Come to the Wedding

Sunday, Oct 15, 2015

Fr Ronnie Sanders

 

Due to some technical issues, we did not obtain a usable recording of Sunday's sermon but here is pretty much how it went:

 

Come to the Wedding

“Lord, we pray that your grace may always precede and follow us, that we may continually be given to good works;” – Collect Proper 23

 

All is grace! Grace goes before us. Grace follows behind us. When we experience grace, our response is made visible as good works, as our obedience to the One who has won our trust and love. There is no greater joy than knowing you are in the center of God’s will for you at a given point in time and acknowledging that it is all because of God’s grace. Jesus said, “Greater works than this shall you do.” Paul declared to the church in Eph 2:8-10 the role of grace and its effect: “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Eph 2:10

 

Q-273. What is “purity of heart”?

Purity of heart is when by grace we have become open to the work of the Holy Spirit who forms our lives into the image and likeness of Christ, so that we perceive the world as God sees it.

 

“LORD, You are my God. I will exalt You, I will praise Your name, For You have done wonderful things; Your counsels of old are faithfulness and truth.” Is 25:1

 

The scriptures are given to us that we may know God’s story. Our faith rests on our certainty of the reliability of the scriptures as they have been believed and applied by the church as a whole, since the birth of the church at Pentecost. When we worship in Spirit and truth, we are declaring that because of His grace God’s story is continuing onward in our lives.

 

“The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not be in want.”

Trusting in God’s care and provision

Trust leads to peace which inspires thanksgiving

The fruit of trust and thanksgiving is contentment

 

“He makes me lie down in green pastures and leads me beside still waters.”

The Lord, who is my Shepherd, is a good shepherd. God does have my best interest in mind, every time, all the time. If He chooses to allow suffering into my life, He will in some way make a way to use that suffering for good.

 

If you are asked to describe who God is and what you believe about God, would you use words like sovereign, omniscient, omnipresent, loving, and merciful or would you describe Him in a more personal way like, He is my shepherd, He is my rock, He is my fortress, He is my High Tower, He is my redeemer, He is my provider? Would you rather have  others to know what you believe or to know what you have experienced through God’s grace at work in your life?

 

 

Q-273. What is “purity of heart”?

Purity of heart is when by grace we have become open to the work of the Holy Spirit who forms our lives into the image and likeness of Christ, so that we perceive the world as God sees it.  (We may see glimpses of the world through God’s eyes. We may see glimpses of God, the prodigal God.)

 

“LORD, You are my God. For You have done wonderful things;”

“The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not be in want.”

“I will exalt You, I will praise Your name,”

 

“'Tell those who are invited, "See, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and fatted cattle are killed, and all things are ready. Come to the wedding.”

 

“Go into the highways, and as many as you find, invite to the wedding.' 10 So those servants went out into the highways and gathered together all whom they found, both bad and good.” Matt 22

 

And so we live our lives today in the midst of the great invitations, “Come to the wedding!”; “Come and see!” ; “Behold I stand at the door and knock.” ; “28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” ; “The Spirit and the Bride say, Come!” ; “ Come, follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”; “Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”;

 “buy from Me . . . eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see.”

 

“'Tell those who are invited, "See, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and fatted cattle are killed, and all things are ready. Come to the wedding.”

 

In this parable, we see that God takes the initiative. He prepares all things, gets everything ready and then invites us into relationship with Him. It is always that way. He does not invite us into His kingdom because He needs more servants, or more warriors, or even more witnesses. He is the Good Shepherd, we are His sheep. His desire is for us to give our whole heart to Him, to turn fully toward Him, and to keep our eyes on Him. Even when the water is rising and the waves are crashing over us, if we will look to Jesus, He will reach out and pull us back on to our feet, even if it means we walk on the water. His grace truly does precede us and follow us. It surrounds us. Surrounded by His grace.

“And we are His portion and He is our prize
Drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes; If His grace is an ocean, we're all sinking!”

 

Oh! That we would do the Nestea plunge and let go of the burden of trying to figure it all out and fall back in complete trust into His ocean of grace. He invites us to His table, a sign and a symbol, a sacrament, pointing us forward to the great banquet table John saw in his revelation of worship in heaven.

 

So what is on the other side? Once the invitation is accepted, what does living in a kingdom that is here now but not yet fully here look like? It is a life of faith. We are continually given choices to affirm our faith, to choose to trust in the reliability of the scriptures and the goodness of the King who rules over all and has all power and all authority and to strive to press in “higher up and higher in” our experience of His love and His presence in us, to allow more of His light to shine in us and through us. I believe this will have practical results in our life. A life fully immersed in the ocean of His grace will be more peaceful and less stressful, more accepting and less judgmental, more loving and less hateful, more compassionate and less self-centered, more generous and less selfish, more humble and less arrogant, more Christ dependent and less self-sufficient, greater trust and less anxiety, greater calm and less chaotic.

 

Matthew 7:24-25 (MSG) “These words I speak to you are not incidental additions to your life, homeowner improvements to your standard of living. They are foundational words, words to build a life on. If you work these words into your life, you are like a smart carpenter who built his house on solid rock. Rain poured down, the river flooded, a tornado hit—but nothing moved that house. It was fixed to the rock.”

 

John 13:34-35 (ESV) 34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. 35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

 

John 14:21 (ESV) Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.”

 

Q-273. What is “purity of heart”?

Purity of heart is when by grace we have become open to the work of the Holy Spirit who forms our lives into the image and likeness of Christ, so that we perceive the world as God sees it. (It is “by grace” that we accept the invitation.)

 

“The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.” 

The emphasis is often on those things that can be learned by reading or listening, ideas to be embraced and believed, but what about those things that can only be learned by watching, by observation, by repetition of exercises or honing the skills to master the desired skill or habit? “These do” implies action not just believing. Want to walk in greater peace and experience a deeper serenity in your life?

 

 

Then practice those things we see in scripture, taught by Jesus and Paul and Peter, that the Holy Spirit can use to transform us to conform more to His image, to live each day trusting in His care and provision and enjoying His love and acceptance.

 

Q-273. What is “purity of heart”?

Purity of heart is when by grace we have become open to the work of the Holy Spirit who forms our lives into the image and likeness of Christ, so that we perceive the world as God sees it.

 

Lasting change is the result of the transformation of the Holy Spirit working within us. Our part is to say, “Not my will but Your will, O Lord, be done in my life”.

 

Taking every thought captive, working the word into our life daily, having done all, to stand, aware that all is grace. It is only because of the mercy and grace of an extravagant, loving God that our faith becomes visible as good works.

 

“Lord, we pray that your grace may always precede and follow us, that we may continually be given to good works;”

 

Notes : John 1:45-47 English Standard Version (ESV)

  45 Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” 46 Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.”

 

Psalm 66:5 English Standard Version (ESV)

Come and see what God has done:
    he is awesome in his deeds toward the children of man.

 

John 4:28-29English Standard Version (ESV)

28 So the woman left her water jar and went away into town and said to the people, 29 “Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?”

 

Matthew 11:28-30English Standard Version (ESV)

28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

 

CEC Catechism Q-273. What is “purity of heart”?

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