Challenged to Change
A Call to God
Sermon Transcript by Rev. Ernest O’Neill
After man has done everything, he needs to step aside. I am glad this morning we’re able to have the lectern to the side because all we men and women can do for each other is point each other to God, point each other to Jesus. That’s what we need to get a good hold of. We’re so big on ourselves and we’re so aware of each other and so realistic from a human angle with each other that we can end up with a closed universe.
We can end up with a great sensitivity group here in this universe, all trying to help each other. And really we can’t help each other at all. All we can do is point and say, “There’s One here who can help us.” It’s very important as intelligent men and women that we realize that and that we don’t get over-impressed with our own brilliance and over-impressed with our own ability to explain things to each other. Because after all our explanations are over, we just have a lot of explanations. We need to be able to go to someone who can give us what we need. That’s what we do on communion Sunday and that’s what I invite you to do today.
I would suggest that maybe you look at a verse in the Bible that says that very plainly. It’s in John 5:39. Jesus is speaking to people like ourselves, very religious people. John 5:39-40, “You search the scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness to me; yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.”
It is very easy to do that. “The scriptures are the best things this world affords” as they say to the Queen of England or the King of England when they hand them the scriptures. They’re the best gift this world affords. But that’s speaking of this world. All they do is bear witness to the living Word. This is the written word. But they bear witness to the living Word and the living Word is Jesus. You are able to approach the living Word yourself and to know Him personally.
Your relationship to this book will always be an “I-it” relationship. It can never be Buber’s “I-thou” relationship. But with the living word, Jesus, who is alive this morning in this room, you are able to have an “I- thou” relationship. It’s very important that you don’t find yourself in the position where Jesus is saying to you, “You search the theologies or you discuss philosophy or you attend church or you have many good friends with whom you talk about serious things, but you will not come to me that you might have life.”
I think all of us are in the same boat. There comes a time when we get tired of our own brilliance or we get tired of our own great ideas and we realize that there’s no life in thought. That is a counterfeit. There’s only life in a person. What we need is a person. That’s why Jesus said, “You search the scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life.” You carry on your constant philosophical discussions and you read all your books and “It is they that bear witness to me.” They are of some value, “Yet you yourself refuse to come to me that you might have life.”
So I would invite you loved ones to come to Jesus this morning. Just come to Jesus. Just believe that He is and that He is here this morning. That makes it easier to believe that He’s there. Believe that He is here and then begin to take Him for real in your own life and treat Him as a person. That’s what faith is. Treat Jesus as a person from this day forward in your own life and
that’s what He is inviting us to do.
You might not be a member of this body or you might be here for the first time. That doesn’t prevent you taking communion. There’s only one thing prevents you taking communion and that is not being real about your sins. So, whether your background is Catholic or Protestant or Jewish or whatever, if you are real about your sins this morning you need to do these things: confess them openly to God (in your mind and in your thoughts during the service that we’re about to enter), truly repent of those sins which means you stop doing them, and then you give your life to Jesus and you receive Him into your heart as your Savior. It doesn’t mean you repent and that you cry a lot or show remorse, it means you stop doing them because they crucified Christ. They cause Jesus to have to die for you. So you stop doing them.
Then, take communion by all means. Take it seriously and take it to your salvation and take it freely and that’s really the invitation this morning. I am going to ask you in a moment all to stand so that you won’t feel embarrassed. But I only ask you who are really ready to do that to receive the invitation to communion even though we all stand. I ask just those of you who are serious about confessing your sins and repenting of them and receiving Jesus into your own heart and life so that He can live His life again in you.
Only you receive this invitation, otherwise the Bible says you eat and drink damnation unto your own soul. So, it is important loved ones to be real. But if you’re real about it, the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, will come into your life this morning and will be in you forever, that’s it. That’s His promise. So if you’re willing to receive that invitation, will you now stand please?
You that do truly and earnestly repent of your sins and are in love and charity with your neighbors and intend to lead a new life following the commandments of God and walking from henceforth in His holy ways, draw near with faith and take this holy sacrament to your comfort and make your humble confession unto almighty God. Let us be seated as we pray.
Dear Father, we would be real with you this morning. We would confess our sins. We committed them one by one, and so we would confess them one by one and we ask you to hear them Lord. That as we confess each one, you would take it from us and we would put the unclean thing far from us from this day forward. Father, we would especially confess those things with which we have had a controversy about.
Lord, we would agree with you about those things that are doubtful in our lives. Father, whatever is of doubt, is not of faith and we know whatever is not of faith is sin. So Lord, if there is anything doubtful in our lives, anything that we’re not sure of whether it’s right or wrong, Father, we intend to walk well on the right side of the road. We intend to agree with you about that and to confess that as sin and to forsake it this day and never to go back to it, by your grace. Amen.