Messages from Pastor Raddatz
January 17, 2021 Mount Olive Lutheran Church Houston TX
Other Readings for the Day: 1 Corinthians 6:12-20 and John 1:43-51
SPEAK, YOUR SERVANT IS LISTENING
1 Samuel 3:1-10
Dear People of God,
Grace, mercy and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord and savior Jesus Christ.
Introduction: During Epiphany Season we celebrate God who reveals himself to us. God’s light shines in the darkness and the darkness cannot overcome it.
Today we remember that God speaks to us. His wisdom is found in God’s word. Following the story of the calling of Samuel we ponder the mystery of God speaking to us. He speaks through his word in the Bible and He can call you with an inner voice. He wants us to live for him.
I. THE LORD HAS CALLED YOU (God speaks from his house.)
The Young man Samuel was serving the Lord under Eli in the Temple.
The prophet Samuel (ca. 1056-1004 B.C.) was the last judge of Israel and the first of the prophets after Moses. He inaugurated the monarchy by choosing and anointing Saul and David as kings of Israel. Samuel was the son of Elkanah and Hannah, and he was born (at Ramathaim-zophim) in the hill country of Ephraim. (biography.yourdictionary.com)
Samuel's mother Hannah (who was barren) had prayed for a son. 1 Sam 1:10-11 And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed to the LORD and wept in anguish. Then she made a vow and said, "O LORD of hosts, if You will indeed look on the affliction of Your maidservant and remember me, and not forget Your maidservant, but will give Your maidservant a male child, then I will give him to the LORD all the days of his life. . ."
She praised God when He answered her prayer and gave her a child. Hannah gave Samuel to the priest, Eli, so he could be taught to serve the Lord. As a child, Samuel, heard from God that he was going to be a prophet and judge in Israel. Before Samuel's time, a prophet was called a "seer." But Samuel was not just a forecaster of the future but became a "mouthpiece" for God. He was used by God to inform Eli that his house would be punished for the abuses and the perversions of his sons who were the priests of the people. The priest was a mediator for God to the people and for the people to God. But they were completely corrupt. Samuel also rebuked the nation about their evil ways. (biblehistory.com)
Sin cannot stop the voice of God. He will rebuke sin. He will call us to repentance. He will forgive us.
You may have been in the place of Hannah. It does not take you long to experience God’s divine delay in acting in our behalf. What has your heart yearned for. What are you waiting for, that your heart and soul craves? Ask God. He will act.
II. THE LORD HAS ACTED TO SAVE YOU (He sent Jesus as your Savior and Lord)
When Jesus began his earthly ministry, he called twelve men to follow him. One of those men was Philip. Philip is mentioned in our Gospel reading this morning (John 1:43-51). He is so excited to have been called by Jesus to follow him that he goes and finds Nathanael and excitedly tells him that he has found the Messiah! Philip, like us, can be on fire for Jesus one moment and the cold as ice for Jesus another moment. He calls us to turn from our denial of knowing him and daily calls us to return to a loving intimate relationship with him. Later on in John 14, Philip has his doubts about Jesus.
John 14:19, Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father'?
God speaks to us in his person. He is the word made flesh…and in the Word of God in the Bible we hear God. Psalm 119:105, Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.
We are called to follow him even while we limp along in our sinfulness. He has forgiven all our sin. He calls us to KEEP HIM FRONT AND CENTER IN OUR HEARTS.
III. What does the Lord call you to do? God calls us to listen to him and to live for him.
(Illustration) LISTENING TO GOD COMPARED TO LISTENING TO THE DOCTOR
One pastor suggested we should treat prayer for what it is, a two-way conversation with God, and learn to be quiet long enough for him to get a word in edge ways. Nicky Gumbel, in his book Questions of Life compares it to a visit to the doctor, he writes “Suppose I go to the doctor and say, ‘Doctor, I have a number of problems: I have a problem of fungus growing under my toenails, I have piles, my eyes itch, I need a flu jab; I have awfully bad backaches and I have tennis elbow.’ Then, having got through my list of complaints, I look at my watch and say, ‘Goodness me, time is getting on. Well, I must be off. Thanks very much for listening.’ The doctor might want to say, ‘Hang on a second. Why don’t you listen to me?’ If whenever we pray, we only speak to God and never take time to listen, we make the same mistake.” (Gumbel, 2003, 104) From a sermon by Andrew Warriner, How’s Your Hearing?, 5/18/2012
When we pray and we try to listen to God, we might be listening to our self. It can be a slippery slope. It is most important to ask God to direct us to his answers in the Bible to see what he says about…, whatever we are asking him. God calls us to listen to him, but to live for him
God calls us to live for him. Living for him is best described by keeping him in the center of our world. We are not the center, instead, God is the center of our life and our world. How do we keep focus on him? It begins with our thoughts. The psalmist wrote in Psalm 19:14, May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.
Conclusion: Thank to God for speaking to us. It is quite amazing that the sinless and perfect God wants to speak to us. He wants a relationship with us. May our daily prayer be, “Speak Lord, for you Servant is listening.
May this peace which passes every single human understanding keep your heart and your mind in Christ Jesus, to life everlasting, Amen.
All thanks and praise to God,
Pastor John Raddatz
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