Sermon in a Nutshell: Matthew 3:13-17
We are God’s children, the Beloved. God is well pleased with us. Do you also feel that way? When Jesus was baptized at the Jordan River that was the voice that Jesus heard from heaven: “This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.” However, Jesus was the first one who heard the voice and not the last one. All those who are baptized in the name of Jesus, we are all children of God and heirs of God’s Kingdom. God is well pleased with us.
However, when do we hear God’s voice clearly? When Jesus voluntarily gave up his status and rights as God and humbled himself enough to be baptized by John the Baptist God was so pleased with him. As John the Baptist said frankly, he needed to be baptized by Jesus, not the other way around. Jesus, however, insisted to be baptized by John the Baptist, to fulfill all righteousness.
Why did Jesus want to “fulfill all righteousness”? Was he legalistic and trying to meet all the demands of the Law? No, it was joy for Jesus to fulfill all the righteousness. In other words, Jesus did not have to observe any law because he was God, the law maker and the law. Still he himself kept the law because it was his “joy” to fulfill all the righteousness.
Some people come to church on Sunday because they felt to be obliged (like the pastor in the last Sunday sermon illustration, if you know what I am talking about). Some people have fear that if they do not come some bad things would happen. Some, however, come to church because it is their joy to worship God.
Some visit their parents at nursing homes because they have filial duty. Some do so because they are afraid of being called bad children. Some do so because it is their desire to meet the parents and listen to their stories.
When we meet God and out parents and our friends because we want to do so, they would know our hearts and say, “You are my beloved with whom I am well pleased.” Just look at Amanda, Victoria, and Nicole who sing today! Aren’t they joyful? How about Jonathan, Paul and other youths today? When they give money for “Nothing but Net” or “CROP Hunger Walk” they did this out of joy! Barbara Glay, who now moves to Louisiana, has served our church because her heart has been filled with joy when she has served God. May all our relationships and services be blessed with joy and gladness in God!
- When did you give to God out of fear (if I do not give to God, something bad will happen), or duty (I am a member and it is my membership fee), or joy (Giving to God is my best joy and pleasure)?
- What committees and small groups do you feel that you would serve with joy and gladness?