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Hang On

Lay Sermon, Sunday November 25, 2012. St Petri

Day of Fulfilment


John 5: 21-29

Jesus says…..24 “Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life.
 Are you always in confusion? Surrounded by illusion? Sort it out, you’ll make out. Seem to make a good beginning, someone else ends up winning, don’t seem fair, don’t you care

These are the words of a popular song. We’ll hear more of them soon. But they give us a springboard into the focus for the day. Today is the last day of the church year and we focus on last things – the end or judgement day. But better than the last things it’s also a focus on better things for those who believe and “Hang On” to what we’ve been given.

Hang on, help is on its way, I’ll be there as fast as I can, “Hang on”, a tiny voice did say, from somewhere deep inside the inner man.

Have you worked out the song yet? Even if you haven’t it doesn’t really matter! Rather let us borrow these words from the Little River Band to help us focus on Christ and his word of grace and comfort, but also his word of warning.

God calls us to, “Hang On”, because he has come as fast as he can! In fact he is with us, inseparable, but hidden, given at the cross, given in baptism. It takes faith to know this – to “Hang On” until the end, and not lose hope! Hang on help is on its way! This inner person of whom the song speaks is, for us who have been baptised into Jesus’ death and resurrection, the “New Man”, the new creation, the new person, risen from the dead, the New Adam, Jesus Christ.

This New Person within is revealed by the tiny voice of the Holy Spirit, encouraging us to “Hang On”, to persist, persevere, endure, and remain, until Jesus comes again as victorious Lord of all, so we might regain, what the Old Adam lost for us all those years ago in the Garden.

The first verse of the song reads,

“Why are you in so such hurry? Is it really worth the worry? Look around, then slow down. What’s it like inside the bubble? Does your head ever give you trouble? It’s no sin, trade it in.”

These lyrics are close, but the poetic lisence isn’t right! Let’s take some liberty to change the last line and correct the verse so it fits the true reality. Rather than saying or singing, “It’s no sin”, let’s change it to “It’s a sin, trade it in.” After all, if worry is not a sin, why bother trading it in!

As we live our lives, these days, we all seem to be in such a hurry! Time seems to be always fleeting! No time for anything! Perhaps it because we waste it worrying! Look around. Then slow down. Open your eyes and see with the eyes of faith that God is with you, take a deep breath and then rest in him. Sabbath in the Lord, the Lord of the Sabbath.

Rest in the arms of Jesus Christ your Redeemer. He has traded in your time for his time. He has paid a price to release you from being bound in slavery to worry, doubt, pride and fear. Rest in the ransom he bought for you and trust in his sacrifice, rather than sacrificing your time to the slavery of sin and death by returning to the worship of worry and doubt!

So it’s a sin, to live inside this bubble, inside your head of trouble. If fact, when we sin in this way, we honour and we promote the god we all struggle with the most – the old self, the ego. This is the god of our old sinful Adam that demands we don’t “Hang On” to the New Adam because the New Inner Person condemns this old god — this I, me, mine, ego god — and calls us to look out of ourselves to the Great I Am, who is the only way, the only truth, and the only life which “Hangs On” to the eternal peace won for us on the cross.

When you look out of yourself, not trusting in the Old Adam, you and I venture into foreign territory, and this reveals we’re not the towers of strength we like everyone else to think we are. You and I show our weakness.

Yet, in this weakness God “Hangs On” to you. God came, God continues coming and is with you, and he will come again! In your weakness he shows himself to be strong. Therefore, you can walk in your weakness with faultless infallibility due to the faith God gives through his faithfulness to you.

It’s time we heard that chorus again: Hang on, help is on its way, I’ll be there as fast as I can, “Hang on”, a tiny voice did say, from somewhere deep inside the inner person.

Let the tiny voice inside you be the Inner Person, the Lamb who takes away the sin of the world, our Lord Jesus Christ who says,

“For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son gives life to whom he is pleased to give it. Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son, that all may honour the Son just as they honour the Father. The person who does not honour the Son does not honour the Father, who sent him.

“I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; this person has crossed over from death to life. “I tell you the truth, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live. For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son to have life in himself.” “And he has given him authority to judge because he is the Son of Man. “Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out—those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned” (John 5:21-29).

Have you done the good which allows you to rise and live? Well, yes you have when you “Hang On” to Christ. Or to put it even better, when you allow Christ to remain hanging on to you!

This good is done when you believe and trust in the One who the Father has sent — who is, and who was, and who is to come! Hang On! Let Christ “Hang On” to you and know that you have crossed over from death to life!

God “Hangs On” to us! God’s word in Revelation chapter 1 reinforces this:

 To him (Jesus Christ) who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood and has made us a kingdom of priests to serve his God and Father — to him be glory and power forever and ever Amen. (Revelation 1:5b-6)

So in our doing right by believing, let us remain in him, “Hang On”, by receiving the gifts he freely gives to drown the old sinful doubting, worrying and hurrying Adam in us. And let’s allow this good “Hanging On” to flourish into good works amongst others, so through us God might reach out and grab them. So they too might “Hang On” to him, and he to them.

Hang on, help is on its way, I’ll be there as fast as I can, “Hang on”, a tiny voice did say, from somewhere deep inside the inner person.

Our help is in the name of the Lord! Our Alpha and Omega, the Almighty — the Father, his Son our new Inner person, the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit! Amen.

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