First Sunday after Trinity – Sermon 227

8th January 2016 Off By Derek Buckthorpe

First Sunday after Trinity

10.00am Holy Communion.

2nd June 2013

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

 

 

“Throughout all my life and with all my heart I shall strive to be worthy of your trust”.

 

The words of the young Queen Elisabeth during a radio broadcast – Sixty Years ago today – as she took the oath and was crowned Queen Elizabeth II at a coronation ceremony in Westminster Abbey

 

An estimated three million people lined the streets as she made her way to and from Buckingham Palace in the golden state coach.

 

Watched by millions around the world as live coverage of the event was broadcast – on radio and television – there were Street parties everywhere –

 

And many people crowded round neighbours’ television sets to watch TV for the first time.

 

Aided by a photograph  – my own memories are of dressing up as a pirate –on a float – with my brother and sister – as part of our street party celebrations

 

Pauline remembers friends and neighbours coming in to see it all on their black and white TV – as they had the only television in the street –

 

An amazing – occasion – not to be taken lightly – not to be forgotten –

 

And an Amazing Lady who has lived up to that promise she has made all those years ago

 

Point 1        An Amazing Faith

 

Our Gospel Reading today – talks about someone else – who is described as demonstrating amazing commitment and faith

 

This time by Jesus –

 

Jesus had just finished giving His sermon on the mount – and went on to the town of Capernuam – where he met Jewish Elders who had come to Him – to plead on behalf of a Centurion’s slave – who was ill and close to death

 

Roman soldiers were often feared – but not this man – presented by Luke – as a humble Gentile – looking in at Israel and Israel’s God from the outside – he had come to love and respect the Jewish people and had even paid for the building of their local synagogue-

 

A person of duty – commitment – authority – a leader of people – who was used to giving orders and getting things done –

 

a man who had recognized the need for a higher authority – to take control – who had grasped an understanding of God – and had realized that this one true God was now present and active in Jesus of Nazareth –

 

It was unusual for a Gentile to be defended by Jews – he must have really won their hearts – the Elders persuaded Jesus to go with them to his house – but was prevented from entering by even more friends – to say that Jesus need not enter – but only command –  and the centurion would know it would be done –

 

Normally in the Gospels Jesus does things that surprise people- but on this occasion Jesus Himself is surprised – by the sheer quality of the man’s faith –

 

‘I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such Faith’

 

The servant was of course healed – but the main highlight of this passage was the Centurion’s faith

 

He had no doubt that what he asked for would be carried out –

 

No doubt about the power and word of Jesus to transform his servant’s situation

 

No doubt about the authority of Jesus over life and death –

 

Faith is not believing that God can – but knowing that He will –

 

Faith is deaf to doubt – dumb to discouragement – blind to impossibilities – and knows nothing but success in God –

 

Walking in Faith means allowing God to do for us – and with us – what we could never do on our own –

 

Luke presents this man as a model for those who will come in by faith from the outside –

 

A faith that honours God –

 

The Centurion had a faith that demonstrates to others – what true faith really means – a Gentile who understood who Jesus was and is – and trusted in His power and presence –

 

Point 2        an unchanging message for an ever changing world –

 

Contrast this with the people of Galatia – in our NT reading – who had turned away from the truth of God’s word –

 

They had been persuaded by counterfeits – alternative theologies – that had grown up around the truth message –

Wrapped in bright colours of good intentions – with an appearance of wisdom and religious duty – but lacking in any value –

 

Paul’s opponents had persuaded the Galatians that because he was only an Apostle – and not a disciple – his message was second hand – and not from Jesus Himself –

 

Not so replies Paul –

 

His commission has come from God Himself –  and from Jesus – Paul’s vision of Jesus on the road to Damascus – is absolutely central for him and his message –

 

And so too is the Gospel – Jesus the crucified Messiah is Lord of the world – and God has extended His grace and salvation to us all through His Son –

 

Jesus’ actions of bringing together His worldwide family – through His death and resurrection is a truth that cannot be defeated – It has God’s approval and cannot be changed –

 

He warns them not to mess with the message –

Only the gospel saves and produces real change –

 

Point 3        what about our Faith?

 

So we’ve had the good – and the bad – what about our faith?

 

How secure is it?

 

Are we like the Centurion – sure that Jesus’ power  and presence is divine – and can rescue us from all our worries  and problems – and set us on a course for an eternal future –

 

Or like the Galatians – easily persuaded that manmade alternatives and priorities based on self- sufficiency – hold a better option –

 

The good news for us – is that salvation from sin can be found in the sacrificial death of Jesus on the cross through faith alone – and the gospel message is a message of new life – now –

 

We only need to trust in Jesus – and His promises for everything to be gained –

 

Its time to throw ourselves entirely on the power of God – and to seek His guidance on getting things right –

Solomon – the wisest man in the world – was not one to be shy or short of words – and when he had finished the temple – he stood before the Altar – in front of the whole assembly – and gave thanks to God – for what had been achieved –

 

For keeping His promise – in blessing his life – his family and His kingdom –

 

Conclusion

 

With Jesus – we too will succeed –

 

And like Solomon – like the Centurion – Like Paul

 

Like Her Majesty –

 

and when we – reach the diamond stages of our journey – and – give thanks to God – we will be able to say to Him with confidence – that

 

‘Throughout my life – and with all my heart – I have strived to be worthy of your trust’

 

Amen