First Sunday after Trinity – Sermon 202

8th January 2016 Off By Derek Buckthorpe

First Sunday after Trinity –

10.00 am Holy Communion.

26th June 2011

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                                                                            AMEN

 

INTRODUCTION

 

Welcoming –  an important part of every  Church’s mission

 

We always need a welcome mat – firmly placed at our door – encouraging others to come in

 

Without a welcome – many people would fall at the first hurdle –

 

They might go off somewhere else  – to another church –  or to no church at all –

 

So how good are we at welcoming

welcoming each other –  and welcoming Jesus-

 

Point 1

 

Imagine being in a  dentist’s waiting room – or hospital casualty department  –  waiting to be seen to – wondering if you will be seen at all – There is a problem and your not sure what it means – and your not sure what they are going to say –

 

or being a child sitting outside  the head teachers office waiting to be summoned in – after committing some misdemeanor –

 

wondering want sort of reception you might get  –  what sort of punishment is in store –

 

Some people approach God like this – wondering whether He will receive them –  and afraid of the consequences if he does –

 

Can He really have time for someone like me?

 

Imagine then that this person is outside our church – wondering what sort of reception they will get inside –

 

its a big step for them to get this far – it will be an even bigger step to walk through the door –

the welcome at the door – the first contact  – can be so  important –

 

In our Gospel reading – Jesus tells us that we must always be ready to welcome –

 

Welcome Him – and welcome each other –

 

As He reminds His disciples – those who welcome  you – welcome Me –  and those who welcome Me – welcome the Father  – who sent Him –

 

To the Jews, receiving an envoy is the same as receiving the person themselves – to pay respect to the ambassador is to pay respect to the king –

 

As  His followers we are blessed with His presence – and as His disciples we are called to represent Him in the world  –

 

– so that when people are introduced to us –  and get to know us – they are also introduced to Jesus  – and can get to know Jesus – and through Jesus the Father who sent Him –

 

Jesus comes to others –  through us –

 

and – when we welcome others – we welcome

Jesus too – since Jesus is also part of their lives –

welcoming is a vital part of our Christian love – and ministry –

 

when people are made truly welcome – they relax-  they begin to listen – and learn – and to understand  – and their lives can be changed for ever –

 

Point 2        God’s welcome changes lives

 

In his letter to the Romans Paul calls us all to change to a Holy Living –

 

to look at  our priorities – where we are and what we are doing – and where we are going  –

 

He reminds us of the importance of being freed from the slavery of sin –

 

that our outlook is either that of Adam or Jesus –   –  we are in one or the other –

 

with Adam we belong to sin, death – the law and judgment – the road is broad but it leads to destruction –

 

with Jesus we have forgiveness – grace reconciliation and friendship with God – His is the narrow road – that brings resurrection and new life

 

Jesus gave His life – as a ransom for us –  on the cross – He died so that we might live –

 

and He rose again – so that we could follow Him – to the  Father – and receive the promise of eternal life with Him in heaven –

 

our friendship with God is the highest thing we can aspire to –

 

We have no claim on God’s love – no reason to expect His goodness – but He freely offers it to us anyway –

 

He accepts us as we are –  deserving  little –  but He is willing to give us a lot –

 

we serve Him so poorly – yet He gives us such love – that we can never earn or repay –

 

Living free in obedience and service to God should be our choice-

 

The message of Jesus Christ – is a message that will challenge and change people’s hearts – and its a message that all need to hear –

 

Speaking the Gospel truths is so important –

 

In our OT lesson  –  we have a confrontation between Jeremiah and Hanniah a false prophet-

 

Hanniah tells the people what they want to hear – that they will soon return from Babylon to Judah –

 

but Jeremiah sticks firmly to the truth – he knows it will be years before that will happen –

 

peace and security for Judah would only come  from sincere repentance and obedience –

 

We must avoid deception – we must not let people stay ignorant of God’s love –

 

many new Christians face intense opposition against their faith – they need to share their situation with other Christians –  they need to put on God’s armour to protect them –

 

if we need our teeth correcting – we listen to a dentist –  someone who knows – if people need help and encouragement in their faith – they need to talk to someone who  has experienced a similar path –  they need to talk to us –

 

The message from Jesus is  that we must welcome them – and invite them in –  and show them the Jesus Christ that we know – and love

 

Point 3        Welcome through simple acts and deeds –

 

So we’ve looked at why its important to be welcoming – and what can happen if we are – so how do we go about it? – How should we welcome people?

 

Well Jesus gives us a reminder in our Gospel reading:

 

‘Whosoever gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones in the name of a disciple  – truly I tell you, none of these will lose their reward’

 

the little ones here are not necessarily the children they can be  lambs of all ages  – who are just starting their journey in the Christian faith  –

 

Jesus suggests that a simple practical act – with His witness – can show where our heart is – and where we belong –

 

He calls each one of us to care for each other as He cares for us –

 

The cup of water can be different forms of refreshment – given in all sorts of ways – through teaching – caring – through feeding –  talking –  through listening – through showing – through praying – through being there – even offering to sit with them in church – so they can see what to do –

 

It can also literally be a cup of water – although  – its probable that hot tea or coffee after church might be preferred.

 

As Jesus reminds us our welcoming will receive the same reward as that of a prophet or teacher – all service ranks the same with God –

 

God has given us a life message to share – we have a storehold of experiences that can help others – and we can pass these on through simple acts of kindness and support to those who need it most –

 

and such acts of kindness can be contagious – and can lead to extraordinary results –

 

 

Ending

 

Jesus’ challenge is to us to spread the Gospel message to all – and its matched by the remarkable promises  that He makes to those who accept it – and live by it –

 

Jesus changed the world by touching people’s lives – one at a time – He welcomed people where they were –  talked and listened to them – helped and served them – gave a word of hope to those who viewed life as hopeless – offered direction to those who were on the wrong path –

 

Today we are His disciples – His envoys – the means by which He can show His love to others –

 

So – when someone comes knocking on our church door – lets give them a welcome that will change their lives forever –

 

Prayer:

 

In the name of the Father Son and Holy Spirit,

 

AMEN