Zis-N-Zat From Pastor Asher

God is my conscience, Jesus lives in my heart… this blog is about what I see, what I think, what I do and how I serve God

Approximate Notes for Sunday’s Message; November 6, 2016; Luke 20:27-38

Scriptures for this Sunday: Luke  20:27-38

You can read these Scriptures here: {NIV2010 and ESV}

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We are preparing for stewardship Sunday.

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{Illustration}

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In 32 AD (give or take a few months and years), Judea was in the midst of turmoil that would lead to profound changes in the world. I am talking about the emergence of a new understanding that would become the foundation of our relationship with God. Jesus, so divine and so human, brought this understanding to the people two thousand years ago and it still reverberates thorough our lives today.

The people of Judea faced a problem. How should they respond to Jesus? He obviously touched a chord with people’s suffering; he understood the needs, hopes and fears of people from all walks of life. At the same time, his teachings were challenging the established order and centuries of traditions.

I can change a few names and a few nouns in the previous paragraph and it will describe the pre-election situation in 2016 USAmerica. How should we respond to the possibility of the first woman president? How should we respond to the possibility of the Donald Trump being our president with his promise to change the status quo in Washington?

Some people embraced Jesus’ teachings because these teachings resonated with their lives; others were reluctant to accept Jesus because he challenged their way of life and everything that they considered to be right, true and beautiful. Although I do not compare either Hillary Rodham Clinton or Donald Trump to Jesus, our country is in a similar deliberation and debate as we prepare to elect our next president on Tuesday.

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Just like today in USAmerica, in Judea of 2000 years ago there were groups of people who were apprehensive about Jesus’ teachings. Each group had different vision, views and opinions about what their common future should be. Their lives were driven by tension between what they learned in the past, what they were learning on their life journeys, and what they hoped their future would be …

One of the groups resisting the teachings of Jesus were Sadducees. The Sadducees did not believe in resurrection (Luke 20:27); the concept of final judgment, the very idea of being held accountable for the way we live our lives, scared them and challenged their worldview.

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When we are apprehensive about something, we have to make a choice whether:

1. We want to understand what we are afraid of, possibly learn something new, and make adjustments in our lives,

2. We want to fight whatever we are scared of, or

3. We want to run away.

Maybe the Sadducees that came to Jesus wanted to understand him better. It is also possible (and more probable) that they wanted to put up a fight and best him in a debate. It may have been a little of both, we cannot know for sure what was driving them. One thing is for certain: they did not choose to run away.

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That is why Jesus reframed the question that the Sadducees asked,

NIV2010 Luke 20: 36 they can no longer die; for they are like the angels. They are God’s children, since they are children of the resurrection. … 38 He is not the God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive.”

The Sadducees could not imagine that God might have something different in mind when it comes to eternity; they tried to fit God into what they believed and were comfortable with.

Jesus, on the other hand, made a point that it is much more important to demonstrate our connection with God in the way we live our lives than by splitting theological hairs about imaginary “what if” scenarios. Jesus encouraged his listeners to concentrate on the gift of life that was given to them in the present, and what an awesome opportunity it is to be a bearer of God’s love and grace in the world. Jesus made the point that the Law was given to reflect the love of God for his children, but somehow God’s children had managed to retain the laws and regulations and lose the love.

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In 1 Timothy, chapter 1, Paul wrote to his student, “3 As I urged you …, stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain people not to teach false doctrines any longer 4 or to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies. Such things promote controversial speculations rather than advancing God’s work—which is by faith. 5 The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. 6 Some have departed from these and have turned to meaningless talk. 7 They want to be teachers of the law, but they do not know what they are talking about or what they so confidently affirm.”

{Illustration of five “solas” of Luther: Sola Fide, Sola Scriptura, Sola Gratia, Sola Cristo, Sola Deo Gloria}

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We are entrusted with stewardship of every aspect of our faith that is built on the foundation of Scriptures, Traditions of our church, God given reason, and our personal Experiences of God. Part of that stewardship is the stewardship of this community that is based on witness, prayer, presence, and tithe.

That stewardship is our chance to demonstrate our love for God, appreciation what God is doing in our lives and around our lives, and to demonstrate our willingness to be tools in God’s hands.

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It is that simple. Notice I did not say that it is easy, I said that it is simple. Simple and easy are two different things.

To give us strength for the journey, Jesus invites us to share a sacred meal with Him.

{Transition to the Sacrament of the Holy Communion.}

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