Adapting is what we do, even the most reticent to accept change among us, even we have adapted. The question this morning is how to do we adapt to not only a changing society but a changing church. We find answers in how Daniel and his friends adapted to life in Babylon.
We may think that life has taken an unexpected turn, but the reality is God does not do unexpected.
We Presbyterians are typically reserved, ordered, rational people and so overall we struggle with the notion that God would want us to act as the disciples did on that day of Pentecost in Acts 2. Yet if we only focus on what disturbs us in this passage then we lose the impact of what was happening; the message; the meaning, and without the message or meaning behind Pentecost then we will never grasp or be part of what God was and is doing in his church through his Spirit.
If God created everything from nothing then he has authority and because he imagined life, designed and brought it into being with all its complexity and wonder then we have incredible value and real meaning.
The catechism answers this question not by getting bogged down in how God’s will impacts specific events such as wars or disease, but by looking at the larger picture. The catechism is asking and answering an eternal question. What are the decrees of God? The decrees of God are his eternal purpose, according to the counsel of his will, whereby, for his own glory, he hath foreordained whatsoever comes to pass.
The nature of the relationship between Father, Son and Holy Spirit tells the story of our relationship with God.
To give the one true living God that unique place in our lives, to trust him, is to live our lives as he has instructed us. It is to say we Lord, because of who you are, because you are unique, we will live as you have instructed us to, even if that is difficult or costly. You come first; Jesus comes first. We so treasure all that Jesus has done for us, that he comes first.
. The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead shakes us from our delusions and forces us out into the reality of a broken world full of virus, death, fear, loneliness; into a world where people like John Harris are struggling to find support and meaning; into a world desperate to know, ‘He is not here; he has risen, just as he said.’
When we talk about kindness then we’re talking about more than being nice to some people. Kindness is one of those qualities found in God; God is kindness. Therefore, true kindness is a gift from God, it is the fruit of God at work in our lives through his Sprit. What does this Godly kindness look like?
If we believe in a rule-based system, then these rules only serve to condemn us. They don’t show how good we’ve been, they only highlight our failures. Rules, or the law, can only condemn. John tells us that it was because of God’s love that he sent his Son into the world not to condemn it but to save it through him. This salvation is not earned but freely given through faith in Jesus Christ… ‘that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.’ (John 3:16)