Ray Of Hope Church Of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Inc.
The Church in Central New York founded and consistently fostered by the GLBTQIS community. October 31, 2017 was the 34th Anniversary in our 35th year in Ministry.
  |  Home  |  About  |  Faith  |  Purpose  |  Sexuality  |  Location  |  Worship  |  Contact  |  Resources  |  Staff  |  Ministry  | Organization

Sermon April 21, 22, 2001
The Resurrection Of Jesus Christ, Week 2 Year C


 

The following are the Scripture readings as scheduled in the "Revised Common Lectionary," an ecumenical schedule of readings of Holy Scripture. Our sermons are based on these readings.



Acts 5;27-32
Resurrection Sunday week 2 Year C April 21/22, 2001



27When they had brought them, they had them stand before the council. The high priest questioned them, 28saying, "We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name, yet here you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and you are determined to bring this man’s blood on us." 29But Peter and the apostles answered, "We must obey God rather than any human authority. 30The God of our ancestors raised up Jesus, whom you had killed by hanging him on a tree. 31God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior that he might give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. 32And we are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey him."

This is the Word Of The Lord; Thanks Be To God.

Psalm 150 I changed the psalm for this weekend.

1 Praise the LORD!
Praise God in his sanctuary;
praise him in his mighty firmament!
2 Praise him for his mighty deeds;
praise him according to his surpassing greatness!
3 Praise him with trumpet sound;
praise him with lute and harp!
4 Praise him with tambourine and dance;
praise him with strings and pipe!
5 Praise him with clanging cymbals;
praise him with loud clashing cymbals!
6 Let everything that breathes praise the LORD!
Praise the LORD!

Resurrection Year C April 21/22, 2001
Revelation 1:4-8



4John to the seven churches that are in Asia:
Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, 5and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.
To him who loves us and freedŁ us from our sins by his blood, 6and madeŁ us to be a kingdom, priests serving his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

7 Look! He is coming with the clouds;
every eye will see him,
even those who pierced him;
and on his account all the tribes of the earth will wail.
So it is to be. Amen. 8"I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.

This is the Word Of The Lord; Thanks Be To God.

John 20: 10-31
Resurrection Year C April 21/22, 2001



10Then the disciples returned to their homes.

Jesus Appears to Mary Magdalene

11But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb; 12and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet. 13They said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping?" She said to them, "They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him." 14When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. 15Jesus said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?" Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, "Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away." 16Jesus said to her, "Mary!" She turned and said to him in Hebrew, "Rabbouni!" (which means Teacher). 17Jesus said to her, "Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God." 18Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, "I have seen the Lord"; and she told them that he had said these things to her.

Jesus Appears to the Disciples

19When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you." 20After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. 21Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you." 22When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit. 23If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained."

Jesus and Thomas

24But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. 25So the other disciples told him, "We have seen the Lord." But he said to them, "Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe."
26A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you." 27Then he said to Thomas, 'Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe." 28Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!" 29Jesus said to him, "Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe."

The Purpose of This Book

30Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. 31But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.

Brother Benedict,

Sermon for Week Two of the Celebration of the RESURRECTION OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST year C
April 21/22, 2001



Acts 5:27-32
Psalm 150
Revelation 1:4-8
John 20:10-31

Jesus has a very important command in today's Gospel at John 20:21:"As the Father has sent me, so I send you." Then, having said this, Jesus continued; "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained." (John 20:22,23)

How did God send Jesus, why did God send Jesus? The entire ministry of Jesus was to reconcile the creation to God. God sent Jesus to reconcile all creation to God by giving all creation the right to the power of Christ that overcomes death. Meditate on these verses and see this is true.

Ephesians 2:15-20:

He has abolished the law with its commandments and ordinances, that he might create in himself one new humanity in place of the two, thus making peace, 16and might reconcile both groups to God in one body through the cross, thus putting to death that hostility through it. 17So he came and proclaimed peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near; 18for through him both of us have access in one Spirit to the Father. 19So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God, 20built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone.?



Colossians 1:19-20:

For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20and through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross.



Romans 5:10-11:

For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, much more surely, having been reconciled, will we be saved by his life. 11But more than that, we even boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.



2 Corinthians 5:18-20:

All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation; 19that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us. 20So we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us; we entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.



Paul frames the entire ministry of the Church during this age as the "ministry of reconciliation." (2 Cor. 5:18) The entire work of Christ was to reconcile all things, all creation, in heaven and on earth to God through the sacrifice for sin. You say, this is too broad, Brother Benedict, for surely God only reconciled humanity to God, and surely creation doesn't count! No, praise the Lord! Look at this Scripture again very carefully.

Colossians 1:19-20:

For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20and through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross.


The reconciliation was for "all things, whether on earth or in heaven." Sin had driven a wedge, forming a gap between the plan and love of God and creation.

Romans 8:22; "For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now." Romans 8:19 "For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God." The point being creation groans and waits for the fulness of the kingdom too.

God crushed the power of sin and rebellion by removing its hold on creation by offering the required blood offering, that is the offering of humanity in reconciliation back to God through Jesus. This is explained all throughout Scriptures and particularly well in Hebrews 9:26-28;

But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the age to remove sin by the sacrifice of himself. 27And just as it is appointed for mortals to die once, and after that the judgment, 28so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin, but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.



The goal of God is to bring all human beings of all times and ages into the household of God. However, God will not force anyone into the Household. Now in this Age Of Grace we can individually enter through the Blood Of Jesus Christ. As Paul says, since the sacrifice is completed we who believe are already members. Ephesians 5:19-20;

19So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God, 20built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone.?



Christ calls the holy people God, the Body Of Christ in the world today, the Church Of God, to continue all the work of Christ.

John 8:31-32 31;

Then Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, "If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples; 32and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free."



Matthew 5:14-15 14;

"You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. 15No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven."



Christ has entrusted us with all the ability to do His ministry of reconciliation that is to continue to set people free from the power of sin and death and to usher them into the House of God. Christ has given us His own power and ability to do this. Listen to John 14:12-14:

12Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. 13I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14If in my name you ask me for anything, I will do it.



Forgiveness is the crux of Christ's work. Salvation requires forgiveness. Anyone with unfinished business in regards to restitution for sins needs to hear Christ tell us we must forgive and make the situation as right as we possibly can. Jesus closes this reading saying: "So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses." (Matt. 18:35)

Jesus gave us the ministry of reconciliation, which is the exact subject of tonight's Gospel reading. Reconciliation happens through the forgiveness of sin. Sin cannot be forgiven if it isn't confessed! If sin is retained that is, if we refuse to confess it, we lose our fellowship with God, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and with the Church. Why? For the same reason Jesus cried out from the cross: "Father, why have you forsaken me?" God cannot receive sin. Turn to your neighbor and say "God cannot receive sin."

This is the reason the ministry of reconciliation is at the very heart, the very center of the Church. Jesus Christ came, lived, died, and rose to forgive sins so that we may be reconciled to God. The forgiveness of sins is the entire core of our ministry.

Jesus says: "As the Father has sent me, so I send you." (John 20:21) Oh my, put that with the verses we say many times a month where Jesus says those who believe in Him will do the same and better works than He did, (John 14:12-14) and we have an explosion of possibilities for our lives. We are invited to do all, and achieve all that Jesus did. In order to achieve this commission of being sent to reconcile the world to God, as Jesus was sent, and now sends us, He immediately provides the necessary tools.

John records as soon as Jesus told them they were being sent to the world as God had sent them, He "breathed on them and said to them, 'Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.'" (John 20:23) In order to do the ministry of reconciliation we would need the ministry of the Holy Spirit among us. Only Spirit-filled persons can achieve any ministry using the fellowship of the Holy Spirit. It isn't possible to do ministry by reading a manual and following a set of directions. We must be in total union with the Holy Spirit before we even start. Then and only then, can we begin to do the works that Jesus did and can we respond to His sending us to the world as God sent Him, namely to forgive sins.

In the first reading today, Acts 5:27-32, the Apostles are in trouble for preaching the Gospel of Jesus in Jerusalem. They have been summoned before the religious council. The High Priest accuses them of filling "Jerusalem with your teaching and you are determined to bring this man's blood on us." (Acts 5:28) Peter says we must obey God, not men. Peter went on to summarize the ministry of Jesus as one of reconciliation for "repentance to Israel and the forgiveness of sins." (Acts 5:32) The religious leaders didn't want the people to find out their sins could be forgiven because that would ruin the obligations they had made on the people, keeping them in fear of God. However, if we are faithful to God's desire to save everyone who believes we also will stand against the religious leaders of our day who truly wish we also would be quiet.

We must continue to tell people we know they too can be reconciled to God directly through the ministry of Jesus. This was said beautifully in the second reading from Revelation 1:4-8. Verses five and six say "To Him who loves us and freed us from our sins by His blood, and made us to be a kingdom, priests serving His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever, Amen."

Christ has entrusted the Church, you and me, with the power and ability to continue His ministry with his own very presence to assist us. What ministry is the most important? The Ministry Of Reconciliation. Therefore, it is essential we spread the wonderful news to all our family and friends that Jesus Christ is alive and risen from the dead today and He is calling every one of us to be reconciled to God through His blood sacrifice. This is the primary message of the Church Of God in Christ risen in the Age Of Grace. All this is beautifully summarized in John 3:16-17:

16"For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. 17"Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18Those who believe in him are not condemned; but those who do not believe are condemned already, because they have not believed in the name of the only Son of God.



God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that he world might be saved through him. Let us go from here and declare the Ministry Of Reconciliation, the very ministry of Christ.

To God be the Glory in Christ forever, Amen.

  * Scroll Window