Monday, January 11, 2010

Scripture On Sundays - Teach By Example

This Sunday we commemorate the baptism of Our Lord.  The sermon today was about the parent's job of being the primary teachers of the faith to their children.  After you've taken the time and effort to have your children baptized, it's important to not stop there.  I know it's hard to take young children to church and expect them to sit still.  Attention spans and listening skills are not fully developed in the very young.  Yet we know words are important.  But in addition to that, if the partents set a good example of morality and values in the way they live their lives, that can have just as much of an impact as words, if not more so, in a young child's life.

In the first reading from the Old Testament (before Christ) the prophet Isaiah speaks to the Jews of the coming of the Messiah.

Comfort for God's People

1 Comfort, comfort My people, says your God. 3 A voice of one calling: "In the desert prepare the way for the LORD; make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God. 
2 Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her hard service has been completed,
that her sin has been paid for, that she has received from the LORD's hand double for all her sins.
4 Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain.
5 And the glory of the LORD will be revealed, and all mankind together will see it. For the mouth of the LORD has spoken."
9 You who bring good tidings to Zion, go up on a high mountain. You who bring good tidings to Jerusalem,  lift up your voice with a shout, lift it up, do not be afraid; say to the towns of Judah, "Here is your God!"
10 See, the Sovereign LORD comes with power, who rules by His strong arm. See, His reward is with Him, the One who will pay restitution for us accompanies Him.
11 He tends His flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in His arms and carries them close to His heart; He gently leads those that have young.
Isaiah 40: 3-5,9-11

There was another option for the first reading, also from Isaiah.  I thought it had some insightful and very profound things to say, so I chose to include it.

The Servant of the Lord

1 "Here is My servant, whom I uphold, My chosen One in whom I am pleased; I will put My Spirit on Him and He will bring justice to the nations.
2 He will not shout or cry out, or raise His voice in the streets.
3 A bruised reed He will not break, and a smoldering wick He will not snuff out. In faithfulness He will bring forth justice on the earth;
4 He will not falter or be discouraged until He establishes justice on the earth. The coastlands will wait for His teaching. In His law, the islands will put their hope."
5 This is what God the LORD says— He who created the heavens and stretched them out, Who spread out the earth and all that comes out of it, Who gives breath to its people, and life to those who walk on it:
6 "I, the LORD, have called You (Jesus) in righteousness and the victory of justice; I will take hold of Your Hand.  I formed You and set You to be a covenant for the people, and a light for the Gentiles and all the nations,
7 to open eyes that are blind, to free captives from the prison of their minds, and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.
Isaiah 42: 1-7
In the second readings we are into the New Testament and and hear from Titus and the Acts of the Apostles.

What Must Be Taught to Various Groups

1 You must teach what is in accord with sound doctrine.
2 Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance.
3 Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good.
4 Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children,
5 to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.
6 Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled.
7 In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness
8 and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.
9 Teach workers to be subject to their masters in everything, to try to please them, not to talk back to them,
10 and not to steal from them, but to show that they can be fully trusted, so that in every way they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive.
11 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men.
12 It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age,
13 while we wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ,
14 who gave Himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for Himself a people that are His very own, eager to do what is good.
15 These, then, are the things you should teach. Encourage and rebuke with all authority. Do not let anyone despise you.
Titus 2: 1-15

Doing What is Good

3 At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another.
4 But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared,
He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit (baptism),
6 whom He poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior,
7 so that, having been justified by His grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.
8 This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone.
9 But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless.
10 Warn a divisive person once, and then warn him a second time. After that, have nothing to do with him.
11 You may be sure that such a man is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned. 
Titus 3: 3-4,6-11

You can only teach and warn a person so many times and then if they don't want to heed you, then you should "shake the dust from your feet" and move on.

Peter visits Cornelius, the Italian centurion
34 Then Peter began to speak: "I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism
35 but accepts (good) people from every nation, who fear Him and do what is right.
36 You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, telling the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all.
37 You know what has happened throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached—
38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how He went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with Him.
Acts 10: 34-38

The gospel from Luke recalls the baptism of Jesus, who is our Teacher and worthy Judge.

15 The people were waiting expectantly and were all wondering in their hearts if John might possibly be the Christ.
16 John answered them all, "I baptize you with water. But One more powerful than I will come, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.
17 His winnowing fork is in His hand to clear His threshing floor and to gather the wheat into His barn, but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire."
18 And with many other words John exhorted the people and preached the good news to them.

The Baptism of Jesus

21 When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too. And as He was praying, heaven was opened
22 and the Holy Spirit descended on Him in bodily form like a dove. And a Voice came from heaven: "You are my Son, whom I love; with You I am well pleased."
Luke 3: 15-18,21-22 

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