Sermon: 2nd Sunday after Easter May 5, 2019 Fr. Michael Cawthon
“Almighty God, who hast given thine only Son to be unto us BOTH a sacrifice for sin,
and also an ensample of Godly life.”
The Epistle reconfirms: Christ did suffer for us, leaving for us an example,
“and that we are to be dead to sins, and we should live in righteousness;
for it was His stripes by which we were healed.”
A sacrifice for us and an example for us.
His whole life was and is an example for us:
on how to die unto sin and live unto Him.
The Righteous of righteousness, leads us as he calls us to
His love for us which greater than any of our sins
(for: by His stripes we are healed.)
It is He who “laid down His life” for us,
and we are His sheep who have gone astray.
THE SHEEP have scattered within the wilderness of this messy secular world:
a world whose God is no God,
whose hope is FALSE AND SHALLOW; void of true Hope,
whose joy is cheap and temporary and is really no Joy at all because it IS HERE ONE DAY AND GONE THE NEXT,
a CHEAP world that deceives.
For those who seek this secular world of delusion, who seek after the easy way, the easy path;
our Lord challenges each of us TODAY
and gives an example of where True Joy and Peace and Everlasting Love can be found.
Hear his voice as He calmly calls you with His words:
Come unto me.
His call to you is sincere
His love for you is beyond our ability even understand.
He is as real today as He was 2000 years ago, and His Love for you is forever.
You see, you are His sheep and only within His arms is your soul safe.
Satan, the wolf, comes for us as He scatters and divides and conquers, as he hardened’s those soft hearts
with which we were created.
It is Satan who unleashed the filthy disease we call sin,
which is death,
as he hardens our hearts until he makes them incapable of even feeling true love.
Satan desires our love to be for things and causes, physical and spiritual, which pulls us away from our God.
Pulling us towards sin:
whether it be sex, drugs, alcohol,
or material things
all which cause us to become addicts
to desires and things that are not of God.
And it is these things that pulls us towards the “messy stuff of this world”
and steers us to things that are so temporary and transparent.
Over time they become instruments which minimizes what is good
and maximizes what is harmful and sinful.
As this world distracts us from God’s purpose for each one of us, our spiritual side, our soul, dulls
and eventually it virtually dies within us.
Yes, my friends: THE WOLF spoken of in the Gospel is within our midst
and he is scattering the sheep!
If you do not believe this then:
turn on your TV (OR COMPUTER) and see, turn on your TV and weep.
Yes there is great goodness in the world,
but this sinful world REFUSES TO show or promote this goodness;
But rather promotes and thrives off of misery, chaos, violence, death, and almost anything that is contrary to Jesus Christ.
AND YET, it is Jesus who died that we might live.
Often an event or events will happen that finally moves the public to a point of rage.
(As many have allowed their faith to waned and fade,
often due to the busyness of their lives – for who has time for God,
and as some sit in the pews and hear the Gospel and never act upon what they receive or hear.)
These type of events are happening way too often,
and many have occurred within the past few months which particularly sadden our hearts.
Fires set to three black churches in a southern Louisiana;
Muslims attacked in their mosques in New Zealand;
Shootings in synagogues, within our country, as Jews worship;
Hundreds of Christians murdered in Nigeria and Sri Lanka;
and then finally last week it came close to home at UNC-Charlotte.
When events like these occur people are astonished and shocked that such a tragedy could happen “in my town.”
I simply wonder and ask – why would they not happen?
(And it is sad and frustrating at the same time that I have these thoughts.)
I see and watch as more and more families elevate the “secular” over the “spiritual,” and at the same time allowing God to be removed from the “secular,”
as decisions are made that elevate positions that are contrary to God.
Just what do we expect to happen?
This morning’s Gospel cries out to be heard.
The wolf has scattered and the sheep and the sheep are so lost.
We must FIND OUR SHEPHERD quickly; for He awaits each one of us.
Our Lord said in the Gospel this morning:
“And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold:
them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice;
and there shall be one flock, and one shepherd.”
Do you hear His voice? –
I am the way, the truth, and the life:
no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
These are words from a God who loves you, a God who awaits you, a shepherd who desires to gather and guides us.
A God who has come into the world to destroy the disease of sin
and is gathering His sheep one by one into His loving arms.
He has showed us and He has told us, will we not see and hear?
Often people search their entire lives for a comfort and peace that constantly eludes them,
and yet it is right before them.
And even with this great reward, this great hope,
many will walk away from His Church and walk this road alone, as they refuse to give him the glory
as they find excuse after excuse of why not to be in His house;
He calls all, but not all hear.
Some act as though they can just “use Him,” as if He were something we can use today and then put in the closet tonight.
This secular attitude cheapens who He is, and cheapens our souls, as being something we can abuse and then suffer no consequences.
It is through Him only that peace will be brought unto His People who call upon His name, for it is then, that He will be our God as we become His people.
We will continue to pray from our altar for the Jews, the Muslims, and for the men called to the ministry – to answer their calling.
All mankind, even those not of our fold will be brought to the voice of Christ, and it is His Church (all of us) and His Ministers (all of us)
who must make that voice (His Word)
to be heard throughout the world.
All of us here this morning need to awaken to the calling we have.