The Breakfast Club Sermon
If a Man’s Home is His castle
God’s People are His Temple!
† In Jesus Name †
May we realize that God has brought the gospel of peace to those who were far off, and to those who have been near, and in so doing, has made us into the place where the Father, Son and Holy Spirit dwell!
Looking in from the outside
The most powerful memory from my high school back east was of a morning in a hallway, where I first realized how much I lived my life on the edge.
We all arrived early, some on the bus, some dropped off, some just because. There was my best friend John, a gymnast he was heading to the weight rooms. Bill – the star athlete, president of the class, and he was heading to Mrs. Johnson’s Algebra II class. Mike, well, Mike had interactions with various pharmacology, and was heading for an area we called the “hash block.” Another friend was heading to band practice, and another to autoshop – which was his second home. I think that of the 15 kids that hung out for 20 minutes, that of them every major clique in the school had representation. We hung out there…
every morning, for nearly two years…
It was one cold February morning, whenI realized I lived on the edge. As I was watching my friends, talking to some, I came to the conclusion that I lived on the edge.
Not the edge of danger, life filled with danger type edge.
But the edge of all their cliques, not really one of the brains, though we were in the same classes, not one of the jocks, though I ran and played with them, though I was a musician, the band geeks were a marching band – and you can’t carry your baby grand down main street. I knew the druggies and gearheads through my brother. I knew them all, yet, wasn’t part of their groups.
I was on the edge. Maybe some of you know what I mean, or maybe you wanted to be in one group – but found yourself in another – shut out from where you wanted to be – an outsider, and maybe you tried to force your way in. Maybe you still are trying to find that group to which you belong.
Paul’s description – painful but accurate?
In Paul’s epistle this morning, he is writing to those God has gathered together and made one in the city of Ephesus. In verse 11, he brings up the pains of their pasts – he reminds them that they were once on the edge, outside, not part of the group.
He reminds them that they were call names by those who thought they were cool. The phrases Paul writes, one after another, pounded in reminders of the feelings of being excluded, of the pain of realizing that life seemed somehow empty, and there were not part of the group that had it made. Basically, because you weren’t part of the family, because you didn’t know God, you were without hope.
By the way, there is a subtle reminder to humble those who think they are in the right group. Paul says, “who were proud of their circumcision, even though it affected only their bodies and not their hearts” I would realize much later, that those who made a big deal about being in this clique or that one, were the ones most insecure in those connections, who weren’t sure they belonged. Same thing in regards to our faith – those who compare themselves as far better than those outside of the faith, are the ones who need to find confidence in God’s work, rather than their own, to take it from being just an outwardly projected image, to seeing the image of Christ in them.
Returning to those of us former outsiders to whom Paul writes. It still seems strange to me, that there are those of us, who are comfortable in living on the edge. It is as if we desire to be part of the group, yet can’t bring ourselves to risk the rejection, as we may have, once or twice in life.
Will they accept me, both the good and the bad? If this is true with the cliques of our youth, it may be true of our adulthood. I hate to say it – but sometimes those fears have been proven, as people become part of a church, and struggle with the fact that sometimes we are more comfortable with each other, than the stranger who just walked in. How many in this world, are just looking for a group to belong to, a place where they are no longer the outsiders, living on the edge.
We’ve been re-created – a new people.
There are reason behind Paul bringing up these memories. First, we need to remember how incredible our Lord is, and how mind-blowing what He has done for us is.
You see the hard memory of the past is to be compared to where we are now, in the present. I want to re-read these words with you.
13 But now you have been united with Christ Jesus. Once you were far away from God, but now you have been brought near to him through the blood of Christ. 14 For Christ himself has brought peace to us.
You’ve been united with Christ! You aren’t going to get anymore “in” than that. The one whom all exists for and you are close, He has brought you near to the Father – close and loved. Hear some more
19 So now you Gentiles are no longer strangers and foreigners. You are citizens along with all of God’s holy people. You are members of God’s family. 20
You belong! Not just as the newbee, the one on probation – you are members of the family! You have been brought with Christ – and God is the One who called you and I into this incredible relationship, – one more – verse 21!
22 Through him you Gentiles are also being made part of this dwelling where God lives by his Spirit.
In comparing where we were – on the edge, on the outside looking in, without hope, to being an integral part of the people of God, a active and needed part of the body, we have been given hope, as the prophet Jeremiah tells a broken people who found themselves outside and on the edge. He said,
“This is God’s word on the subject…., “29:11 I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for. “
Jeremiah 29:10- 11 (MSG)
And in Christ, that hope is not some far off and barely possible thing, but as the word used to mean – that which we have 100% confidence in, it is our expectation, because God has given us His Holy Spirit as a guarantee of this.
Look whose here…
I said that there were a number of reasons Paul would bring up our painful pasts, the feelings of not even having been abandoned, the feelings of not belonging in the first place.
It is to keep us humble, to help us from becoming, now that we are the people of God, like those who were proud of a circumcision that was only physical, that wasn’t the cutting away of the crap around our hearts, the sin and effcts of sin that can change us, and make us cold.
A number of times Paul helps us with this as well, as he explains that God is pulling all people into Christ, and therefore into His presence. Hear His words
14 For Christ himself has brought peace to us. He united Jews and Gentiles into one people when, in his own body on the cross, he broke down the wall of hostility that separated us.
15b He made peace between Jews and Gentiles by creating in himself one new people from the two groups. 16 Together as one body, Christ reconciled both groups to God by means of his death on the cross, and our hostility toward each other was put to death.
17 He brought this Good News of peace to you Gentiles who were far away from him, and peace to the Jews who were near. 18 Now all of us can come to the Father through the same Holy Spirit because of what Christ has done for us.
Together, we are the people of Christ – He has brought us all into Him, and joined us to Himself, that He can bring us into the presence of the Father. The second reason to cause us to remember we were outside, is to explain how much we have all become one.
The sermon has a long title. If a Man’s Home is His castle God’s People are His Temple! God’s home isn’t created out of wood and stone, His temple isn’t one built of human hands. It is a house, a lineage, a people, that He Himself as called together, united, together, joined together,
20 Together, we are his house, built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets. And the cornerstone is Christ Jesus himself. 21 We are carefully joined together in him, becoming a holy temple for the Lord.
One of the things I realized as I grew older, was that as one who lived on the edge, I was part of those groups – all of them. They weren’t so different than I am, and that each of us, is being called to be part of a bigger group, a real family, where burdens are shared together as we give them to God. For what defines us, what makes us who we are, is not our personas that we show to the public, not our gifts and abilities and differences and things we have in common, It is Christ, who has made us His.
We see a glimpse of it here, at this altar, as we will feast together, with our Lord, with our Savior, the One who made us His people, the one who calls us together in a life that knows peace.
Posted on July 22, 2012, in Sermons and tagged brought near, Church, cliques, Family, father son and holy spirit, High School, Jesus, life, outsiders, spirituality, the Body of Christ, The Breakfast Clib, the in-crowd, the presence of God. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.