A seemingly harmless question, Is Jesus at Home? What would happen if Jesus came to your house? What can we learn about life? The church needs some time to declare a year that we will genuinely make an extra effort to "WALK WITH GOD." The mission statement of one church begins, "To walk daily with God...." What does that mean?
Raises more questions: Is Jesus at home in my heart? To what extent is Jesus in my life? Does he dwell within? Is he real, present? Is he comfortable? With where I go? How I speak? What I say? What I think? Is Jesus at home in me today? Do I walk with him?
Consider our world. Surely you have seen it--the wreckage on every hand in our society is appalling. Not the junkyards, dumps, and unsightly fields, but the wrecked bodies, marriages, careers, lives, plans, families, friendships, prosperity. We would rather not look, it's easier not to notice. In the lives of neighbors, communities, cities, and nations--destruction, doubt, decay, despair. The daily inrush of less than good news causes us to avert our eyes, build emotional defenses, isolate ourselves, withdraw, trying to keep hope alive. On good days, it may be possible to survive with such human effort. But on bad days, some kind of crash, someone we care about in a pile of wreckage, ruined, disintegrating lives. On bad days, human effort falls far short. Our own hearts fill in the details.
We walk in these ruins. Some days, our lives are the ruins. Where are answers? Where is hope? Will it get better? Must we become cynics? Are church folks naive in keeping on keeping on?
Is all our talk about God within and among, concerned, caring, sharing our lives, "real?" Where is the real world? Are our lives fact or fiction? Are we merely fantasizing? Can we believe it when one says, "This, here, God's people, the focus inside this building, this is the real world. Out there in the dog-eat-dog world is the unreal world."
The problems of today's desperate world, the questions, the impersonalization, alienation, doubts, deserve answers. But the answers are not easy--easy to formulate, easy to grasp, easy to share. Today I do not claim to answer adequately. But today, I know the beginning point. GOD.
God's people in the OT shared similar problems when Jerusalem was about to fall. From exile in Babylon, Ezekiel prophesied the eventual fall of Jerusalem. He detailed the dilemma, he declared the dismay of Yisrael. With his picture of dismembered skeletons under a pitiless Babylonian sun, we are reminded. We also see bones of those who were once laughing and dancing children, adults with dreams and plans, believers who brought doubts and yet sang praises in church. We see bones, dry bones, lifeless, spiritually diminished reminders. What answer can we give? The only power that can possibly bring hope--GOD.
It is God who empowers dry bones to live again. It is God who brings order out of the chaos of life. It is God who is at home within us to work and to do his good will and pleasure. Surely the answer must be beyond human endeavor and effort. No answer from within ourselves and our abilities will suffice. No answer from the unreal world ultimately satisifies. The answer must be from this world--the real world--the inside spiritual world, GOD.
From wreckage of our world, from barren bones of the prophet's vision, we come back to our text in Ephesians, to summarize a Christian response, understand life with God, hid with God, protected, committed, dedicated, walking with God, living with God. Jesus at home in hearts.
What does it all mean? What are the implications? God is the beginning point. If God is the power, the hope, the future, if God is our life, if hope is in living with God, toward what shall we strive? How can God be our source of life? What does it mean to live with him, for him. Let us quickly survey five answers Paul includes in Eph. 4-5. What is this WALK WITH GOD? Life with God? And how can it be?
Today--we have experienced together--worship, God, walk, love, others. Is this real? Is God present? Is this our walk with God? Is Jesus at home? What shall we say?
We hear preaching. Amidst wreckage, to at least some, all words may sound as "mere words."
We surround the common communion table, are with one another, with God. Our lives, living, sharing, fellowship, oneness, koinonia. Declaring his death, declaring his coming. In the midst of wreckage, what difference can a piece of bread and a sip make? How will you respond?
Without God's active intervention in the human dilemma, it makes no difference.
Because God has intervened and intervenes yet today, it makes all the difference in the world. Because he values us, hurts so much for us, he gives his Son. Not to rescue us from our humanness, not to rescue us from the hurts of this world, but to secure our hope forever.
Today as I live for him in love, in light, in wisdom, seeking the forever world, he is my God, he is my Lord, I walk with him in relationship, fellowship, closeness, confident he hears, cares, knows, understands. He is near--nothing else matters. Walking with God is not sinlessness, not only prayer and Bible reading. Walking with God is forgiveness forever. Through Jesus, his blood, my entire life is his. Have you given him your life? Will you walk with him in obedience, beginning with the death of the old self and the resurrection of the new you? Two have this year. No blessing compares to daily walking with him.
Will you let him back into your heart if you have wandered from him?
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