The Lighthouse Keeper

Greetings from Pastor Kerry, former pastor of Spring City UMC. This blog contains my sermon outlines and/or manuscripts from my pastorate among the people of Spring City PA, from 2006 to 2011. Pastor Dennis is now the lighthouse keeper. Come and worship on Sundays at 10:00 a.m.!

Sunday, July 23, 2006

"The Organic Church"

July 23, 2006
from Ephesians 2:11-22 and Titus 3:1-12

"...He saved us, not because of any works of righteousness that we had done, but according to his mercy, through the water of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit... (Titus 3:5)"

The second of seven sermons on Ephesians

My sermon outline:

• What is “organic”, what is “inorganic”? Rebecca did you eat a lot of tuna when you were pregnant with Emma? Why not? Mercury, poison, collects in the fish, gets ingested by human, poisons developing fetus. (organic = referring to a living organism)

• My brother is a hydrogeologist in Bangladesh, working for UNICEF to address arsenic problem

• Poison needn’t be a chemical; it can be an attitude or action (See Titus 3:3: we were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, despicable, hating one another...) These things in the organic body of the church are destructive

• Or look to Ephesians 2:14: Christ ... has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us. Like the Sneetches, or the less famous Zax.

• Relationships may be poisoned like Israel and Hezbollah or Hamas. Or like the guy who flipped me off in the parking lot last week. Or like the dissensions and quarrels that drive wedges between spouses or siblings or church members

• Christ is our peace; in his flesh he has made [our enemies and us] into one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us. I can’t help but picture an organic image of Christ making us into one in him. Like a mother hen sheltering its young under its wings, Christ takes us and our poisons into himself, “that he might create in himself one new humanity... thus making peace... and might reconcile us to God... putting to death the hostility.”

• Making peace is something to celebrate, reconciliation to God, death to hostility, things to celebrate. And we celebrate them in baptism. We and our sin join Jesus in death, symbolized by going under the water, and we are reborn and renewed in Jesus’ resurrection

• In baptism we who were strangers and aliens to God are adopted into God’s family, not by our own works of righteousness but by God’s mercy and grace, and for God’s glory, for God’s dwelling place.

• Therefore since we are shown grace and mercy let us show grace and mercy

• Therefore let us be fertile ground for the growth of the newest member of God’s family, little Emma, who with us is (Ephesians 2:19: We are no longer strangers and aliens but citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God...)

• Therefore Titus 3:1-2: (Let us be obedient, ready for every good work, speaking evil of no one, avoiding quarrelling, let us be gentle and show courtesy to everyone)

• Therefore pray that God reconciles you to your brother, brings peace in the Middle East, reconciles humankind to God

- Pastor Kerry
This Sunday: warm & cloudy. An infant baptism today. 61 in worship.


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