Saturday, May 21, 2011
Sermon Notes for Fifth Sunday of Easter
Ploughing in Hope
1 Corinthians 9
Fifth Sunday of Easter
May 22, 2011
Hope is an oft-neglected but rich virtue. Hope sustains us day to day, delivering us from despair and motivating us to sacrifice in the present for the sake of a future which we can only see from a distance. The ploughman and thresher do their work in hope, as does the Apostle as he labors in the Gospel for the sake of those he loves and as a servant of the One who called him. This is the essence of Easter, just as Job reminds us: "I know that my Redeemer liveth and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth; and those worms destroy this body, yet from my flesh shall I see God."
* Hopeful about the Church: Messy Churches are True Churches - 9:1-2
(And so are Messy Christians): The Perfectionist, Sectarian Spirit Can't Be Allowed to Prevail
* Hopeful about our Work: Proper Support of the Ministry - 9:3-11
I. Hope, Renouncing Power - 9:19, 23
* Once Again, All Things for the Sake of the Gospel
We need to recall now the essential core of Paul's approach to everything in life - all things for the sake of the Gospel. That's a Copernican revolution for the soul. That's never more true than right here in an American culture where we typically demand our rights, our 'powers' (exousia) Paul calls them, fighting any suggestion that one of our rights be infringed upon. Remember what we learned last Sunday - Paul is embodying the humility and self-giving sacrificial love of Jesus Christ so that Christ might be seen and proclaimed in his life.
II. Hope, Embracing Sacrifice - 9:7, 10
A. The Soldier - Hoping for Victory
B. The Vintner - Hoping for Beauty
C. The Shepherd - Hoping for Redemption
III. Hope, Revealing the Savior
A. Who is the Warrior who fights for us against our foe and wins the day on Golgotha?
B. Who is the Vine, whose blood is the wine of our forgiveness and eternal life?
C. Who is the Shepherd who lays down his life, and the Lamb who becomes our Passover?
Against the prognosticators of despair, Christ arises to remind us that our work with our children, our labor in the culture, our service in the Church, our mission with the Gospel into all the world is a long-term venture that summons us to Faith, Hope, and Love. Faith in Christ; Hope in his Future; Love for All.