New Here?


Recorded on January 17th, 2021

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  • Sunday Full Service

What do you see when you look in the mirror? Whatever you see, you take that out into the world with you.  It follows you – like moss on a rock. It permeates your entire reality. But it’s not supposed to be that way…

Transcript of Sermon:

We are continuing our series into the book of mark we have made it just a little bit in in fact chapter one is going to take us a while to get through because mark is so action-packed he just goes from one piece to another and so we are actually just taking two verses can you believe it just two verses for today we are going to be in mark 1 verses 9 to 11 but they are big time important in our faith and our identity as children of god so let’s take a look mark 1 9-11 at that time jesus came from nazareth and coming out of the water he saw heaven being torn open and the spirit descending on him like a dove a voice came from whom i love with you i am well pleased this is the word of god for the people of god thanks be to god as we begin today i want you to picture yourself just you as you are today standing in front of a mirror now some of us don’t like to do this i don’t love standing in front of a mirror but today we’re going to take a good long look at ourselves in front of that mirror i want you to think as you’re standing in front of that mirror what do you see what are the words that come to mind when you look in that mirror mayor that was a very southern way of saying mirror by the way i just said mary see you guys gotta love me more and more i’m becoming less california and more southern every day and maybe that’s what i see i see a girl who used to be from california and is now almost completely a southern girl maybe you see a man who is a lot older than he used to be maybe you see some gray hair maybe you see um a lot less pudge than there used to be and that makes you worry maybe you see a lot more pudge than there used to be and that makes you worry maybe you see some adjectives come to mind not just your physical features maybe you see adjectives like wife or husband mom or dad grandma or grandpa aunt or uncle friend maybe you see lonely maybe you see prideful excited good at what i do maybe you see not so great at what i do not so happy with myself need to change everything about me maybe you see something like this maybe you see uga fan of the year go dogs maybe you see roll tide right i mean it happens there are those of you out there maybe you see different types of adjectives like republican or democrat maybe you see other defining adjectives like fat or skinny ugly or pretty important or meaningless what is it that you see when you look in the mirror maybe you see waitress and that is the defining piece of you or you see businesswoman powerful businesswoman maybe you see teacher or professor or you see salesmen whatever it is that you see when you look in that mirror each day not just the picture of who you are but all the adjectives that hang on to you failure success pretty not pretty enough smart not smart enough whatever that is you take out with you into the world as you go about your day it’s not just something that you see for an instant it’s something that clings on to you like moss onto a rock it follows you into every conversation into every relationship and not only does it follow you but it also invades every space that you enter it invades your family it invades your work life it invades your church life and it invades your community life but the reality is that our identities aren’t supposed to be filled with those adjectives they’re supposed to be something completely different and we’re going to explore what that is as we dig into jesus’s identity as we see it come to fruition here in his baptism at the very beginning of the book of mark so come on a journey with me today as we look at the adjectives as we look at the ways we identify ourselves as we look at the way that jesus identified himself now as we began our journey into mark last week you’ll remember that mark did not begin his gospel with a birth story which can be surprising to some people because for some they think that every gospel begins with the birth of jesus but that’s not true mark begins his story of jesus with the story of john the baptist jesus’s cousin being called to prepare the way for jesus to come and meet those in need so john is at the jordan river inside the jordan river baptizing people baptizing people and cleansing them from their sins preparing them telling them that he is preparing them for one who is greater one who is going to come and heal them and make them whole john prepares the road into a relationship with jesus and this is how the gospel begins we don’t hear word of jesus as a baby we don’t hear word of jesus as a toddler in fact the first that we hear of jesus is right at verse 9 when it says to us that at that time jesus came from nazareth in galilee and was baptized by john now when we’re reading scripture we tend to just blow over quick sentences like that and not to really think about what that looked like and what that meant jesus is about 30 years old at this time jesus the son of god the messiah the one who has come to save every individual on the planet of earth and every individual who who will be born from that moment on till the end of time jesus king himself comes and this is how he is announced to the world this is how he makes himself known to the world and it’s not in the temple with a great ceremony and trumpets resounding with lots of splendor and robes and lots of um pageantry that’s not how jesus came and made himself known jesus didn’t show up at the temples jesus didn’t go to the most populous cities stand in the courts and say i am the son of god he didn’t come like a knight on a horse ready to wage war jesus came walked a great distance from nazareth to the jordan river and put himself in line amongst the sinners and stood there waiting for his turn to be baptized by one who was less than him to be baptized even though there was no sin on him to be baptized even though there was no need for him to be cleansed jesus came and stood among us the needy the broken and the hurting jesus began his ministry by making himself one with those in need that’s what happens in that one sentence but if we don’t stop to picture it if we don’t stop to think about what is actually happening in that moment we miss it all we miss the significance of what jesus is doing in that instant jesus is foregoing all the splendor that is due to him to make himself one to sympathize to empathize with the hurting with the broken to show that he has come to walk with us to share experiences with us to show us that he understands our plight our hurt our pain and then as jesus steps into the river with john to be baptized the heavens open up now in this gospel all the gospels show this story but in this gospel we are to understand that the others don’t see this happening or hear this happening this is for jesus the heavens open up the dove descends the holy spirit and it’s like a dove it’s not actually in the form of death but like the spirit of a dove floating down and the lord says you are my son with whom i am well pleased this is the identity of the messiah and this is the identity with which jesus begins his ministry on earth it wasn’t you are the war raging king who is going to come and create change no you are my son that is your identity a son a child of god and jesus goes about his ministry gets up from baptism and begins his work on this earth leading from that identity as child of god son of god and for you and i those of us who are christian those of us who are have been baptized when we are baptized so many things happen now see there’s a few things you need to understand one you do not have to be baptized to be saved so if you need to still be baptized if you have accepted christ into your life yet you haven’t been baptized let’s talk because baptism is an incredibly beautiful thing that happens in our lives and i want to make that happen for you if you have yet to receive christ in your life let’s talk because in christ in accepting the identity of jesus as your identity there is freedom from your sins john prepared the way people are preparing the way in your life this sermon hopefully is preparing a way for jesus to enter into your life and to show you what freedom and mercy and grace can do in your world but as we enter the waters of baptism whether it’s being immersed or sprinkled or dipped however it happened for you baptism is meant to shed us of all of those adjectives that we carry around with us every single day as we get into that water as we are drenched with that water as we are sprinkled with that water we are released from the hold that this world has on us we are no longer defined by this world we are no longer defined by those adjectives we are no longer republican or democrat we are no longer a dogs fan or a world tied fan that doesn’t mean you can’t be a fan that doesn’t mean you can’t be a republican or democrat but that does not define you anymore you are not defined by being a mother or a father or a grandmother you are not defined by your loneliness you are not defined by the image of your body and how much you like it and are proud of it or how much you hate it and are afraid of it you are not defined by the color of your hair the color of your skin you are not defined by how smart you are or how much you still have to learn you see when we are sprinkled with that water when jesus enters our heart and the holy spirit takes control of the inside of us when we stand before a mirror we are supposed to see every time we look into it nothing more than child of god can you imagine what freedom we would experience in our lives if we truly let go of the rest of the adjectives if when we stood before the mirror we didn’t see the rest of those things we simply saw the reflection of jesus in us because that’s what’s given to us as we accept christ into our lives that’s what’s given to us in baptism that’s what’s given to us as christ was baptized and then died for us you and i as we accept christ into our lives are children of god freed from the shackles of this world freed from the adjectives of this world freed from having to perform to the standards of this world and do you know what that changes when we live looking into a mirror and seeing reflected back at us the image of christ child of god we live with such freedom that when we are engaging in our family relationships we no longer cause division because there is no competition there’s no competition between brother and sister or brother and brother there’s no strife about politics because i’m not a republican and you’re not a democrat we are children of god there is no strife because i believe one thing and you believe another no we relate to each other as children of god and even if you don’t relate to me that way i’m still going to relate to you as child of god our our workplaces change because when i see reflected back in me child of god i go into my workplace not trying to compete with everyone around me not thinking that there’s only a certain amount of good that can happen to a certain amount of people trying to climb a ladder i go into my workplace radiating the light and love of god knowing that regardless of what other people think about me i’m a child of god and that’s all that matters and that i’m gonna live from that truth first and foremost and because i can live from that truth i’m not going to be a person that causes division i’m going to bring a person that brings unity i am going to be a person who puts my identity as child of god first before all things that doesn’t mean we don’t have opinions that doesn’t mean that we don’t think one way or another that means that what comes first is my identity in christ and that i lead my life in that place from that place that means when i go out into my community instead of being a knight on a horse fighting some fight for some adjective that i claimed for myself whether that’s fighting between the sec teams that my team is better than your team well let’s just i’ll say alabama has all the winds right they’ve got all the winds you’re never going to win that fight we can let go of the hurt of that because i am a child of god first and i can still love my dogs but it doesn’t hurt like that because what matters most is that i’m a child of god and when i go out into my community i relate with people not as a democrat or republican not as gay person or a straight person not as a white person or a black person but i go out and i relate to people as a child of god and as i go and relate as a child of god i can put down all of those presuppositions i can put down my sword because jesus didn’t come on a horse like a night waging battle he came and stood in line with the broken and the hurting you and i are supposed to go out into the community and stand in line with the broken and the hurting and unite with them in sympathy unite with them in their pain even if you don’t understand their pain you’re supposed to unite with them in their pain because god is god is uniting with people in their pain pain you can’t even begin to understand pain you don’t think will exists but pain nonetheless that god is uniting with them with that god is calling us to unite with people in we are not to get on our horses and draw our swords and go into communities and make battle we are to go to stand in line and to unite with people in their brokenness that’s what jesus did and that’s what we can do also if we can learn to teach ourselves to look into a mirror and to let go of the rest of the adjectives and to accept our identity as child of god holy and completely loved child of god now i’m gonna tell you it’s not easy i wish it was i wish that being a follower of christ was the easiest thing that we could do and in some ways it is and in some ways it really just is not and as your pastor this is something i have to be intentional about in my life i have to work on in my life but i’m going to tell you everything in my life that i have done that is good has come from moments when i’m living in my identity as child of god if i have ever been helpful to anybody ever it’s been in moments when i’m living out my identity of child of god but in those moments when i’m struggling in those moments when i cause strife in those moments when i cause division because i still do i still do it’s when i’m living out of one of those other adjectives it’s when i’m living out of fear of losing out living out of fear of being misunderstood living out of fear of something living out of the cultural identities i’ve picked up along the way and it pains me when i do it and i’ll see it when it’s happening and sometimes i can’t even put the words back in my mouth fast enough but the more that we can learn to train ourselves to stand before that mirror every morning say good morning alyssa you beautiful child of god good morning joe you beautiful child of god good morning tom you beautiful child of god good morning whoever you are you say it to yourself you look straight in your eyes and you learn to see yourselves the way that god sees you and in doing that you can learn to see others the way that god sees them we are called in our baptism to reflect the image of christ but when we look around this world right now when i look at christians who claim to be christians in this world what i see them reflecting a lot is anything but christ what i see them reflecting are adjectives of our culture but i see them reflecting as division is hate and is hurt but we can make a difference we can choose to be different it’s a choice we can make but imagine imagine what the world would look like if we did imagine what your family units would look like if you did imagine what your workplace would look like if you if you chose to do this and then imagine what your community could look like if just this church alone the people inside this building chose to live out of their identity of christ instead of the identity that the culture gives us just imagine the change that we can make in the world around us so that’s our charge not just for today tomorrow for this week that’s our charge for every day of the rest of our lives is to look in the mirror and say to ourselves we are children of god loved by god and that’s all that i am and that’s enough that’s how i’m going to relate with the world will you do it with me can we do this together i want to do this i pray that you will endeavor to do this with me let us pray together god jesus came not as a knight on a steed but as one who stood in line with those in need heavenly father we pray that we would be able to change the inner core of who we are so that we can reflect that image of jesus to the people who need to see that image who need to experience jesus who need to experience love and grace and mercy and forgiveness father let us be the bringers of unity let us bring the eunus you the bringers of healing and peace father we are not worthy but in christ we are holy loved holy forgiven and holy okay thank you for that help us to understand that and to feel that deep in our bones it’s in your name we pray amen