Tuesday, January 02, 2007

New Discoveries - Sermon Dec 31, 2006

December 31, 2006

First Sunday after Christmas

“New Discoveries”

Luke 2:15-38

15When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. 17When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; 18and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. 19But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. 20The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

Shepherds Discover the child the angels proclaimed. The Shepherds also proclaimed the discovery to others in the area, making the discovery of the baby Jesus all the more prevalent.

21After eight days had passed, it was time to circumcise the child; and he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.

The Name of Jesus is discovered. Joshua, Yeshua, God with us, aka Emmanuel

22When the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23(as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male shall be designated as holy to the Lord”), 24and they offered a sacrifice according to what is stated in the law of the Lord, “a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.”

The discovery of purification, “making right with God”. There are two types of purification going on in this account. One takes place for the child after 31 days and the other takes place after 40 days for the mother who has had a boy child (a female child requires 80 days after the birth for purification to take place). Please note that Mary is paying with a pair of turtle doves or two young pigeons. The full payment would have included a sacrifice of a lamb, and Mary and Joseph pay only the birds because they are poor. From this we might be inclined to understand that the Wise men from the East bearing their gifts of Gold Frankincense and Myrrh have not arrived yet. We can’t draw this conclusion outright because the account of the Shepherds and the purification rights are here in Luke, but Matthew is the Gospel that tells us the story of the Magi/Wise Men.

25Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; this man was righteous and devout, looking forward to the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit rested on him. 26It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. 27Guided by the Spirit, Simeon came into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him what was customary under the law, 28Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying, 29“Master, now you are dismissing your servant in peace, according to your word; 30for my eyes have seen your salvation, 31which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, 32a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.”

Simeon discovers “the consolation of Israel”, the baby Jesus. Israel has been in turmoil since the very beginning and the consolation of Israel signifies something different for the people.

Simeon discovers the salvation of Israel and the revelation to the Gentiles. Simeon gives us a glimpse into the future of Jesus, as he reclaims the lost sheep of Israel, and reaches out to the people outside of the “Children of Abraham”. The idea of salvation is juxtaposed with the salvation event that Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus have come to the temple to enact, the salvation of Jesus and the redemption from the priesthood, along with Mary and Joseph redeemed from the blood of birth.

33And the child’s father and mother were amazed at what was being said about him. 34Then Simeon blessed them and said to his mother Mary, “This child is destined for the falling and the rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed 35so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed—and a sword will pierce your own soul too.”

Mary and Joseph discover more of Jesus purpose. (If time insert the purposes of Del Rosa UMC) – That Jesus would bring about the rise and fall of many in Israel (i.e. the people and their relationship with God is increased and the Pharisees, Sadducees, and Scribes are brought low).

House church

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

House church is an informal term for a group of Christians gathering regularly or spontaneously in a home or on grounds not normally used for worship services.

Others meet in homes because they prefer to meet informally, because they believe it is an effective way of creating community and engaging in outreach, or because they believe small family-sized churches were a deliberate apostolic pattern in the first century and intended by Christ. Some, perhaps, meet in homes for several of these reasons.

Scriptural basis

Those Christians who meet together in homes usually do so because of a desire to return to the simplicity of Church meetings as found in their interpretation of the Christian Bible and specifically the New Testament. In their view, rather than formalized meetings and doctrine, the first Christian church showed a simplicity of fellowship and practice in the New Testament. Instead of seeing Christian belief and practice as series of Church meetings, the return to Biblical Church stresses a way of life that is lived towards others.

Structure and organization


Some within the house church "movement" consider that the main issue for people who practice their faith in this manner is not the house but more the type of meeting that takes place; other titles which are sometimes used to describe this movement more functionally are "simple church", "relational church", "primitive church", "bodylife", "organic church" and similar terms.


Some house churches demonstrate a New Testament belief in the "priesthood of all believers" and that Jesus Christ alone is the Head of the Church, and the believers the body. The absence of hierarchical leadership structures is viewed by many in the house church movement to be the most viable way to come under true spiritual authority of love, relationships, and the visible dominion of Jesus Christ as Head of his own bride (i.e. the church).

The origins of the North American house church trend are varied. Some consider it a new variety of the Plymouth Brethren movement, others recognise a relationship to the Anabaptists, Quakers, Amish, Hutterites, Mennonites, Moravians, Methodists, and the much earlier Waldenses and Priscillianists. Another perspective sees the house church movement as a re-emergence of the move of the Holy Spirit. Others see it as a return to a New Testament church Restorationism paradigm and a restoration of God's eternal purpose and the natural expression of Christ on the earth, urging Christians to return from hierarchy and rank to practices described and encouraged in Scripture. The house church movement is a cousin and slight forerunner to the Emerging Church movement. No single factor can sum up the emergence of this ancient-future ecclesiology (the return to ancient practices in the body of believers)

Mary and Joseph discover more of Jesus purpose. (If time insert the purposes of Del Rosa UMC) – That Jesus would bring about the rise and fall of many in Israel (i.e. the people and their relationship with God is increased and the Pharisees, Sadducees, and Scribes are brought low). Jesus will expose people’s inmost thoughts, and break Mary’s heart, as though struck through with a sword (foreshadowing of the Jesus being pierced).

36There was also a prophet, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, having lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, 37then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped there with fasting and prayer night and day. 38At that moment she came, and began to praise God and to speak about the child to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.

Anna, too, discovers Jesus. Luke is unique in his revelation to both men and women, and the power that each side brings to the story. This is much of the controversy that the DaVinci Code stirred among the churches, was that it was bringing back the feminine aspects of the Gospel, and the story of Jesus, to the point that it was empowering women again. Now there were other controversies in the book and movie DaVinci Code, such as his child, and his marriage to Mary Magdalene, but both of those tie back to the power of women in the ongoing story and revelation of Jesus.

The truth is that we need to recognize the power of women in the telling of our own story of faith, the Gospel message and the hope for the nations.

The final discovery is the discovery of an imminent future for Israel, and if we are to be honest with Christ and the Gospel story then we too need to have an imminent future.

(The imminent future of Del Rosa UMC as it becomes a large House Church)

Meeting format

Many house church gatherings are free, informal, and sometimes include a shared meal. Participants hope that everyone present will feel free to contribute to the gathering as and when they sense the leading of the Holy Spirit to do so. Leadership structures range from no official leaders, to a plurality of appointed elders; however, there is a deliberate attempt within most house churches to minimize the leadership of any one person, in favor of a more plural responsibility of leadership diffused over several people or the members as a whole.


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