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, January 30, 2011

My Stack of Change

January 30, 2011
Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany

My Stack of Change
1 Corinthians 1:18-31
The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are being destroyed.
But it is the power of God for those of us who are being saved. – 1 Corinthians 1:18
It is because of God that you are in Christ Jesus...
He made us righteous and holy, and he delivered us. – 1 Corinthians 1:30

My sermon outline:
• Comparing my 7-year-old daughter's money to my money to Bill Gates’ money... My stack of change doesn’t hold a candle to BG’s. Which is not to say that my stack of change is worthless – it’s necessary and it’s useful, it’s just not in the same league as BG’s.

Same with God’s wisdom, says Paul...

• Humanity ranks people. We compare grade point averages and even the names of colleges (a bachelor’s degree from a no-name college vs. a bachelor’s degree from Harvard). We remember that Michael Phelps won 8 gold medals in the Olympics two years ago, but do we remember the silver medal winners?

British pastor George Duncan says that one of the most important lessons in Christian service is that of learning to play the second fiddle well. “Think for a moment,” he writes, “how often we come across those whose worth is seldom recognized by men, but I am sure will never be overlooked by God, and will certainly not go unrewarded. Many are prepared to recognize the prominent part played by Simon Peter among the disciples, but forget that if there had not been an Andrew who ‘brought him to Jesus’ there would never have been a Peter! The church universal gives thanks to God for Paul, the greatest Christian who ever lived, but forget that if there had not been a Barnabas there might never have been a Paul!” Duncan goes on to ask his readers how many of them recognize the name of Albert McMakin. But Albert was the young man who invited and took sixteen-year-old Billy Graham to the evangelistic services in which he accepted Christ as his Savior. “So before there could be a Billy there had to be an Albert!”
– p. 461, Preacher’s Sourcebook.

McMakin’s stack of change, like Billy Graham’s stack of change, are both necessary and useful and of value.

• And what McMakin and Graham and Barnabas and Paul and Andrew and Peter have in common is relationship with God, relationship with Jesus, for which there is no prerequisite, and without which one cannot be made righteous before God.

My righteousness is as good as Billy Graham’s – neither one of ours earns us favor with God; favor with God is given solely through Christ. Your righteousness is as good as St. Paul’s, and neither of yours makes you holy; holiness comes as the gift of God. It doesn’t matter if you’re the gold medal winner or the silver medal winner or if you didn’t even qualify for the race, that’s the wisdom of the world, not the wisdom of God.

And that is GOOD NEWS for us, good news for people who look at the Bill Gateses and Billy Grahamses and say “If only I had what they had, then God might look kindly upon me.” The world in its wisdom may say “It’s the money in your pocket or the degree on your wall that gets you what you need,” but God in his wisdom says, “That’s not how it works; righteousness and holiness are given, not earned.” And you DO have what Billy Graham and Albert McMakin and Barnabas and Paul and Andrew and Peter have: relationship with God.

The message of the cross is foolishness... but it is the power of God...

• It is neither our merit nor earthly wisdom that makes us righteous or holy but it is the cross of Christ.

• Handbell Anthem, then Hymn 301 Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross

- Pastor Kerry

This Sunday: 55 in worship.


Post a Comment

<< Home