Sermon – Rev Gil Shoesmith 04/27/14

Sermons_Rev Robert Szo_St Stephen's_ St Mary's

“INHERITANCE”

Opening prayer:   I have been blessed with the privilege to present these words to you:   I pray that these words will bless each & every one of you – to the Glory of God.  Amen. 

HE IS RISEN!   Today is officially designated “Easter 2” but for me following last week’s sermon I feel like is it “Anti-Climax” Sunday.   I mean you have all that build-up to the most important day of our Christian year and then  …..bang!   How do I follow that?    Well, ……………….

In keeping with the one-word theory on a sermon I would like you to know that in preparation for today I prayed that one word would be presented to me to talk about.   Subsequently I would ask you to remember, if nothing else about this homily, that it is on — INHERITANCE.    Do you remember what one word our Rector Rob talked on last Sunday? 

The fact is that inheritance is mentioned in our Psalm for today:  Ps. 16: 5 – 6 “The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup…………..indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.”  (Or “goodly heritage” depending on which text we use)  Either way it is speaking of the psalmist’s contentment with our Lord’s provision and the arrangement of life as if from divine providence.  

From our Epistle lesson:  1 Pet. 1: vs 3 & 4:  (speaking of God the Father)  “in His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living HOPE through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade —-kept in heaven for you…” 

And in our Gospel we heard:  …”these signs that Jesus did…..are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have  life in His name!”  This purposeful statement defines a major theme of Jesus’ identity and the importance of believing in Him and the gift “(inheritance)” of  Eternal Life!  (St. St.) prelude song:  “I am the Bread of Life.” And “Once Again.”

 In vs. 29 of our Gospel, Jesus said to Thomas: You have believed because you have seen Me.  Blessed are those who have NOT seen and yet have believed.   However, we are told scripturally that we need to be ready to give a reason for the hope that we possess.  We should always be “on duty” (24 / 7) to relate that our hope is based on a real historical fact documented by eye witnesses.

All week I have been basking in the glow of Easter morning and going over the events of that scene at the empty tomb and asking myself what is the hope that Rob presented?  This week’s scriptures follow so perfectly to answer that question.  Because Jesus’ resurrection is our guarantee that we have been made heirs. 

In Galatians we read that we are all children of God thru faith in Christ Jesus.  If you were baptized into Christ, you are all one in Christ and belong to Christ and are Abraham’s seed and therefore HEIRS according to the promise.

Therefore, our “living hope” is our inheritance of just that — our future resurrection.   Vs. 4 says it is an imperishable inheritance.   Untarnished, uncorrupted; totally bright and fresh and unable to die out or vanish.  Just a few verses further on we read that we are born not of perishable seed, but imperishable. Vs. 23. 

Born of imperishable seed, it only follows that our inheritance will be the same.  It is the very seed of God that is in us, and therefore is a life which neither time nor eternity can destroy, which all came from Easter morning in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.   The inheritance of the Christian is God Himself.

 It goes on to say that it is an inheritance “kept in heaven” reserved for us and guarded by God’s own power.  How much more unshakable could our hope be for the future?!!    Christs’ resurrection is our pledge, our promise from God Himself for our own future resurrection.  Nothing can tarnish or destroy that. 

It is protected by God Himself who is ever present, standing in the shadows, so to speak.  Not to prevent us from troubles or trials, because in vs. 6 we read —“though for a little while you may have had to suffer all kinds of trials” — but He is there to enable us to overcome our trials and move on in faith and confidence and in the living hope of our resurrection.    It was just said at our prayer vigil meeting this very week:  “God is not in the occurrence of our trials;  He is in the solution to same.”

Actually we can withstand anything because in the end we will attain the magnificent inheritance  — Life with God!  The Christian has the overwhelming comfort that by enduring our trials we will hear (from God Himself) “Well done, Good and faithful Servant!”

This week, our Rector (Shepherd) took some of his flock through a very interesting Bible study session.  Rob asked us to share if we have ever inherited anything(?)  Everyone in the room had a story to tell.  The list of objects were quite varied, but let me share with you my two observations of that sage exercise. 

The first thing that stood out with everyone;  the common denominator of each person, bar none, was the utmost pride which they had and displayed  in the value of the object, whatever it was, that they had inherited!   And secondly, although it was my interpretation:  that it was implicit in each story that most, if not all, intended to pass the inheritance on to the next generation, IN FACT,  more than one already had.  And the pride in that process was just as evident.

So, what have I just talked about?  (in one word?)  INHERITANCE !  OF WHAT?

The resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Our own guaranteed future resurrection into an eternal existence with God Himself.  So my challenge to each of you is in the form of  a two fold question:   how proud are you of such an inheritance?  And, how do you intend to pass it on?

HE IS RISEN!  ……………………………………And, so will we be!  

Glory to God.                 AMEN.