Our Small Little World
Our Small Little World
Sermon Transcript by Rev. Ernest O’Neill
Would you take a Bible please and turn to Psalm 139:1, “O Lord, thou hast searched me and known me! Thou knowest when I sit down and when I rise up; thou discernest my thoughts from afar. Thou searchest out my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, lo, O Lord, thou knowest it altogether. Thou dost beset me behind and before, and layest thy hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain it. Whither shall I go from thy Spirit? Or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend to heaven, thou art there! If I make my bed in Sheol, thou art there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there thy hand shall lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.
If I say, ‘Let only darkness cover me, and the light about me be night,’ even the darkness is not dark to thee, the night is bright as the day; for darkness is as light with thee. For thou didst form my inward parts, thou didst knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise thee, for thou art fearful and wonderful. Wonderful are thy works. Thou knowest me right well; my frame was not hidden from thee, when I was being made in secret, intricately wrought in the depths of the earth. Thy eyes beheld my unformed substance; in thy book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. How precious to me are thy thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I would count them, they are more than the sand. When I awake, I am still with thee.” God help us to live in that reality. Amen.
I’d like to talk about what is reality, what is reality. What is reality? And I think it would be good for us to look first of all at what unreality is. Unreality is the world and Trish, or any of us, Orest or me, or Marty. We’re that size compared with the world. Big, that’s unreality. But just think for a moment how much that is a picture of our own mental life and our physical life. How everything is in terms of me. Everything is in terms of me. Is it a nice day? That means is it a day that I like? Is this a nice lunch? That means is it a lunch that I like. “That was a funny tone of voice that person used, it showed what they thought of me.” “This conversation that’s going on, I’m not taking much part in it.” Or, “Why did he say that?” “How am I feeling? Oh, I’m feeling tired. This has been a hard day. I’m worn out I just need to get sleep tonight. It doesn’t matter whether the lunch, or supper, or whatever there is, it doesn’t matter whether they need me or not, I need to get done what I want to do.”
I dare to say to each one of us here that a lot of our life is passed like that. Whatever we’re claiming for ourselves spiritually a lot of our life is lived in total unreality, or in partial unreality. That is the whole world is judged by us in terms of us and we’re exactly in the position of that verse, you don’t need to look at it I’ll repeat it to you, Satan said, “God knows that when you eat of this tree of the knowledge of good and evil you will be like God.” And a lot of our life is lived as if not only we were like God but we were God. That is, we are the most important person in the universe to us, to us. And if you reflect our depression comes from that, our anxiety comes from that, all our discomfort comes from that, all our worry comes from that, all our uneasiness comes from that, all our irritability comes from that, all our temper comes from that, all our depression comes from that, everything comes from that. From the fact that we live all the time looking out seeing through our eyes and ears how things are affecting us and judging them always in the light of us, us, us. And it’s a long, long time from we lived that glorious life that we experienced once in a while when we were little children when our dad and mum took us to the seaside
or took us to the lake and we just enjoyed life and we never thought of ourselves for a minute.
So that’s unreality. And loved ones, when I say its unreality what you’re going to see about reality will show you that that’s what it really is, it is unreality. It isn’t just bad, you know. We have a tendency to say, “Oh yeah, you’re saying that’s bad, and that’s not Christian, and that’s not the mature way.” No, I’m saying that is unreality. That’s not reality. You are not that big. You are not that important. That is not the heart of your fulfillment. You keep thinking it is. You say, “No, I have to fulfill myself, I have to satisfy myself.” That’s not the heart of your fulfillment, that’s unreal. At the end of a life lived like that you will be dissatisfied, you will not be fulfilled. And yet I put it to you day, by day, by day forget whether you’re claiming to be sanctified, or justified, or forgiven, or a Christian, or baptized with the Holy Spirit or whatever irrespective of all those terms that you use if our life is lived like that it’s a life lived in unreality.
I feel for us because I think we’re brought up that way. The whole world lives like that and we’re brought up to live like that and everybody is asking us, “What are you going to do with your life? You must fulfill yourself and you must really do all you can in this world and you’re really worthwhile.” And again, and again we’re built up, built up, and we’re brought up to think that we are the center of everything and that everything should be judged from our center. It will drive you insane if you keep at it. It will drive you insane because its total unreality and it won’t work.
What is reality? That’s time, that’s time. It goes into infinity and infinity and God sees all of time in one second. God sees all of time in one second. That’s part of what that verse means, “A thousand years in your courts are like a day.” God sees all of time in one second. There is this year 1996. There is 6 B.C. when many people say Jesus was born. There is the year 2080. People vary about when the first man occurred but let’s say creation took place there, sometime before 2000 B.C. B.C. is Abraham and obviously either hundreds of years, or thousands of years, or millions of years though that’s unlikely, before 2000 B.C. the creation took place.
Here Colossians 1:15, maybe you’d look at. Colossians 1:15, “He,” that is Jesus, “Is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation.” The first-born of all creation, there before the creation in eternity God begot his son Jesus. God the Creator begot his son Jesus in eternity thousands, millions, billions timeless years before creation, God begot his son Jesus. And at the same moment as God begot his son Jesus as his only son he begot him also as the first-born of all creation. At the very same moment as Jesus was begotten as the son of God he was also begotten as the son of man. He was the first-born of all creation at that moment in eternity.
But there was more to it than that in Verse 16, “For in him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or authorities – all things were created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” So in his son Jesus, God made everything. God made everything in his son Jesus. And his son Jesus therefore became not only God’s only son but he also became the first man, the very first human being. Indeed, he is the human being; he is the great human being.
You and I are human beings because of Ephesians 2:10 and you should look at Ephesians 2:10. But I think sometimes we don’t realize that, that the reason we are human beings is because of Ephesians 2:10, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” “We are his workmanship,” God’s workmanship, “Created in
Christ Jesus for good works.” In other words, long before creation we were created in Jesus and we were created as part of this great human being, this one man. And the reason you and I are human beings is because we were made in Jesus who himself had become a human being and at that very moment God saw everything.
He saw the end from the beginning. He saw that if we were going to be like him and his son and have free wills, and have free choice, then he knew that we had to be free to choose to reject him and to live that unreal life that we had on the board a few moments ago. To live as if we were on our own, as if this life that we lived was just up to us and it was up to us to do what we wanted with it. He saw that we would do that and we would chose that and he had to decide that at that moment would he wipe us out and destroy us and stop the whole plan or would he bear that in his own son and allow that to take place in Jesus, and would he bring about the destruction of that and yet bear that destruction himself? And that’s why the Bible says, “That the lamb was crucified from before the foundation of the world.”
You remember, I think its Revelation 13:8, “The lamb was slain from before the foundation of the world.” And so even before the foundation, before the creation there, all this took place. We were created in Jesus, and we were crucified in Jesus, and we were raised up in Jesus, and then Christ came to earth in Adam as the first Adam and he bore Adam and bore his sin, and he bore Adam’s children and bore their sin, and their children, bore their sin, and bore, and bore, and bore, and bore because he himself is the great human being and we are simply members of his body. And that’s why Ephesians 2:10 says, “That we are God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works, which he has prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them,” because God and his son saw all this.
They saw all this. They saw our whole lives and they walked through it all. Christ has walked through every day in your life. He has walked through it already. He has seen it all. He doesn’t have to see what is Sheila going to do tomorrow? What is Joanne going to do next week? God sees the end from the beginning. It’s quite important that we see that. It’s quite important that we don’t toy with God or pretend that God is not that wise because if that’s the case you have to think, “Well, is there anybody who knows or is there such a thing as chance?” If there’s such a thing as chance then it’s greater than God. But if God is the God of the whole world and the whole universe, he certainly knows all the potential and all the possibilities and foresees it all and yet can maintain our free will despite all that.
But that’s why we say that we were created for good works which God has prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. Christ himself is working through his body every moment. There is Sheila. There is Trish. Only, we’re not as big as that. We’re not as big as that. But, that’s what we are. We are part of this glorious Jesus, this glorious son of man who is really the human being who is subduing the world and bringing it under God’s control day-by-day and has already done it. Has already done all that, all he’s doing now is manifesting this because God sees all that in one second but he spins it out over these years. Why? So that we can say, “Yes, Lord. Yes. Yes, that’s what we want to do, that’s what we want to be.” So that then he will have a great body of his son who want to love him and want to be with him.
But that’s reality. It is all a glorious plan that is laid out for us. We are not these massive creatures that we think we are, on the world deciding what we’re going to do with our lives and trying to work out what we have to do. No, we’re part of this glorious son who is striding through the world through each year in thousands of human beings and is acting and operating through them as
they allow him to and as he has planned to. And so you are in that same position and you’re not and I’m not the great person in charge of everything. We are just part of this dear man that has the whole thing planned and has things that he wants to do through us day-by-day and moment by moment.
So when we get up in the mornings it’s very much, “Lord, I open my heart and my mind to you because you are everything that I am and more than I am and you’re everything, and your great mind has all the things planned for this day’s world and you know what’s going to happen and here I am in you. And I have the joy and delight of going out with you. And you are going to do certain things through me and show me certain things.” But that’s it! Not “Oh, how do I feel? Oh, I have to do those bills today. I have to do that. My mouth feels funny and I hate the breakfast.” It’s so unreal. Do you see it? It’s like little silly mice in a little corner when in actual fact you are part of Jesus, of God’s son. You are part of the prince of the universe. You are part of him in whom all things hold together and he is standing up.
That’s the glorious thing I think about that “Awake, awake to love and work”, you know. “The Lord of life as he goes meekly by”, you remember. The whole scene of Jesus the Lord of life striding through the world and what we need to see is here is Marty in the blessed Savior. As the Savior swings his arm, there’s Marty swinging along and looking out. See, completely – wonderful you know, glorious and so much bigger than our petty little silly stupid wanting to be gods, building ourselves up and thinking everything depends on us and everything concerns us. No, no, the Savior is getting up each morning and you are in him and that’s what the life is about.
So it is a glorious life. So that’s why, I know – I think of Clint and Adam and I think of any of you who are now younger than me, though I don’t think you’re younger than me. But I think of all my own vanity back then and I’m sure I have a lot of vanity still but the vanity is so stupid. The vanity is so foolish. Showing off and wanting to be big in each other’s eyes, it’s so stupid. It’s so unreal. None of us are big but we’re all far bigger than we think we are. That’s it.
What is it, “I’d rather be a doorkeeper in the house of the Lord”, I’d rather be a little cell in the son of God who will live forever than a huge Adonis, or a huge body, or a huge human being here on earth, far better than that. So I would say to you actually you’re not thinking enough of yourself in a way. Actually you make yourself smaller than you are. But you’re being a big fish in a little pool, and it’s unreal, it’s utterly unreal. This is reality and this is what daily life is about.
I asked Irene to read the “Breastplate of Saint Patrick”. It’s an interesting prayer and then I have copies of it for you. And it’s interesting because I think it expresses this.
“I arise today through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity, through belief in the Threeness, through confession of the Oneness of the Creator of Creation. I arise today through the strength of Christ’s birth and his baptism through the strength of His Crucifixion with His Burial, through the strength of His Resurrection with His Ascension, through the strength of His decent for the Judgment of Doom.
I arise today through the strength of the love of Cherubim in obedience of Angels, in the service of Archangels, in hope of resurrection to meet with reward, in prayers of Patriarchs, in predictions of Prophets, in preachings of Apostles, in faith of Confessors, in innocence of Holy Virgins, in deeds of righteous men.
I arise today, through the strength of Heaven; light of Sun, radiance of Moon, splendor of Fire, speed of Lightening, swiftness of Wind, depth of Sea, stability of Earth, firmness of Rock.
I arise today, through God’ strength to pilot me: God’s might to uphold me, God’s wisdom to guide me, God’s eye to look before me, God’s ear to hear me, God’s word to speak for me, God’s hand to guard me, God’s way to lie before me, God’s shield to protect me, God’s host to save me: against snares of devils, against temptations of vices, from everyone who shall wish me ill, afar and anear, alone and in a crowd.
I summon today all these powers between me and those evils: against every cruel merciless power that may oppose my body and my soul, against incantations of false prophets, against black laws of pagandom, against false laws of heretics, against craft of idolatry, against spells of witches and smiths and wizards, against every knowledge that corrupts man’s body and soul. Christ to shield me today against poison, against burning, against drowning, against wounding, so that there may come to be abundance of reward.
Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ on my right, Christ on my left, Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down, Christ when I rise, Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me, Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me, Christ in every eye that sees me, Christ in every ear that hears me.
I arise today through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity, through belief in the Threeness, through confession of the Oneness of the Creator of creation.”
Let us pray.