Creation… a start of a series of notes for talks

I have decided to get out some of my sermon notes from when I was ministering in the Church and to print them here. They are not essays but rather notes I made, from which I would draw salient points to talk about with the aid of brief stories drawn from my own experience.

Todays theme is Creation and tonight’s readings reflect, not only the fact that God ‘created’ but also that His Spirit is ever at work – creating and recreating.

Jesus said “unless a man has been born over again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God”

It has been built into the laws of Creation that growth and new life comes only through shedding or dying to the old.

But some types of religion do not allow for the movement of the Spirit in our lives and are hard, unyielding, legalistic and lacking in the fruit of the Spirit

Lets look at the story of Nicodemus – Pharisee, (strict legalistic, but devout Jewish sect) member of the Jewish Council – came by night to Jesus
Seeking – impressed by signs and wonders
“We know that you are a teacher sent by God”

Jesus gets to the heart of what Nicodemus is saying –
“Unless a man has been born over again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God”
It’s no use looking for signs and miracles of healing
– God is more than the physical and mental revelations of human reasoning
God’s Kingdom can only be apprehended through the spirit and by the creative action of the Spirit of God within us
It is not what we do or think – it is God who takes the initiative.

We cannot bring God down to our size and thoughts, His Kingdom is not built on human values.
We cannot manipulate God to conform to our expectations, nor make Him bring into being our desires or perform according to our will.
He cannot be bribed or cajoled to grant favours and honours.

We cannot enter the kingdom of God on our terms.
We cannot bribe our way in, nor can we force our way in.

Being born again, or having a new start, being renewed or rejuvenated, was not a new idea in the first century. The problem was HOW!

With typical Jewish exasperation Nicodemus exclaims,
“How is it possible for a man to be born when he is old? Can a man enter his mother’s womb a second time and be born”.
Jesus said, “No one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born from water and Spirit.”

Water – the symbol of cleansing from sin and evil, when we genuinely turn to God.
Spirit – the power to live renewed lives in simplicity and faith – secure in the love of God – trusting – obedient to the one commandment of Jesus – To love God and neighbour, delighting in His Word and Grace

Flesh can only give birth to flesh – worldly ideas to worldly ideas,
there has to be a breakthrough of the Spirit of God to give man a spirit rebirth.

Just as we see the effect of the wind as it blows over the earth , so we see the effect of the Spirit in the lives of those who have been born again.

The Spirit is a mystery – He cannot be manipulated or controlled by man – And yet He can be witnessed by all who have eyes to see

And when our eyes and ears are open, when our heart yearns for that new birth, not as a reward for our actions but as a gift to be received, surely we are placing ourselves in that position for the Spirit to blow through our lives.

Jesus often used children as a teaching aid –
“unless you become as a little child, you cannot see the Kingdom of God”
(child – vulnerable, trusting, delighting in simple things, loving, filled with awe and wonder etc =
(My experiences of children)

Unless we keep hold of that childlikeness, we lose that simplicity of trust and faith, that sense of awe and wonder and
we learn to trust only the things that we see or can be proved.
We seek miracles and signs to authenticate faith and replace trust with manufactured certainty

Christians often take God forgranted and presume on His goodness –
many try manipulation to get what they want – “if you will do what I want, I will do this that and the other” or
“then I will believe”

In Revelations it says
“Thou art worthy, O Lord our God, to receive glory and honour and power, because thou didst create all things; by Thy will they were created, and have their being.”

As we realise more and more, the greatness and glory of God,

as we realise in our hearts that He is our Father who desires to be in relationship with us through His Son

As we get back to that simplicity that relies on the goodness of God rather than what we do for God

As we yearningly turn to God and put aside all cleverness of thought and action
desiring and seeking nothing but to be “in Him” and to love Him with our whole being

So we are in that place where the Spirit can catch us with His breath – and we can begin to breath with new life – Born of the Spirit
Our eyes are open to see The Kingdom and by His grace we are free to enter!

This is not a “one off” experience but rather a continual, creative, walk with God…

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