Saturday, September 29, 2012
Sermon Notes for September 30, 2012
Its a Sign!
Part Three: Your Son Lives! Faith in God’s Word as the Path of Life
Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost
September 30, 2012
Have you see Signs, the exciting sci-fi thriller by M Night Shyamalan? Its not only a fun film that grossed over $425m, its also a stunning portrayal of the power of Christian signs defeating the darkness and moving people from unbelief to a recovery of authentic faith.
* “Swing away!” - he remembered the word spoken and quoted it.
* “The battle turned in the Middle East” - indeed it did!
* Sam Harris on Faith as dangerous and irrelevant
* “The most extraordinary thing about the 20th century was the failure of God to die.” - Paul Johnson
In this age of rising disbelief and misbelief we are called to be people of faith. Does it makes sense to believe? GK Chesterton said that even if he didn’t believe in God he needed his banker and his lawyer to do so! In the end Descarte couldn’t doubt that he was doubting! Perhaps like that old philosopher, a spirit of faith may yet rise from the despair of doubt crushing many. This should begin with the Church recovering her Faith in Christ!
I. Faith in the Word Come Down - John 4:46-49
A. Back to Cana and ‘Down’ to the Need - v.46-47, 49
* Where we really are: on the verge of death
* “Royal Official” - probably from Herod’s Court, but the ICU is a great equalizer.
- Romans 3:23
- He came with the faith as defined by Wordsworth - “Passionate intuition.”
B. Collective Unbelief: John 4:48
* The Word made flesh - John 1:1-3, 14
- “Veiled in flesh the Godhead see; hail the Incarnate Deity Pleased as man with man to dwell; Jesus, our Immanuel”
“Lord, come down...” - He had!
* “I can see how a man can look down upon the earth and be an atheist, but I cannot conceive how he could look up to the heavens and say there’s no God.” - Abraham Lincoln
II. Faith in the Word Spoken - John 4:50-53
A. Seeing to Believe or Believing to See? John’s Gospel is written to call us to authentic faith that rests our lives upon Jesus and his word
* John 20:26-29 - Confessing Jesus as God among us and receiving his blessing upon all who are in his faithful generation.
- We don’t have faith in miracles but rather faith in the word spoken by Jesus.
* “Do not seek to understand in order to believe, but believe that you may understand.” - St Augustine
* “Its not the parts of the Bible I don’t understand that bothers me. What bothers me are the parts of the Bible I understand only too well.” - Mark Twain
- The nobleman believes Jesus word and goes on his way. Let no parent here cease praying for their child, but as you do, go on your way believing that the One who is the Word will speak life to your child, recovering them and keeping them for the Kingdom.
B. “Hath God said...?” remains one of the most potent weapons in our enemy’s arsenal. “It is written...” remains the single most powerful one in ours!
- “How firm a foundation ye saints of the Lord is laid for your faith in his excellent word!”
- Your faith in Jesus will lead others to the same faith: 4:53
III. Faith in the Word Raised Up - John 4:54
A. Three times the Gospel records the words “Your son lives!”, making sure that we don’t miss the point (see also 1 Kings 17:23)
B. The King will see to it that The Son is not left in the clutches of death, that he is rescued from corruption and raised to life. This makes the Prince of Life the Author of Faith, the One who by his own death and resurrection brings us into his Life.
* John 5:21, 24; 20:
The Word Incarnate has comes as the sign and wonder, ‘coming down’ into our pain and desperation. He has given us his word of command by which we may come to life eternal here and now, and return to and live in the world of pain, trusting in the One who is Life and makes all things new.
“To the one who has faith no explanation is necessary. To the one without faith no explanation is possible.” - St Thomas Aquinas
Like the Nobleman we head out on our way trusting the words of Jesus, knowing he is not only our last hope, but our only hope, and the Hope of all.