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Challenged to Change

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Lesson 168 of 225
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Being God’s Children


God’s Sweet Separation

Sermon Transcript by Rev. Ernest O’Neill

Well, it doesn’t need me to tell you we’re all taught to believe that this is Jesus’ birthday and this is when God came to earth as a human being. We all know that story but of course, we’re wiser, we’re wiser because you know that it was God coming into humanity. It was God himself coming into humanity and it was God declaring that, “This is my son who lives in each human being. And my son is in each one of you, and that is the purpose of your life, to allow him to manifest himself.”

And you know what a change that is because each one of us are egotistical little creatures, who are all taken up with my mother, and my father, and my brother, and my sister, all that silliness. And it is silliness because that was only – it was just a way of getting his son into this earth, and we are missing it completely if we think of ourselves first and foremost as Joe Selzler’s father’s son, or Marty Poehler’s mother’s son.

I mean, it is a little easier, I mean I know it’s a hard time as dad slips on the driveway and mum goes into the hospital and I know what you feel. But of course, what it is is God bit-by-bit bringing us out of our preoccupation with what is – I know it sounds hard to say it but what is just a temporary experience. And yes, I think in some way I suppose my dad in heaven will still be in some relationship to me as a dad but it will be transformed. It will be transformed.

It won’t be uncomfortable or awkward for us but it will be transformed. We will be close to each other because we’re part of Jesus and therefore part of each other but not because we were our mother’s son or our father’s daughter. And of course, this is God gradually taking us out of the unreality of that whole attitude that tried to find our security and often still, I dare to say to you, often still tries to find its security in mum, and dad, and the brothers, and the sisters, and the family.

And really what it is, as we come to this age, is God separating us from people. I dare not trust the sweetest frame but wholly lean. And it’s really separating us from the sweetest frame. And it’s important that we do because there’s a whole glorious life that Christ himself has planned to live in each one of us here, a different life. And I do believe that there are things still that Jesus has to do in each one of us that we don’t know of.

And that’s where I think we are boring creatures. We are, we’re dreadfully boring creatures because we think, “Oh, this is great. Christian Corps is great and what we’ve done so far is great. And the things that pastor has outlined in the web are great. And that is wonderful, and that will be our whole life.” And yes, that could be a very happy life that could be a very good life. I think that if that’s all we do that’s great, I’m sure God will be pleased with us. But it’s the other attitude that is wrong, that that is all there is. Is that all there is? That that’s all there is.

That’s not all there is when Christ is living in each one of us, none of us can say, “Yes, that’s all there is.” Not if we really believe he’s inside. Yes, if we believe we’re just little human beings trying to do what we can for him, but if he is inside us, which one of us dares to say, “He has done all that he intends to do in us, and he has revealed it all to us and we know it all and there’s nothing further that will be a surprise to us.” It’s a whole wrong attitude.

It is a whole attitude that is not only boring but it is ungodly and it is missing the whole center of reality. That Christ came to this little body in Palestine 2000 years ago so that we would be able to have him living inside us. He came to humanity. It was simply the historical expression in time of what had happened in eternity when God begot his divine son. He begot him and at the same time begot humanity in him and begot him in humanity.

So of course you know fine well we have missed it, with all our dear old priests, and dear old pastors, and dear old ministers, and dear old churches. We’ve missed it because you know the way we’ve got it down to size. The baby comes and of course he has to be christened, he has to be baptized, and oh you have to have the baby done. And we have him done and that makes him a little Christian or a potential little Christian and then we take him back and he’s ours and we try to make him what we want him to be. It’s all silly. It’s all upside down.

And we, of course, are the products of that and that’s why it takes a real rebellion. That’s why Jesus was so strong, “Who are my brothers and sisters? Not these that you see around me who are my mother’s sons and daughters but those who do the will of my Father in heaven.” That’s why he used such strong words, words that bit into my heart that, “Unless you are willing to leave father and mother you are not worthy of me.” I found that very hard but it’s vital because the mum and dad are only his human way of getting us on to earth.

The one who owns us is the one within us, Christ himself and he is the Lord of our lives. And he is the one who has plans for each one of us. I say that because certainly – Joe talks about exciting dreams, I had a dream which I won’t tell you because I’m not to tell it at all, but it was plain to me in the dream that God has not finished with us and God has things for us all to do that are beyond what we think and understand. And I would encourage you to enter into that joyful, wonderful, infinite possibility that Christ has something more to do in you.

I don’t mean just make you more like himself. I mean he has some more things to achieve that we do not yet know of and we need to welcome him in like Mary, today. “Say behold I am a handmaiden of the Lord. I’m at your disposal Lord. I’m at your disposal. I’ll go where you want to go in me and I’ll do what you want to do in me.” And that for us is Christmas. It’s Jesus being born in us. It’s not Mary it’s us that are there.

Let us pray. Oh Lord, we see that we are not our own, we have been bought with a price and we are part of you and you are everything. And you are the meaning of our lives and what you want to do is your right and our privilege. So we receive you Lord Jesus, anew today to be the center and the heart of our lives and to be the focus of all our attention, and our plans, and our expectations. And we hand over to you this life for it is yours and we are simply your handmaidens, your servants. For you glory. Amen.

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