A Word from Pastor Richard
In the first sermon I preached at Wesley Heights UMC I asked this question. What is the difference between a civic club like the YMCA or the Lion’s Club and the Church? The difference is Jesus Christ. The same can be said for our opinions. Regardless of whether we prefer old traditional hymns sung from the Cokesbury hymnal or contemporary Christian music. Regardless of where we stand on homosexuals in the church, or on issues related to racial inequality. What makes us Christians is Jesus Christ. In Acts 11:25-26 the people of Antioch first began calling these followers of the way of Jesus Christ – Christians. It wasn’t because the people Paul and Barnabus taught had chosen to be disciples of Jesus Christ. These people were growing in grace and faith because Christ had freed them from the chains of what this world says is good and right and proper – in other words their opinions. Sisters and brothers neither our preferences, nor our political stances, nor our opinions make us Christians. None of these things can save a person from the chains of sin and death. We are saved through the blood of Christ and God’s grace alone. In this we should be unified. In 1968 the Evangelical United Brethren merged with the Methodist church to form the United Methodist Church, but what unites us today? Is it our polity? Is it our property? Is it a fear on the part of the clergy their pension will go away? No. If we are to truly be a united church we must be united in God first and not our opinions, or our causes. We must put God first and where ever God is concerned let there be no half-hearted effort among us. Let us be united in our belief Jesus Christ is the only begotten Son of God and through Christ alone all hope is found for salvation. Let us be united in our belief that all Scripture is divinely inspired. Let us be united in the belief all Scripture is fit for teaching, preaching and correction. Then on all other opinions let us agree to “think and let think.” Let us respond to God’s call to be the hands and feet of Christ, loving others as Jesus loves us. How does Jesus love us – All the way to the cross. How can we hope to be the hands and feet of Christ if we are allowing our preferences and opinions to get in the way?
By God’s Good Grace,