along for the ride. We’re going on a road trip! Are we willing to let God move us into places where we may be uncomfortable…out of our element…out of our temples?
God wants to live with his people. God, like us, wants to live in a neighborhood that is welcoming. He won’t move into a place where He is not welcome. He won’t force Himself on the neighborhood. Do you want God to move into your neighborhood?
God wants to live in a restful place. He gives us rest and in His presence we have peace and we have hope and we have rest. But to have that rest, we need to depend on Him…to believe, to have faith that He will provide for us. Do you believe God will give you rest? Do you believe it with you heart?
And God wants to live in a place He will provide. I read this beautiful description about how God builds that place. You see:
ü He makes plans and the blueprints.
ü He builds and remodels
ü He builds a new site on top of the old site
ü He builds it in the shadow of the old right next door
ü He has the perfect model and building site, the perfect materials and builder.
Jesus is building a home in our hearts. But this site is just a temporary home, our true home is built in heaven. God sees the potential in us. He purchased the property with the blood of His Son. He immediately tears down what is there and begins building a new dwelling place for His Spirit. And the best part…the building is better than it was before. He builds His dream house in our hearts. Do you need to make room for Yahweh…a little more room for God to make these changes?
We have God living in us as His dwelling place. But…does God want to live in us and just stay there dormant? Well you tell me…Jesus and His disciples shared the God within them with the people around them. They cured the sick, cast out demons, taught about the kingdom of God. They shared God with the people around them which opened the door for others to receive the wonderful gift of God within their lives. The early church shared the God the people around them…and the church grew in numbers and continues to grow as we disciples continue to share God with others. People would come from miles around even to just touch the hem of His clothing. We become that “fringe of garment” for those around us…for those whose life we touch each and every day…we are the edge of Jesus’ garment that people can touch and be healed. Is there room enough in your life for God so that you and I can become a piece of that fringe on His robe? Do we need to make room for Yahweh?
We are now ready to set sail on the Sacred Waters with Jesus to visit some other ports. But…is our load to heavy for the trip? Are there things that we should leave behind as we sail with Jesus? Well there is one thing we still have to do…you know how I asked you to hold on to the rock given to you this morning and think about something that keeps you weighted down…something that inhibits your relationship with God or others. Well…we are now going to do something with those rocks.
You see, years ago, ships used rocks as ballast when the cargo hole was empty. The ballast was typically a solid in the form of rocks or sand. The rocks or sand would have to be moved out for the cargo to be loaded. Our ballast is those things that weigh us down.
We have now taken on new cargo as we learned about our Captain of the ship so now it’s time to get rid of those rocks. I invite each and every one of us to come forward as we sing our last song and leave our ballast on the altar…To trust God with our ballast and sail the waters with Him as our guide. Let us sail the Sacred Waters with Jesus buoyed by the love and joy of our Risen Lord, Jesus Christ.