May 20, 2012 "Homecoming" sermon, at Mt Pisgah Baptist Church.
Welcome to Mt Pisgah's Homecoming bash!
This may be Homecoming, but maybe we should make this a celebration of our 1st Annual Home-going. Some of us may be closer to "going home" than others, eh? By the way... lunch will follow this sermon ....but I promise ...the drinks aren't spiked; i.e. Jim Jones.
As important as it is to know, and to reminisce about, where we've been ....it is all to the purpose of knowing where we are going. I'd like to read something which I recently read myself....
"Week by week we drowsily summon the God who shouted Job down out of the tempest, and blithely invoke Him who toppled Pharaoh's empire with wave after wave of catastrophe. We glibly propose to encounter the King of kings who could wither a tree with a glance and who cracked death itself in two ....[all] as though we were taking a trip to the post office."
A right quote and a revealing one. We often treat God either as a genie whom we can summon, or a disconnected baron of whom we can only but speak. He is neither. Rather, we must hold, in faith, that He is the God of the scriptures, and to believe or SAY that we believe requires that we know Him through His inspired word; lest He be dwarfed to our own imaginations, ponderings, and needful desires. He is, truly, King of kings and Lord of lords. And before we get too cliche.... Let me be clear. It is not that He is Lord of all or not Lord at all. No, He is Lord of all whether or not we like it at all.
15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.16 For all that is in the world-the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions-is not from the Father but is from the world.17 And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever. 1 John 2:15-17 ESV
It is rightly said that.... "This world is not our home." Yet I see two extremes in existance today.
(a) we hold on to life & prosperity as if we'll have either long enough to satisfy us
(b) or we neglect life and living as if we were honorary members of God's
I think another cliche is true....... "Though we are in the world, we are not "of" the world."
I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. John 17:14-16
1. So how do we keep from "the desires of the flesh / eyes?
After all, isn't it all we know?
Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality,idolatry, sorcery, enmity [hostility], strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.Galatians 5:19-21
How do we NOT love the world?
The short answer is.... we love God more.
And he said to him, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.Matt 22:37-39
How do we know that we love God more?
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Galatians 5:22-24
2. Why should we not take pride in possessions?
And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever. 1 John 2:17 ESV
Homecomings are a wonderful tradition .....but they're only as good as compared to last year's, or as anticipated against next year's. We aren't here to celebrate ourselves; our accomplishments, or accolades. We aren't here as Christ' church to celebrate homecomings, or even home-goings .....as is humblingly evident upon each marked grave in that cemetary right behind you. No, we are indeed here to worship, and commit to full-service followship of, King Jesus Himself.