Monday, 15 October 2012

Discipleship and Christian Conduct




Sermon preached by the Revd Phill Ball on Sunday 7 October 2012
Bible texts: Colossians 4:5-6 & Titus 2:11-14


Loving God , help us to hear your will for our lives, and how we live our lives in your sons kingdom, each and every day.

Today We are looking at Discipleship and Christian Conduct today… and later in this service we will celebrate God's grace. You see, it is grace that is remembered and proclaimed in the Lord's Supper. God’s Grace and Love,

At the centre of our passage from Titus lies the grace of God: "The grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men" (vs 11).

So what is Grace, why do we need it and how does it come to us all?

Grace is an expression of Love, a free gift to all who turn to God and walk along the path God provides for us all, it’s literally the path of salvation, for all time.

Why do we need it?

God is a holy God, and has minimum standards of how we live our lives, so we are also called to be his Holy people in how we conduct our Christian Lives.

Lets use me as an example:

On a good day, a really good day, when I'm doing really well and living my life really well, in terms of Christian conduct, and as a Christian, my Sunday best if you like, I can reach this high:
To the tip of my fingers:

Unfortunately Gods minimum standards,  even though he loves us all literally very dearly, is the apex of the roof…..

What can possibly span this gap, you should be thinking.

Through Love, God sent Jesus to us, and amongst many other things he brought us all who follow his ways, his grace, because its grace that bridges the gap between my finger tips and the apex of the roof.

The even more amazing thing is that through that Grace that Jesus offers us all, we are not just saved, we are regarded as Holy by God the Father, and as the joint heirs of the kingdom, with Jesus, literally becoming Jesus’s sisters and brothers.  I find that truly mind blowing!

But with being made Holy by that Grace, we are of course obliged to live our lives, and conduct ourselves with all the fruits of the Spirit:

The fruits of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  (Galatians 5: 22-23)

If that doesn’t give you inspiration and a huge challenge, then with respect, you're either not  really listening, or forgive me, not doing any of the fruits of the Spirit in your everyday lives!  But as the old saying so correctly says, God loves a trier.

That’s what were called to do, to try to do what were called to do in the Fruits of the Spirit, and  if we try our best, Grace will bridge the gap to God. 

So whether its my Best Day, a normal day, or one of my bad days, as long as I was trying to conduct myself as a Christian, the grace of Jesus will bridge the Gap to the Father!  As long as you are of course genuinely trying....

And When like me you fail, and fall sort of your best efforts, say sorry to God, and pray the Lord’s prayer.  Please note:  Pray it, don’t just say it, God knows what’s in your hearts, and for that matter whether you have tried or not.

And when at the end you say Amen.  What does it mean?  It's Latin for so be it, you are asking God for it all to come true.

The Lords Prayer is just that, a prayer  Not a form of words you just say.  Like Grace, and Gods Love, its important!  If you do what the Lord's Prayer says, and then live that life, the best you can that day, with the fruits of the Spirit as your guide: love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

You won’t go far wrong as a Christian, and as the sister and Brother of Jesus himself,  you will be on the path that God has set for you to the Kingdom of Heaven.

Who do you share the fruits of the Spirit with?  Look around you, at those around you today, your families, and everyone you meet, wherever life takes you! That’s who…

So give thanks for Grace everyday, and when you let Grace bridge the gap to God, you will have the Trinity of God in your daily life, God the Father looking over your journey, Jesus the son, around and within you, bridging your life to God, and God the Holy Spirit living within you, guiding you and helping you to the fruits of the Spirit;

That’s how you live a life full of Christian Conduct, you try each, and every day try to live up to what God calls you to be, the Sisters and Brothers of Jesus, and Holy heirs to the Kingdom itself.

We are called to receive God’s Grace, Gods Love, and then to share Gods love with all we meet. So You pray it, don’t merely say it!  And You live it, you don’t just think it on Sundays!
The best way to show the living Gospel to others, is for them to see you live that Christian Gospel message, sharing Gods Love and Grace with others, in your daily Christian Conduct.

Always remember, as you try each day… God’s Love wasn’t put in your heart to stay,
God’s Love isn’t Love till you share it today, because God loves a trier!

Amen.