Sixth Sunday of Easter – Sermon 242

8th January 2016 Off By Derek Buckthorpe

The Sixth Sunday of Easter

10 am Holy Communion CW

25th May 2014

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






If you’ve ever driven an unfamiliar Car before – you’ll know that it can sometimes feel very un-nerving – getting behind the wheel for the first time –


I had such an experience when being given an automatic – when asking for a hire car to drive down to Bristol – I’d never driven one before –   and didn’t even know how to switch it on!


I had to take a few driving lessons in the company car park – to familiarize myself with it  – before going out on the road –


We learn things – step by step – and can sometimes feel very uncomfortable – when we have to make a sudden leap forward – and do something we have never done before –


Point 1


Uncertainty was certainly in the minds of the people of Athens –


Once one of the great centres of Art – and Culture – and home to many of the worlds great philosophers – a city dedicated to truth and wisdom – In Paul’s time – when it came to their relationship with God – they were very confused –


They didn’t know who to embrace – and so – frightened of getting it wrong – they erected an altar to “an unknown God”-


Today – many people take the same attitude – they hedge their bets – offer a token gesture of themselves and their resources – to the church  – just in case – so that even if they are unsure about getting any blessings  – at least they hope to avoid any judgment –


To help the people of Athens understand – Paul gives a simple but comprehensive message about God – telling them that – God is our creator –and sustainer sustainer – our Father and judge


God has given life to man – not the other way round – and we are accountable to Him –


That God revealed Himself – to us – through a redeemer – not through images of silver or gold or stone – but in the flesh and blood of Jesus Christ –


He also tells them that a created man is not a saved man – but a sinner who needs to be saved – and that only God can save us –


The only wealth we can take from this world  – is spiritual wealth  – and that God commands us to repent and focus on the treasures of heaven – that He can provide for us – each day – rather than the perishable things of the earth – which we have to leave behind –


Today – Idols still dominate our world – not in the form of statues on every street corner – like it was in Athens – but in more subtle forms – money – people – ambition – greed – power – material goods


But they are no substitute for the love – and peace and fulfilment we can receive when we accept Jesus as our savior and friend –


Paul speaks honestly and sensitively about God and His gifts – and as followers of Jesus – we too need to do the same – tell others in words they can understand – about what He means to us – How He cares about each one of us – and He wants us all to respond in love – to the love He brings


Point 2        Peter – says we have nothing to fear –


Peter too – reminds us we have nothing to fear when we accept Jesus into our lives –


Although this is one of the most difficult passages in the NT – it begins with something that every Christian can understand – That when we take on the challenges of our Christian faith – we know that are walking the way that Jesus has already walked –


God has been there before us – and He is already showing us the way –

Jesus has fulfilled all our hopes and defeated all the corruptions and evil powers in this world  – and His victory is assured

Sometimes it might not seem like it – with all the violence and hate we see on our TV screens – but

Jesus will bring us safely through any difficulties we have to face –


“Jesus suffered for our sins once and for all – the righteous for the unrighteous – just for the unjust – in order to bring us to God”


“He was put to death in the flesh but made alive in the Spirit.”


Baptism alone does not save us – we are saved because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ – we have to trust in Jesus – and hold on to the hope and love that He brings


Point 3        God will help us


And as our Gospel reading reminds us – Our love for God – means that we are not alone –


I’m sure we’re all familiar with the story of Pinnocchio – how he dreams of changing from “an ugly wood boy” – to a “wonderful sophisticated handsome teenager”


He kept on – going off the rails – led astray by fame and fortune – and would have failed miserably in his quest – if it hadn’t been for the help of “a little cricket”


“If only I could get inside him” – Jiminy cricket would say – “then I would be with him all the time – and help him”  –


Well God didn’t send us a Jimminy Cricket – He sent us someone much more powerful – and trustworthy – He sent us Himself – in the form of the Spirit of truth –


“I will ask the Father, and He will give you another advocate, to be with you forever – This is the Spirit of truth”

If we love Jesus – the Spirit will take up residence in our hearts – and in our lives


We will become a holy temple – for God to reach out to others –


The Spirit will be a source of a whole new relationship – with God – and Jesus – and

through the spirit we will be given life  – and power


The last three verses provide us with a wonderful circle of promises that are ours because of Jesus being with us in the Spirit –

–         The we will see Him and know Him through faith-

–         He will show Himself to us –  and lead us to the truth

–         We will join with Him and the Father in an unbeatable bond of love –



Jesus commandments us – to love Him with all our heart –with all our soul – with all our mind  – and with all our strength – and to love others  – As Jesus loves us  –


Love is at the centre of everything we do as a Christian – Our love for Jesus starts  – with our understanding – of who God is – gives us the courage to grow – and develop and to reach out to others – and brings us the Holy Spirit – to live within us and guide us – and bring us His power –


and step by step as we go through life – we come to understand and appreciate what God’s love can do for us – and how we should respond –

In a book called “The call of the Wild” there’s a story of a young dog – who becomes part of a team of dogs that pulls a sledge through Alaska –


The dogs are maltreated – and beaten – and many of them die – but this dog gets rescued – by one man who couldn’t stand by and watch –


For days the dog would not leave his new master’s side – everywhere he went – he would follow – content to be there with Him – the dog would do anything for him –


Each day before they would set out to work together – the man would whisper in the dog’s ear

“As you love me – As you love me” –

And each day the dog would do his best for his master –


Everyday Jesus whispers in our ear – “As you love me,  as you love me”


What kind of response do we give?


Closing prayer


In the name of the Father Son and Holy Spirit AMEN

Video of Sermon 242 on You Tube