Second Sunday of Easter – Sermon 212

HOLY COMMUNION – CW

10.00 am

15th April 2012

Bible References :

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Prayer to start

May the words of my lips and the thoughts of our hearts be graciously received for the Glory and Honour of our Lord Jesus Christ

Introduction

 

There’s some  unbelievable – and amazing things in our readings today –

 

Do we think they are true – or do we doubt -that they really happened?

 

The disciples said it was all because of one thing – the death of Jesus Christ on the cross – and His coming back to life again after three days –

 

Do we  think – its true  – or do we doubt -that it really happened?

 

That because Jesus has done this – we too can have new life  – we too can live again after we have died

 

Do we think its true – or do we doubt that it  can really happen?

 

Point 1        Signs of the New Covenant

 

Our reading from Acts  – gives us a picture of the disciples  – after the resurrection  – and after seeing Jesus come back to life –

 

Gone is the frightened group – hiding behind locked doors – too scared to go outside – gone is the feeling of helplessness – and hopelessness –

 

Instead we see a confident – interactive community – working together  – helping each other –  living as the true people of God –

 

Caring and sharing with one another – giving everything – supporting each other –

 

They were ready to regard each others’ needs as their own – the group is described as being of ‘one heart and soul ‘

 

in this group – ‘no one claimed private ownership of any possessions  – everything they owned was held in common’

 

What we do with our money – our possessions  – our gifts –  says a lot about what sort of Christians we are – whether we use what we have been given – for our own personal gain – or for the work and glory of God –

 

The disciples  – clearly believed that God  – had established the new covenant through Jesus –

 

achieved by the total forgiveness of sins – and accomplished – by Jesus – in His death on the cross –

 

and that this was how God wanted them to live – and work together –

 

its an amazing – and unbelievable transformation –

 

can we see the same thing – happening here – in Lymm – in our church?

 

point 2

 

But not everybody accepted things – first time

 

In our Gospel reading we are told about ‘ doubting Thomas’ – one of the disciples who wanted ‘proof’ –

solid evidence – before he would be convinced about the resurrection –

 

it wasn’t that he didn’ t believe – its just that there were some things about Jesus  – he struggled to accept –

 

The reading tells us that Jesus came back – to that locked room – a second time – just for Thomas –

 

and it was when Thomas –  was confronted with a smiling Jesus  –  with the marks of the nails on His hands – the wound on His side –

 

and He was allowed to touch those wounds  – and put His hand in Jesus’ side  – that Thomas realised –  that this was no ghost –

 

this was not someone pretending to be Jesus – it was the same Jesus – that was crucified – and died – and whose body was wrapped in the grave clothes – a few days earlier –

 

Thomas saw – and He believed – realising that this is something – only God can achieve –

 

‘My Lord – my God’  –  said Thomas

 

Jesus’ reply- was to remind Thomas – that those who ‘have not seen – and yet have come to believe’ are even more blessed –

 

Doubt is something  – that can come to us all  – no matter how secure in faith – we appear to be

 

its not something to be ashamed of – or to be feared –

 

But rather – what we should understand is that –       as He did with Thomas  – God is able to take our questions  – our doubts  – and use them to lead us-  to a deeper understanding of His purpose – and a richer sense of His love –

 

Doubt – is not the opposite of faith –  but often an essential part of the journey of faith and discipleship –

 

God meets us where we are – and that’s usually a place of need – failure –  or doubt – but through His healing and guiding love He can bring us to a new understanding – and a new beginning – with Him

 

Thomas and the other disciples experienced the living Christ in that room  –  and they saw what God could achieve through Jesus – and that’s what enabled them to believe and  understand what they had to do next –

 

point 3        The message from the Disciples

 

which brings us to our NT lesson – and the incredible message – that the disciples brought to the world –

 

That the word of God- which was from the beginning  – has been made visible  – in Jesus  –  whom we have seen – and touched – and Jesus has brought light and eternal life to the world –

 

this light and this life are a new creation – given to us by God – through the death and resurrection of Jesus – so that we can have eternal  fellowship with Him and with Jesus –

 

that  – if we follow Jesus’ path – we will experience that new creation – and that new life –

but without Him – we will remain in darkness –

 

Truth is important –  if we say one thing – and do another – we are lying – to God and to ourselves

 

each day we fall into personal sin – sometimes without knowing it – and that sin leaves its mark – scars – like nails in a wall – removing the nail is not enough – the mark remains  – only God can take the mark away – and this He has done – once and for all  – with the blood of Jesus Christ –

 

One of the greatest discoveries we can make – is that the power of the Holy Spirit will flow into our lives when we learn the importance of confessing our sins – immediately – to Jesus  – and asking for complete forgiveness –

 

Jesus breathed on the disciples and gave them direct power from God – to resist temptation –  guide them in their faith – and help them proclaim the Gospel message – Jesus can give us that same power today – if we ask Him

 

When we face up to our wrongs and consciously – turn to the light –  to Jesus – and confess them – we are showing that we are determined to live Jesus’ way from now on – and the Holy Spirit – will help us do just that

 

Above all the disciples urge us all  – to put our faith in Jesus – to actively respond to His promises – and to see for ourselves – the truth of who He is – and all He means

 

ending

 

The Gospel message has been spoken across the years to countless generations  – and continues to do the same today – it has the power to transform lives and to win people to faith in Jesus –

 

The evidence of the resurrection and the testimony of those present at the time – like Thomas and the other disciples – and the personal experiences of millions of Christians that came after them – serve to re-enforce the gospel truths and promises that God has made in Jesus –

 

The message from the early church is not only that Jesus is alive, but that we can actually meet Him ourselves – We can experience His presence – today – here in Lymm – we can see Him at work in others – transforming them – into a new creation –

 

In a few moments we will be asked to make a declaration of our faith by saying the creed – to reaffirm our belief in the resurrection and that Jesus is the Son of God –

 

Lets make that declaration honestly – and if we have doubts or don’t believe – then lets be willing to look again at the evidence – and to ask Jesus to show us  – the marks of His love  and His purpose for us – its too important not to – it’s a matter of life and death  –

Prayer to finish

In the name of the Father Son and Holy Spirit

AMEN