The Sunday Sermon: Called to be Prophets of God
+ In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
This morning I want us to walk away with one piece of knowledge. I want us to leave here today knowing just one thing – that we are called by God to be prophets.
What is a prophet? A prophet is one who acts as a channel of communication between God and the world and who tells the world what God is trying to say to the world.
It’s an awesome responsibility. It’s a responsibility we took on when we received our salvation in Christ at Baptism.
And frankly, it’s a responsibility that many, if not most, modern day Christians ignore. It’s not hard to imagine why. The modern world has rejected Christianity. We’re living in a post-Christian World. And increasingly, we’re living in an world and a country that not only doesn’t want to hear about God, we’re living in a world that wants to silence religion in the public sphere.
The world is telling us to keep our religion to ourselves. We can believe whatever we want on Sunday morning but as soon as Monday rolls around the world wants us to set our religiously informed convictions aside.
But take comfort. Take comfort because the world has forever and ever amen, rejected the Prophets who dare to speak the truth which God has planted in their hearts.
Amos, a herdsman and a dresser of sycamore trees was called by God from among his flock and told to go and prophesy to Israel 750 years before the birth of Christ.
And the King, Jeroboam of Israel, didn’t like what God was saying through Amos. And so he sent his priest, Amaziah, to tell Amos “O seer, go, flee to the land of Judah (that is leave the country) and earn your bread there, and prophesy there; but never again prophesy at Bethel…”
So take comfort – God’s prophets have long been rejected.
But proclaim the message which God has given us we must, even when we are rejected.
Amos refused to flee. He couldn’t flee and neither can we because the message we have is from God.
And what is our message? What is the message that God has given to us to proclaim?
It’s the most powerful message that he ever asked anyone to proclaim.
The message is the Good News – the Gospel. And the Gospel is and always has been Jesus Christ, in whom we find our salvation.
For those who turn to him, repenting of their sins, God forgives them, and offers them new life in his son Jesus, and he makes us his children by adoption, forgiving us our trespasses.
And this salvation has been the plan of God all along – it is the mystery which was hidden in ages past but has been revealed to us in Jesus: that God wants us to dwell with him forever in eternal life.
God calls you and me to be prophets and heralds of this Good News.
He calls on us to share the message of salvation with all whom we meet. And he calls us to live as Children of Grace who have received that wonderful gift.
That means that our lives, how we live our lives, how we treat others must be informed by the idea that God has called everyone to be in a relationship with him. He wants all people to love him and to know the love that he has for them.
And so, yes, part of our ministry as prophets of the Good News is to remind people of the hard truth of our sinfulness. We need to remind ourselves and the world that without God we are broken and we can’t fix ourselves.
I think that’s why the world hates the prophets so much. Every prophet, including you and me, has to talk about the hard truth so sin, which separates us from God.
But once we get past that – once we know that we’re broken, once others come to accept the hard truth that we’re broken and unable to fix ourselves, we come to the beautiful truth that God is ready to give us a new life. Not fix the old one. As the Bible says, you can’t put new wine in old wineskins – you can’t put a new spirit in an old life, so God’s gonna give us a new life and a new spirit and a new heart.
And maybe you’re sitting there right now thinking – you know father, I have someone in my life who I would really like to see here in Church. I have someone in my life that I really wish would come to accept the Good News, someone who I want to meet Jesus, but no matter how hard I’ve tried they just wont come to him.
Well, let me share with you one of my favorite quotable bishops, Bishop Michael Marshall. He had this line, and maybe I’ve used it before. He points out that before the breakthrough comes the breakdown. Or maybe he said “after the breakdown comes the breakthrough.” Either way what he has it right.
All of us need to learn our utter dependence on Christ. Now for many of us, we’ve come to church and we’ve been in a relationship with our Lord and God for all our lives and that’s wonderful.
But there are many out there for whom that isn’t the case. For those people, for us too, but for those people especially, the only thing we can do is wait and pray until they experience the breakdown. Because before God can breakthrough with his grace, they need to breakdown – the need to break down of that pattern of self reliance, that thought that they can put the pieces of their lives together on their own. Someday it’ll happen. Jesus tells there are healings which can only happen by prayer and fasting on our part.
God calls us to be prophets – to share the Good News – which is Jesus. The world will reject us, but like Amos, we mustn’t back down from the truth which God has planted in our our hearts – so Go- Go out into the world and proclaim the Good News to the people of the world who so desperately need to hear it:
God has called us to be his children and to dwell with him, in his Kingdom, forever and ever. Amen.