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I am the LORD

I am the LORD

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Published by Jason Oliver Evans
Sermon preached at Mt. Level MBC, Nov. 21, 2010.
Sermon preached at Mt. Level MBC, Nov. 21, 2010.

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Categories:Types, Speeches
Published by: Jason Oliver Evans on Jan 07, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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³I am the LORD´ 
Sermon delivered onChris the King Sunday at Mt. Level Missionary Baptist ChurchNovember 21, 2010 8:00a.m.
nd the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, ³Speak to all the congregation of Israel and say to them: ³You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy.´« ³You shall not cheat your neighbor, nor rob him. The wages of him who is hired shall not remain with you all night until morning. You shall not curse the deaf, nor put astumbling block before the blind, but shall fear your God: I am the LORD. You shall do no injustice in judgment. You shall not be partial to the poor, nor honor the person of the mighty. In righteousness you shall judge your neighbor. You shall not go about as a talebearer among your people; nor shall you take a stand against the life of your neighbor: I am the LORD. You shall not hate your brother in your heart. You shall rebuke your neighbor, not bear sin because of him. You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your  people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD.´ (Lev. 19:1- 2; 13-18)
I remember like it was yesterday. I was in class listening to a lecturegiven by one of my professors at my alma mater. Dr. G., as we all called him, was lecturing on the field of the study of communication.Then all of sudden for a brief moment Dr. G. took a tangent to offer abiographical turn where he stated his religious affiliation. He made it clear to us that he was a Unitarian Universalist and he was an activemember in his local congregation. This disclosure didn¶t bother me asmuch as what followed: he said, to paraphrase, ³I tend to stay away from the Old Testament. I don¶t like the God of the Old Testament. Too judgmental! I like the God of the New Testament because he is full of love, grace, and mercy.´ This gave me great pause. I was a bit horrified! I knew intuitively that something was severely wrong about hiscomments. Unfortunately my former professor, who is a brilliant scholar, is not alone in his assessment of the Old Testament. Many sincere Christians today simply don¶t know what to make of the Old Testament. Even more telling and dangerous is the sad fact that many 
 people believe that the Old Testament portrays a God distinct fromthe One revealed in the New Testament. These Christians supposethat the God revealed in the Old Testament is by nature angry,vengeful, unloving, unmerciful, legalistic, and wrathful towardshuman beings. These Christians argue that the God portrayed in theNew Testament is a God that is inclusive, and loves unconditionally,and is on the side of the marginalized and the despised of the earth.Therefore, the God revealed in Jesus is antithetical to the God revealed through the law and the prophets.This view is not new in the history of the Christian faith. It is as old asthe earliest beginnings of the Church of God. In the second century afellow by the name of Marcion could not reconcile his reading of theOld Testament and his reading of the New. This is because hisreading of the Scriptures was influenced by the false teachings of theGnostics. The Gnostics believed that the created material world wasinherently evil and the realm of the uncreated spirit was inherently good. Therefore, Marcion believed that the Creator God in the Old Testament created a world full of evil and decay, and therefore thisGod was evil and is wrathful in his dealings with human beings.Marcion reasoned that the God revealed in Jesus was the one and true good God, one of grace and truth. So with this in mind, Marcion proposed his own version of the Christian canon. He excluded the Old Testament in total, than revised the Gospels to make sure all references to the Old Testament Scriptures were obliterated. Marcion prioritized Paul¶s writings above the Gospels; he even revised Paul¶sreferences to the law and the prophets too! 
ll the other epistleswere either heavily revised or excluded also. By the time he was done,Marcion¶s Bible paled in familiarity to the canon which the Churchuniversal recognized as authoritative.The ancient Church discerned that Marcion¶s view was folly, and rejected Marcion¶s teaching and his canon. By affirming the authority of the Old Testament, the Church affirmed that the God of 
braham,Isaac, and Jacob is none other than the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.Yet here we are almost 20 centuries removed from the age of Marcion, and the Church is still haunted by Marcion¶s ghost. Today many Christians struggle to understand the relationship between the
Old and New Testaments. Many fail to see any connection betweenthe two. They ask themselves, ³What does this book have anything todo with Jesus?´ So instead of pursuing this question throughengaging the communion of saints, many Christians simply refuse toread the Old Testament at all. Some, who are not so bold, will opt toread some narrative portions of the Old Testament, especially thosenarratives which make it in children¶s picture Bibles. Others will find solace in the Psalms yet they yield some things hard to swallow; evenmany find guidance from the books of Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Job, yet wonder about the goodness of God in the face of suffering and evil.Many yet struggle, I admit as do I, with the depictions of the terribleand holy God who judges nations by sanctioning their exterminationand the God who delivers nations into each others¶ hands as a sign of his judgment. God as the Divine Warrior, the one fights on behalf of his people doesn¶t sit well with modern Christians trying to live in peace in a present-day warn torn world. Nevertheless, as a preacher of God¶s word, I have an obligation to accurately handle the word of truth.Brothers and sisters, I declare unto you this morning that the God weserve is holy; his ways are not our ways as Isaiah reminds us. TheLORD God who sits on the throne of heaven and makes earth hisfootstool desires to be known and to know us as his people. I believe,my brothers and sisters, it is our calling and mission to understand the One who alone is holy; the One who has redeemed us from the perils of sin and death, from the hands of the evil one. For Christ¶ssake, we must understand the One whom Jesus called ³ 
bba,Father.´ This call is for us to know God and worship him in the beauty of holiness.In the nineteen chapter of Leviticus, the LORD God calls Moses tospeak on his behalf to the people of God. The LORD says to his people, ³You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God, am holy.´ What follows from this call is a series of commandments.Interspersed between these commandments is the refrain, ³I am theLORD.´ These commandments are not arbitrarily given to the people,but are given because of who God is. Who is the LORD that Israel must follow him? 

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