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Monday, October 1, 2012

The Dignity of Belonging to Christ by Geoff Thompson

Last Sunday was my turn to lead the service at The Parkrose Nursing Home Church Service.
My wife plays piano there on a roster and I preach on the roster about 4 or 5 times a year.
Below is an written version  of my sermon and communion talk for the congregation.
I have printed many of the Bible passages but did not read them all out.They are there for the convenience of the readers of this blog and also to encourage you to look further in the Bible.
If you are bruised and suffering from rejection and need a great healing of your spirit I pray you will find some encouragement here.
Please note I have not quoted anything from the book I mention in my sermon with the above title.
I simply used the title to start my thoughts.

We read in  Luke 4: 18

New International Version (©1984)
"The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed,
s and recovery of sight to the blind, to set oppressed people free,

When we come to the communion table we are celebrating what Jesus has done for us as human beings.

In many ways these few words encapsulate what the Mission of Jesus is and was.
There were actual people in the Bible that He did these things for but He still continues to do so today.
There are many who are poor but we are reminded in the beatittudes that blessed are the poor for they will see the Kingdom of God.
It is harder to know God if you are rich as you think you have no need of God.
There are many with Broken Hearts that can only be healed by Jesus.
There are many prisoners and captives of our own attitudes from which we can only know release by taking who we are to Jesus.
There are many who are not only physically blind but many who are blinded by prejudice and attitudes of Judgement.
So blinded that they cannot see God.
Of course today there are many advances in medicine that see much restoring of actual sight. These are modern miracles.
There are many who are bruised and crushed by the sins of others.
Only Jesus can really  heal the wounded spirit.

So as we take these emblems this morning representing the broken body of Jesus on the cross and His blood shed for us let us be thankful for what He has done for us and if we are crippled by some of the things we have just considered make a vow to Jesus now to take some of these things, that are in our control, to Him.

We will give thanks for the Bread and the Cup

The  Dignity of Belonging to Christ

Bible reading: Mark 5:1-40

I have come across in my collection of books a fine little book by that title.
It is a collection of sermons by a man by the name of  W A Peterson of NSW and published in 1969.

I thought what a wonderful theme and one I could use in today’s address.

I started thinking well what are some of the things that deprive people of dignity.

Here are some that came to mind as I thought about it.

The sometimes cruel indignity of old age as we can no longer fend for ourselves or attend to our own personal needs.
We can certainly experience that in a Nursing home.

The indignity being locked up in Jail.
Sometimes people are prisoners because of a serious crime or foolish behavior.
We can also be prisoners of our own attitudes towards others.
Prisoners because we can be indcredibly shy and not able to relate to people as we would wish.

The indignity of a crippling disease whether it be a mental illness or physical impairment or physical dis figurement.

We might have the indignity of people staring at us where ever we go.

The indignity of homelessness and un employment.

So for all these and many other examples where our dignity is compromised how does belonging to Jesus give us Dignity.

He certainly was a role model in looking past a person’s appearance or status or medical condition or position in life.

He gave us a fine example of how we should approach others by taking on the role of a servant in washing the disciple’s feet.

In the parables he showed us how we should behave to those who are despised. Eg The good Samaritan

There were many in the categories  I have mentioned in the stories of His encounters with people .

The Woman at the well. (broken relationships,living in sin)
 And despised because of her race and gender also)

John 4

New Living Translation (NLT)

Jesus and the Samaritan Woman

Jesus[a] knew the Pharisees had heard that he was baptizing and making more disciples than John (though Jesus himself didn’t baptize them—his disciples did). So he left Judea and returned to Galilee.
He had to go through Samaria on the way. Eventually he came to the Samaritan village of Sychar, near the field that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there; and Jesus, tired from the long walk, sat wearily beside the well about noontime. Soon a Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, “Please give me a drink.” He was alone at the time because his disciples had gone into the village to buy some food.
The woman was surprised, for Jews refuse to have anything to do with Samaritans.[b] She said to Jesus, “You are a Jew, and I am a Samaritan woman. Why are you asking me for a drink?”
10 Jesus replied, “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.”
11 “But sir, you don’t have a rope or a bucket,” she said, “and this well is very deep. Where would you get this living water? 12 And besides, do you think you’re greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us this well? How can you offer better water than he and his sons and his animals enjoyed?”
13 Jesus replied, “Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again. 14 But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.”
15 “Please, sir,” the woman said, “give me this water! Then I’ll never be thirsty again, and I won’t have to come here to get water.”
16 “Go and get your husband,” Jesus told her.
17 “I don’t have a husband,” the woman replied.
Jesus said, “You’re right! You don’t have a husband— 18 for you have had five husbands, and you aren’t even married to the man you’re living with now. You certainly spoke the truth!”
19 “Sir,” the woman said, “you must be a prophet. 20 So tell me, why is it that you Jews insist that Jerusalem is the only place of worship, while we Samaritans claim it is here at Mount Gerizim,[c] where our ancestors worshiped?”
21 Jesus replied, “Believe me, dear woman, the time is coming when it will no longer matter whether you worship the Father on this mountain or in Jerusalem. 22 You Samaritans know very little about the one you worship, while we Jews know all about him, for salvation comes through the Jews. 23 But the time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way. 24 For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.”
25 The woman said, “I know the Messiah is coming—the one who is called Christ. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”
26 Then Jesus told her, “I Am the Messiah!”[d]
27 Just then his disciples came back. They were shocked to find him talking to a woman, but none of them had the nerve to ask, “What do you want with her?” or “Why are you talking to her?” 28 The woman left her water jar beside the well and ran back to the village, telling everyone, 29 “Come and see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could he possibly be the Messiah?” 30 So the people came streaming from the village to see him.

The Garderene demoniac.( In todays world would be considered very mentally ill)
Mark 5: 1-20
Mark 5:
The Healing of a Demon-possessed Man
1They went across the lake to the region of the Gerasenes.a 2When Jesus got out of the boat, a man with an evilb spirit came from the tombs to meet him. 3This man lived in the tombs, and no one could bind him any more, not even with a chain. 4For he had often been chained hand and foot, but he tore the chains apart and broke the irons on his feet. No one was strong enough to subdue him. 5Night and day among the tombs and in the hills he would cry out and cut himself with stones.
6When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and fell on his knees in front of him. 7He shouted at the top of his voice, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? Swear to God that you won’t torture me!” 8For Jesus had said to him, “Come out of this man, you evil spirit!”
9Then Jesus asked him, “What is your name?”
“My name is Legion,” he replied, “for we are many.” 10And he begged Jesus again and again not to send them out of the area.
11A large herd of pigs was feeding on the nearby hillside. 12The demons begged Jesus, “Send us among the pigs; allow us to go into them.” 13He gave them permission, and the evil spirits came out and went into the pigs. The herd, about two thousand in number, rushed down the steep bank into the lake and were drowned.
14Those tending the pigs ran off and reported this in the town and countryside, and the people went out to see what had happened. 15When they came to Jesus, they saw the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons, sitting there, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid. 16Those who had seen it told the people what had happened to the demon-possessed man—and told about the pigs as well. 17Then the people began to plead with Jesus to leave their region.
18As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed begged to go with him. 19Jesus did not let him, but said, “Go home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” 20So the man went away and began to tell in the Decapolisc how much Jesus had done for him. And all the people were amazed.
The Crippled man laying at the pool of Bethesda.
(reduced to begging,making excuses)

John 5

Afterward Jesus returned to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish holy days. Inside the city, near the Sheep Gate, was the pool of Bethesda,[a] with five covered porches. Crowds of sick people—blind, lame, or paralyzed—lay on the porches.[b] One of the men lying there had been sick for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him and knew he had been ill for a long time, he asked him, “Would you like to get well?”
“I can’t, sir,” the sick man said, “for I have no one to put me into the pool when the water bubbles up. Someone else always gets there ahead of me.”
Jesus told him, “Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk!”
Instantly, the man was healed! He rolled up his sleeping mat and began walking! But this miracle happened on the Sabbath, 10 so the Jewish leaders objected. They said to the man who was cured, “You can’t work on the Sabbath! The law doesn’t allow you to carry that sleeping mat!”
11 But he replied, “The man who healed me told me, ‘Pick up your mat and walk.’”
12 “Who said such a thing as that?” they demanded.
13 The man didn’t know, for Jesus had disappeared into the crowd. 14 But afterward Jesus found him in the Temple and told him, “Now you are well; so stop sinning, or something even worse may happen to you.” 15 Then the man went and told the Jewish leaders that it was Jesus who had healed him.

The man with Leprosy healed

Mark 1:40-45

The young boy with Epilepsy who would throw himself into the fire.(The felt embarrassment and indignity of having a fit in public)

Matthew 17:14-16

The woman who touched his robe and was healed of a condition she had long suffered from. (Medical conditions that are hidden disabilities but can drain us and crush us emotionally)

Mark5: 21-42
A large crowd followed and pressed around him. 25And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. 26She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse. 27When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, 28because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” 29Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.
30At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?”
31“You see the people crowding against you,” his disciples answered, “and yet you can ask, ‘Who touched me?’”
32But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it. 33Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth. 34He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”

The man who was lowered through the roof by his friends.
(totally dependent on his friends)

Mark 2:3-5, 8-12

Man with a deformed Hand

Mark 3:1-5

The man who was born blind.

John 9

New International Version (NIV)
As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”
“Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”
After saying this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. “Go,” he told him, “wash in the Pool of Siloam” (this word means “Sent”). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing.
His neighbors and those who had formerly seen him begging asked, “Isn’t this the same man who used to sit and beg?” Some claimed that he was.
Others said, “No, he only looks like him.”
But he himself insisted, “I am the man.”
10 “How then were your eyes opened?” they asked.
11 He replied, “The man they call Jesus made some mud and put it on my eyes. He told me to go to Siloam and wash. So I went and washed, and then I could see.”
12 “Where is this man?” they asked him.
“I don’t know,” he said.

The woman caught in Adultery.

John 8:1-11
New International Version (NIV)
but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.
At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.
But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.
At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. 10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”
11 “No one, sir,” she said.
“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

The Apostle Paul locked up in Jail and on a prison ship yet the people who were his jailers turning to Christ because of his influence and Jesus living in him.

Acts 26

The leader of the Synagogue , Jairus ,whose daughter  who lay dying .

Mark 5:21-42

These are some of the more well known examples of how Jesus touched people’s lives.

Of course he still can do this today and does so.

We read in  Luke 4: 18
We featured this in our communion talk today

King James 2000 Bible (©2003)
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,

Weymouth New Testament
"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He has anointed me to proclaim Good News to the poor; He has sent me to announce release to the prisoners of war and recovery of sight to the blind: to send away free those whom tyranny has crushed,
World English Bible
"The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim release to the captives, recovering of sight to the blind, to deliver those who are crushed,
Young's Literal Translation
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, Because He did anoint me; To proclaim good news to the poor, Sent me to heal the broken of heart, To proclaim to captives deliverance, And to blind receiving of sight, To send away the bruised with deliverance,
If you are a Christian you are a Child of the King.

In Ephesians we are told we are already seated in Heavenly places.

Ephesians 1

New Living Translation (NLT)

Greetings from Paul

This letter is from Paul, chosen by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus.
I am writing to God’s holy people in Ephesus,[a] who are faithful followers of Christ Jesus.
May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace.

Spiritual Blessings

All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ. Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son.[b] He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins. He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding.
God has now revealed to us his mysterious plan regarding Christ, a plan to fulfill his own good pleasure. 10 And this is the plan: At the right time he will bring everything together under the authority of Christ—everything in heaven and on earth. 11 Furthermore, because we are united with Christ, we have received an inheritance from God,[c] for he chose us in advance, and he makes everything work out according to his plan.

The people in this place who serve us are really an extension of Jesus’  love for us.

So be of good cheer.

Make a choice to look at things through the eyes of Jesus if you are feeling helpless and embarrassed about losing your dignity and independence.
Jesus loves you and cares about you and is with you always.

He is in you and beside you all the way.

Take the trouble to realize His presence.

Even if you can’t communicate well look forward to those who serve you and to visits from friends and family and the Chaplain or Christian friends from your Church.

And as Jesus would, make allowances for people when they have an off day.

Jesus makes that allowance constantly for us.

Enjoy the dignity of belonging to Christ.


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