January 1, 2017
Stetson Memorial UMC
New Year’s Day
Adapted from Marcia McPhee’
“Who Are You?” Sermon Series
Psalm 8 NKJV
Revelation 21:1-6 CEB
Ephesians 3:1-12 CEB
Matthew 2:9-10 NIV
“Let’s Do This…”
Prayer that God’s Word is heard through me or in-spite of me…
Good morning. Have you ever been so psyched to do something that you are all pumped up? You are so excited that you can’t even sleep. It is something that you have wanted to do or so long and now you have your opportunity to do so. I love the Home Depot commercials where people are going to Home Depot and getting the stuff they need to complete a project around the home. The phrase that catches my attention is when they say “Let’s do this.” I think that this year this will be my “mantra” … Let’s Do This!
Happy New Year! I pray that all of you had an awe-inspired Christmas and that you would have a God breathed New Year. It is nice though, having the holiday’s behind us. I can have a chance to slow down a little and breath in…well at least for the next 9 weeks before Lent begins.
Back to the let’s do this statement. In the Christian calendar, today is Epiphany Sunday. The day we celebrate the Magi coming to visit Jesus… I wonder how they must have felt? They were so excited to see His star and they traveled from a faraway distant land. They finally were able see the new born king that was foretold by the prophets. Listen to what Matthew 2:9-10 says about their emotions upon finding Jesus.
“After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed.”
Their “Let’s Do This” brought them to a place of awe and wonder…they followed God’s star and discovered and unimagined joy.
Each time we enter into a new year I always think of Revelation 21:1-6. It reminds me of God’s promise and gives me hope of “Maybe this year.” It reads:
New heaven and new earth
21 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the former heaven and the former earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2 I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3 I heard a loud voice from the throne say, “Look! God’s dwelling is here with humankind. He will dwell with them, and they will be his peoples. God himself will be with them as their God. 4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more. There will be no mourning, crying, or pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” 5 Then the one seated on the throne said, “Look! I’m making all things new.” He also said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” 6 Then he said to me, “All is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will freely give water from the life-giving spring.
This piece of scripture makes we want to do something in the here and now… This piece of scripture makes me say “let’s do this”…Let’s make a difference in other’s lives…Let’s help those who are mourning, in pain, crying… Let’s bring them to God’s dwelling place so that god may dwell with them too.
Now you may say to yourself…well that’s all fine and good for you Pastor Ruth but I am not so sure this “Let’s do this” mantra is going to work for me…I’m just not cut out to “do it.” You know what…neither was I. But the grace of God came upon me and I stand here before you now because of it. But you still may not be convinced of the whole “Let’s do this thing” … Ok…let’s hear a word from Paul that kind of tells us that we all really do need to “Do This”… now as I read this scripture I want you to insert your name when I say Paul … I am reading Ephesians 3:1-12…
Paul, apostle to the Gentiles
3 This is why I, Paul, am a prisoner of Christ for you Gentiles.
2 You’ve heard, of course, about the responsibility to distribute God’s grace, which God gave to me for you, right? 3 God showed me his secret plan in a revelation, as I mentioned briefly before (4 when you read this, you’ll understand my insight into the secret plan about Christ). 5 Earlier generations didn’t know this hidden plan that God has now revealed to his holy apostles and prophets through the Spirit. 6 This plan is that the Gentiles would be coheirs and parts of the same body, and that they would share with the Jews in the promises of God in Christ Jesus through the gospel. 7 I became a servant of the gospel because of the grace that God showed me through the exercise of his power.
8 God gave his grace to me, the least of all God’s people, to preach the good news about the immeasurable riches of Christ to the Gentiles. 9 God sent me to reveal the secret plan that had been hidden since the beginning of time by God, who created everything. 10 God’s purpose is now to show the rulers and powers in the heavens the many different varieties of his wisdom through the church. 11 This was consistent with the plan he had from the beginning of time that he accomplished through Christ Jesus our Lord. 12 In Christ we have bold and confident access to God through faith in him.”
“about the responsibility to distribute God’s grace, which God gave to me for you” We have a responsibility to distribute God’s grace…to share our stories of faith. We are given grace to share grace…
“This plan is that the Gentiles would be coheirs and parts of the same body, and that they would share with the Jews in the promises of God in Christ Jesus through the gospel” We are to share the fact that within God’s plan, through Jesus, we too have the same promises of old…
“God gave his grace to me, the least of all God’s people, to preach the good news about the immeasurable riches of Christ to the Gentiles. 9 God sent me to reveal the secret plan that had been hidden since the beginning of time by God, who created everything” We are to be the ambassadors of God to the world…from our homeland which is not of this world… We are to share the Good News…
This all can be very hard when we may not know who we are in Christ Jesus. Who are we really…how does God equip us…what are we supposed to do…? I propose this for us. Let’s look at who we are. Let’s take a deep journey into these questions and more. Let’s see what transformation happens as we become who God says we are and not who the world thinks we are.
In 2017 let’s do this…let’s have “More saving. More doing.” …as home depot states. This journey begins with its first steps today. Are you willing to become you? Well then “Let’s Do This” together. Let’s do this for the One who is the Messiah…the Savior…the child in a manger…our Risen Lord, Jesus Christs.