Possessing Our Inheritance

PRAYER FOR ILLUMINATION

Let us pray for the Holy Spirit of God to guide our thoughts …

Heavenly Father, May we seek you and find you, knock and the door be opened, for we are sojourners looking for your Kingdom. As we enter the Season of Lent turn our hearts, our ears, our eyes, our souls toward Christ as we listen to the written Word. Send your Spirit to plant seeds of hope and interpret the meaning of Scripture. Never let us stray so far from your Truth into despair, that we forget the resurrection of Christ and the power of his Spirit. Amen.

FIRST SCRIPTURE READING–                            Genesis 12:1-7                         The Promised Inheritance

Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

So Abram went, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran. Abram took his wife Sarai and his brother’s son Lot, and all the possessions that they had gathered, and the persons whom they had acquired in Haran; and they set forth to go to the land of Canaan. When they had come to the land of Canaan, Abram passed through the land to the place at Shechem, to the oak of Moreh. At that time the Canaanites were in the land Then the Lord appeared to Abram, and said, “To your offspring I will give this land.” So he built there an altar to the Lord, who had appeared to him.

May the Lord blessing this reading to our understanding.

 

SECOND SCRIPTURE READING–                   Romans 10:5, 8-13                                The Word of Faith Brings Salvation

Moses writes concerning the righteousness that comes from the law that “the person who does these things will live by them.” But the righteousness that comes from faith says, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’” (that is, to bring Christ down) “or ‘Who will descend into the abyss?’” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead).

But what does it say?  “The word is near you, on your lips and in your heart”

(that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); because if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that   God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For one believes with the heart and so is justified, and one confesses with the mouth and so is saved. The scripture says, “No one who believes in him will be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; the same Lord is Lord of all and is generous to all who call on him. For, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

SERMON                   “Possessing Our Inheritance”

We possess a rich Christian heritage. Our ancestors believed and proclaimed the faith. They lived and shared their faith. They greatly desired to pass on the faith to the next generation. The saints of God believed in their heart that Jesus Christ made a difference in the world and in their lives.

From the beginning of God’s relationship with humanity throughout our history. Adam and Eve, Abram and Sarai, trusted the Lord to guide them on a journey. They possessed a faith that nurtured their ability to connect with the Lord our God.

In the New Testament, Jesus nurtured a relationship with the disciples and ordinary people in the crowd. Jesus ate with sinners and proclaimed God’s gift of salvation through the forgiveness of sins. They proclaimed Jesus as Savior and Lord. Their relationship with Jesus changed their lives. They became justified through the cross and discovered the freedom of faith.

From generation to generation the Christian faith remains a precious treasure to share with in our faith family. When we bring infants to baptism, we promise to share our inheritance with our children. We nurture our relationship with them and help them connect to our Lord. We need to freely pass on the gift we’ve received to the next generation.

In families, we possess precious heirlooms. Some items get passed from one generation to the next.  One family may expect great windfall when an estate is settled. Others just hope to have enough to cover funeral expenses. Families sometime experience great pain as they fight over the assets while others preserve their bonds of love.

I possess particular treasures that once belonged to my parents. Some belonged to their parents, my grandparents. My dad kept much of his mother’s things in the attic. I remember they came to our house when I was six and remained untouched until my grandmother died in 1986, my senior year in college. I think it was a couple of years later that we sorted through and each of us took possession of particular items that we could use or cherished as memories. Then they were boxed up again and returned to the garage attic until we clean out my parent’s house two years ago.

Families sometimes joke about whether a person is still in the will or not. Other times it’s not much of joke as one party acts with vengeance and removes someone from the inheritance. Many families attempt to keep the inheritance fairly even while others use the inheritance to bring balance to an economic inequality or reward the depth of care in a relationship.

I regularly say I’m going to write a book – It was the Best of Times and the Worst of Times: Family Dynamics at Weddings and Funerals. As I’ve witnessed in almost 20 years of ministry the ups and downs that happen in families as they hope to possess the family inheritance. These issues have been around since the beginning of time and I don’t expect human frailties to change any time soon.

I’ve observed people who live life differently because they know they are in or out of the will. They seem more attentive knowing they will get something if they continue to be in a good relationship. Someone who knows currently their exclusion from the will, discovers a fork in the road with a choice to make. They may work hard to get back in the matriarch’s good graces or completely sever times and build walls to protect their emotional status. I witnessed the heavy hand wielded to keep family close drive some away.

The Good News is that in the family of God we all receive the same inheritance: eternal life. When we confess that Jesus Christ is our Savior and Lord, our names are written in the book of life. We will possess our inheritance because Jesus died to atone for our sins. We will be saved from our failures. And God shows no partiality. There is no Jew or Greek. God does not show favoritism to older siblings or those possess special spiritual gifts. We all receive the gift of eternal love in the presence of our Heavenly Father who loves us all.

As we enter into the season of Lent, I want you to reflect on this precious gift, your eternal inheritance. The inheritance promised to Abram and secured through Jesus, remains indeed special. And the most important thing is not that one day, when you die that you will possess this treasure, but that it changes how you live your life.

You inheritance from Christ is secure. I hope during our Lenten journey you will discover the hope for eternal life that changes the here and now. I also hope you will discover the joy of sharing your inheritance so that others will know the love of God revealed in Jesus Christ. We possess our Christian inheritance and our portion will not be diminished if we invite others to enter into a relationship with our Savior and Lord. TGBTG. Amen

  July 2017  
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