Jesus said: Don’t think that I came to destroy the law or the prophets. I didn’t come to destroy, but to fulfill. (Matt.5:17) Love therefore is the fulfillment of the law. (Romans 13:10)
Ella Mae Hall will celebrate her birthday Feb. 22nd and both Jennifer Hitzfelder and Vondell Jordan will celebrate birthdays on Feb. 25th. Make those days really special!
Keep Pastor Cliff in your prayers while he travels to San Miguel, Mex. to the “Mission de Candellila” from Feb. 19th to 23rd. He is there to build and repair.
Pastor Cliff used the Gospel lesson from Matthew 5:21-24 for his sermon about “Jesus and His care for all people”. His words follow:
We are in the 6th week after the Epiphany. The Epiphany was the revealing that Jesus had come not only for the people of Israel, but for all people and all nations. This promise that Jesus would be for “all” was not new. The prophet Isaiah 6 centuries before Jesus said in Isaiah 49:5-6: “You will do more than restore the people of Israel to me. I will make you a light to the Gentiles, and you will bring my salvation to the ends of the earth.” That promise of God was there all along. The Epiphany was God’s people “finally” realizing it, finally understanding it, finally hearing it, finally believing it. At least some did.
When Jesus arrived, we learned that God’s presence was no longer confined to the Temple, and God’s place is not “just” the patch of real estate along the eastern Mediterranean Sea. God rules from Heaven a Kingdom whose citizens are literally drawn from every nation on earth.
From the 5th Chapter of Matthew: “You have heard that our ancestors were told, ‘You must not murder. If you commit murder, you are subject to judgment.’ But I say, “If you are even angry with someone, you are subject to judgment! If you call someone an idiot, you are in danger of being brought before the court. And if you curse someone, you are in danger of the fires of hell. So if you are presenting a sacrifice at the altar in the Temple and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you, leave your sacrifice there at the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God.”
The 6th of the Ten Commandments in Exodus Chapter 20, verse 13 is that we “shall not murder”. Jesus deepened that Commandment by saying that even being angry with someone is equivalent to murder and will result in judgment. Suddenly it is about our hearts, our “insides” not our “outsides”.
`It can be comfortable to say that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” The “old system” of sacrificing animals for atonement of their sins is no longer necessary. Jesus is, was, and always will be the Lamb of God. That was difficult for them to understand. Perhaps if we understand that covenant, we might be able live in a way that would glorify God.
I believe understanding the covenant that God made with Abram would help us to have a small glimmer of understanding of the love that God has for all the creation. God’s love as “Grace” was a difficult “change” then, and it remains so today. This will be covered on Communion Sunday March 2nd.
You often hear me say, we cannot earn our way into heaven, but it seems now to be part of our nature.
God revealed his love through the law and the prophets and by sending Jesus. Jesus said he was sent to fulfill the law with love. God’s love is being revealed to you and I today. God is always the same: Justice, Mercy and Grace. The law is being fulfilled with love.
We, the people of God, are called to be the incarnation of God’s love for the lost, the foreigner, the least, the prisoner. We are called to be salt and light in today’s world.
“How” the Kingdom of God on earth would become as it is in Heaven, was revealed in the life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus, followed by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on all God’s people at Pentecost.
We have been listening to Jesus teach how the Laws of God were being fulfilled with love. Remember that Jesus said that He did not come to destroy the law, but to fulfill the law. And that love is the fulfillment of the law.
May God give you the Grace to never sell yourself short.
May He give you the Grace to risk something big for something good.
May you have the Grace to remember that the world is too dangerous for anything but the truth and too small for anything but Love.