Monday, September 13, 2010

“Moving On Up!” (Luke 14:10)

S-1205 14SAP/3C 8/29/10 Hymns (O) #318; S#380; L.S. #276; #199; 314; #(C) #43

Texts: Proverbs 25:2-10; Hebrews 13:1-17; Luke 14:1-14

Theme: “Moving On Up!” (Luke 14:10)

Question: “Do you like to be the life of the party?”


Faithful followers of the Savior, Christ is Risen! He is Risen Indeed! Alleluia! The text for The 14th Sunday After Pentecost is from the Gospel lesson: “But when you are invited, go and sit in the lowest place, so that when your host comes he may say to you, ‘Friend, move up higher.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at table with you. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.(Luke 14:10)

Introduction: In Nomine IESU

People of God, chosen and beloved, from 1975 – 1985 many Americans sat in front of their TV’s and watched a sitcom called The Jefferson’s. This sitcom was about literal upward mobility of an African American couple George and Louise Jefferson who move into a swanky high-rise building. George was an obtrusive, often rude guy who thought his wealth should get him anywhere he wanted to go. His wife was more level-headed and often cut him down to size when his schemes went awry.

The theme song for the 11 seasons was this: “Well we’re movin on up, To the east side. To a deluxe apartment in the sky. Movin on up To the east side. We finally got a piece of the pie...Fish don’t fry in the kitchen; Beans don’t burn on the grill. Took a whole lotta tryin’ Just to get up that hill. Now we’re up in the big leagues Getting’ our turn at bat. As long as we live, it’s you and me baby There ain’t nothin wrong with that…Well we’re movin on up, To the east side. To a deluxe apartment in the sky. Movin on up To the east side. We finally got a piece of the pie.

George and Louise are like many of us, always looking out for number one; and attempting to get a piece of the pie so that we can keep up with the Joneses. By nature, we sinful and selfish people look for ways and place of honor. We want to be noticed, respected, and given the place that we think we deserve.

We even apply that to God and His continual invitation to the eternal banquet. We come draped in our work righteousness. We flaunt our works and deeds before Him as if He owes us something. We think, and sometimes believe because of our kindness to others, our involvement in the Church—faithful in attendance, giving of our abundance, serving on boards, a perceived notion of obedience to His Word, and even our faith should get us a seat with God.

Our world doesn’t help much in the way Christians should live. Live for the moment. Get all you want out of it. Don’t let anyone stop you. If you have too, climb over, jump higher, run faster than the other. After all you deserve it. How mistaken we are. PAUSE.

In the Gospel lesson today, Jesus the Master Teacher, gives us a lesson about humility (which we all need to learn), by saying always take the seat least noticeable, so that when the Master or the host of the house comes he will invite you by saying “Move on up friend!” But that is not for us. We should get the seat of honor. We should get the most prominent place. We should get all we can out of life now, and not tomorrow. I want it because I can get it by my deeds.

Perhaps this happened to you. You’re in the best seat you’ve ever had in your favorite stadium cheering for your favorite team. And they are winning. The problem is the seat you’re in doesn’t quite correspond with the section, row, and seat number on your ticket (this happened to me. I took a different seat), which is way up there in the serious nosebleed section. Though from here you can see and hear, maybe even taste and smell the game like you never have before, you haven’t enjoyed yourself for even a moment. You’re paying more attention to the usher than to the game. And the dreaded moment finally comes, “Excuse me, but you’re in the wrong seat. I’m going to have to ask you to move.” Busted and embarrassed, unable to look anyone in the eye, you begin the long walk up and up and up until the game shrinks to cheap-seats dimensions.

Indeed, my brothers and sister in Christ, this is what we deserve because of who we are apart from Christ our Savior. Without Jesus, we are nothing but puny people who deserve hell, damnation and eternal separation from God forever. Without Jesus as the Lord our Host, we are busted and asked to be moved from the seat that we claim to ourselves. Without Jesus all of our good works are nothing but filthy rags. Without Jesus we can’t stand in the presence of our Holy God. Without Jesus, we may be thinking that we are on the upward move; it is a false thinking to be sure. For what we do is arrogance and personal exaltation.

On the other hand, humility is the mark and measure of a child of God. But this is no false humility. It is one driven by who we are—poor, miserable sinners. But on account of His abundant mercy and grace our Lord calls us to the place of honor. We NEVER, NO! NEVER, put ourselves forward; instead our Christ moves us to the seat of honor that He has prepared for us. PAUSE.

Children of God, perhaps you have been following the tragic events of the 33 Chilean miners who have been trapped about half a mile beneath the surface for almost 20 days. It is estimated it will take four months to bring them up. While there is rejoicing in the fact that they located them alive, and have begun to send them food, oxygen and other necessity to keep them alive. Yet four months is a long time to wait in the dark and damp earth.

The Government of Chili, the Gold Mine Company, along with all the people, are praying for a way to get these miners up as quickly as possible. They are sparing no expense, in seeking the help of the greatest minds out there or getting the latest and best equipments, machinery and tools to free them and bring them up one at a time. We, along the Chilean people pray for the same.

This operation is costly. This rescue mission is long and arduous; but without any guarantees. We hope and pray t their efforts would be successful and these minors would be able to enjoy life with family and friends. PAUSE.

A long time ago, there were others who were trapped. Not in a gold mine in Chili, but in Satan’s domain in the darkness of hell. To free these people the operation is costly. The rescue mission is long and arduous; but with sure and certain guarantee.

There was no need for government involvement, no need for Mine Company, no money, or the latest engineers, or finest equipments and machinery; but this was the operation of one person—God’s ONLY Begotten Son-Jesus Christ.

Jesus came to earth to rescue NOT ONLY those who are trapped 2300 feet below the earth’s surface, or those who are in dark, damp and dead places, but all of humanity. The cost was His life’s blood as payment. The only machine needed was the Jewish leaders and Rome’s puppet Pontius Pilate. The only tools needed, were nails and hammer, spear and thorns, sponge and soldiers.

The location is not Chili, not a cave; but Calvary. On a hewn cross outside of Jerusalem for 6 hours Jesus was crucified on the wooden beam. For 3 hours He was in total darkness and no food, no water and barely enough oxygen to fill his lungs. The crowds were not cheering to rescue Him, but to put Him to death. He did die, but on the third day, this Rescue of One burst from the dark, damp and death of the grave to conquer our sin, death and the devil.

Now by His grace, Jesus reaches to each of us poor beggars and invites us to sit with Him at the banquet that He is preparing for us. He motions to YOU today and says “Move On Up Child! I have made it possible for you to be with Me at the greatest banquet!”

Thank God we don’t have to be like the Jefferson’s who want a piece of the pie to move on up to the East Side. Thank God we are no longer trapped like the miners. But have been freed and rescued.

Now by His mighty power we go out into the world and share the joyous rescue that the Savior has made possible for us and invite others to receive the greatest piece of pie He cooked for us in His life and glorious resurrection. Amen.

Now the peace…


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