More than a Christian Heritage

August 6, 2023
More than a Christian Heritage

Scripture Reading: Romans 9: 1 - 5 (MSG)

At the same time, you need to know that I carry with me at all times a huge sorrow. It’s an enormous pain deep within me, and I’m never free of it. I’m not exaggerating—Christ and the Holy Spirit are my witnesses. It’s the Israelites . . . If there were any way I could be cursed by the Messiah so they could be blessed by him, I’d do it in a minute. They’re my family. I grew up with them. They had everything going for them—family, glory, covenants, revelation, worship, promises, to say nothing of being the race that produced the Messiah, the Christ, who is God over everything, always. Oh, yes!

Message:  “More than a Christian Heritage”

Christian Heritage all around us

We live in a Western society with a Christian heritage

It is who we are and where we come from

We come from Europe and in the time the first of our ancestors landed in the different areas they explored, Europe was a tower of Christianity 

On the ships of the explorers were preachers and missionaries

Many of the first time settlements were around churches - our town Durham being a good example - Archibald Hunter in 1842 

Our Christian heritage is visible all around us today

We sing O Canada - there’s an element of prayer in the anthem:  “God keep our land glorious and free” 

Today is Sunday - most of businesses are closed on this day and we have a weekend around Sunday - many years ago the Sabbath was changed from a Saturday to a Sunday to celebrate the risen Christ… we still celebrate Jesus’ resurrection on a Sunday every week, without even realizing it!

Just think for a moment how many Christian names have in our midst - John, Mary, Peter, James, Luke, Elizabeth, Hannah, Anna, Grace, Abigail, Matthew… perhaps we could take the time to appreciate our heritage when we appreciate the origin of these names

Just consider for a moment the influence Christian values has had on our judicial system - the inherent principle of love and respect that is the foundation of law (Consider how different the law is in authoritarian countries where there is not a foundation of love and respect for human rights - Korea, Iran, China…)

We have so much of a Christian heritage all around us, but still the church is experiencing at time of decline, something we see much of in our own town…

Paul’s sadness - seeing heritage taken for granted

This brings me to Paul in Romans 9…

He is expressing the emotion of sadness when he considers his fellow Jews

He refers to them as his people, his family…

They had everything going for them and yet they missed Jesus

They were known as God’s people - people of the covenant that God had with their ancestor Abraham

They lived with an anticipation of a Messiah that was coming… and yet, when He came they did not recognize Him

Jesus lived among them, He preached, He performed wonders, He healed many, but they refused to accept Him

Paul is deeply sad, because of his passion for Jesus - he doesn’t want his people to miss out

It is burning sadness, because Paul is a Jew himself - but he knew Jesus - he knew the meaning of salvation in Christ

And yet, for their lack of faith, Paul’s people is missing out on salvation 

I can identify with that - I see so many people around us living in the comfort of a society with a Christian heritage, but they don’t know the Christ of our heritage

It makes me sad!  

It makes me sad to see so many children in our town lining up the streets for a parade, but they don’t know a thing about Jesus 

I see us lining up at the Cenotaph, to remember our fallen heroes and people commenting on the name of Jesus being used too much in a short message that was allowed in the ceremony

I hear a school principal giving a brilliant graduation speech, on biblical principles, but being too scared to say that it comes from the Bible - in stead quoting indigenous teachings…

Heritage will not cut it

As passionate followers of Jesus, we know that there needs to be more that just a heritage

Jesus said in Mattew 7: 21 - “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”

A heritage alone will not cut it - there needs to be more

God wants more 

He wants us to see what He has done for us

He wants us to recognize Him in creation

He wants us to realize that we cannot live without Him

He wants us to live in a relationship with Him

Relationship and Deep Connection with God

Our Christian heritage is meaningful when we live in a relationship with the living God - the Triune God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit

Our Christian heritage is meaningful when we discover how our connection with Jesus in faith makes our lives better

Our Christian heritage points to an alternative lifestyle - a lifestyle that is dependant on God 

Living in a relationship with God is about a life lived in accordance with the Word of God

And I am not just meaning the Bible, I am referring to Jesus - the Word that became flesh and dwelled among us

We are people of the Word - our lives are better because we take the Word of God seriously

More than… We can do so much more

The thing is, we cannot keep our faith to ourselves

We need to do more to help a society of a Christian heritage find the Christ of their heritage

We can’t just shake our heads or point the finger and tell everyone how wrong they are

Paul was deeply sad to see his people miss Jesus - but that motivated him even more to bring the good news of the gospel

Our faith is more that a Christian heritage!

May we be moved to do more to bring the good news to a society that is missing the Christ of their Christian heritage!


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