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Title: You Can Be Sure
II. Time: Septuagessima (Transfiguration) III. Texts: OT: Ex 34: 29-35 Epistle: 2 Peter 1: 16-21 Gospel: Matt 17: 1-9
1After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. 2There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. 3Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus. 4Peter said to Jesus, "Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah." 5While he was still speaking, a bright cloud enveloped them, and a voice from the cloud said, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!" 6When the disciples heard this, they fell facedown to the ground, terrified. 7But Jesus came and touched them. "Get up," he said. "Don't be afraid." 8When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus. 9As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus instructed them, "Don't tell anyone what you have seen, until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead."
http://www.surfccc.com/humor/archive.htm http://www.webedelic.com/church/humor.htm http://www.conline.net/readings/humor/
II. Transition line to the Theme III. Topics which develop the Theme (points) Four Points: How close God is, though unseen A Spiritual Body 3. Lord of the living and the dead 4. Jesus must suffer and die. Transition to the closing Termination of the sermon with: The Theme re-enforced An Exhortation A Closing Prayer VII. Tunes I have Three Questions to ask you this morning: First, How sure are you that there a is a God? Secondly, How sure are you that heaven is real? Third, How sure are you that you are going to heaven? If I had the experience of Peter, James and John which is described in our gospel this morning, I can tell you that I would be very sure of the answers to those three questions. IV. V.
IV. Theme(s) and/or Outline: V. Truth: VI. Telling: I. Theme Introduced with Story/humor
went out one morning to buy donuts. On the way, Grandpa turned to Kevin and asked, “Which way is heaven?” Kevin pointed to the sky. “Which way is hell?” Kevin pointed towards the floor of the truck. Grandpa continued, “And where are you going?” “Dunkin’ Donuts,” Kevin replied.
poor Fred passes on. One day soon afterward, Frank is sitting there feeding the pigeons by himself when he hears a voice whisper, "Frank... Frank..." Frank responds, "Fred! Is that you?" "Yes it is, Frank," whispers Fred's spirit. Frank, still amazed, asks, "So, is there baseball in heaven?"
Baseball Heaven Joke
Two old guys, Fred and Frank, are sitting on a park bench feeding pigeons and talking about baseball, like they do every day. Fred turns to Frank and says, "Do you think there's baseball in heaven?" Frank thinks about it for a minute and replies, "I dunno. But let's make a deal: if I die first, I'll come back and tell you if there's baseball in heaven, and if you die first, you do the same." They shake on it and sadly, a few months later,
"Well," says Fred, "I've got good news and bad news." "Gimme the good news first," says Frank. Fred says, "Well... there is baseball in heaven." Frank says, "That's great! What news could be bad enough to ruin that!?" Fred sighs and whispers, "You're pitching on Friday."
We don’t often think about the afterlife.
Well, I might be making a false assumption, I’d actually be interested how many people actually think about death and the afterlife. You know, in between the work he was doing on my teeth, I asked my agnostic dentist that once, and he said, “Every day!” Yet he’s a man who says he doesn’t believe in God, heaven or hell. Today’s gospel actually tells us some important things about the afterlife. Today is called Septuagesima Sunday which is the Latin word for seventy, meaning that it is approximately seventy days before Easter. It’s also called the Feast of the Transfiguration. Our gospel tells the story of Jesus going up Mt. Tabor with Peter, James and John to pray. Mt Tabor is about seven or eight miles east of Nazareth. It’s about 1800 feet high. And while he is praying there, a remarkable occurrence takes place.
Something which these apostles would never forget. It wasn’t just one thing that happened, it was 4 amazing things that happened. First, Jesus was transfigured. Secondly, Moses and Elijah, who had died many hundreds of years before, appear Third, They were covered in a bright cloud, like the cloud they had heard about. And fourthly, They audibly heard the voice of God the Father speak from out of the cloud. The things that the apostles experienced that day were not just for them, but like everything in the gospels and the Bible, they’re for us also. So our question this morning is why did the Holy Spirit want the gospel writers to record for us this story of the transfiguration? What meaning does it have for us? We can answer that if we look at the four amazing things that happened that day when these three apostles went up the mountain with Jesus. And let’s ask “What would you, what
would I, think and feel and realize if I had been one of the apostles there with Jesus? How would it effect and change my life? I would have come away full of assurance about some things I could never know unless God revealed them.
You and I cannot cross that line until we die, or more correctly, when our body dies. For the truth is, you and I never die. The essential spiritual you and I never die. We simply pass over from our bodies into a new spiritual form. And that’s what the disciples saw Jesus do, For a brief moment, he returned to his spiritual existence. His divinity broke through his human body. St. Paul later would say, “in Jesus dwelt all the fullness of the Godhead.” Later St Peter who was there at the transfiguration says, “We did not follow
First, they saw Jesus transfigured. What does that mean? It means that they saw his face and body turn into a glorious, brightness that they could hardly even look at. He became somewhat translucent, transparent, almost completely spiritual. It says, “His face shown like the sun, and his garments became white as snow”. Now there seems to be only one meaning this would have for the apostles, for you and me. For just a brief time, Jesus had crossed over that line between earth and heaven, between the flesh and the spirit, between the tangible, touchable and the intangible spirit. The disciples would see Jesus like this again after the resurrection.
cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ,
“but we were eyewitnesses” (hear that?) “we were eyewitnesses”
of his majesty. For he received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased." We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with
him on the sacred mountain.
And John, who was also there, says in his first chapter: The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. The divine, glorious nature which all his life Jesus kept hidden and concealed behind his earthly body suddenly became apparent and real. And they saw the divine, supernatural deity of Christ. They saw heaven open up. Later on, if I were Peter, James and John, I would have thought, hey, I wonder if that’s what is going to happen to my body someday when I cross over into eternal life? And that’s exactly what the apostles came to realize. St Paul says;
sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. So it is written: "The first man Adam became a living being"; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. And just as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, so shall we bear the likeness of the man from heaven. I declare to you, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. “Listen”, he concludes, “ I want to tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality.
So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is
You and I, the real spiritual you and I never dies. That deep-down person inside, is going to cross over into the spiritual world and will receive a spiritual body one day. That’s the first thing these disciples surely realized that day. That’s surely what God want’s us to know as well. That’s one things you can be absolutely sure of. There is life after the death of our bodies. Jesus said, “He who believes in me, even though he die, yet shall he lives.” There is an end to our bodily life, but there is no end to our existence. The form will change, but you will remain you. On one church markee, like the one we have out front, it said, WHERE WILL YOU BE SITTING IN ETERNITY, SMOKING OR NONSMOKING?” ------------------------------------------------------The disciples were still speechless, when the Second amazing thing happens. The disciples suddenly see Moses and Elijah visiting with Jesus. Moses and Elijah, who’s appearance was
well known from tradition, and who had died many hundreds of years before, suddenly appear, and they’re having a conversation with Jesus. And the disciples overhear what the conversation is about. It’s about Jesus’ coming death on the cross. What would the appearance of these two OT giants of the faith talking to Jesus about his death; - what would that say to you if you were there? I can think of two things it would say to me. It would tell me that people in heaven are recognizable. You and I - are going to see each other in the next life. This old choir is going to be singing again in heaven. Without our aches and pains and arthritis and lumbago. And you thought you wouldn’t have to listen to the choir anymore! We’re going to see relatives -parents, brothers, sisters, friends, children. Oh, and how sad it will be if people we know and love now, are not there. How important it is to pray for those who have no faith or lost their faith. How important it is to speak to those who do not have a personal relationship with Jesus.
Seeing Moses and Elijah also tells me that they were there to support and encourage Jesus. He was just about to be arrested and beaten and whipped and crucified. They were there to tell him “Thank you”, Thank you Lord Jesus, you are the fulfillment of all the laws which Moses transmitted to us from the Father. He is the fulfillment of all the prophecies which are represented by Elijah’s presence. Peter is so enraptured by what he sees that he wants to stay. Just like people who have had near death experiences often say, they don’t want to come back to life. So he stumbles and fumbles and tells Jesus that they will build some tents for him and Elijah and Moses. __________________________ And now the third amazing thing takes place while the disciples hearts are pounding. They have to shield their eyes, because a glorious cloud of light envelopes them completely. They surely must have remembered what it said in the book of Exodus: And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of a
cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night: “ And the LORD said to Moses, Lo, I come to thee in a thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with thee, but not see. And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud on mount Sinai, and the voice of the trumpet exceedingly loud; so that all the people that were in the camp trembled. The Bible says that no one can see God the Father and live. No mortal eyes can see Him. He is a consuming fire. He is love, He is Spirit. He is glorious light. It would be like looking into a nuclear blast. And for thirty three years Jesus was deprived of beholding the Father, but now, for just a moment of time, as he is preparing for his ultimate sacrifice, he is given a vision of his Father. _____________________________
The disciples don’t see what Jesus sees, but they hear what he hears. They were meant to hear it.
>> A Jewish businessman in Chicago sent his son to Israel for a year to >> absorb the culture. When the son returned, he said, "Papa, I had a great >> time in Israel. By the way, I converted to Christianity."
heavens: >> "Funny you should ask," said the voice. "I, too, sent my son to >> Israel..."
This is the fourth amazing thing that happens: "This is my Son, whom I love; I am very pleased with him. Listen to him!" The words are addressed to the disciples. What would you think? What would you feel? What would you do, if you were there and heard the Voice--the very Voice of God the Father speaking to you from heaven. "This is my Son, whom I love; I am very pleased with him.” Listen again: “You are my son, You are my daughter, You are my child.................. I am very pleased with you.................” That’s the fourth thing you can be very sure of. You and I have a Father God who loves us. He loves us so much that He will do whatever He must to fit us, get us ready for
>> "Oy vey," said the father. "What have I done?" >> He took his problem to his best friend. "Ike," he said, "I sent my son to >> Israel, and he came home a Christian. What can I do?" "Funny you should >> ask," said Ike. "I too, sent my son to Israel, and he also came home a >> Christian." Perhaps we should go see the rabbi. So they did, and they >> explained their problem to the rabbi. >> "Funny you should ask," said the rabbi... "I, too, sent my son to Israel, >> and he also came home a Christian. What is happening to our young >> people?" >> And so they all prayed, telling the Lord about their sons. As they >> finished their prayer, a voice came from the
our eternal life with Him. He is working every day of our lives to make us increasingly pleasing to Him. That’s the work of His Holy Spirit in us. You say you can’t be sure of God the Father’s work in your life. A little boy was flying a kite. The kite was so high that it had disappeared into the clouds. A man came by and asked, "What are you doing, son, holding on to that string?" The boy answered, "I've got a kite up there." The man looked up and said, "I don't see it." The boy replied, "Well, I know it's there because I can feel the tug." That’s how we know we have a heavenly Father. We feel His tug, His nudge, His urging, His loving warning, His loving discipline, His comfort, His care, His providence, His providence. When the disciples heard the Voice, they fell facedown to the ground, terrified. But Jesus came and touched them. "Get up," he said. "Don't be afraid." When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus.
Four amazing things we can be sure of in the afterlife if we are born-anes Christians: We’re going to see Jesus, because we too will have spiritual bodies. We’re going to see people we know and love and forgot about and haven’t seen for many years. We don;t know how, but the cloud that was always hiding God will be removed, and we will have a vision oif God the Father. We will see and understand all the things and times He protected, provided and oreserved us in this life We too will hear His voice saying, “You are my child, with you I am well pleased.” Let’s Pray Father, we thank you for showing us the Transfiguration of Jesus. We know that you wanted us to understand some things about the future life. Thank you for the hope and desire you planted in every person’s heart who is here
this morning to know You. Thank you that you have prepared a place, a mansion, for us in heaven. In Jesus Name AMEN
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