Archive for June 1st, 2011

This is the conclusion of my sermon for The Sixth Sunday of Easter.  Note:  We are in  a university town-Pr. Schroeder 


Acts 17: 16-21

1 Peter 3: 13-22

St. John 14: 15-21

We are told in Acts 17 that the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers liked to do nothing but  hear or tell something new.  Sounds a like a university town to me.  A Christian writer of the 2nd Century, Tertullian, asked a famous question:  What  does Athens have to do  with Jerusalem?  That is, what does the world and it’s philosophies, cultures, entertainments, etc. have to with Christians and the Biblical faith?  His answer: not much.  The reverse answer has been to accommodate the faith to it’s cultured despisers to the point that Christians water down the pure wine of doctrine till the Church looks like yet another Athenian debating society of hearing or telling something new.  Such Christianity bristles at the notion, for instance, of an inerrant Scripture, lest the charge of fundamentalism be leveled.  And the world cannot receive the Holy Ghost.

We live in Athens.  Neither the ways described above are suitable.  Scripture shows us the Way to live in Athens:  Jesus Christ.  In the Epistle, we are enjoined to reverence Christ Jesus in our hearts, His grace and peace for us sinners.  When someone asks you about your faith:  give a defense of the hope that is in you and do so in gentleness and respect.  (1 Peter) Yes, we may be slandered, called names like “babbler” (Acts 17) or “fundy”.  (Post-sermon addition:  Wear those labels as a badge of honor.)  Better to suffer for doing good than evil. And we have the Way, the pattern set before us: Jesus’ death and resurrection.  It is His baptismal pattern of our lives.  Consciences captive to the Word of God are freed.  In the Gospel (St. John 14) the Lord speaks fluidly of the Holy Ghost and the love of Him.  We love because He first loved us and gave Himself for us.  Holding Christ Jesus in your hearts will speak for Himself of His love for others.  In Him all things are possible.  He went to hell and back. Thursday is the remembrance of His Ascension—He has entered into the Sanctuary of Heaven, not with the blood of sacrificial animals, but His own—and the other major day in the Church year that falls on a Thursday is Maundy Thursday—the crucified, risen and ascended Lord gives us His Body and Blood.  And the Holy Ghost descended upon trembling hearts making us His own.  All the authorities and powers of Athens are subject to Him, His servants, not our masters.  Even so, come, Lord  Jesus, come.

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