Worship Service – July 5, 2020

I Corinthians 10:1-13

“The Declaration of Jehovah God”

Sunday, July 5, 2020

I’m on vacation this week. And if you attend our worship service you will be blessed by a message from Dr.Al Hickock.
I promised Bonne that I wouldn’t write a message for this week. But I found one I thought you would appreciate as I did. Because on my vacation I’ll be spending time with family. And family time matters.

Family matters.

by Billy D. Strayhorn
The lights in the movie theater dimmed, a young man loaded down with popcorn, cokes and candy paced up and down the aisle, scanning the darkened rows. It was obvious he was looking for the person or persons with whom he had come. After three or four unsuccessful trips he finally stopped and asked loudly, “Does anybody here recognize me?” (1)
It’s horrible not to be recognized isn’t it? It’s horrible to feel alone and cut off. Being recognized means you’re connected, part of the family and that someone cares, someone is watching out for you. And that matters because Family matters.
Let’s look at the passage for the message this morning.
Romans 8:12-17 (NRSV)
[12] So then, brothers and sisters, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh
[13] for if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.
[14] For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.
[15] For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, “Abba! Father!”
[16] it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God,
[17] and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if, in fact, we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.
Verse 16 says: “The Spirit bears witness to our spirit that we are the children of God.” That’s Good News because children belong to a family. And being part of a Family Matters.
Part of being a family is that sense of belonging. And we all want to belong don’t we? We all want be known by others and to know that someone out there knows who we are and cares about us. We have a need to belong, to be in community together. That’s why we join clubs, fraternities, sororities, civic organizations, sports teams, PTA, and even Churches. We have a need to be in community with others just like us or close to being like us. That’s part of how we are wired. The passage tells us we are INCORPORATED, DESIGNATED AND ALLOCATED.
I. Incorporated
A. Belonging is important because it’s the way God created us. We are meant to be in community with one another. God created Adam and Eve together so they wouldn’t be alone; so they would have support, nurture and care. Even Jesus needed that support. The first thing he did when he began his ministry was to gather a small circle of friends. A group who would eventually become the leaders of the early Church. Yes, he needed to train them but Jesus also needed their support and their friendship. He even sought their counsel from time to time. At Caesarea Philippi, Jesus asked them who the crowds said he was. To show how important that relationship was to Jesus, at the Last Supper, he told them all. “I no longer call you servants, . . . now I call you friends.” (John 15:15)
The disciples needed that assurance and that sense of belonging, too. In telling them that he was going away, he reassured them that they would not be alone. Jesus said, “I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you.” (John 14:18)
B. Belonging is important because it gives us a sense of self-worth and strengthens our own personal self-image.
I know many of you have read and talked about the various Chicken Soup for the Soul books. In A 4th Course of Chicken Soup for the Soul, you may remember a story entitled simply: “Chuck” by Petey Parker.
Ms. Parker tells of grocery shopping, something she hates to do, and getting in “the wrong line.” It was taking forever and everyone was muttering and complaining. Then she discovered the reason for the delay. Chuck, the sacker. Chuck talked to each and every item as he gently put it in the sack. “Oh, Mr. Cake Mix, you are going to become a Christmas dessert for someone special. Hello, Mr. Cereal, you are going to make the boys and girls grow up nice and healthy,” and other things like that. After all the items were sacked he would look at the customer and say, “I know your family loves you because you take such good care of them.” Ms. Parker says she shut up and waited her turn.
Chuck helped take her sacks to the car and she tipped him $2. He looked at the two dollar bills; he looked at her. Then his face lit up, and he jumped in the air and yelled at the top of his lungs, “Look at me, look at me! Someone thinks I’m worth two whole dollars.” And he danced his way back to the store.
The next time she went to the store, one of the employees who had witnessed the events of that day said, “Thank you for giving Chuck a tip. We know he has value, but it is far more important for Chuck to know he has value.” (2)
Both Chuck and Ms. Parker learned a valuable lesson about self worth that day. It’s important that we know we have value. It’s important that we know we belong. You and I have been Incorporated and adopted into the Family of God. We are part of the Family of God and thus have value in God’s eyes.
II. Designated
A. This passage from Paul’s letter to the Romans shows us the value we have in God’s eyes. Family Matters to God. Through our faith in Christ, we not only have value, but we have been Designated as heirs with Christ. “joint heirs with Christ.” I love that phrase. “joint heirs with Christ.” Those are such powerful words; words of belonging and acceptance. Words of value.
Through our faith in Christ, we are Designated heirs with Christ. Heirs with, not heirs of. And Heirs, not second class citizens.
Heirs, not the ugly, unwanted stepchildren who begrudgingly have to be cared and provided for like Cinderella and the Ugly Duckling.
Heirs, not orphans who are either left to fend for themselves or are thrown the scraps and leftovers. But heirs, joint heirs with Christ because Family Matters to God.
B. A United Methodist Minister in Vermont tells how the Sunday School Superintendent of his Church was registering the children in Sunday School and she asked two brothers their ages and birthday. The bolder of the two boys said, “We’re both seven. My birthday is April 8, 1976, and my brother’s is April 20, 1976.”
The Superintendent was a little confused and said, “But that’s impossible!”
The quiet brother answered, “No, it’s not, one of us is adopted.”
Before she was even aware that she had asked, the words were out, “Which one?”
The boys looked at each other and smiled. Then the bolder one said, “We asked Dad that awhile ago, but he just said he loved us, and he couldn’t remember any more which one was adopted.” (3)
Through our faith in Christ we are made heirs with Christ. That means that we have equal access to God. We are seen as equal heirs with Christ. There is no longer any distinction between us and Christ. We are brothers and sisters with Christ Jesus. God just loves us and can’t remember anymore which ones of us are adopted. Why? Because Family Matters to God. And God wants each of us in His Family.
That’s what faith in Christ does for us. It puts us in God’s family. We can hold our head high because we belong. We belong to God’s family. We know our value, we know our worth. Not by worldly standards but by God’s standards.
III. Allocated
A. We are created in God’s image, and through our faith in Christ we are made heirs of God’s Kingdom, heirs according to the promise. As heirs we are Allocated a portion of the inheritance.
God wrote us into the Will before we were ever born. God set up our inheritance before we even knew there was a God. God made provision for our well-being and through Christ, we have access to all of that. Jesus is the administrator of the estate and we are the heirs.
We are heirs of all the promises of the Bible. Heirs of all the promises God made with God’s people. Promises like:
(Exo.6:7) “I will take you as my people, and I will be your God.”
(Josh 1:5) “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
(Mat 28:20) “Remember, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
(Mat 7:7) “Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you.”
(Mat 11:28) “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.”
(John 14:18) “I will not leave you orphaned.”
(John 3:36) “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life.”
B. There are hundreds of other promises as well. Promises that we can and should claim; promises that are ours because we are heirs with Christ and they are part of our inheritance.
These are the promises of the Family. These promises are Family Matters. And as Family Matters they should be passed down from parent to child. They should be passed down because, Family Matters.
We are reminded of these promises through the power of God’s Holy Spirit. Like a parent holding and rocking their baby, whispering all of the dreams and possibilities for that baby’s future; the Holy Spirit whispers God’s love song of faith in our ear. Like a parent encouraging their child through some time of crisis or cheering them on in some time of joy; the Holy Spirit speaks those words of encouragement to us.
Sometimes we listen and grow in the faith. Sometimes we ignore them or get distracted by the glitter of the world. But always God continues to tell us we are heirs with Christ. Heirs according to the promise. We may fail but God never does.
Mike Cope, in his recent book One Holy Hunger, tells of going to his second-grade son’s school open house. Every child was asked to write three sentences that described who they were and what they liked. He found his son’s. It read: “I am in second grade. I like to play baseball. I am a cool dude.”
Cope thought that phrase ‘I am a cool dude’ was a curious one until he noticed that every boy in the class ended his threesome with that phrase. Except some of these second-grade boys had made a spelling error and written: ‘I am a cool dud.’ ” (4)
What every parent and every child needs to know is that in God’s Family there are no Duds. God loves us whether the World says we’re “cool dudes” or “cool duds.”
There may be times when we forget the promises or fail to listen to the promptings of God’s Holy Spirit. There may be times in our life when we get lost in the darkness of the world and cry out like the man in the theater: “Does anybody here recognize me?” That’s when a hand goes up and God says, “Yes, you belong to me.”
So remember: You have value. You are of infinite worth to God who created you in God’s own image. And if that’s not enough then remember this. God sent Jesus just for you. And through your faith in Christ, you are a “joint heir with Christ.” And that’s the Good News. God has written you into His Will. You have an eternal inheritance. All because Family Matters. What better news could there be?
Pastor Joe Travis

Comments are closed.