Epiphany Sermons 2017

January 1st                 2nd Sunday of Christmas, New Year’s Day; Communion      One Worship (10:30)

Scriptures:  Jeremiah 31:31-34      Matthew 25:14-30         Theme: Wesley Covenant Service

Thoughts:  The Wesley Covenant Prayer was adapted by John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, for use in services for the Renewal of the believer’s Covenant with God.  The covenant prayer and service are recognized as one of the most distinctive contributions of Methodism to the liturgy of the church in general, and they are also used from time to time by other denominations.   The form of the covenant prayer and service have been simplified since Wesley’s time, but important elements of them are still retained from Wesley’s Directions. They include many of the words both of the bidding that traditionally precedes the prayer, and the prayer itself. The bidding traditionally includes phrasing such as:

…Christ has many services to be done. Some are easy, others are difficult. Some bring honor, others bring reproach. Some are suitable to our natural inclinations and temporal interests, others are contrary to both… Yet the power to do all these things is given to us in Christ, who strengthens us.

As followers of Christ, consider making the Covenant Prayer a part of your New Year’s Resolution

January 8        Epiphany Sunday

Scriptures:  Isaiah 60:1-6   Psalm 72:1-14 Matt. 2:1-12              Theme: What Gift Do We Bring?

Thoughts: The star that guided the Magi, pointed to “The true light, which enlightens everyone” (John 1:9).  They brought not only gifts of great cost, but they also brought their worship.  Isaiah 60 anticipates and prophesies this event proclaiming that the world will “…proclaim the praise of the Lord.”  At the beginning of this new year and in the cultural environment in which we find ourselves, it is important for God’s people to renew their commitment to the Light of the World and denounce the darkness of the culture.  This service will praise the light and call us to bring the gifts of self, resources and worship to proclaim His praise.

 

January 15      2nd Sunday after the Epiphany, MLK weekend, Human Relations Day (offering)

Scriptures:  Isaiah 42:1-7  Psalm 40:1-11 Rev. 7:9-17                 Theme: Living in the World & into the Kingdom

Thoughts: The two Scriptures (Isaiah and Revelation) create a vision of God’s Kingdom almost antithetical to what we see developing in our world and country today.  We see division, racism, hatred, injustice, violence and grief.  We are Christians!  We are Kingdom People – God’s Children!  We are called to live into the Kingdom as it is envisioned.  We are to live not to worldly standards, but by our faithful vision.  We will live in eternity with people of every ilk.  We are called to live our earthly lives as if that Kingdom exists right now!

 

January 22      3rd Sunday after the Epiphany

Scriptures:  Psalm 27:1-9  1 Cor. 1:10-18 Matt. 4:12-23              Theme:  Called to Follow Jesus?

Thoughts:  This will be the introduction to a series of messages on the Sermon on the Mount.  It is the premise of this series that following Jesus is a radical, life altering adventure of life.  As Paul puts it in 1 Corinthians, we do not follow an earthly leader or group (denomination or theological philosophy), but we are baptized into and follow Christ alone.  When the disciples heeded the call to follow Jesus, their lives were radically altered.  The calling of Peter, Andrew, James and John is almost immediately followed by the Sermon on the Mount.  This sermon is Jesus’ call to radical Kingdom ethics.  To follow him is to be radically different from the world.