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Sunday, June 17, 2012

Sermon 06172012 2nd Sunday After Trinity

May the words of my mouth and the meditations of our hearts be pleasing in Your sight, O Lord, our Rock and our Redeemer.  AMEN.

Let us pray, Gracious God, You have prepared a banquet for we Your servants.  But we make excuses why we cannot attend.  Yet, You know our excuses are a result of sin in our lives where we are looking out for ourselves and seeking worldly fame and glory and not honoring You with our hearts.  Enable us to respond in faith as Your called saints here at Emmanuel.  AMEN.

Recently I was watching the first of the Harry Potter movies where Harry was receiving an invitation to Hogwarts.  If you have seen the movie you remember that Harry’s Uncle uses any means necessary to prevent Harry from receiving the invitation to come to the greatest school of wizardry.  From nailing the mail slot closed to burning the letters in the fireplace to going to a remote deserted house to prevent Harry from receiving the coveted invitation.

Our Gospel this morning unlike the response of Harry tells of the people who were to busy with the tasks of man to attend a banquet put on by the master even though they had received an invitation.  What did the people do who had received the invitation they “began to make excuses.”  Whether it was new land or animals for working the fields, a recent marriage or any number of excuses, this enraged the master who was giving the banquet.  So the master determines to call in the poor and crippled, the blind and lame and anyone who would not normally receive an invitation to this banquet.  In desperation the master wants to compel the people to come so his house will be filled with laughter, joy and celebration.

But what of those who had received the invitation first and rejected it, Jesus says it clearly, “For I tell you, none of those men who were invited shall taste my dinner.”  This parable is told for three reasons, to convict, to convince and to change.

This parable is told to convict each of us here this morning.  We are the people who make excuses why we won’t come to hear and take part in the banquet that Jesus Christ offers us around His table like this morning.  We are the people who sometimes put our life, our wallet and our prosperity in front of all the blessings that God promises to and for us.  We are not unlike the new land owner checking our fields or irrigation wells.  We are not unlike the new owner of the oxen, but today it is John Deere, Case, New Holland or Massey Furgeson or Ford, GMC or Dodge trucks.  We are not unlike the newly married saying our vacation is more important than receiving Jesus Christ precious Body and Blood.  We are rightly convicted because we are sinful creatures, conceived in sin and concerned only with the image that others see and not what God wants to give us.

Jesus told this parable to His disciples to convince them that the gifts of God are better and greater than anything they could imagine.  Jesus wanted to convince the disciples that their view did not need to be on the things of this world, like land, oxen or image, but on the greater gift in the banquet.  Jesus was trying to convince them and us today that we can receive and be blessed beyond our wildest dreams when we willingly listen and heed His call to us.  Jesus Christ through His own death on the cross made this a reality for all of mankind.  With the words, “It is finished” the plan of salvation was complete and we through our baptism into Jesus Christ life, death and resurrection are grafted into the greatest gift our world has, eternal life through Jesus Christ.

Ultimately though we are convicted in our hearts and convinced that something needs to occur, we, you and I through the power of the Holy Spirit are the only ones who can change our own decisions.  We have to change our attitudes, our priorities and our focus from being inward and upon ourselves to being focused on others and God.  We through and by the power of the Holy Spirit are the only ones who can change and make God a priority and not the things of man that will pass away.
This past week our Vacation Bible School learned clearly about Grace and what it is and what it really means.  The kids learned very plainly that God offers us grace beyond measure even though we may not deserve it.  God through the grace offered to each of us through Jesus Christ sacrificial death on the Cross of Calvary, gives us eternal life and this not only means Jesus conviction for our sin, but is the means by which we can be convinced of God’s great love for each of us.  And in, through and by the Holy Spirit be changed children of God enabled to understand that God did this through Jesus Christ life, death and resurrection for all of mankind, including all the children in Vacation Bible School and all of us saints gathered here this morning.  AMEN.
//trial script