We are all called – 2013-07-07 – Sermon

We are all called

Living Luke 10

Revd Dion J. Blundell

7th July 2013

 

NEWSLETTER BLURB: We are all Called

I have been at the Diocesan Ministry Conference this week. One of the questions we’ve been challenged by is what theme do we regularly hear ourselves use? As I thought of this, the thing that came readily to mind was call. Bishop Jim talked to us about preaching and one thing, with regards to call stuck in my mind. It was this: “sin gets in the way, and says we are not called”

We are all called. If there is a God, and that God loves us, his creation, then surely God calls us back to himself? I firmly believe God calls all of us, not just some. And the story from Luke this morning demonstrates that so well. It is the call of Jesus to the 70 un-named disciples. Those were 70 others; not Peter, James or John, but 70 others. You and I are one of those 70 others. One of the 70 good enough for God to call and to be sent into the harvest field. So have no doubt, you are being called. There are two questions we need to ask.

1) to what field?

2) will I go?

God has gifted us with many people around us today to help process those questions. My encouragement is that you seek one of those God has placed alongside you, to ask those 2 questions together.

In Christ’s service together, Dion.

Overview

The theme that pervades through today’s readings is call. The emphasis that I hear is not only are we called, but we are all called, we are all called into the ministry of our Lord Jesus. There is no dogging this, and saying it’s the job of the clergy. We are all called. We are called sometimes to different harvest fields, or maybe a different area of the field, but we are all called. We have to decide who is our Lord. And we show who is in control of our life, or who is our Lord be who we respond to.

Biblical Text

Luke 10.1-11, 16-20

After this the Lord appointed seventy others and sent them on ahead of him in pairs to every town and place where he himself intended to go. He said to them, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest. Go on your way. See, I am sending you out like lambs into the midst of wolves. Carry no purse, no bag, no sandals; and greet no one on the road. Whatever house you enter, first say, “Peace to this house!” And if anyone is there who shares in peace, your peace will rest on that person; but if not, it will return to you. Remain in the same house, eating and drinking whatever they provide, for the labourer deserves to be paid. Do not move about from house to house. Whenever you enter a town and its people welcome you, eat what is set before you; cure the sick who are there, and say to them, “The kingdom of God has come near to you.” But whenever you enter a town and they do not welcome you, go out into its streets and say, “Even the dust of your town that clings to our feet, we wipe off in protest against you. Yet know this: the kingdom of God has come near.”

Whoever listens to you listens to me, and whoever rejects you rejects me, and whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me.’

The seventy returned with joy, saying, ‘Lord, in your name even the demons submit to us!’ He said to them, ‘I watched Satan fall from heaven like a flash of lightning. See, I have given you authority to tread on snakes and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy; and nothing will hurt you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice at this, that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.’

Sermon

Luke 10.1-11, 16-20

the Lord appointed seventy others

Today’s reading is the call of all people, of you, of me, of the person next to you.

The emphasis that I hear is not only are we called,
but we are all called, the keyword being ALL,
we are all called into the ministry of our Lord Jesus.

There is no dogging this, and saying it’s the job of someone else.
We are all called.
We are called sometimes to different harvest fields,
or maybe a different area of the field,
but we are all called.

We have to decide who is our Lord.
And we show who is in control of our life,
or who is our Lord by who we respond to.

If there is a God,
and that God loves us, his creation,
then surely God calls us back to himself?

I firmly believe God calls all of us, not just some.
And the story from Luke this morning demonstrates that so well.
It is the call of Jesus to the 70 un-named disciples.
Those were 70 others;
not Peter, James or John,
but 70 others.

You and I are one of those 70 others.
One of the 70 good enough for God to call and to be sent into the harvest field.
So have no doubt, you are being called.

There are two questions we need to ask.
1) to what field am I being called? -and-
2) will I go?

At our Diocesan Ministry Conference this week I was reminded that at times sin gets in the way.
And sin within our life gently says: “no you’re not called to this…”

Sin within our life sometimes says: “surely not you, God will send someone else.”

The challenge from today’s reading is to think:
1) to what field? To what harvest am I called?
2) will I go?

IN Pairs

With that in mind, to what field and will I go,
we remember from the reading that Jesus sent then out in pairs.

And this is sometimes a good test for whether the thing we want to do is of God or not.

If there is just you,
I would suggest that you ask, is this really of God?

Jesus’ ministry is something that is done in community for the community,
it is not a lone-ranger thing.

Ministry is not the ministry of the isolated messiah giving up their life,
doing it all by themself.

We are called into community.

So that line, sent in pairs reminds us that it is not all about an individual.

God’s call comes to individuals working in community and if it really is of God,
then there is almost certainly going to be someone else being called the same way.

He sent them on ahead of him … to every town and place where he himself intended to go.

Jesus nominated a place for these disciples to go to.
He knew it was a place that needed to hear his message and invitation.

The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest.

This reminds me of the scarceness of resources.
Often we look,
we see the harvest before us,
and think this will never work, there aren’t enough resources.

Yet, with God all is possible.

A sensible decision would be to send out the 12 disciples again.
But Jesus found another 70!
That’s 5 times what you and I would immediately think of.
God sees potential that we sometimes overlook.

This passage is a huge encouragement to us,
– not only that there is enough,
– but that people will respond.

After-all, it wasn’t just the 12 that responded, but these 70 other disciples too.
In total that’s 6 times what we would expect.

With God there is enough and it will work.

Go on your way. like lambs into the midst of wolves.

Jesus reminds the disciples to go gently.

You aren’t to be the telly evangelist telling people how to live their lives and what to do.
Rather this is a humble gentle way.
It is the way of the “peace-of-God.”

Carry no purse, no bag, no sandals; and greet no one on the road.

The no purse lines means you can’t buy your way into someone’s family,
rather in gentleness you need to minister with the family and accept their hospitality.

Focus. Jesus says focus.
Focus on what you are about to do, so just get there, then start;
don’t get side-tracked.

Whatever house you enter, first say, “Peace to this house!”

The peace of God,
bless the house with God’s peace,
and join in with what God is already doing.

And if anyone is there who shares in peace, your peace will rest on that person; but if not, it will return to you.

You do not know what God is doing in someone else’s life until you bless them.
Then you see if they are responding to God at work in their life.
Don’t judge them, bless them with God’s peace.

The spirit of Christ at work in our lives brings and maintains peace in our life.

And this peace is contagious.

When you come into a room,
that peace of Christ which you nourish shines for others.

Remain in the same house, eating and drinking whatever they provide, for the labourer deserves to be paid. Do not move about from house to house. Whenever you enter a town and its people welcome you, eat what is set before you;

Be a person of conviction,
if God is working in someone’s life STAY, and eat with them.

Jesus told his disciples to GO,
he also told them to STAY.

Staying is as important as going.

Paul in his teaching talks about running the race,
and for him it is long-distance race, not a short sprint.

I mentioned last week that sometimes we say: “Ok God I can give you 37 minutes in 3 days…”
This is not the commitment Jesus requires of us.

Jesus says we must stay or remain with people,
eating and drinking and sharing in things together;
and this does not happen in 6 minute billable units;
it happens slowly over time.

But whenever you enter a town and they do not welcome you, go out into its streets and say, “Even the dust of your town that clings to our feet, we wipe off in protest against you. Yet know this: the kingdom of God has come near.” ‘Whoever listens to you listens to me, and whoever rejects you rejects me, and whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me.’

Jesus is saying don’t stew,
don’t go into some long rant, simply move on.

But know in yourself that you did what Jesus called you to,
know that in you they glimpsed God’s Kingdom,
and know they said no to God, not to you.

A person’s response is between them and God, don’t fret over it, it’s their responsibility.

I wonder too if there is a bit of a joke in this too?
Jesus said: “go out into its streets and say, ‘Even the dust of your town that clings to our feet,
we wipe off ‘

I suspect no one was there to actually hear this.

Reality is that these are just two unknown people, who haven’t been received.
It is very unlikely then that there was a farewell party in the street.
I would think they would be saying bye to themselves.
SO I reckon Jesus was probably saying to these 70,
look go and do something, vent quickly, yell into the street and move on.

cure the sick who are there, and say to them, “The kingdom of God has come near to you.”

Jesus doesn’t say just sit around, but get active.

He says, this family you are with, they will be a gateway to the rest of the community,
use this family to get the opportunity to lay hands on people and cure the sick who are there.

Up to this point Jesus had had healing rallies, and they worked, people were healed.

But when the hype dies down, there is still the person in the back who has not been healed,
who was too shy to do anything.

Maybe this is when he sent the 70,
after the hype, or maybe before,
but this was a “low-key-ministry.”

It was not in your face,
but rather a quiet ministry from one family that was connecting with God,
to another hurting family.

The seventy returned with joy, saying, ‘Lord, in your name even the demons submit to us!’ He said to them, ‘I watched Satan fall from heaven like a flash of lightning. See, I have given you authority to tread on snakes and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy; and nothing will hurt you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice at this, that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.’

An important thing I read into this text,
is that the seventy return and testify to Jesus about what happens.

This tells me two things:

  1. he didn’t go! He said he was sending them ahead of where he was going, but he didn’t go. In one sense he didn’t keep his word. And that’s the thing with God at times, we hear one thing, but God was actually meaning something slightly differently, which leads to the same intent or outcome. In this reading, they’re expecting Jesus to follow. But they discover that this is completely un-necessary as God has gone ahead of them, preparing the way and the people. These disciples simply link in with what God is already doing.

  2. the second point then is that God was already their and at work. God didn’t have to go, Jesus didn’t have to go, as the Holy Spirit was already there at work in the people’s lives and the disciples simply linked in with things.

Luke tells us that they returned with joy.
As we see God at work, we feel joy.
Our God is a great God, who brings us joy.

Spiritually thing

Jesus reminds them too that they are doing a spiritual thing…
where they go, satan falls,
all because they carry with them the peace of God.

Now that is not saying God was not present previously,
God was present and working Spiritually.

But, when the disciples,
those that follow the ways of Jesus, which was called simply “THE WAY,”
when they are present,
when they, when we embody the way,
the way of peace,
then the people see this.

They SEE,
they see the peace of God.

God then is nolonger just working Spiritually,
but God also has flesh and bones,
the Spirituality of Jesus is embodied in the disciples.

We say that the Holy Spirit gives us the mind, or Spirit of Christ.

Well, if we are willing to allow the Spirit of Jesus to dwell within us through the Holy Spirit,
then people can’t help but get a glimpse of God and excitedly respond.

Admittedly, that view is sometimes a little bit coloured, and not necessarily perfect,
but it is none-the-less a glimpse of God at work.

And this allows people to draw the links between what God is doing in their lives Spiritually
and what they need to respond to.

So the disciples are doing something spiritual.

Jesus said: I saw satan fall as you went out.
Your bringing of peace caused satan to fall.
And that is encouraging,
that where we go,
if we go in the ways of Jesus,
then satan falls.

A challenge this week is what way will we take with us?
Ways of the peace of Jesus, or other ways?
The choice is ours.
Not only of what we take, but of whether we even go.

Speculation

Before I Sum up, I want to do a bit of speculation.
Because I think the speculation might help us to get some insight into
what God is calling you and me to.

The speculation is “Who did they go to?
Did they go to the leaders in a town?
Or just a random house?

I note that when God’s peace doesn’t rest,
they are to go to another town,
not another house,
but another town.

I wonder if this signals that they need to go to the key leader,
and if things work, then they are to stay.
If not, they are to find another town, where their leaders welcome them.

This implies for me that we need to be strategic in where we put out energy,
not to just throw it around and hope for the best,
but think who is the person I can go to that might unlock a group of people for God?

Summing Up

Summing up. For me the reading is a call to all of us.

The two questions we are to ask is:
1) called to the harvest in which field?
2) will I go?

As we contemplate these questions,
we remind ourselves that God has gifted us with many people around us
to help process them.

My encouragement is that you seek one of those God has placed alongside you,
and to ask those 2 questions together.

Remember too that Alick, Terry and I are here to help you process things too if you would like to take up the offer.

Today there is an INVITATION to BELIEVE that God calls YOU.
Will you believe in yourself as God believes in you?

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