Sermon September 1, 2013: Called to testify

Posted in Sermons
[Bill Murdoch (left) with Roberto Miranda]
  • Presenter: Bill Murdoch
  • Date: September 1, 2013
  • Location: Congregación León de Judá, Boston MA

The measure of the success of a Church is in the testimony of the saints, the story of the people. And so listening to the stories of the saints today the Congregacion Lion of Juda has much wealth, great wealth, a great treasure. Holy Scripture says that: "Where your treasure is there your heart will be also" the story of the Church that you have, that you are needs to be told out there.

The Church, the building should not be a basket over a light. Jesus said you are the light to the world so the message God told me to bring to you today is to talk to you about your story, how precious it is to Him and how precious it is to you. I want to say to you: how do we train gospel bearers, faithful followers in Jesus that carry His story to the world today?

Today is the information age, everybody has one of these right? and a computer yet today more than ever specially here in New England people do not know the story of Christ, people do not believe the story of Jesus. Today this sunday nine out of ten people are not in Church today. New England has the lowest per capita church attendance in the nation.

"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish." People without Jesus are perishing ¿sí? so that should upset us, that should bother us. It is time for the Church in New England to let the things that break the heart of God break our hearts, Jesus died for the sins of all. The way people can hear the story of Christ is not going to be through the phone or the internet anymore, too much information is too much information.

The way people learn and hear about Christ is face to face right? it's people to people. And then for us as christians who have a great story to share who have been praying for friends and neighbors sometimes we have a moment of breakthrough where that neighbor or relative says: yes I want to hear more. So something happens and it begins to sound like one of those great trucks on the highway backing up, beep, beep, beep they are going to drop the whole load and break out.

We need to learn how to share the Gospel as the treasure of your heart a little bit at a time. So as you read the Scriptures about Jesus in the way He talks to people He listened to them, He watched them, He was talking to His Father while He was listening and watching.

So with the woman at the well He saw her, the Lord gave her through Jesus a Word about her and He spoke to her in little bits of Gospel doses. So in order for us to speak the Word of God to the world around us today we need to learn how to invest before we invite. What do you invest? the treasure of your heart ¿sí?

So don't be the truck that backs up and just throws the load, watch and pray, listen to the Lord and give a little bit of Gospel treasure. So as Pastor Roberto in the Church begins the year of discipleship each one of us has a responsibility to understand the Gospel and which part of the story we treasure.

So I know each one of you here has a part of your story about how you first understood God's love for you, it's not Roberto's story it's your story; what is your story about receiving God's love? If we are going to think of the whole Gospel in five pieces you could think about it as: God, sin, Jesus, Grace in the cross and the prayer of salvation. Each one of you have a story if you are in Christ of those parts of the Gospel.

Some of us have our own story that feels very good particularly about that piece of our treasure. Some of us have other people's stories like the people's stories you have heard this morning, the testimonies this morning that mean a great deal to us that point to the treasure of your own heart. So time to read the Scripture.

The Epistle of John chapter 1 the first four verses: "That which was from the beginning that we have seen which we have seen with our eyes and which we have learned upon and which we have touched with our hands concerning the Verb of life, this life was made manifest and we have seen it and we testified to it and proclaimed to you. This is the eternal life which goes with the Father and was made manifest to us."

"That which we have seen and heard we proclaim to you so that you too may have fellowship with us and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and is with His Son Jesus Christ, and we are writing these things to you so that our joy may be complete." In the Gospel of John in chapter fifteen that's the passage about abiding in the vine how many of you love that passage?

John 15:9 Jesus says: "As the Father has loved Me so I have loved you, abide in My Love because if you keep My commandments you will abide in My Love just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His Love. These things I have spoken to you so that My joy be within you and then your joy may be full." So both in the community of John the apostle of Jesus and His disciples you can see that they were sharing the story with the Church so that their joy would be complete.

Jesus in chapter John 15 was telling that when we abide to Him and keep the commandments of God, we remain in Him and He says these things to us so that His joy may be in us and our joy may be full. Pastor John Machado had a Word for me this morning because I've been in a great fight for the Lord here in New England and he felt that the Lord was calling me and us to move out of the season of the sword into a season of peace. Not to stop the proclamation but to continue to do from a heart full of peace.

Congregacion Lion de Juda seven years ago I was consecrated as a bishop and on the day of my consecration one of the african congregations gave me a large lion and said: go back to New England and be a lion in New England.

So here I am seven years later in Lion of Juda. Brothers and sisters the lion is on the move but it is not a terrible and ferocious lion, Jesus said: the day is coming when the lion will lay down with the lamb. He will still be a lion but he is lying down with the lamb. When you give away your story do it so that their joy will be full.

Sisters and brothers when Jesus was asked why do You spend time with tax collectors and sinners, Luke chapter 15 Jesus said: let me tell you a story. There was a man who had a hundred sheep and he lost one and he leaves the 99 and goes searching for one and when he finds the one he carries it back to the village and he says to the rest of the brothers and sisters on the village: hey come, I found my sheep that was lost. Jesus says: I tell you there is more joy in heaven over the one that was found that over the 99 that were not lost.

Why did Jesus spend time with tax collectors and sinners? joy. And He tells the story of a housewife who lost the coin from the wedding crown and she turns her house upside down to find that coin, when she found that coin she called to her friends and neighbors, she says: come and celebrate. Jesus said: I tell you the truth there is more joy before the angels in heaven over one sinner who repents over many who do not need to repent amen?

Why does Jesus share the Gospel with the lost? joy. Jesus told them another story. One son went to the father and said: give me all of my inheritance and then went and spent it fully and when he came to the end of his money he said to himself: I need to go to my father, I need to say to my father: I'm not worthy to be your son let me just be one of your workers. And when he was coming home the father saw him way off and ran to embrace him and said to the servants: put a cloak on him and put shoes on his feet and kill the lamb and have a party.

Why did Jesus tell that story? it is the picture of God the Father who waits and watches for all the children to come home so that the prodigals make it home to the Father's embrace. Are you praying for a prodigal son or daughter? God is watching, He is looking, He is waiting so that He may embrace the prodigal when he returns come. For joy Jesus said to the pharisees: I'm spending time with the tax collectors, it was such a part of His life that when the writer to the Hebrews writes in Hebrews chapter 12 he answers the question that many of us has: what kept Jesus on the cross?

Hebrews 12:3 says: "Jesus who for the joy endured the cross" it's Jesus who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross. What was the joy that was set in front of Jesus? looking for that young lady who received Christ, the joy that was set before Jesus was these two who received the Savior this morning, amen? Yeah.

The joy that was set before Jesus was this whole Church and it's testimony because you have come to the cross and you have come to salvation amen? because God first loved you with more love than you could imagine and when you came home to that love it was overwhelming, amen? gloria a Dios.

So beloved sisters and brothers let me give you a story to tell of a God looking for the prodigal son or daughter and the ones that you meet you may have a story like this one because you and I meet men and women everyday of the week who are prodigal sons or daughters, because God in the Scriptures in James chapter 4 verse 5 and 6 Scripture says that: "God yearns jealously for the spirit He has made to dwell within you" so as you and I are praying for the lost ones God's love is already seeking them out.

So we need to have that little bit of Gospel story about God's love that goes looking for the lost lamb. So there was a group of intercessors and healers who were going to pray for young women at their drug addiction house a house we had and before they went to the house they gathered for prayer and one of the women who was interceding received a very specific Word and the Spirit of God spoke to her and said: "The Word for the woman I will show you is: you are loved and wanted."

So the prayer team and the intercessors went to the healing house and they began ministering to the women and sharing the Gospel message, there was one young woman who began to swear at them, who was yelling at them and wanted nothing to do with them and the intercessor realized that God's Word was for her while this young woman continued to scream at them. The intercessor walked up and began speaking to her.

And said to her: you are wanted and the young woman screamed back at her: shut up and she said to her again: you are wanted and the young woman screamed: shut up! and the intercessor said one more time: you are wanted and the young woman rolled up the sleeve on her shirt over her shoulder and tattooed on her arm were the words: not wanted. Is there anything too hard for our God? no.

And so knowing that story that God yearns jealously for the spirit He has made dwell within you you are part of the search party because you and I will never look upon another pair of eyes for whom Jesus did not die and so we need to be prepared to ask the living God if it is our assignment to speak to those eyes. And when you do that remember to do it for the joy of God, for the joy of your own heart, for the love of Jesus amen?

The story and testimony of the Church is the measure of the fruit from the message of the Church. It is time for the Anglican Church and the Church of Congregation Lion of Juda to carry our story out and to give it away for the joy that dwells in our hearts just a little bit at a time in the Name of the Father, of the Son and the Holy Ghost amen.

Bishop again please relate those five elements that you just had in mind.

Bishop: It's an outline of gospel story and you have heard the Gospel again and again here I'm sure so take a piece of paper sometime and write down the word: God and stop and say: what's my story about God's love for me? Today when we talk about sin that's the second word, sin people don't wanna hear the Church saying that they are sinners, it doesn't work but I found out that we can talk to anyone about alienation or barriers so what are your stories about the moments that you found yourself alienated from God who had a barrier from your brothers and sisters and did God intervene that in your life? is that part of your treasure?

And you can't give it away if you don't write it down. Jesus just write the Word Jesus. Who is Jesus to you? what about God, think about the Scripture verse we are gonna write this down, Second Corinthians 5:21 which is: "God made Him who knew no sin to become sin on all behalf that in Him we might become the righteousness from God." Jesus did that for you.

So as you understand what Jesus has done for you what's your story about it? Grace that have been freely given the gift of eternal life with Jesus Christ, question for you is: when did you first understand that you couldn't buy it, you couldn't pay for it, you couldn't add to it it's simply a gift? yeah you need to know that story so that you can give it away, we need to own it, we need to have that story and make it our own.

And then how did you come to pray the prayer? the prayer of salvation. Remember the time you said: Lord thank you for dying for my sins please come into my life and take it over, be my Lord and Savior, please fill me with Your Holy Spirit, the way to remember that is: please, thank you Lord Jesus for dying for my sins please come into my life and take it over, fill me with Your Holy Spirit, thank you please, please.

If you haven't prayed that prayer until today maybe you need to do it right now. Perhaps there's someone here who needs to pray that prayer.

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