Genesis 2:1-3 Malachi 3:1-7
God is good. There is nothing better for us to acknowledge than that as our community begins a new school year. When we believe God is good, we can face anything that happens. If we haven’t learned that God is good, then I hope we turn to God so we can find how good God is.
We United Methodist Christians believe public worship of God is a necessity of our lives. For all people to come before God in order to honor God has no equal. We get to hear sermons that lift up the name of Jesus. We get to see people baptized as God is changing people. We get to take Communion so we may be strengthened in our faith. We believe public worship is our duty and privilege.
We United Methodist Christians believe the Sabbath is time for us to devote to God. When we stop our work, we can hear from God and actually speak with our neighbors! We find encouragement to face difficulties in life when we spend time with other Christians. It is a natural fit for public worship and the Sabbath to be on the same day of the week. We can’t do school work all the time. We can’t do our work all the time. We can take a day to connect with God and with each other.
The ideas of Public Worship and Sabbath didn’t originate with us. Public Worship and Sabbath came from God. He knows we need time to refocus our lives. God knows we need him. God knows we need a time together so we can accomplish much in our community.
A. God rested on the seventh day (Genesis 2:1-3)
1. God had spent 6 days creating the universe, Earth, plants, animals & humans
2. Whatever needed to be tidied up, God did on the 7th day
3. Then God rested
4. God made the seventh day holy – we pay attention to this idea!
5. We have heard much about how this world was made. We have heard about the theory of evolution. We have heard about the big bang. All I know is I did not create the universe! I am awe of the One who did create the universe! Yet, as we live our lives, we do get to the point of being busy. We start focusing on ourselves. All of us humans have done this in our lives. What can we do to remember to keep the Sabbath holy?
B. Return to the Lord and His ways (Malachi 3:1-7)
1. Years after the Creation, a messenger of God (Malachi) told Israel to turn to the Lord
2. The messenger will say the Lord is coming
a. Refiner’s fire – get rid of all the dross in our lives
b. Fuller’s soap – make us pure
3. The Lord is bringing judgment to the world
4. Before God comes to bring judgment, we can turn to him
5. That is why the church is here – to improve the character of our community
6. We are not judging our community, we want our community to be ready for when the Lord will come. To those within the church and community we say:
a. Sorcerers – turn to the Lord
b. Adulterers – turn to the Lord
c. Those who swear falsely – turn to the Lord
d. Those who oppress the their workers – turn to the Lord
e. Those who oppress widows and orphans – turn to the Lord
f. Those who thrust aside the aliens – turn to the Lord
g. Those who do not fear the Lord – turn to him!
7. Through Public Worship and the Sabbath, we have time to turn to the Lord. God has a witness against those within the church and the community. His ways have not changed. But we have turned away from the ways of God. We can still turn to the Lord, even today. We can stop doing things our ways and we can start living holy lives.
We had the children come up front with their backpacks. We prayed for them to have a good year at school. They were willing to be prayed over. Now, I am asking all who desire to turn to the Lord to come forward. Whatever you are turning from, God is willing to turn to you. We will pray that as God cleans and purifies you, our community’s welfare will improve.
The Lord wants us to turn to him. The Lord enjoys when we live the way that the Lord is living. We know Jesus, the Son of God, came to bring forgiveness to us. Since Jesus has come to earth to show us the love of God, isn’t it about time we turn to God?
We United Methodist Christians believe all people can turn to the Lord. Through the Public Worship of God we know God can get people’s attention through the singing of hymns and the reading of the Bible. Through keeping a day of rest, the Sabbath, we believe we can connect with God. However you got to be here this morning, won’t you turn to the Lord?