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Sunday, June 28, 2015

Sermon for June 28, 2015 by Pastor Ronnie Koch

I say to you, ‘Arise!’
Mark 5:41

Grace, Mercy and Peace are yours from God our Father and from our Lord Jesus Christ.
 40 And they laughed at him. But he put them all outside and took the child's father and mother and those who were with him and went in where the child was.41 Taking her by the hand he said to her, “Talitha cumi,” which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise.” 42 And immediately the girl got up and began walking 

Now, today, at this moment, you and I are not at such a traumatic moment as was happening for this little girl and her parents. Some of you have been there at one point or another. Some of you have been close, frighteningly close. But at the moment we’re ok. God has allowed us to wake up this morning, breathe, and get out of bed.
            Still it is good for us to hear Jesus words: “I say to you, arise.” On the last day, we believe that Jesus will speak something similar and our bodies will rise from their sleep and have life everlasting.
            And at our last hour, well, we have the confidence to face our last hour, without being scared to death, because we believe Jesus will be there with us and we will hear Him say, ”I say to you, arise.” And He will send His holy angels to carry our souls to heaven to be with Him.
            And in the meantime, our Lord is calling us, inviting us, into the life He gives and gives abundantly. Daily we can enjoy and give thanks for His life.
Ephesians chapter 2 starts out this way:  you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world
            That’s not an exaggeration. God is the creator of life, the source of life. So He is also the judge of life.
Without Him there is no life. Apart from Him, there is no life, only death.
            So many, still walking around on earth, breathing, eating, drinking, going to work every day, yet they are dead. They want nothing to do with God, couldn’t care less what Jesus has to say, only deal with goodness and righteousness when it suits them. They are at ease in the  trespasses and sins in which they walk, following the course of this world. It’s an existence separated from God, separated from the Lord of Life, It’s death and they don’t care.
            But in Ephesians, God is talking to you, and to me and to every other man, woman and child who will listen, you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world
            That’s not an exaggeration. That’s the reality of our sinful state.
That’s where we are, when we hear Jesus calling, : “I say to you, arise.” 
            Think on that daily. Consider your thoughts, words and deeds. Identify those trespasses and sins you think and say and do that put you at a distance from the Lord. When they separate you from the Lord, that’s death, repent of those. Turn around from those. Turn to Him who is calling you to Arise!
            We as Christians need to diagnose what goes on in us and what goes on around us in this world. We need to be able to recognize the signs of death that are all around us.
            God created us and everything in this world for life.
            God created Adam, and then saw that it was not good that He was alone, so He created Eve who was a suitable companion for Adam.  Now Eve was different from Adam, But that’s how God designed humanity – male and female. We are different on purpose.  The Greek word for different is hetero. God gave Eve for Adam so that Adam could love someone who was different than Himself, “other than” Himself. Had Adam been given someone who was the same as Himself, it wouldn’t have been the same kind of love. If you love someone who is identical, it’s very close to self love. It’s like Narcissus of ancient mythology who was infatuated and obsessed with his own reflection.
            Our Lord’s love for us is the pattern of the complete opposite of selfish love. He loves by giving up Himself for us. He loves us with a hetero love. He is the Creator, we are the creation. He loves us who are different than Himself, separate from Him, other than Himself.
            Adam had this happy, blessed opportunity to love someone who was other than himself, He found love in someone who was different – different physically, emotionally, sexually, and vocationally.
            That was the first marriage.   
            And God blessed that first marriage with life.
            Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, “I have gotten[a] a man with the help of the Lord.”
            Marriage was given for love, for companionship, and for life – for the next generation of living breathing souls. God designed this world that the future life would come from the blessed companionship of man and woman in marriage.
            We are in a world broken by sin and marked by death and so, in our homes the picture isn’t as perfect as it was in the paradise of Eden. Well, already with Cain, he hated and killed the second born. And never ever since has there been a perfect family. Parents have died and left children orphaned. Children have died too soon and left parents with wrenching grief and pain. Brokenness and Divorce has separated parents from their children. Abusive parents, rebellious children have brought sin upon sin.
            We see the horrible problems, but the broken situations do not change reality. The bad examples do not give an excuse to change the definition of marriage. Just because something is so often wrong doesn’t mean we can give up on what should be right.
            God wanted you to be blessed by marriage, even if He hasn’t called you to be married. And not everyone is called to be married, still God wanted you to be blessed by the institution of marriage, He designed creation such that a man and woman would be united in one flesh so that you would have mother and father and life.
            Although marriages are often flawed, Marriage is good and God-given. Marriage is for love of another, love for a person who is different, hetero. And, Marriage is for having children, for life of the next generation.
            When the powers that be deny that, when the rulers of this earth, even with the slimmest majority, say something like, Here’s what we say marriage is. When the rulers on their high bench say, “Nope, nope, marriage doesn’t have anything to do with making new life, but it’s all about the human rights of individuals. Marriage is all about filing a joint tax return and sharing health care benefits and being happy with yourself.  And those rights of marriage, can be for any odd combination of people. – when the powers that be in our world say that marriage is about all this other stuff, but not about life, then what are we left with? . . . death.
            This death-filled world around us needs to hear what our Lord Jesus has to say:  I say to you, arise.
Now I know some of you watch the news and shake your head, and get flustered and flabbergasted and even frightened sometimes. What’s this world coming to! Well, don’t get too worked up about it. Don’t get too upset. That won’t help.
In the Gospel reading today, Jesus comes up to Jairus’ house and sees all the fuss and hears all the weeping and He says, Stop crying, the child isn’t dead, she’s just sleeping. And they laughed at Him.
That’s kind of a hard sentence to hear from the Bible, isn’t it? They laughed at your Lord and what He said. But really it wasn’t a problem. It didn’t hinder Him. He went on with it. He went into the house. He said what He was going to say. “Talitha cumi,” which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise.” 
The world will laugh at our Lord, ridicule His ways, distort and try to hinder what He says.  He will keep speaking. We will keep listening.
He will keep calling to those dead in trespasses and sins.  Arise!
And to those who maybe aren’t even tempted by the weirdest perversions that we hear too much about, He sill says, Arise! We admit: All of us have those things on our conscience that would lead us to death.  Rejoice, daily that you have your Lord Jesus calling to you, “Arise!”
And pray.
Pray for the world around you. Pray for the children who are to grow up in this world on its way to death. And pray that the Lord would keep on calling, delivering, saving and giving His good life.


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