Sermon Series: What is Church?
Message 4 of 6: Family of God
Scriptures: Ephesians 2:11-19
This message was offered Sunday, 5/13/18 at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota Florida.
God’s Vision- Why we do what we do
God is love. We are called to share that love and the hope we’ve found in Jesus Christ with all people.
God’s Mission- What we do
Making Disciples of Jesus Christ for the Transformation of the World
Our Values- How We Accomplish God’s Work
We are Christ-Centered
- We place our trust in Jesus Christ as our Savior and Leader
We value hospitality
- Far more than friendly or welcoming. Belonging, acceptance, openness
We value genuineness
- Honest with God, each other, and our community Transparent, real, down to earth
We value respect
- All persons are made in the image of God. The dignity of all and for all
What do you think the missing value is? We choose to be family to one another
- We are better together
- Commitment to deep community, mutual support, caring, collaboration, Servant-hearted living, faith in action
- For many of us, our church family is more of a family to us than our biological family
Family at its worst
- neglectful, distant, false naming, betrayal, dangerous/abusive
Family at its best
- safety, belonging, nurture/growth, identity/truthful naming
Read Ephesians 2:1-19
- Without Christ, we are outsiders, outcasts, orphaned, strangers, aliens
- Without God, there is no safety, no belonging, no nurturing or identity rooted in the eternal
What Christ does by his death and resurrection. Notice all the birth images:
- Verse 13, Jesus brings us near by his blood. His blood makes us blood.
- Verse 14, in his flesh he has made both groups into one
- Verse 16, Jesus creates a new humanity
Notice all the death images
- Verse 14, the broken body of Christ breaks down the dividing wall
- Verse 16, hostility is put to death
An extended quote from Prodigal Brothers by Steve Garnaas-Holmes (Luke 15:11-32)
The failure of our love—distancing ourselves from God and one another— is at the heart of our sin. In our self-centeredness, we break our family bond with God and with others, as if we’re not related. It is not just of our disobedience that we repent but of our distance, our refusing to get close to God and to others, including those whom we judge…. The righteousness that we need is not obedience. It’s a loving relationship—and this is not our own doing; it is the gift of God. In repentance, we pray toward both God and neighbor, “I am not on my own. I am yours.”
The message includes the story of St. Francis of Assisi being disowned by his father. Francis finds family and belonging with Jesus and his followers.
Prayer: Make us your children
Heavenly One, Your reach extends to every person, every nation, offering grace, forgiveness, wholeness, and hope. A saving embrace drawing us to you and each other.
Make us your children: grateful for a place in your family, humble before your love and generosity, faithful in honoring and welcoming all, joyful in sharing what we have found in you- safety, belonging, identity, a home of nurture and growth and sending forth. Amen.
I’m excited to now offer mp3’s of my Sunday messages. A huge thank you to Sean and my brothers and sisters at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota for all their help in making this possible. If you’re ever in Sarasota, please drop by for worship Sundays at 9:00 am or 10:30 am, or join us live on our Facebook page at 9:00 am Sundays or drop by during the week for a chat or small group. You and those you love are always welcome.
sermon and prayer © 2018 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
Contact Lisa for posting and publication considerations.
Hello, I am wondering what your response to President Trump’s turning people who are seeking asylum is. I hope that you are responding in the way I would expect, I suddenly wondered. Thanks for your response. Hermina Louwersheimer
Hi Hermina. Thanks for your question. There’s been much written on this complicated issue. My colleague and friend, Rev. Magrey deVega summed up my point of view much better than I could have. Below you will find a portion of his remarks. I look forward to hearing your point of view. – Lisa <
Zechariah 7:9-10: “Thus says the Lord of hosts, render true judgments, show kindness and mercy to one another, do not oppress the widow, the fatherless, the sojourner, or the poor, and let none of you devise evil against another in your heart.”
Proverbs 31:8-9: “Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute. Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.”
Jeremiah 22:3: “Thus says the Lord: Do justice and righteousness, and deliver from the hand of the oppressor him who has been robbed. And do no wrong or violence to the resident alien, the fatherless, and the widow, nor shed innocent blood in this place.”
Isaiah 58:6-7: “Is this not the fast which I choose, To loosen the bonds of wickedness, To undo the bands of the yoke, And to let the oppressed go free, And break every yoke? Is it not to divide your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into the house; When you see the naked, to cover him.”
Leviticus 19:33-34: “And if strangers dwell with you in your land, you shall not mistreat them. The strangers who dwell among you shall be to you as those born among you, and you shall love them as yourselves; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.”
"The list could go on and on. We are called to practice hospitality to strangers, promote human dignity and worth, preserve the sacred bonds of family, and protect the children: the immigrant, the unborn, the school-aged fearing for their safety, the bullied, the abused, the disadvantaged, the minority, from every walk of life and corner of the world. They are not commodities or pawns in political power games. They are all children of God, and children of ours."