A sermon given on November 5, 2006 on Luke 7:11-17.
Father son. Holy spirit. Amen Today's Gospel to just read from Luke chapter 7 is one of those gospels that something about it is kind of special about this particular kind of touches us on the inside ways of other ones may not maybe there's something about the Great American read about miracles of the Lord did before but there's something about this particular one the way there was a widow whose only son died and her life was really just Bleak really nothing to look forward to nothing to hold on to him. Where the Lord can I have some compassion on her and raised the boy has great miracle. There's something about this particular gospel that somehow every time I read it a lot of people the same way. It does something on the inside kind of touches you and kind of like that if I have to come up with a one-word summary. What does a gospel teaches if you had to do that? What would you say? This is Gospel teaches you to summarize and kind of one word. What is this gospel all about some gospels is all about like power of the Lord some gospels all about like Judgment of the Lord forgiveness of the Lord. Would you like characterize this gospel? You dump it down to one word for the word that I chose the word hope because to me above all else this gospel in the gospel a message of Hope Tell me about all else This is Gospel is a message of Hope because you see someone who is the epitome of hopeless, right? That's the way it always is Lady as a husband who's passed away. She's a widow and that's like the saddest thing in the whole wide world except maybe one thing is more sad is when you only had one kid and that your kid died as well. See this woman has absolutely nothing to look forward to in life Middle East at the time A Woman by herself. Like this could really get by maybe a lot of people is weeping and mourning right now, but within a week or two, she's just kind of forgot but left to fend for herself was going to happen just like she might just die by the side of the street. She's got no hope no reason to smile. No reason to look forward to living another day this lady had But then by the end of the story, you know, the things is different. Tradition story about hope to me and hope is a good word. I think every single person who came here today as hope something has hope or should I say we change that has hope for something has hope that something would change everyone is comes into a situation. I wish would change. Hope it's something that applies to the sick guy in the hospital waiting for the results of the test, but it was something that the teenage student who gets made fun of and who just didn't have any reason to go on. Hope it's something I can look forward to hopefully something that if you're just a normal average person going through life and you struggled with sin and fall into standing you may be blessed hope that you can make a change or a break from the addiction or whatever is enslaving you hope it's something that everyone is looking for you in if you're just plain ol Redskins fan may come in today looking for hope If something can change then we can get away once helped write this world is not looking for Hope who doesn't need help in something. What's me, that's what make this gospel. So special is the transition from so hopeless to so hopeful in in the snap of a finger. There was no like median transition. It was one second hopeless one second full of Hope the picture for you. So you kind of go back in time and try to picture it with me because I believe that the gospel makes it very very clear like a vivid contrast of the Hopeless in the hopeful and a way that you can see There's two groups of people that are each walking down the same road, but they're walking in opposite direction. Do you have this road right here and you have a group of people walking in a funeral procession seen a middle-eastern funeral procession. It ain't a pretty picture screaming wailing moaning everyone wearing black Everyone crying and especially the people from the city came to groan and moan and weep with this lady because it was such a hopeless situation everyone felt. Sorry for this lady you have this perception here, which is symbolized by death symbolized by morn symbolized by despair of no hope they have another procession going the opposite direction. And I think it's it's it's nice how that you were going on the same road in the opposite direction and that's Christ and his disciples. What was the atmosphere was the mood of their procession will earlier in the chapter. We read that they had just finished Chrysler just done a great miracle and the disciples were so overjoyed and so happy and so full of Hope because they saw someone who's sick. It was the servant of the Centurion Okemos Mi servant is sick. He said we just weren't word from your mouth and heal this guy and disciples is hard to look at myself. Dr. Maybe if he was there he could have healed them. But how is he here going to be like going all the way over there? Crysteel just one word from his mouth is walking down the same road but this group is high-fiving each other. So happy this group is Victorious just like just won the Superbowl this group feels like they're on top of the world. And then the to meet each other at the Gate of a city called name and what happens next is truly amazing. What happens next is what makes this gospel so special. What are the two? Has to change it isn't room for both of these people don't like in the middle evil the days of the jousting. That's where my mind is on the horse and have the stick they're running down for each other and they hit each other with Jurassic knock knock life. You have hope you have a hopeless. One of the two has to win. Well, I didn't even a competition of who win this battle Christ is the head of this one. Change the situation and this situation over here too. So hopeless as quickly transformed all because they ran into Christ, you know, there's a prayer that we say in the Liturgy which probably about you. A lot of you probably never heard. It's kind of early on takes place in the prayer for the sick that we say early in the matins prayer just like one of the first things the very beginning of the Liturgy we pray and we talked about the hope of the Hopeless by Christ and the help of those who have no help. That's what the gospel is to me. Today is like rice today proved that he has the hope of the hopeless but you know what? He's not just the help of the helpless. He's more than that. He's also the help of those who have no help with a lot of people can provide. Hope I didn't come to your house after a relative passed away and I can say a few fancy word and give you hope you can read a nice book. You can watch a nice TV show. I can give you a hope but in the end I'm a leave your house and going to be exactly the same by cuz I have no power to actually make a difference in anyone's life. That's what Christ has different. He doesn't just give hope he gives hope he gets help you with the lady today he gave her hope he met her and gave her hope that life does go on and what situation can be changed and then you know, what does right after that is he makes the situation. That's the best thing about him. Is he provides the hope and he provides the help. And this is good news. Like I said in the beginning you came in here today with something on your mind that you are looking for hoping you may not have come seeking an answer for the hope. You may not have come looking specifically for a solution. But you know, what? Neither did the woman? Woman was walking on this road to meet Christ walking down this road in order to see a miracle. It was walking down the road, but they happened and something's going to happen for you. You came here like the boy. Maybe you dead spiritually. Maybe you got no life in you maybe you feel a situation at work is dead over close the camp situation at home. My marriage can't be resolved can't be fixed. Maybe you feel like it's hopeless. Maybe you feel like your spiritual life. I'm a slave to sin. That's it and a story. I confessed a thousand times can't do anything about it. Hopefully, you know what you make me like that boy carry them here dead. Maybe you can carry by your family if your teenager high school supposed to come here and it's the way your Sunday works. You come to church have your bond. You have your teeth go out to lunch. Watch the Redskins lose. This is the way your son is go. I don't know why you were on the same road. The Christ is on when you wanted to Christ. You have an opportunity of a lifetime, but you don't leave the same way. Cuz he's our hope and he's also our help first. Let's address the whole part of it. Christ gives hope and you're the best part about this whole gospel to me is how he gives hope or better why he gets home and what you'll see is the Christ gave hope to this lady to the situation. They saw only one thing which is his grace only on his grace only because he wanted to not because anything the lady did Raymond the boy did it's so clear in the story The Lady didn't even ask him for nothing. No one came to him and said, please can you heal the boy Minion Kevin said, please there's a sad lady. Please come and talked up on her come and say some nice words. No one came to him and ask him to do anyting don't even mention him. If there's a funeral it's not like other Miracles. What are some great profession of faith and someone says, I believe I believe help my unbelief. There's not even a mustard seed of Faith here. There's nothing there's nothing inside the boy that makes him want any Are there any other boy boy a handsome boy? I said this guy deserves to live. It was very simple or on your screen. The Lord saw her compassion on her and said to her do not wait. She didn't do nothing and salute him on his feet. So you answer me this question why he did this miracle? Why you gave her hope? Why he changed everything right here very simple because that's who he is. He's the hope of the Hopeless he can't be anything, but hope it's based on him not based on us. If I tell you that Christ. Everything that he's ever done for you has nothing to do with you as you all about him. Everything that he gives us is based on his goodness not based on my good. He doesn't give me stuff because I am good. I am good because he gives me stuff you see the difference. He doesn't give me stuff because I am good. I am good because he gives me stuff. That's what grace mean, but you paint your picture right here. My kid is now almost two years old. Okay, right. Now he's at the point where we're trying to teach him like our talk how to say stuff and he's got like the blah blah blah down pretty well. Look any kind of nonsense word like that pretty compatible pretty good. But now I'm trying to get him to go from the Babbling like saying real words, so I don't know when he goes What do you want you want to eat? Okay, because he wants to eat but I want to teach him how to say food. I don't even want to say like orange or banana when he wants an orange. So what happens if he says no Michael say orange don't just say, what did he do? Burning is your laughing actually did it? No joke ask my wife. He did it actually is really cute one of those dad moments. He refused to say what's going to happen in the end. Oh. I want, give it to him. Why. Because I'm his dad. I'm not feeding him because you said it because I love him because I wanted to do orange and no matter what he says. I'm going to give it to him. I didn't even say on board. The really I gave it to you cuz I love you and because I want to give it to you. That's who I am. That's Grace. That's the same way. God doesn't give us stuff because we're good because he's good. Did raise this boy fix the boy was a missionary because he fasted that morning. Is it because you wanted to raise him? That's who he is. He is all about him not about us. Now, let me ask you a question. I want you to think about this one very very carefully before you answer it if I tell you that it's all about God's grace not about what you do. How does that make you feel? What I tell you the God's goodness is based on him one and it is based on us. How does that feet make you feel? How does that really make you feel because my guess is that while it should make us feel good and should make us feel great and actually makes it feel very uncomfortable and I don't like it. We don't like Grace. To be honest, I like works much better than Grace because works I understand Grace makes no sense to me. I'm uncomfortable with me. If I try harder things get better that makes sense to me. That's how we deal with each other. That's how human beings think but that's not the Bible. That's not Christianity. That's not God. That's an invented thing. That's not Christianity whatsoever. Christianity is he's not good to us. I'm sorry. He doesn't give us because we are good. We are good cuz he gives to us. What is Marcia Romans 15 verse 13? Saint Paul says now may the god of Hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing that you may abound in Hope. Why he gets hope why people are bound. Hope simple cuz he's the god of hope. There's no other option the god of Hope can't make you a bound and helpless miss. It. Can't be the God of Light cannot give you Dawkins the god of love. Can I give you a hatred? No matter how bad you are no matter how hopeless yard, but no matter how dead you may be. This is actually a good thing for us. Okay, don't understand it and it doesn't make us comfortable and makes kind of uneasy really good thing. Cuz what this says is matter how hopeless your situation is and how many times you messed up. I don't care if you messed up every single day of your life up until the past 10 seconds right now. You have a chance and hope right. Now the god of Hope wants to make you about and also makes that make you feel like I said in your marriage want to fill it with hope wants to feel you and hope in your spiritual life that you can stop the routine boring prayers that you break a million times and you can have real prayer that you said that the Bible is no longer a dead book for the Bible is a living book and you have life and you and your fire inside you the god of Hope can give me that image for a million years, even if you're dead you're in the coffin and you're one minute away from being buried and you're in a funeral procession God of Hope And bring back life not because of you but because of him. That's a good thing. That's a good thing in the end because I think a lot of us came here today. Like I said everyone today wishing there was some hope it may not particularly. Hope, you know what the mom wasn't picking her up today either. She just walked in and she walked out with something much different. But it gets better than that. The story would only be halfway complete and it wouldn't be a truly great. If it was just a hope thing. Like I said, I can give you hope books can give you a hope. But only Christ can give you the help that you need and what you see today is a Jesus gave help based on one thing. on his word What do Universe 14 look what it said? Never remember the story so often that we just kind of let me know how the story ends. So like we kind of read it kind of a superficial kind of way, but they don't know how the story ends. Okay, no idea how this story and you have no idea what's going to happen even better. You're at the funeral of yourself. You got a funeral here in st. Mark Coptic Orthodox Church, the Dead the crying the Weeping the distance that they're all of a sudden some guy who you may not even know your city walks in and says, And he said young man. I say to you arise. Young man I say to you arise what's going through your head right now. This guy's Wacom. The cat is nobody's talking about. This seems like the last thing that you would say at a funeral I can hear anything else that if you don't accept these worth. Young man. I miss you young man. May God Repose your soul young man. We praying for you and praying for your family these things. I'm used to hearing. I'm not used to hearing young man. I say to you arise that's exactly what Christ said. And the thing is when you look at this specific sentence right here. What you'll notice is as a Christ is not giving like a wishful thinking or eyes like hoping. All right. Maybe you will maybe you won't this is a command. This is a direct looking and straighten the icing you arise right now. He speaks with a 40 and he speaks very very direct one word. alive That's when the flip flop happen. That's when the despair turn to the hope. That's when the darkness to the light. That's when the death turn to life with one word from his mouth which was arise. It was a weird word one word nonetheless and that the power of the word of God are like the word of God is living and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword. The word of God just one word of God is enough. change any situation that there may be going on in your life, but you got to make sure you obey what it says. So that's the thing the boy. I don't I know it's hard to understand you. The boy has to obey that command. The boy had to obey that command. And if you didn't obey a command he wouldn't have gotten the life. I know it's kind of hard to understand. It doesn't make sense dead person tank ride. I obey not a babe. The church and its Infinite Wisdom got us ready for this message by The Gospel reading a Vespers last night. Anyone do the church calendar readings in advance know what Gospel reading last night was a big piece or Bond? No, one Peter Vega, what did Peter do? He stepped out about he walked on water. Very very good. It was when Saint Peter in the boat, I can walk on the water. That's pretty cool. I said you think that's cool. Come on out here with me and Saint Peter stepped out there. You walked on what you know what the message was. The message is very simple when I say something you do it. I don't care if it's crazy stupid joke ever doesn't make sense. If I say welcome water you walk on water if I say Horizon the dead arise you be quiet you. All right. If I say it's time to stop this relationship. It's time to stop and their story you want to ask me questions. They know. I said walk of water you said yes, sir. And you walk on water. That was the message of last night. That's the same as to this boy's teaching is right. Now then when God says arrived, it doesn't matter how silly it seemed ridiculous. It seems if he comes to you and says arrived your eyes are $0.03 each one of us arrived. I have a new life waiting for you arrive from the Sleepy spiritual life around National Life of apathy arise. I'm just going to work and coming home every single day doing the same routine Aurora live a new life. It's time to really let him and it's time to have a Spirit-filled life of fire life arise and some of us. So, you know what? I don't understand how that's going to work. That doesn't make any sense to me. I'm going to plan over the next 6 months to have that spiritual fiery life. What what's 6 months or 6 months or 6 minutes? It's right. Now when the boy raised from the dead was it a gradual process versus foot and his nose 1 second Dead 1 second alive understory. That's the way people rise from the dead. That's the way God wants to change your life. I don't care how you came in here today. Okay. I lost you may have been I don't care how much you lived since I don't care how dry and boring and dead your spiritual life is I don't care how many liturgies you afraid and slept and look at your world from every single one of them today can be different. Right now can be absolutely different because that's what I got is. He's a God who takes dead and makes them alive. He's a guy who takes hopeless and gives them hope he's a dog who take no Helper and give them the help that they can do the same thing for us, but you gotta obey if he says arrived arrive if he says leave your job leading dumb and he said stop is relationship stop this relationship and he tells you to get up early and go bowling play the go to do and don't tell me what how and why I don't know where I work. Don't say that don't invent reasons and excuses and nonsense. He says arrived when you're asked questions just walk on water you walk on water just do what he says to do. I don't complicate the matter with that nonsense Samaritan woman changed. Her life was a long process was their step to ship sank like a priest's servant class to become a missionary. Now, there's the ks Levi any other people Lazarus any Is it a long process? No, I don't care how you came in here today. My guess is every single one of us came in here today not knowing you're looking for not knowing you're looking for Hope even the deep inside is something that God said, I want to give you life. I want you to arrive. I don't want you to walk out of here the same way. And you have that opportunity just like the woman came and hopeless left with Hope just like the boy came in dead Left Alive full of life. You can do the same thing. Here's the thing. Don't miss your opportunity. Don't miss your opportunity to rise because I do believe that they are limited. What I mean by that is if Peter would have chosen to not walk on the water last night. You think you had a chance next week? Thank God we're coming back to know please walk on water. Please get a bedtime every single day. I don't think so. I had to get a bed this boy to rise. If you want a ride. I think this minute this boy had a chance or eyes or sleep forever chose a ride out of choice walk on water now or stay on land for the rest of your life chose to walk on water life is never the same, please don't miss your chance. Are you are today you came in maybe a funeral procession maybe dead maybe no life may be no. Hope you came in someone ran into you today. And you saying to you arise you have a choice. Will you obey but not obey help you make the right decision? Cuz I don't know when that Chance is going to be there for you again glory be to God forever. Amen.