Pastor Nelson Bonilla: 1-7-24  “Chosen by Grace”

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Exodus 17:8-16; 1st Timothy 1:12-17; Mark 3:13-19

The three scriptures we’ve read today have a common denominator: which is, God inviting someone to participate with him in his plans. God is inviting men to be channels, means for God to show his glory, his love, and his power. In those scriptures God is calling ordinary people to do extraordinary work.

In Exodus we find God asking Moses to send Joshua to fight. Fight God’s fight against the Amalekites who had lifted their hands against the throne of God. Besides sending Joshua to fight, Moses invited Aaron and Hur to the top of a hill to intercede for Israel’s army. Moses, Joshua, Aaron, and Hur were channels God used, and with them he got the victory. They were the channels God used to bring strength to the soldiers in the battlefield. Rephidim’s victory was first won on top of the hill; Joshua’s victory was first won by Moses, Aaron, and Hur who represented Israel’s leadership.

Moses and God were the leaders officially chosen by God, Hur was the one chosen among the people, the one without an official position, but a leader anyway. We do not know much about who Hur was. but Moses chose him to be with him for this moment.

In the reading we heard from the Gospel of Mark, the gospel writer tells us about Jesus choosing his disciples. Among all his followers Jesus picked twelve men and sent them to preach, he gave them authority to drive out demons which also included healing. If we read the three Gospels, we will find that, that it’s exactly what Jesus did, He preached, healed, and drove out demons, therefore we can say without any doubt that Jesus picked these twelve men to continue his ministry, to extend His presence among His people. Scholars say that the word “Christian” comes from the Greek word christianos and can be translated as “little Christ.” Scholars believe that the enemies of the Way would use this word to make fun of them as in, “Look at those ‘little Christs.” Therefore, the name Christian is a reminder of what Jesus called for, to be his presence among the world.

The last scripture we read was First Timothy. Here we see Paul’s humbleness before the great privilege to be Jesus’ servant, even though he thought, he was not worthy of it because of his past. In 1st Timothy 1:12-17, Paul describes God’s Mercy and Grace toward his all creation, toward every believer.

What Jesus did with the twelve disciples and Paul is what God did since the beginning of creation, He continues using men and women to show His love and power, to share his massage of salvation; He continues using men and women to bring new beginnings and new hope to His people. Remember Noah. Genesis 6:5-8 says, The LORD saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. 6 The LORD was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain. 7 So the LORD said, “I will wipe mankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth—men and animals, and creatures that move along the ground, and birds of the air—for I am grieved that I have made them.” 8 But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD. 

According to Genesis man brought sin and God punished them with a flood, and through Noah our God brought hope with a new beginning. Besides Noah, we could also talk about all the Judges, leaders God gave to Israel, and how God used them to bring hope and new beginning every time they walked away from him; we could also talk about David, and how God used him to bring glory and welfare to His people. However, today we will talk about us and how God is ready to use us His leaders to bring a new beginning to our church, his church. As Moses, Noah, the judges, David, Paul, and the disciples we have been chosen by God to do His work in this church. God has called us all, not only the pastor or the elected leaders, but everybody to be the new Moses, the new Aarons, and the new Hur to face the new challenges his people is facing in our times.

We must have the same attitude of the apostle Paul and understand that we have been chosen by grace, not because we are young or old; not because we are men or women. We have been chosen by Jesus for one reason and one reason only: He wants to show His glory and power thru us; He wants to bring blessing to His people, He wants us to be his arms, so He can fight His Fight against sin and evil, as He did thru Moses, Aaron, Hur and Joshua; He wants us to be His mouth to continue preaching the good news, He wants us to be His hands to continue healing the sick and needy, he wants us to be his feet to continue visiting those who are at hospitals, prisons and home bound as He did, as His disciples did.

Every member of the Council you were anointed today as a symbol of authority, so take your authority and bring a new beginning to this church, take your authority, and bring a renewal to this church. Let’s face this new year and all the new challenges with the assurance that the power of the Holy spirit is with us in all our ministries and the new ministries that with His help we will create this year. God and His church have placed their trust in you. I know that you may be thinking, the challenge is great… and yes, it is. However, remember the one who called you is greater. And never forget God who works in you to will, will also work in you to act in order to fulfill his good purpose is with us, as Paul reminds us in Philippians 2:13.

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