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Showing posts from June, 2014

God’s Fellowship—And Ours

(A sermon for Trinity Sunday based on 2 Corinthians 13:11-13)

The nature of the Church is directly related to the nature of God. As God is characterized by diversity in the context of unity, so is the Church characterized by diversity in the context of unity. As the one God exists as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, so the one Church exists as brown and yellow, black and white, male and female, and rich and poor. Granted, the parallels are not exact, but the overall principle is sound: the one God exists in three persons, the one Church exists in millions of people. That which binds us together—namely, the love that is God and that comes from God—is greater than that which threatens to separate us.

The church at Corinth struggled mightily with the unity thing; indeed, Paul spends much time and expends much effort in his letters to them trying to help them get over their fractiousness and their factionalism. He has to say some tough things to them as he tries to help them deal with the …

Get Dressed

(A sermon based on Colossians 3:12-17 for Pentecost Sunday 2014)

We’re encouraging ourselves to dress casually for worship during these hot summer months, which is fine and reasonable. After all, it’s possible to dress casually and still dress nicely and appropriately.

I still remember what it was like to get dressed for church at our house when I was a boy. My parents both worked in textile mills and so there was a definite difference between their work clothes and their church clothes. It was 1968 or 1969 and I was ten or eleven when we got our first air conditioner, a big window unit the acquisition of which required the rewiring of our house, and I can still see my father standing in front of it on those hot summer Sundays, putting his dress shirt on over his undershirt just before going back to the bedroom to ask Mama to powder his nose. Hey, he was a Sunday School teacher, after all; he couldn’t have the light reflecting off his nose obscure the Light of the World!

Last Sund…

Dying to Live

(A sermon based on Colossians 3:5-11 for the Seventh Sunday of Easter 2014)

Among the many things in the Hebrew Bible that fascinate me there is this one: toward the end of the book of Joshua, in which we read about the conquest of the Promised Land by the Hebrews, we find this line: “A long time afterward, when the LORD had given rest to Israel from all their enemies all around, and Joshua was old and well advanced in years …” (Joshua 23:1); then, in the very first verse of the very next book, the book of Judges, we read this: “After the death of Joshua, the Israelites inquired of the LORD: ‘Who shall go up first for us against the Canaanites, to fight against them?” (Judges 1:1).

So in one place we read that the Hebrews had been “given rest … from all their enemies” and in the other place we read that they needed someone to lead them in battle against their enemies. Which was it? Well, it was both. The Lord had brought them out of their grave of imprisonment in Egypt and had given…