Onlline Sermons

We have posted a lot of sermons from our Universal Life Church ministers. Some are Christian and some are not. You are welcome to use them or just enjoy them as you like.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Universal Life Church

Do not remember the things of old. The other day I was sitting with a few of my Army buddies talking about things we had done and had seen. So many distant lands and cultures. We where stranger’s in a strange land. Bound together by one thing. Our faith in the Almighty. That same faith is what brings everyone of us here together on this day.Old Testament Reading: Isaiah 43:18-2518} 

Do not remember the former things, or consider the things of old. {19} I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. {20} The wild animals will honor me, the jackals and the ostriches; for I give water in the wilderness, rivers in the desert, to give drink to my chosen people, {21} the people whom I formed for myself so that they might declare my praise. {22} Yet you did not call upon me, O Jacob; but you have been weary of me, O Israel! {23} You have not brought me your sheep for burnt offerings, or honored me with your sacrifices. I have not burdened you with offerings, or wearied you with frankincense. {24} You have not bought me sweet cane with money, or satisfied me with the fat of your sacrifices. But you have burdened me with your sins; you have wearied me with your iniquities. {25} I, I am He who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins.New Testament Reading: Mark 2:1-12 {1} When he returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he was at home. {2} So many gathered around that there was no longer room for them, not even in front of the door; and he was speaking the word to them. {3} Then some people came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. {4} And when they could not bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him; and after having dug through it, they let down the mat on which the paralytic lay. {5} When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, "Son, your sins are forgiven." {6} Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, {7} "Why does this fellow speak in this way? It is blasphemy! Who can forgive sins but God alone?" {8} At once Jesus perceived in his spirit that they were discussing these questions among themselves; and he said to them, "Why do you raise such questions in your hearts? {9} Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, 'Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, 'Stand up and take your mat and walk'? {10} But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins"--he said to the paralytic-- {11} "I say to you, stand up, take your mat and go to your home." {12} And he stood up, and immediately took the mat and went out before all of them; so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, "We have never seen anything like this!" Please Pray with me now:Spirit of God, would you fall upon all of us. Seep into our hearts and into our minds, and allow us to hear your words in the coming moments. In Christ’s name we pray. AmenI found a story in the Old Testament some of you are probably familiar with. Moses wanted to enter into the Promised Land, and so he sent twelve spies into the Promised Land from the wilderness to check it out and see what they should do. The twelve spies came back, and ten of them said, “Ohhhhhh! Bad idea! There are giants over there. They are way too big for us, and we couldn’t possibly defeat them and take over the promised land. It is a land filled with milk and honey. Wonderful! But we can’t go there.” But Joshua and Caleb gave the minority report. The minority report was, “No, let’s trust God. We can go there. That’s the land that God has promised us.” My friends and I at the end of our Duty Day would sit and talk of the days events. We would talk and complain of how things where being done and how things could never change. The majority report was always the same. Orders are orders and not to be questioned. The minority report was some things must be questioned or no change will ever come about. Two of my friends took this conversation to heart and the other’s wanting to remain with the majority kept silent and distant. In the end a few of us gave the minority report and that report did not fall on deaf ears. In time changes came to be made for the better but it came with a price.Our passage this morning from Isaiah is a little like that. I want to read it again. Isaiah 43, starting with verse 18: “Do not remember the former things or consider the things of old. I am about to do a new thing. Now it springs forth. Do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. This passage comes to us at that moment when Israel is being called out of exile towards restoration. Some of you may remember that the two Kingdoms, the North and the South, had in one way or another been destroyed. The Northern tribes were obliterated by the Assyrian Empire, and then the two Southern tribes were finally taken into captivity and exiled by the Babylonian Empire. That’s just the way Babylon did business, and they lived in that exile for 70 years, or thereabouts (it’s kind of a biblical number, 70). Then God called them out of the exile, out of the consequence of their unfaithfulness to God towards something new. And this poem in Chapter 43, (it begins in Chapter 40, Verse 1), is part of the call that God gives to God’s people to come out of the time of exile into a time of restoration, and he says, “Do not remember the things of old.” Now that Hebrew word is more than just “remember”. It is “don’t memorialize”. 

Don’t set things in stone. Don’t ponder, think, and attach yourself so much to things of the past. Don’t memorialize, and don’t consider, it says. That is, don’t be absorbed by the things of the past. So, what things would it be that God is concerned that the people of Israel, who had been exiled in Babylon, might be remembering, might be memorializing, might be absorbing? 

Part of it is the glory of old, or the image of who they once were. The people of Israel are striving and longing not so much for something in the future, as for something that sits in the past. Now that doesn’t mean that the new thing won’t have the very same character of God’s love in the middle of it, but there it is. We must not forget the lesson’s of the past, but nor should we dwell in the past. We must look ahead to see what is before us. God is doing something new. God is fashioning something wonderful for each and every one of you! Do you perceive it?


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