A Ripple in the Wave of Glory

 Speaker M.Noorhoff

A ripple has flowed into the world of religious conversations. It is the ripple of yet another conspiracy theory. It is not the first time a ripple has passed and probably not the first we have seen in our lifetime. The sad thing is that some see these ripples as waves and cry out in the words of Chicken Little g The sky is falling, the sky is falling.h

Of course you know that one of these ripple that have come about recently is the DaVinci Code another is the gospel of Judas. Now Ifm not going to focus on either of these because I donft give them that much importance and I think all of you need to learn for yourselves and this is where I will put my focus. I say this because there will be many more of these to come into your lives and you need to choose whether to walk into them with your eyes wide shut or to learn what you need to, to accurately decipher these as they comeBThese are as I spoke of earlier this year, just a bump in the threshing room floor a bump in your lifefs road. Let us look at this again to get some insight into how we should approach these situations that are all around us. After the cart hit the bump and Uzzah reached out to support the ark and died for his trouble. David became scared but he also knew that the ark was necessary for Israel if it was to prosper So he went back and he studied and studied and studied the word of God. He searched for the smallest details to understand what needed to be done to bring the ark. He realized that his lack of knowledge would lead to death. Maybe not his own but someone elsefs like Uzzah.  He realized that he must learn the word of God completely. When Saul was king he did not rely on the Glory, or on the Word of God, he did not write it in his heart and so the ripples of life seemed as tidal waves to him. Oh how true this is for so many Christians today as we lack the knowledge to deal with these ripples. Yes, we attend church every Sunday but how far do we go beyond thatH@Saul attended all the sacrifices, but he did not go far beyond that. The sacrifices and rituals grew to be greater than the service and the personal relationship with God. His faith was eroded away one ripple at a time. For many, the church experience is more important than the God experience. And today people are dying from our lack of knowledge and wisdom, from our refusal to write the Lordfs word into our hearts. How many of us trulysearch for the details in the Bible as David did. How many of us know the basic tenaments and doctrines of our beliefs. How many of us know the history of the church. How many work to memorize the word of God. How many of us know the difference between true doctrine and false doctrine.How many can list the ten commandments or can list the disciples of Jesus. In years past the bible was used on a daily basis in practical ways as well as for religious study. Many housewifes used it as a kitchen timer reciting passages that took just the amount of time they desired to know. If you needed 30 seconds you may recite Psalm 23 1 minute Psalm 30. Now this may seem to trivialize the word but how many of us could do the same thing. The point is that the Bible was part of their daily lives and not just the Sunday schedule.

Without the deep roots without the ability to stand strong we can be swayed by every breeze that passes by.

Do we prepare ourselves for the big uppercuts yet leave ourselves open for the constant jabs at our faith. In boxing, blocking the jab is as important as avoiding the big knock-out punch.

I hate to admit it but there is a huge ignorance in the church today. So many in the community believe that gignorance is blissh and so elect not to build their knowledge. The say gI just believe and thatfs enoughh but do they know exactly what they believe in. The problem isnft the lack of belief but the fact that many are able to believe anything and these false beliefs stick to us like barnacles on the hull of a ship, each allowing the next easier to accept. We are to be much more discriminating that that. Perhaps its time to scrape a few barnacles off your faith and discover what you truly believe and why and what you donft believe and why. As we talked about last month knowing and making decisions about what you believe and backing it up is important. It is a constant challenge because these ripples come into our lives everyday..

We should know the bible first and foremost but we also need to learn history, art, customs, cultures. We need to weed through the worldly knowledge and get to the truth. We need to look at the4 brightest times in our Christian heritage as well as the darkest. We must seek answers not only for the questions we have but for those others ask as well. We must be able to both demonstrate and argue our faith. Look at Stephan and how he addresses the council. He used knowledge of history and the law and had the wisdom to understand it but inn the end it was his demonstration of faith and love that stated his case in the most absolute way.

Finally we must learn the true and full knowledge of the Glory of our Lord God. To go beyond the worlds visions and images of God and Jesus into the true image that is left for us in the Bible the image of the Lord in his present form, the way we will see him on his return. Close your eyes for a moment and sort through the images you have of Jesus. Do you see the lamb or the lion? The beaten Jesus or the glorious image on the hill of transformation.

You just were given that Sports car you always wanted and you say, "Awesome!" You go to a concert and they invite you onto the stage, and you say, "Awesome!" Your team won the World Series or Superbowl and you say, "Awesome!" (If it were my team, I would say, "Miracle!") You just found out that you just won the lottery, and you say, "Awesome!" Reasons for elation and celebration\Yes. Reasons to say, "Awesome!"\No.

 You may know that I care about words. I mentioned some of them last sermon. It seems to me that the word awesome is simply being used much too much for matters that are not awesome. Awesome and awful for that matter is to be in a state of awe, unable to breath due to wonder and amazement. These thing we have just mentioned arenft awesome they are great, but not enough to take your breath away. The psalm writer caught it: "How awesome is the Lord Most High, the great King over all the earth!" (Psalm 47:2) Thatfs the right use.

 What is awesome? Listen to this. "I saw one . . . clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash around his chest. His head and his hair were white as white wool, white as snow; his eyes were like a flame of fire, his feet were like burnished bronze, refined as in a furnace, and his voice like the sound of many waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, and from his mouth came a sharp, two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining with full force. When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead." This sounds like a case out of "The X Files." This scene is awesome. In case you did not recognize him, that was Jesus, described by John in Revelation 1. We do not see many stained windows of this face of Jesus, or pictures of this Jesus on the walls of Sunday school classes. This is the same Jesus who took children in his arms, who healed the sick, and befriended outcasts. In his ascended glory everything looks different. "How awesome is the Lord Most High, the great King over all the earth!"

 For too long and for too many of us, Jesus has only been seen as meek and mild, as a toothless tiger, a declawed, domesticated lion fit for a petting zoo. We have tried to fit him to our dimensions. That is one part of the story\he did fit himself to our dimensions, for a while. Indeed, he entered our time and space so harmlessly, a tiny baby, fully one of us and one with us. That is part of the truth, but not the whole. There is more. The photo album has more pages. Bethlehemfs babe is God. He comes in humility, he lives in poverty, he dies in agony, he is raised in victory, he ascends in mystery, and he will return in glory. "Then the end will come," writes Paul, "when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority, and power." (1 Corinthians 15:24) "How awesome is the Lord Most High, the great King over all the earth!"

 In his kingly ministry he is not sleeping nor slumbering, nor tuning harps in heaven. He is actively contending with the evil powers of this world and of the cosmos, and make no mistake, he is winning. If sometimes it seems otherwise, just picture for a moment how all hell would break loose on this planet if he were not ministering his awesome power. When we look carefully we see him. Even techno wizard Moby was quoted in Rolling stone magazine saying, "If you look at the intricacy of the universe and any of its species, how canft you see some sort of intelligence and creative purpose behind it? The more I read quantum mechanics, the more I find support for it in the teachings of Jesus." I can not speak for anyone else, but I know that our Lord is involved in every pursuit of truth. "How awesome is the Lord Most High, the great King over all the earth!"

 "Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father, after he has destroyed all dominion, authority, and power. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. For he has put everything under his feet." (1 Corinthians 15:26-27) We live in the midst of death, every day. Someday it will no longer be so. Someday death will be conquered, defeated, vanquished, dead forever. Jesus has conquered death already in his resurrection and he is even now completing the victory. "How awesome is the Lord Most High, the great King over all the earth!"

 We live in hope of that day. The One we call savior is Lord and King, awesome in every way.

 In C. S. Lewisfs great story, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Susan finds out that she is to meet Aslan the lion, the Christ figure. She is frightened. She says that she feels rather nervous about meeting a lion. Mrs. Beaver says, "If therefs anyone who can appear before Aslan without their knees knocking, theyfre either braver than most or else just silly." "Then he isnft safe?" said Lucy, her friend. "Safe?" said Mr. Beaver. "Who said anything about safe? Course he isnft safe. But hefs good. Hefs the King, I tell you."

 "How awesome is the Lord Most High." "For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death." Hefs the King, I tell you. Awesome!

 So you see when you look to the true image of Jesus those ripples just fade away.