242 episodes

Scripture-based sermons are posted weekly.

Sellersburg United Methodist Church Sermon Podcast Rev. Joseph Sanford

    • Religion & Spirituality
    • 5.0 • 3 Ratings

Scripture-based sermons are posted weekly.

    SERMON | John 4:1-42 | "See Her" by Lauren Sanford at Sellersburg United Methodist Church in Sellersburg, Indiana

    SERMON | John 4:1-42 | "See Her" by Lauren Sanford at Sellersburg United Methodist Church in Sellersburg, Indiana

    SERMON | John 4:1-42 | "See Her" by Lauren Sanford at Sellersburg United Methodist Church in Sellersburg, Indiana

    • 25 min
    SERMON | John 20:19-23 | PENTECOST - "He Breathed On Them" by Rev. Joseph Sanford at Sellersburg United Methodist Church in Sellersburg, Indiana

    SERMON | John 20:19-23 | PENTECOST - "He Breathed On Them" by Rev. Joseph Sanford at Sellersburg United Methodist Church in Sellersburg, Indiana

    SERMON | John 20:19-23 | PENTECOST - "He Breathed On Them" by Rev. Joseph Sanford at Sellersburg United Methodist Church in Sellersburg, Indiana

    This is the arrival of the Holy Spirit in John.



    At first hearing we might think, “Well, that’s boring.”



    “No sound? No fire? No speaking in foreign languages? No Peter giving a testimony that leads to 3,000 people believing in the risen Savior?”



    Why bother, right?



    Jesus breathed on them.

    —a very different effect in our post-COVID world!



    Remember, this is the first time that all of the disciples who aren’t Mary have seen Jesus alive and breathing once more.



    What had they been thinking about since Jesus was arrested and killed?



    How they had run?

    How they had denied?

    How they had not stood up for him?

    How some of the Jewish council were searching for them?

    How they ached to not have Jesus with them?

    How much it hurt to not hear his voice?

    How guilty they felt?

    How they had no idea what to do next since the one they were following were no 

    longer there to lead them?

    How they hoped those locked doors would protect them?



    And then Jesus is there…seemingly out of nowhere.



    In the moment they first see him, he offers them peace: “Peace be with you.”

    — if they had been true Methodists, they would have responded, “And also with you.”



    Then he shows them his hands and side so they might come to believe.



    They do and suddenly their fear dissipates AND joy overcomes them.



    Jesus said again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”



    Here is the key to what it all means.



    One way we can understand this is to think back to the book which the author we call  John put firmly into our frame of mind with the opening words of the Gospel account.



    Genesis.



    “In the beginning…” and now, “He breathed on them and said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.’”

     

    The very first human beings received breath from God—the breath of life.

     

    breath/spirit/wind are all the same word in both Hebrew and Greek.

     

    Where the first humans received divine breath, so now the disciples do.



    Where the presence of God came to walk among the first humans in the evening,  they heard the sound of the evening breeze.



    The presence of God coupled with their choice to serve themselves as gods in idolatry led them to be in great fear and go into hiding…just like the disciples are in this scene.



    Where sin, the symptom of the deeper problem of idolatry, had held the world captive from the life which God had envisioned for all people from all places…NOW Jesus breathes new life into the disciples after having dealt with the power of sin and death  on the cross.



    New Creation had burst forth from that garden tomb — John says once again, “…the first day of the week” we are reminded that a new week and new creation had begun.



    This new life and creative power is then given to the disciples through Jesus’ breath of life.



    Then he tells them what it means: “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”



    God is bringing forgiveness and new life to the whole world.

    It was ALWAYS meant and described as coming through Israel from God to the world.



    They were God’s elected people to be the vessel through which the great promise was fulfilled…and it had happened in this moment!

    Now the disciples, filled with the new divine breath of the new creation where forgiveness becomes truly possible, will go out into the world so that God can work THROUGH them…to bring PEACE.



    Peace is right relationship…

    wholeness…

    completeness…

    shalom.



    Jesus’ resurrection brings true peace into the world.



    We can all receive this new peace, this new wholeness, this contentment in our souls.



    But…we receive this SO THAT we can go and announce that peace to the whole world—to share this peace an

    • 20 min
    SERMON | 1 Peter 3:13-22 | A LIVING HOPE - 5. "Always Be Ready" by Rev. Joseph Sanford at Sellersburg United Methodist Church in Sellersburg, Indiana

    SERMON | 1 Peter 3:13-22 | A LIVING HOPE - 5. "Always Be Ready" by Rev. Joseph Sanford at Sellersburg United Methodist Church in Sellersburg, Indiana

    SERMON | 1 Peter 3:13-22 | A LIVING HOPE - 5. "Always Be Ready" by Rev. Joseph Sanford at Sellersburg United Methodist Church in Sellersburg, Indiana

    Daily we should be remembering that Christ IS Risen

    That the world is in conflict while evil is uprooted and removed

    That we are a part of this process in our daily living 



    Maybe we aren’t facing authorities who are punishing us for our faith, but that 

    day could come:


    It is a reality for many around the world.
    It was a reality for the early church.



    Don’t think that conflict CANNOT come in that form.



    Even if authorities aren’t the source of conflict, our peers are.



    Dare I say, even our fellow Christian peers.



    It’s extremely rare that I encounter a non-Christian who is slanderous, rude, or causing conflict in some way toward me or the church for our faith.



    Most often it’s a sibling of Christ who is pointing fingers, slandering, and trying to cause turmoil and conflict.



    Most often these actions are caused by pain they are carrying.


    Pain due to a lack of hope.



    We’ve all been there, haven’t we?

    We’ve lost hope and placed the burden of conflict upon our own shoulders, right?



    We’ve experienced disappointment and responded with judgment and self-righteousness, yes?



    We ALL have.



    So…we should all understand when we see it in our Christian sibling.

    and we should all be readying ourselves NOT to respond in kind.


    Not even in our minds, friends!
    Not in gossip or discussion with others
    We must MAINTAIN our hope.



    Rather, we should respond in our hope with grace, love, mercy, and forgiveness.

    We should not hold things against our sibling in faith due to their reactions. 



    We all make mistakes and we all are impulsive…because we all have moments 

    when we have not been prepared to maintain our hope amid pain.


    I thank God for grace!
    It is crucial that I remember what God’s grace has done for me!
    It is vital that I remember what other people’s grace and hope have done for me, too!



    If we cannot regard our sibling in Christ with an unconquerable hope, how can we ever be prepared for the world around us when it brings the conflict?



    We need to pray, friends, for hope.



    We need to start with our own hope so that we are ready to live it out…especially in moments of conflict.



    Once we get a good handle on maintaining our own hope, THEN we can work on building up the hope in each other.



    THEN we can know we are ready for the world around us.



    The day of the Lord has begun…and it will be completed, Amen?



    Christ IS Risen! 



    Then let us live into the Easter reality



    Let our lives reflect A LIVING HOPE



    Let us prepare for whatever comes our way.



    ALWAYS BE READY to serve a Risen Christ IN WHOM WE FIND OUR HOPE in any given moment so that:


    the world may come to know the hope that is within us…
    so that our hope can disarm a hurting world…
    so that people around us can know they can lay their weapons down and put their trust in the grace of God revealed in our Risen Christ and find their hope in the same spirit of God they encounter in us.

    • 20 min
    SERMON | 1 Peter 2:2-10 | A LIVING HOPE - 4. "Like Living Stones" by Rev. Joseph Sanford at Sellersburg United Methodist Church in Sellersburg, Indiana.

    SERMON | 1 Peter 2:2-10 | A LIVING HOPE - 4. "Like Living Stones" by Rev. Joseph Sanford at Sellersburg United Methodist Church in Sellersburg, Indiana.

    SERMON | 1 Peter 2:2-10 | A LIVING HOPE - 4. "Like Living Stones" by Rev. Joseph Sanford at Sellersburg United Methodist Church in Sellersburg, Indiana.

    There is a freedom available to you through our resurrected Lord.



    When you remember, and spend time remembering regularly, that you are a living stone being built into a spiritual house alongside Jesus Christ and every person who seeks to follow him as Lord, you are awakened to freedom.



    We don’t have to be right when we are free.


    it is God who makes us stand or fall
    we become people of grace, mercy, and love
    Are people who always have to argue their point living a life you desire for yourself?



    We don’t have to make sure everyone else thinks like we do when we are free.


    we don’t have to understand why people think the way they do
    we can simply trust that they are serving a divine purpose, too.
    Are people who try to control how others understand things living a life you desire for yourself?



    We don’t have to make sure and balance the scales of justice for ourselves.


    People are people
    we can live with a rhythm of forgiveness and not be controlled by vengeance and self-righteous judgment
    Are people who keep score really living a life you desire for yourself?



    Where do you see life lived in such a way that you desire for yourself? 

    Who do you know who has the freedom of Christ in a way that appeals to you?



    Because someone who doesn’t play by the rules of being right, being controlling, and being self-righteous in their judgment is absolutely perplexing to those who are still living life in the dirt.



    When you come across someone who doesn’t play the game of the world, it stands out.



    People have no idea what to do with them, do they?



    Except…except…those who are desiring to live life beyond the dirt.



    When you’re pining for something more out of life, you notice it when you find it.



    I wonder, are we living the type of life that stands out in such a way for others?

    Are we living a free life as a living stone in such a way that people can see it in us?



    Are we living it out loud?

    Are we living it in every way we can all the time we can?



    As Peter said, if we have tasted the goodness of God through our Lord, then we  desire more…because that is how it works.



    He is risen!!

    Jesus Christ was resurrected that Easter morning…

    and Jesus Christ has been resurrecting us ever since…

    Jesus Christ is freeing us from the dirt of our old life and into something  entirely different

    So…go and live the resurrected life.

    Leave the old life behind you to remain in the dirt.

    Live as a living stone…a flesh and blood temple…so that we may experience the presence and work of God in and through each other in the way we love and show mercy.

    Be an entirely different group of people—a kingdom of priests for God—to the world around you that others may come to know of the freedom and truth you have found.

    • 19 min
    SERMON | Psalm 23 & 1 Peter 2:19-25 | A LIVING HOPE - 3. "Guardian of the Soul" by Mark Ritter at Sellersburg United Methodist Church in Sellersburg, Indiana

    SERMON | Psalm 23 & 1 Peter 2:19-25 | A LIVING HOPE - 3. "Guardian of the Soul" by Mark Ritter at Sellersburg United Methodist Church in Sellersburg, Indiana

    The sermon material comes from umcdiscipleship.org

    • 19 min
    SERMON | 1 Peter 1:17-23 | A LIVING HOPE - 2. "Loosening the Bonds" by Rev. Joseph Sanford at Sellersburg United Methodist Church in Sellersburg, Indiana.

    SERMON | 1 Peter 1:17-23 | A LIVING HOPE - 2. "Loosening the Bonds" by Rev. Joseph Sanford at Sellersburg United Methodist Church in Sellersburg, Indiana.

    SERMON | 1 Peter 1:17-23 | A LIVING HOPE - 2. "Loosening the Bonds" by Rev. Joseph Sanford at Sellersburg United Methodist Church in Sellersburg, Indiana.



    Do you know you are loved?

    Our full display of LOVE is God coming to us in Jesus Christ…

    to tell our story in a new way…

    to bring healing to our very hearts, minds, souls, and bodies…

    to face and embody our rejection…

    to suffer at the hands of our sinful pride and need to judge and control…



    and to not condemn us.

    to not respond with resentment.

    to not respond in kind.



    But to pray for us…

    to forgive us…

    to call out to us…

    to wash our feet and kick in those prison doors anyway…

    to dust us off and restore us to our original beauty…

    to offer us LIFE…

    to LOVE us.



    Because that’s what God did through Jesus Christ.

    That’s our trust and hope—in resurrection.



    And, as people freed, we are to go and LOVE in response.

    Not because we are supposed to, but because that’s all we know to do when we have arrived at the place of trusting and hoping in God alone.

    ___________________________________________________________________ 

    Friends, Jesus Christ has freed us and continues to lead us into that freedom.



    Embrace the full reality of freedom, leave your cell, and walk the path of discovering how valuable and loved you truly are.



    Live in such a way that reflects this truth…that others in prisons around you may know of the fullness of joy that lies beyond the walls of their prisons.



    Let us live, as freed people, committed to dismantling the prisons all around us so that everyone may live and walk as free as anyone and everyone else.



    Let us continue to leave our prisons of judgment and condemnation behind us so that we may live into the true freedom of LOVE as revealed in Jesus Christ.



    Live in such a way that reveals to people the truth you have come to know…

    that we all are beautiful, priceless, and LOVED works of art formed in the image of God.

    Christ IS Risen!

    • 16 min

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