Sermon April 17, 2022: Walking In Newness of Life (Easter Sunday)

Image by Kingrise from Pixabay

If you prefer to worship at home at this time or simply wish to listen to the service or sermon again, please click on the link below to watch the entire worship service as a video on your home computer, tablet or smartphone:

Link to Video:

Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/700093028

Screencast-o-matic: https://screencast-o-matic.com/watch/c3fD3kVYeFy

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If you would prefer not to view the video, you’re welcome to use the links below to have a time of worship at home. (Just right click on the link to “open link in a new tab” to play each hymn or the sermon in a separate tab, and close that tab when finished.)

CALL TO WORSHIP: (St. Teresa of Avila:)

Christ has no body but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which   He looks
Compassion on this world…
Yours are the feet with which he walks   to do good,
Yours are the hands, with which he blesses all the world.
Yours are the hands, yours are the feet,
Yours are the eyes, you are his body.
Christ has no body now but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which He looks
Compassion on this world.
Christ has no body now on earth but yours.


HYMN Christ The Lord Is Risen Today
Worldwide Easter choir: “Christ the Lord Is Risen Today” – United Methodist Videos
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jfNwvNhpkN4

(Just right click on the link to “open link in a new tab” to play each hymn or the sermon in a separate tab, and close that tab when finished.)

A TIME OF PRAYER (Testimonies, Joys & Concerns)

Congregational Prayer − Almighty God, through Jesus Christ you overcame death and opened to us the gate of everlasting life. Grant that we, who celebrate the day of our Lord’s resurrection, may, by the renewing of your Spirit arise from the death of sin to the life of righteousness; through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.

Please pray for yourself and your neighbors, lifting up your needs to God while giving thanks for answered prayer.

The Lord’s Prayer: Our Father, who art in heaven; hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.

HYMN 322 Up From The Grave He Arose
Christ Arose by Acapeldridge
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uGNCIL4uIqY

(Just right click on the link to “open link in a new tab” to play each hymn or the sermon in a separate tab, and close that tab when finished.)

MOMENTS WITH THE CHILDREN – If you are blessed to have children with you, ask them what they are thankful for, and then thank God together!

GIVING OF OUR TITHES AND OFFERINGS – these can be mailed to the church office.

MESSAGE: Walking In Newness of Life
Romans 6:3-5, Hebrews 12:2 
Series: Walking In Newness of Life

Right-click, open in new tab to play … Sermon audioSermon slides as a PDF file.
Saturday Video AudioWesley Sermon Audio

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SERMON NOTES

Romans 6:3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.

Hebrews 12:2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive.   – Howard Thurman

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HYMN 310 He Lives
He Lives! by Greater Vision
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xpJfT4_COzY
or
David Phelps – He Lives, from Hymnal (Official Music Video)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cX8BD-h4F2I

(Just right click on the link to “open link in a new tab” to play each hymn or the sermon in a separate tab, and close that tab when finished.)

BENEDICTION: Please recommit your life to the service of Jesus as Lord with the words of The Prayer of St Francis:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace
Where there is hatred, let me sow love
Where there is injury, pardon
Where there is doubt, faith
Where there is despair, hope
Where there is darkness, light
And where there is sadness, joy
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console
To be understood, as to understand
To be loved, as to love
For it is in giving that we receive
And it’s in pardoning that we are pardoned
And it’s in dying that we are born to Eternal Life
Amen

All Scripture quotations are from the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1946, 1952, and 1971 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

If you worship at home, please let us know so we can pray for you!

TRANSCRIPT

Today, of course, we want to talk about what happened to Jesus on Easter Sunday morning. But we also want to talk about the reality that what happened to Jesus is also meant to happen to us.

Let me tell you a story that some of you know very well. Two years and one week ago, on a Thursday night, Maundy Thursday, I noticed that I was taking more breaths than normal. That seemed strange. This was two weeks after we’d been released by the health department from Coronavirus. Kim and I were blessed to have the horrible flu version.

But on Thursday night, I was taking more breaths than normal. I was not short of breath. I was just taking more breaths than normal. The next morning, my wife informed me that no matter what I thought, we were going to the hospital because we were going to check this out. Got to the hospital emergency room, they took my pulse/ox and my oxygenation level was just fine. And I said to myself, “See, it was a waste of time!” Went back to the emergency room to be seen by the doctor. The doctor said, “Dave, during this season of the Coronavirus, we want to take a chest X-Ray, a CT scan, just to make certain. Just to make certain.” And I said, can my wife come and be in the room with me?” And he said, “No, we don’t do that now unless your life is in danger.”

So they took me down to the CT scan room and they brought me back. And a few minutes later, Kim came into the room and the doctor said, “The CT scan shows that you have a massive blood clot. In fact, we call it a saddle pulmonary embolism, because the arteries come out of your heart and divide. And right at the place that they divide is this giant blood clot.” And I thought to myself, if that breaks off of there and half goes to each lung, I’m in a world of trouble.

And the doctor in the ER looked at me and he said, “We’re going to send you by helicopter to Evansville, Indiana. They have a surgery they do there. They go up into the heart and they inject blood thinner right into the clot. And we think you need this surgery.”

And I said, “Okay.” I want to tell you, a ride in a helicopter feels like riding down the bumpiest country road you can imagine at 100 miles an hour. It was not comfortable. But all the way, I found myself preaching a sermon to myself. You see, it was Good Friday. And the world’s most powerful, beautiful sermon perhaps that has ever been preached was preached by a Black pastor, SM Lockridge. And the title of it is Sunday’s Coming.

And he starts by saying “It’s Friday.” And he describes the sort of Friday Jesus had. A Friday where Jesus is suffering and dying on the cross, and people are sinning and the devil is grinning and evil is winning. And he keeps saying calmly, “It was Friday.” And I kept saying to myself, all the way to Indiana, “It’s only Friday. This is what happens on a Friday. It’s only Friday, it’s only Friday.” And I kept saying to myself, “But Sunday’s coming.” It is rather ironic that this was actually Good Friday.

Got to Evansville. They took me to the intensive care unit. The infectious disease doctor came by and said, “We’re really worried about you because we think no matter what the tests show that you still have the Coronavirus. And I said, “I don’t think so.” And she disagreed with me.

But the heart surgeon came in later that day. He said, “Mr. Kueker, we have a problem.” And I said under my breath, “It’s Friday.”

He said, “The problem we have is you are doing really well for someone who has this bad a problem. We don’t understand why you don’t feel so much worse. And so we’re not certain that the surgery is the best thing for you. So we’re going to wait and see.” And I said to myself, “It’s Friday.” These kinds of things happen on Friday.

But I was grateful to God because whatever sort of pain and suffering is supposed to happen with this, I had been spared. The surgeon came in on Saturday. “Mr. Kueker, we still have the same problem. You were no way as sick as you should be.”

And I said, “Well, people are praying for me.”
And he nodded, “We’ll talk again tomorrow.”
And I said to myself, “Sunday’s coming.”

So I woke up on Easter Sunday and the doctor said, “You are doing so well, so much better than you should be doing, I think we’re going to send you home with blood thinner because maybe that’ll be enough to solve this problem.” By the way, that night I had to say Monday’s coming because I had to wait till Monday before they turned me loose. Kim came over to see me. First time in four days. We came home and over six months the blood thinner dissolved the blood clot. And they took a CT scan in the fall at Evansville that showed that there was none of it remaining.

So friends, I need to tell you, every single one of us, from time to time, we’ll find that it’s Friday.

There’s a whole nation called Ukraine. They’ve been having one Friday after another. There are places in the United States where there are floods and tornadoes, and certainly, it is Friday. There are people who are home today with illness, and it’s a Friday for them as well. Friends, Fridays come.

But what Easter Sunday says to us is that even though it’s a Friday, with everything that Friday means, Sunday is coming.

There’s a pastor of a Presbyterian church in New York City, Tim Keller. Very famous pastor. Very brilliant preacher. I heard him preach a sermon on the internet this week. I listened to it. He said, “We have an amazing problem in American culture.” And I would suggest it’s because we are so blessed. “But in America,” Tim Keller said, “if suffering happens to people, we feel betrayed.” Somehow in the United States of America, we have come to the conclusion that we are so blessed that it should be normal for us to experience no suffering. And so as a consequence, when suffering comes to us, we feel betrayed. We feel let down.

I forgot to mention that Tim Keller is speaking of this from the perspective of someone who was diagnosed two years ago with pancreatic cancer and was told he would probably not live more than a year. But at two years, he’s still with us. He has had to deal with the fact that suffering happens. But he says, “Our culture feels betrayed when anything goes wrong because somehow we have this feeling that everything should always be perfect.” But all around the world, people understand that not everything in life is perfect. But we have this feeling that we’ve been betrayed, somebody failed, somebody did this to us, somebody caused this. And we take our suffering, and we aim anger outward, looking for someone who’s at fault. Sometimes we aim it at ourselves and blame ourselves for the fact that not everything is perfect. Sometimes we blame God. And there literally are people who will say, “I cannot believe in a God that would allow me to have a bad day.”

Friends, we live in an imperfect world.
And the imperfectness of this world is built-in.
But Sunday is coming.

If you read through the Gospels, Jesus will say it repeatedly. A healing will happen, and he’ll look at the person and say, by your own faith, this has come to pass.

Psychiatrist David Burns says that hope is the most powerful antidepressant, because if you can find some little bit of hope on a Friday, it will help renew your strength.

In John 3:16, we’re reminded that God so loved the world, an imperfect world, that he sent his son … Faith, hope and love.

For the past two years, in different times, we’ve been praying the Serenity Prayer, and you all know that part where we pray for serenity to deal with the things we cannot change. And of course, you know that’s a Friday prayer. There will always be things in this world that we cannot change, that are not the way we would wish they would be. But let me remind you of the full version of the Serenity Prayer and these other words that we’ve also been praying, that we believe that trusting in God, as the prayer says, “Trusting that you, God, will make all things right if I surrender to your will so that I may be reasonably happy in this life …” Friends, that’s something we can achieve! “… and supremely happy with you forever in the next.

There will always be Fridays. But the truth is that Sunday’s coming and it’s coming for you and I. We sing a song on Good Friday: Were You There?

We sing, “Were You There When They Crucified My Lord?”

But you may not be aware of this Bible verse in Romans 6:3, where it says very, very plainly, “Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death” … were immersed, were put into, were connected with.

Were you there? Roman 6:3 says, “You were there when Jesus died.” It’s Friday. Not everything perfect happens. You were there when Jesus died.

And not only that, verse four, you were buried, therefore, with him by baptism into death. On Saturday, you were there in the tomb with Jesus. Now you can interpret this spiritually if you want, but what if it was literally the truth? Here’s the result of that: So that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, resurrection would also happen to you. Or as Paul says, “You too might” – hear the potential – “we too might walk in newness of life. For if we’ve been united with him in a death like his on Friday, Friday, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his on Sunday.

It was Friday, but Sunday’s coming for you and I.

And these words of Howard Thurman remind me of how much the world needs us to walk in newness of life. Howard Thurman was a university chaplain, and theology professor. He was frequently asked his advice, and his advice to young students was so profound that it’s become remembered. He was asked one day, “What does the world need that should become my career?” and he replied instantly to the student: “Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

Brothers and sisters, the world around us on this Easter Sunday morning, on all the days that are yet to come, the world around us needs to see people who are alive, who have come alive because Jesus Christ is living in us and through us, because he has risen within us.

If you’ve ever visited a Catholic church, you may have noticed something unusual. There’s a little basin near the door. Some churches, it’s beautiful, they’ve actually replaced it with a fountain. And as you come into the church, you dip your finger into the water, and you touch it to your forehead, and you make the sign of the cross. Have you ever seen that? Have you ever wondered about that water? The purpose of that water is for you, when you feel the water on your head, when you feel the water on your forehead, to remember your baptism and be thankful.

Do you know why? Because of your baptism, you were there when Jesus died.
Because of your baptism, you were there when God raised him from the dead.
Because of your baptism, you can walk in newness of life.

If you’re with us this morning and have never been baptized, let’s you and I have a conversation. But I’d like to invite you this week when you find yourself washing your hands, when there’s water, to remember your baptism and be thankful. This morning in the shower, I touched my forehead and I said, “Thank you, Lord, for my baptism.” Remember your baptism and what it gives God the power to do in your life.

Let’s have the attitude that Jesus had … “for the joy set before him. He endured the cross, scorning its shame. And as a result, he sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” And the author of Hebrews says to us, we should fix our eyes on Jesus, who is the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, and basically do the same thing whenever we are in the midst of a Friday.

Here’s an example, an example of Friday, November 14, 1940, the German Luftwaffe continued their bombing of cities in England. They were able to reach every major city in England. And for eight months, every night … 30,000 separate bombing attacks. And on the 14th of November, they bombed the city of Coventry. And one of the buildings that was destroyed was the Cathedral there. You’re looking at where the altar would be. The pastor of that church very soon after the bombing had words engraved on the wall behind the altar there, “Father, forgive.” Remember, Jesus on the cross looked down at the people who were in charge of the crucifixion, the people who ridiculed him, who made his suffering worse. And he said, “Father, forgive them. They know not what they do.” That’s an amazing thing to be able to say on a Friday. “Lord, forgive them. They’re just stupid.”

But the pastor of the church just put the words Father, forgive because he said, “Not only do we need to forgive the people who’ve done this, but we also need forgiveness. We all need forgiveness.”

And maybe you’ve seen this little red poster. It was written in 1939. They put it up all over London during the Blitz. What are you supposed to do when the Germans are bombing the life out of your city? Keep calm, and carry on.

One of the best things you can do on a Friday … keep calm, and carry on. Perhaps you would like to whisper under your breath as I did in the helicopter all the way over to there. It’s Friday. These kinds of things happen on a Friday. It’s just Friday. Fridays don’t last forever. It’s Friday, it’s just Friday. This is what Friday is like.

And remind yourself that Sunday is coming because no matter what sort of Friday it is, we understand that there will be sorrow and troubles in this world. And Psalm 23 reminds us, it is, after all, the valley of the shadow of death. But no matter what is happening to you or I or somebody that we care deeply about, no matter what is happening, it’s only Friday. And Sunday is coming.

Please pray with me, Lord Jesus, it can’t have been easy on that Friday. You cried out from the cross, ‘My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?’ And sometimes, Lord, sometimes we feel just like that. But we pray that your presence, we pray that your truth, we pray that they would comfort us to remember, even while we grieve that it’s Friday, that we would remember that Sunday is coming. And so, Lord, on every Friday of our lives, every Friday that happens on this Earth, every place where there is suffering, we pray that in that darkness, your light would begin to shine like the sun coming up on a Sunday morning, like the Son of God rising up on a Sunday morning. Lord, all through the world wherever there is a Friday, Lord, we pray that your light would rise and shine. We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ who lives for us, Amen.”

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?

Additional Resources

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 Road, 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.

(If you wish, you can listen to the Prayer of St. Francis being sung:
Sarah McLachlan – Prayer of St. Francis
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=agPnMxp5Occ )
 

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