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Sunday, March 5, 2017

03052017 - First Sunday in Lent - "We are sent into the world to be one with God and Jesus and honor His Name as Holy"!

March 5, 2017
"We are sent into the world to be one with God and Jesus and honor His Name as Holy"!
In March 1999, I stood on Mount Carmel, where Elijah had stood against those who worshiped Baal.  The story has of that day has not only been passed down for generations, been used in Sunday School classes, Confirmation, Bible Studies, but I have personally used it while teaching about World Religions.  Each time I use the story I am reminded of one truth that we as Christians need to remember and hold onto clearly and without fail lay claim to daily and emulate with our prayer Jesus taught the disciples.
We [Christians] are sent into the world to be one with God and Jesus and honor His Name as Holy”.  This is our calling and during this season of Lent this is our opportunity.  You see on Ash Wednesday, the Sign of the Cross was clearly placed on our foreheads, reminding us we are dust and to dust we shall return.  The connection we have is that we who claim to be Christian need to call upon God’s Name and honor Him and daily make His Name Holy among us.  This is why during Lent on Wednesday nights, we will be probing the depths of the Lord’s Prayer.
On Wednesday we began with the “Our Father” and today we bridge the gap of “Our Father Who art in heaven” with the responsibility, dare I say the ‘joy’ and ‘opportunity’ we have to go into the world and honor God our Father’s name.  For when we honor God and His Name as Holy and lift up and hold up and honor, Jesus, we then not only show respect for God, but Satan who lurks among us to influence us then has no power over us.
We all know of someone who when they smash their thumb while driving a nail home or when a tool slips from their grip or when something happens that twists them, they fly off by taking God’s name in vain.  For some the reaction to this is clear.  Children at times cower in the corner, because when the profanity flies, the next thing will be a hand lifted against them, not for what they have done, but just general principle.  There are some people whose stomachs get tied in knots, their blood pressure rises just a little or our faces flush red, because we know we shouldn’t do this since we are Christians.  But this isn’t a result of a personal or moral failure on our part, this is simply our humanity, the failure that began in the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve, eating the forbidden fruit and sins entrance into the world.
But truly thanks be to God, we have, believe and know the cure to this problem.  The cure is our Savior, Jesus Christ and His death on Calvary for all of mankind, including each and every one of us.  And we as Christians, marked by the seal of the promised Holy Spirit in our Baptism and reminded this last Ash Wednesday are changed, maybe not in each other’s eyes, but truly in the eyes of God.  For in our Holy Baptism into the life, death and especially the resurrection of Jesus Christ, we are made heirs of eternal life and made Christians Who can show our family, friends and even and especially others the love of God in our fallen world as Christians who believe in our Savior, Jesus Christ.
This is why “We are sent into the world to be one with God and Jesus and honor His Name as Holy”.  You see God feeds us today not only with His Holy Word read from both the lectern and pulpit, but God especially feeds us with His Precious Body and Blood from the Altar and ‘sends us into the world’.  We are sent into the world to honor God by how we live, how we love one another, but also how we make His name Holy.  Yes, we will fail daily by at times taking God’s name in vain, but we shouldn’t apologize for it, thinking its ok if we apologize, even at times apologizing to the pastor for our language.  What we need to change is ourselves.  And this only happens when God changes us from the inside.
The best biblical example of change from the inside is none other than a man named Saul, who we know today as Paul.  Prior to his Damascus road experience and encounter with Jesus, Saul persecuted and helped to kill the followers of Jesus Christ.  After his personal encounter with Jesus Christ, Paul and his commitment to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, sending out others into the world and honoring God and His Name and His Son, Jesus Christ became his passion.  For Paul was changed from the inside out.

We who gather here today have this same opportunity to be changed from the inside out.  It is our choice.  Just as Cain chose not to listen to God and killed his brother Abel, by choice.  We to have the opportunity to choose to honor God and His name today.  We have only to ask ourselves, will we continue on the road that does not honor God?  Or will we embrace God’s calling on our lives and the Gospel message of God’s Son, Jesus Christ?  For each of us who claim to be Christians need to understand and believe, we are called not only to a greater purpose of ‘honoring God’ and His Name.  “We are sent into the world to be one with God and Jesus and honor His Name as Holy”!  AMEN.

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