Sermon at Kinmundy United Methodist Church on 5/05/2019.
Title: Next Things: Later That Evening John 20:19-23
Audio link – Right click, open in new tab to play: [Kinmundy] [Wesley]
Right click, open in new tab to view slides as a PDF: [Slides]
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION: Let’s have a conversation! Please reflect upon the questions below as you consider the material presented above. In a comment, share your thoughts and additional questions. What would you like to know?
What grabbed your attention?
What is the human need or problem?
What questions do you have about any quotes provided?
Does the Bible say anything about this?
What solutions do you see for the problem?
What specifically could we begin to do to make a change?
Easter comes around once a year. Easter comes around on the calendar. Easter comes around in our hearts. Lent leads us up to that day with Jesus on the cross, Thursday night the Lord’s supper, but Easter begins a new time for the church. The Lord is risen. The Lord is risen indeed! Now, what’s the question? What’s next? That’s what I want to know. What’s next?
Well, I was thinking about this and I remembered something I had seen several different times, and I looked on the net and the last time it was done was in February of 2018, Superbowl. The winning quarterback, most valuable player, Nick Foles, who is a Christian, by the way. He’s actually studying for the ministry and is taking an M.Div degree in between seasons. He was asked the question, “Now that you’ve won the Superbowl, this great triumph, you’re the most valuable player, what are you going to do next?” And he looks at the screen and he says, “I’m going to Disney World.” I’ll put this on the church Facebook page later today so you could see it. It’s such a happy voice, him and his wife and his little baby daughter, he’s going to Disney World. Apparently, on the greatest day of your life, you know what to do next? Go to Disney World, that’s the way the world sees it. We’ve been talking about this question of what time it is? Because there’s two kinds of time in the bible. There’s two kinds of time in the minds of the Greek-speaking people, whom the early church preached to, and we need to understand what time it is. There is the clock time, the calendar time, chronos. There’s going to be an event it’s a such and such a time, and such and such a place. Don’t be late, you understand that perfectly well, because you are all here for church. Church happens on clock time, every Sunday morning. 9 o’clock in this church, other times in other churches.
But did you know there’s also a Christian calendar? In the world, we have seasons like summer, and fall, and spring. And we have holidays like Memorial Day and Labor Day. In the church, they have seasons too. There’s a season of Advent, the color is purple and you get ready for Christmas. There the season of Lent, the color is purple, and you get ready for Easter. And then there is that time when you celebrate Christmas, there’s the weeks when we celebrate Easter. But the rest of the year, it’s very interesting, you know what they call it? Ordinary Time. That doesn’t mean ordinary time as it’s just ordinary, it’s Ordinary Time in that, “Well, now we have to live what we’ve learned.” Clock time, Calendar time, what is Easter on calendar time? Well, there’s the sunrise service first, and then there is the Easter service. That type of Easter, you can do and be done by noon, and go home and take a nap, and you probably will need that.
But there’s another type of time. It’s event time. “God wants to do something” time. That’s called Kairos time. It’s lunchtime. Well, that might be a different time on the clock for different people, but it’s time to do something. And I want to suggest to you that there’s a difference between calendar time, that talks about a holiday, and Kairos time that talks about a holy day, and that Easter can just be a day of the calendar.
But if we’re willing to let God have his way, if we’re willing to pray this prayer that Jesus prayed, “Not my will, but thine be done,” Easter can be a holy day for us every day. Easter can be a day of resurrection. Easter can be a day of new life. Easter can be a day for new life in your church. But it starts when we’re willing for it to go from being just a holiday on the calendar, to a holy day when we surrender [to God?]. What’s next after Easter? Kind of depends on how you see the day of Easter. John Chapter 20:19, on the evening of that day, still on Sunday, the first day of the week, the door’s being shut where the disciples were, for fear of persecution from the Jews. Jesus came and stood among them. We talked about this day last Sunday, when we talked about how they struggled to believe, until Jesus came to meet with them face to face, until the Kairos of the resurrection– that Jesus is right here. They had tremendous difficulty believing. Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” That’s what is needed right now. Don’t be anxious, calm down, be at peace. What’s next? I want to know. What is Jesus going to do next? He goes right to that in verse 20. When he said this, he showed them his hands and his side, “Yes, I’m the one that was crucified. You can see right there.” Then the disciples were glad, when they saw the Lord. Verse 21, Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you.” See that’s for right now. Calm down, relax. I’m about to tell you what’s next, and here it is. As the father has sent me, even so, I send you. That’s what’s next.
Now, to Jesus, this is a holy day because it’s the beginning of something God is going to do every day after that day in their lives. If this was just a normal holiday, Jesus might say, “I’m going to Disney World.” If it was just a day on the calendar, Jesus might say, “Why don’t you take the next six weeks off? You’ve earned it.”
But it’s not a holiday it’s a holy day and so taking time off is not what Jesus calls us to do. As the Father has sent me, even so, I send you.
You see, ordinary time, calendar time, holiday time, it wears us out. See that picture of a church, sometimes churches are just worn out. Sometimes they’re falling down and falling apart. Sometimes pastors are just worn out. There’s an old joke about how, on Easter Sunday, the whole world rises to new life and in the afternoon the pastor collapses for a long nap. I’ve been tired this week. You know how I know I’ve been tired? I start to make mistakes. And ironically, the mistake I most often make is to mess up people’s name. I’m sitting across from Wayne at the hospital. Down in the cafeteria, Leah is sitting next to me, Wayne is sitting– no, Leah is sitting across from me, Wayne is sitting next to me and I call Wayne, “Larry” [laughter]. Now, thank God, Wayne’s brother Larry was right across the table and thought I meant him [laughter], or he might have. I fessed up. I was honest. I called him by the wrong name. I do that when I’m tired. I wish that was the worst mistake that I did when I’m tired. But that’s how it shows up for me.
If we had one day after another on the calendar, we begin to feel like this. We just kind of feel exhausted and worn down and we just don’t have much left to give. So when Jesus says what’s next, we kind of hope it will include Disney World. We kind of hope it might include two weeks down in Austin, Texas. We kind of hope that it’s going to include some time to rest because we are tired. Because when you live by the calendar you get tired.
But a holy day is different. The reason a holy day is different is because the energy to live on a holy day comes from God. As the prophet, Zechariah said to Zerubbabel, who was tasked with the job of rebuilding the temple of the Lord, the word of God came: not by might, not by power, and you can go on and on. Not by armies, not by politics. You can go on and on. Not by might, not by power, not by what you can do for God, but by my spirit says the Lord.
Resurrection as a holy day does not come from your power. It does not come from your energy. Jesus was in the grave and he was dead. He had nothing to offer God when it came to resurrection. All the power of God raised him up and friends, no matter how tired you are, all the power of God can raise you up in the same way. No matter how tired the church might be, all the power of God can raise the church up, because it’s the power of God that makes our lives new.
There is an incredible difference between us trying to do God’s work in our own strength and us allowing God to flow through us, where our job is to cooperate with what God is already doing. There’s a tremendous difference when it’s God’s power at work. And sometimes, when we’re trapped in this one day after another mentality, we need to reset in order to experience the power of God. Do you know what happens with your computer when you press that reset button? It turns off. It goes dark. In a sense, it dies. But then, it restarts and comes back to life. Friends, sometimes you and I have to turn off our Earthly way of doing things to allow God to start us up, so that what we do is done with God ‘s power. So that what we do fulfills this prayer that Jesus prayed. Not my will, not my way, not my methods, not my policies, not my education, not my recipe. “Thy will be done” causes the power of God to begin to flow.
Sometimes, when we’re stuck in calendar time, we just need to stop long enough to reset and remember that what God wants to happen, God will provide the power and the energy and the means for it to happen. All God needs is willing vessels. A cup that will hold living water. And we can be the one that cooperates with God, because it’s God’s work, God’s will, and God will provide the energy for us whether we’re tired or full of spunk. God will provide the energy. So Jesus says, “As the Father sent me, I’m going to send you.” And then he says this verse, verse 22. “When he said this, he breathed on them, and he said to them, ‘Recieve the Holy Spirit.'” You see, it’s by the power of the Holy Spirit living in them. Living through them. “Receive the Holy Spirit.”
And then he says this. “If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven.” This past week, have you prayed for anyone to be forgiven? If you’ve had your feelings hurt and if somebody’s been rude to you, if somebody has done something wrong to you, if someone has harmed you, if you have seen someone harming someone else, whether it’s someone in your life or something you see on the news that happened in Washington, DC, or New York, or Los Angeles, or anywhere in the whole world this past week, have you asked God to forgive someone other than yourself? “As the Father sent me to forgive people, Jesus says, I’m now going to send you.
If you retain the sins of any,” Jesus said, “they are retained.” This past week, in your anger in your judgment, in your sense of being betrayed, if He prayed a prayer that is the equivalent of, “Go to hell,” over someone’s life, perhaps you should think about that because that wish that harm would come to someone– you retain the sins of any, they are retained. Pray carefully because as Jesus was sent into the world to forgive people so that people might find everlasting life, He is now sending us. That’s what the scripture said. He’s now sending us. That’s what’s next. As the Father sent me, He must always send you.
Imagine for me, imagine with me, what sort of change would that make if we all took that seriously? What kind of church would begin to grow just like something beautiful grows in your garden? What sort of church would grow in this community if we saw and understood that these words mean that as the Father sent Jesus, now He’s going to send us, us as the church who’s going to help people the way Jesus helped us? What sort of church is going to result from that? Wouldn’t that be exciting? Wouldn’t that be beautiful? Wouldn’t it be amazing to see God turn people’s lives around, for prayers to be answered, for forgiveness, for change, for healing, for people to be set free? Wouldn’t that be amazing? Let’s look beyond the calendar to what God could do every day in our midst. You’ll notice on the back of your bulletin – they’ve been there every week now for more than a year – there’s a list of questions.
Here’s the first one. What does it say? I said this Easter Sunday morning, I’ll say it again right now, if God is sending us, you and me, just the same way he sent Jesus, you can read through this book and read every word that Jesus said. And guess what? It’s now on your to-do list. Men, we know what a honey-do list is. But friends, have you considered that you might have a Savior to-do list? If Jesus is Lord, there might be something He wants.
And we’re all sitting here wondering, “Well, Lord, I don’t know what it is that you want me to do. I have no idea what you want me to do.” Jesus says, “As the Father has sent me–” pick up the book. Whatever you see me do might be I want you to do that. So as you read through this book, verse by verse, first question, what does it say? What does it say? I’ll let the Holy Spirit tell you in your heart what it says. Maybe what it says is that it’s not for you to do, but it’s something for Gerri to do or the pastor to do or Glenn to do or someone else to do. But nonetheless, it’s something for somebody to do.
But then the big question is this one. That verse, what does it say that I need to obey? And it might not say anything that you need to obey. Well, that’s okay. You need to ask that question because if Jesus said we should do it on a holy day, not my will be done, but thine be done. On a holy day, we will be doing what God is asking us to do. What does it say that we need to obey? If you use a red pencil to highlight verses in your bible, if you make– because I, sometimes, put an asterisk in the margin. That asterisk lets me flip through a book, and oh, I need to pay attention to that. If you see something that Jesus tells you to do, make a mark – because guess what? There’s something for you to do or to help the person who’s doing it. But it’s for us to obey. As the Father has sent me, I’ll send you. You can go back to while Jesus was walking along the sea of Galilee. Walking along the lake shores, he was saying, “Follow me.” And everything he did here, he wants to see happening right here in the kingdom. Right here in this county, in this state, and in this nation, we get to redo.
Have you ever binge-watched a television series? I did this with West Wing once, I did this with NCIS once. I went all the way back to the first episode, and I watched one after another, all the way through eight years worth of NCIS. Would it be great if you could binge-watch what Jesus did, and you could hear in his words, “This is what needs to happen here in our town”? What does it say that we need to obey? The final thing, what it says that we need to obey usually has to do with a person. One of the problems that we have in the church is, we believe that there’s other stuff we have to do. We think it’s important, but it has nothing to do with real specific people. I need to pray so many minutes a day. I need to study so many hours a week. I need to do this and this, and this, and this, and this. And it’s not about other people, it’s about us. So the third question is this, God has a purpose in telling you to do something, and that purpose usually involves another person because God so loved the world that he sent his son for individual people.
So here’s the thing for every verse in the bible. Who needs to hear this? Is this verse for someone I know? Is it for me? It might not be for someone that you know. That’s fine. You have asked and answered the question. But it could be for you. It could be for someone you know. It could be for the 26% of people who are in church on an average Sunday across the United States. That’s the statistical norm from census data. Now, some people go every other week, some people go once a month, some people just go Christmas and Easter. But technically, about a fourth of people in a community are at worship on Sunday morning. And this thing that Jesus says to you from the scripture, it might be for someone else who’s here. It might be for a person in the pew next to you or on the other side of the room. You might be God’s way of helping them. “I was reading the scripture this week, and I read this verse, and it reminded me of you.”
What a kind thing for you to share that with that person, but it could be that it’s for people who are outside the congregation. There are different numbers. Someone in the automobile industry predicts that every single person knows 250 other people. So if you own a used car lot and you’re mean to one person, you have just lost 250 customers. I was listening to a presentation the other day and it was for dentists, and the expert on this said to the dentist, “Every single person who comes into you for treatment knows 30 other people.” So maybe the introverted people go to the dentist. I’m not quite sure exactly what number it is, but the point was made that when you hurt the feelings of one person, you’ve just lost 30 people.
Friends, pick whatever number you want, but those 30 people or more. God may give you a scripture to give them hope when they’ve lost hope. God may give you a scripture to live them up when they want to give up. You may be the means God chooses to help that other person.
Go and make disciples by teaching them to observe everything I command you to do. It is the sharing of God’s word that strengthens people’s faith. You might be the person that is given a gift for someone because as God sent Jesus to speak to us, He may be sending you to speak to someone. Jesus is risen. Anything is possible. Anything is possible.
And I want to suggest to you that it is this one verse, “As the Father has sent me, now I send you.” This verse applies to us, and I want to say that to me what that means is that God is looking for a church that is willing to do God’s will. God is looking for a church that’s willing to turn aside from just staying busy with a full calendar of activities to do what is God’s will. Sometimes -through an activity, but sometimes just by you.
What would such a church look like? How could such a church cause resurrection to happen throughout a town? Throughout a neighborhood? Throughout a family? Are we willing to be that church? Please pray with me.
Lord Jesus, help us to be true, that Easter is not just a day on the calendar. Help us Lord so that Easter is not just a day in the season of ordinary time to where we lose sight of the power and the beauty of what is possible. Help us not to see Easter as just a day or even a holiday, but as a holy day where you can call your people into new life where we can reset and rise to walk in newness of life, to where we can be containers to carry your living water to thirsty people all over town. Lord, we’re not so smart, we are not so wise that we know everything about that, but Lord, if we are willing to follow, thank you – you are willing to walk with us and live among us and work through us to accomplish your will. We ask you to be our vision, Lord, of what’s possible so that every day is a holy day filled with the power of Easter. And we ask this in the name of Jesus, risen Lord and Savior.
Kinmundy United Methodist Church is located at 308 E. Third Street, Kinmundy, IL 62854. Worship begins at 9 am Sundays. The building is handicap accessible.
Wesley United Methodist Church is located at 3381 Kinoka Raod, Patoka, IL 62875 in the country between Kinmundy and Patoka. Worship begins at 10.45 am Sundays.
VISION: We are a functional family of God, where Jesus is Lord and people grow.
MISSION: Every layperson is called to carry out the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20); every layperson is called to be missional. (¶126 of the 2016 Book of Discipline)
Paradigm: There are two kinds of people in this world: people who need to become disciples and disciples who need to become disciple makers.