July 16, 2022

The Mystery of Life in Christ (Proper 16c)

 How can naturally unholy humans live in the holy and divine son of God who died 2,000 years ago? Christians believe Jesus created a new way of forgiveness and know how to be made holy. It is the idea of living in the Risen Jesus part that is a stumbling block for many:

·      Forgotten Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit and to be with His followers always. 

·      The connection is Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Jesus and the continuing presence of Jesus in the world. 

·      When we are listening to Holy Spirit we are listening to Jesus and He is with us. 

·      Readings explain Life in Christ as a mystical relationship of focussing on and listening to the Holy Spirit of Jesus.


1.    Amos 8.1-12: A Famine of Hearing the Words of the Lord

We begin with the consequences of not having a life of listening to the word of God. Israel is pictured as a basket of ripe fruit headed for destruction and the Babylonian captivity. 

·      Failed to listen to God and keep the Covenant of Moses. 

·      False prophets and priests have ignored God and developed their own religious system of festivals. 

·      Prophecy at Anglican Synod on Same-Sex marriage “I will no longer listen to the prayers of this Church”


2.    Colossians 1.15-28: Who Is Jesus?

“Who is Jesus?” is the first talk of the Alpha Course that has changed the lives of over 18 million Christians worldwide. It is appalling (no pun intended) that after 2,000 years of teaching an English priest could expose a huge and critical gap in modern Christian teaching:

·     Nicky Gumbel the atheist had a dramatic conversion experience

·     Heard a man screaming at the back of the church and realized it was himself as he was carried out

·     Priest observed “God has a mission for that man”

·     Blindingly simple – Explain becoming a Christian using the example of when you fell in love with your wife

·     The camera pans to Pippa sitting in the crowd

·     Everyone tears up and gets it – real people, real life

·     Spiritual life is intuitive experience – not intellectual

·     Shared examples of the power of Holy Spirit changing lives of people who listened – and continue to listen


3.    Luke 10:38-41: Mary’s Lived by Listening to Jesus

There is a choice we all make daily – to be busy like Martha or listen to Jesus like Mary:

·      Our focus shows where our heart is

·      Spiritual life in Jesus is an intimate love relationship

·      Mary gets it – knows who Jesus is – and focusses on Him

·      We become one with the one we love – live in them

·      Holy Spirit loves us to life


4.    Life in Christ is Personal Experience of Jesus in Life

Let me share some personal examples. Full disclosure – I am usually about as negligent in listening prayer as most people. 

·      I preached a sermon on Elijah running away from God a month ago

·      Was amazed at the gentle loving way God asks: “What are you doing Elijah?” – and empowers him for prophecy

·      Convicted by Holy Spirit of being like Elijahiassuming (wrongly) the Church was dying – remnant of 7,000

·      Holy Spirit also convicted me on another occasion of negativity and criticism

·      Both very painful but healing experiences that have given me more love, joy and peace



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