Working for the Lord

THE PRAYER FOR ILLUMINATION   

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

Cast your light on these words, O God, this ancient and mysterious story, familiar and perplexing at the same time. Your Holy Word comforts us and fills our true need. And now may the words of my mouth and the meditations of all our hearts be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, our Rock and our Redeemer. Amen.

FIRST SCRIPTURE READING               Luke 2: 1-6                  The Birth Announcement

In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria.  All went to their own towns to be registered. Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child.

TIME WITH GOD’S CHILDREN #155                                  verse 1                                   

                                      Rejoice, the Lord Is King”                    

             Rejoice, the Lord is King!  Your Lord and King adore!     Rejoice, give thanks and sing, and triumph evermore:

     Lift up your heart, lift up your voice!      Rejoice, again I say, rejoice!

SECOND SCRIPTURE READING   Hebrews 10:5-10    Working to do the Lord’s Will

Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said, "Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired, but a body you have prepared for me; in burnt offerings and sin offerings you have taken no pleasure. Then I said, 'See, God, I have come to do your will, O God' (in the scroll of the book it is written of me)." When he said above, "You have neither desired nor taken pleasure in sacrifices and offerings and burnt offerings and sin offerings" (these are offered according to the law), then he added, "See, I have come to do your will." He abolishes the first in order to establish the second. And it is by God's will that we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

 

THE SERMON                “Working for the Lord”

 

 

I’d like you to think about, “Why are you here?”

The author of this letter to the Hebrew people presents an argument that is theological yet, very practical. In the Jewish tradition, people worked out their relationship with God, by following the Mosaic Law. The Rabbis attempted to help God’s Chosen people to live as the Law demanded by developing a list of rules and regulations that if followed would fulfill the requirements of the Law.

The problem with this idea, when one failed to complete the letter of the Law, they felt very distant from God’s love and could reach a point of desperation, when one felt like they could never achieve God’s love. They would always disappoint God. They could never succeed, so they brought sacrifices and offerings to the priest that would bridge the gap between our lives and the Holiness of God.

In writing to Hebrew Christians, the author explained that when Christ came into the world, a new system of faithful relationship began. God no longer wanted their halfhearted attempts at living righteously, but wanted whole hearted devotion to Christ. We no longer had to work at being good, yet in response to God’s love, we serve the Lord through our words and deeds.

We present our body as a living sacrifice. We don’t need to bring a lamb, a dove, a flask of oil, nor a measure of wheat to be cooked on the alter. We come seeking the will of God for our lives and then set out to fulfill it. We open our hearts to the Holy Spirit that works within us to bring about a holy transformation. Jesus provided the last sacrifice by dying on the cross for our sins. Jesus calls us to follow his example and to give of ourselves by serving others. We serve as the hands and feet of God caring for others. We serve in the Church to honor Christ, who obediently offered the ultimate sacrifice on Calvary. We come prepared to do God’s will.

Jesus desires that we freely give of ourselves as an offering. We pray for guidance to discover God’s will and then set out to fulfill it. When we trust the Lord, we work for the Lord. We are not working our way into heaven but reacting to the love we’ve received from God. We share this love through our actions in Christ’s name. We work to honor the gift of grace poured out in Christ’s obedience that replaces the agrarian sacrifices required by the Law.

We come to do the Lord’s will each day. We do serve our Lord in our Worship, in our mission, and in our treatment of others. We share the love and grace of God by extending the warm hand of friendship to strangers. Our Christmas gifts to ECHO families spread Good News that people on earth care as Christ cares. We work for the Lord by being good ambassadors for our Savior. We do God’s will each day.

As we come to the Lord’s Table and remember that Christ gave his body and poured out his blood as a sin offering. We react to this gift by working together in mission and ministry. We do the Lord’s will by reflecting God’s love to our neighbors. So why are we here, to learn and do the will of our God and reflect the love of Christ to the world. TGBTG. Amen.

  November 2017  
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