Waynedale United Methodist Church
Sunday, August 20, 2017
Making Disciples of Jesus for the Transformation of the World!
   

Nov 6, 2016 Sermon

“What to Remember”
Matthew 3:1 – 6, 11, 13 – 17
Ted Jansen  November 6, 2016  Waynedale UMC
 
1.)        I want to check your memory by asking some questions.  When is your mother’s Birthday?  What is the date of Christmas?  When will your driver’s license expire?  What is your password to get into your bank account?  It seems like we have a lot to remember these days! 
 
2.)        A couple in their nineties were both having problems remembering things. During a checkup, the doctor tells them that they're physically okay, but they might want to start writing things down to help them remember.
Later that night, while watching TV, the old man gets up from his chair. "Want anything while I'm in the kitchen?" he asks his wife.
"Will you get me a bowl of ice cream?"
"Sure."
"Don't you think you should write it down so you can remember it?" she asks.
"No, I can remember it."
"Well, I'd like some strawberries on top, too. Maybe you should write it down, so as not to forget it?"
He says, "I can remember that. You want a bowl of ice cream with strawberries."
"I'd also like whipped cream. I'm certain you'll forget that, write it down?" she asks.
Irritated, he says, "I don't need to write it down, I can remember it! Ice cream with strawberries and whipped cream - I got it, for goodness sake!"
Then he toddles into the kitchen. After about 20 minutes, the old man returns from the kitchen and hands his wife a plate of bacon and eggs.  She stares at the plate for a moment.
"Where's my toast?"

3.)        We need to remember what God spoke to Jesus when He was baptized. Those words were vital for Jesus remember and I believe vital for us to hold in our heart. 
            As we hear the story of John and Jesus and what they were doing as it relates to baptism let us consider our own baptism.  I am going to invite you to touch the Jordan River and let is bless you. The Jordan River is in bowls that you can touch or be blessed with.  You can have the sign of the cross placed on your forehead with the words, “Remember your Baptism and Be Thankful!” shared.  As you let the Jordan River be felt may you remember and be loved.       
 
4.)        Matthew 3 begins by telling us that John was in the desert and he was calling people to repent of their sins, change direction.  John wanted them to confess and be ready for something wonderful, the Messiah, to come to their heart.  John was located by the Jordan River and in this setting it was like an oasis amidst the desert wilderness.  There were plants, flowers, trees, birds, and animals.  This water brought natural life to the desert, the dry land.  This setting also brought spiritual “life” amidst the dryness and desolation of a life without meaning or hope. 
John told the people that there is one coming that will baptize with the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit would bring spiritual life in ways you cannot imagine.
Do you get a picture of this scene?  There is dry, desert all around, but around this river, the Jordan River there is abundant life and color.  Life is flourishing because of the water. 
The Holy Spirit, the Jesus will bring, is like this Spirit Water that will bring life and abundance to people. 
5.)        Matthew 3:13 says, “Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John.”  When John saw Jesus he was shocked and wanted Jesus to baptize him.  Jesus told John that it must be this way, that Jesus must be baptized.  It was important for Jesus to be baptized, not for sin or repentance, but for identifying with people, who were sinners.  We see in Jesus his heart of love for each of us, we who are sinners.     
Then after John baptized Jesus the Holy Spirit descended on Jesus and a voice spoke.  It was a blessing from God.  “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”  (Matthew 3:17) 
            This message communicated the heart and will of God.  God’s message to Jesus, “You are my son, whom I love and I am happy about your life.” 
These three messages are vital for Jesus to remember as He lives out the ministry and mission for the next three years. 
 
6.)        These blessings are vital for each of us to remember.  We need to remember: “I am a child of God, I am the object of God’s love, I make God happy!”  That is what we remember. 
            We often remember negative things in our lives.  We remember when someone hurt us, when someone failed to bless us, when something negative happened to us like a job loss, or a health concern, or a financial struggle. 
These negative messages are what we try to forget but it is hard.  Negatives stick to our soul and spirit more than positive ones.  If we hold on to the negative we will get a distorted understanding of our relationship with God. 
            Next week we will look at the importance of forgetting things as it relates to our spiritual life and I have some different water to share with you from the Holy Land. 
 
7.)        A friend told me about muscle memory and how it improved his dart game.  Your muscles “remember” the action to a certain task that you repeat.  Your brain and muscles remember so that you can be consistent.  Muscle memory is used in baseball, golf, football, etc.     
            We need Spiritual Muscle Memory.  We need to remember scripture and repeat with our voices the messages of God’s grace.  We need to hear and believe the blessing from the baptism of Jesus.  I am a child of God, I am the object of God’s love, I make God happy! 
 
8.)        How many of you have been baptized?  What do you know about your baptism?  I invite you to remember that act or remember the story of what was told to you. 
I was a baby when I was baptized by my grandfather, who was a United Methodist pastor in Brooklyn New York.  My parents dedicated themselves to letting the love of God be shared to me as I grew up in our family.  This is what was told to me.  What do you remember?    
We all need moments in our life to “remember” God’s love. I am praying that you allow the Jordan River to be a blessing to you as you think of Jesus being baptized and the blessing of God on His life. 
 
9.)        May you experience the blessing as we celebrate Communion.  Let us go to the Upper Room and hear Jesus speaking, see Jesus with the bread and cup.  We remember that sight, sound and taste.  We remember.  Jesus told His disciples to “remember me” when you gather together and share the bread and cup.  May a special work of God’s grace come to us. 
            Lord, find us in this place and speak your truth, your power, your hope, your healing to us.  Amen.