Sermon for Epiphany 2 – 1.14.24

+ 2nd Sunday after Epiphany – January 14th, 2024 +

Series B: 1 Samuel 3:1-10; 1 Corinthians 6:12-20; John 1:43-51

Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church

Milton, WA

 

“God’s Calling”

 

In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

When you open the Scriptures you find out rather quickly that God is the God who calls. God finds his people by his grace. God calls his people by his grace. And his people follow by his grace. This pattern plays out over and over again throughout God’s Word.

 

God found Abraham. God called Abraham. And Abraham left his home country – all by God’s grace.

 

Moses, too, was found by God. God called Moses in the burning bush. And Moses followed God’s call to lead God’s people – again, all by God’s grace.

 

Samuel the prophet, in this morning’s Old Testament reading was found by God as a young boy. God called Samuel. And by God’s grace, Samuel followed. Speak, Lord, for your servant hears.

 

When we turn to the New Testament, we find the same pattern. God finds. God calls. God’s people follow – by his grace. John’s Gospel says it this way: The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.” 

 

This is how disciples are made. God finds them. God calls them. And they follow…all by God’s grace.

 

There is no hearing or following unless Jesus first speaks. There is no disciple unless the disciple making words are first heard. There is no faith without the Word preached and heard, no forgiveness without the Word, no holiness, no discipleship, apart from the discipling Word of Jesus. “Follow me.”

 

And by God’s grace that’s what happens. God calls his disciples. Jesus calls Philip. Andrew and Peter too. And Jesus calls Nathanael. A disciple is one who found by God, called by God and who follows where God leads. Disciples are Followers of Jesus. Followers by grace. Followers in faith. Followers with their feet, but also their ears. Jesus speaks, preaches, and teaches his word. Nathanael marveled that Jesus saw him sitting under the fig tree – to which Jesus responded. You will see greater things than these. What greater things? Jesus turning water into wine. Jesus healing a deaf man, a blind man. Jesus casting out demons. Jesus healing diseases. Jesus raising the dead. And then the greatest things of all: Jesus crucified, hanging dead on the cross. Jesus conquering the grave. Jesus alive again three days later.

 

Philip and Nathanael and the other disciples don’t know what all of this means yet. But when Jesus calls them this is where he is leading them. This is their calling – their vocation – as his disciples. God finds them. God calls them. They follow. They hear. Witness. And then they repeat the pattern. Jesus sends his disciples out to find the lost, to call them through the gospel, to tell them “come and see”. Come, follow Jesus.

 

This was the disciples’ unique vocation. That word, vocation, simply means “calling.” Abraham, Moses, Samuel, the prophets, the disciples, the apostles – they were all called by our Lord. Called by faith and then called into service. All given unique vocations by our Lord to hear his word and proclaim his word.

 

The same is true for each of you. Called by faith and called into service. Like Philip and Nathanael, we are called; given faith in Jesus. And in the same way: by grace; through his word. Jesus spoke to them – follow me – and they did. Jesus calls you as well – I baptize you in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – and you follow. God calls you to faith in His Son Jesus when you hear his word. For us, just as it was for the disciples – Jesus’ word creates the faith, gives us trust in him, and leads us to follow where he leads.

 

And where he leads is yet another calling, or vocation. To be sure, our callings in life are different. We are not apostles or disciples in the same way as Peter, Andrew, Philip or Nathanael. That was a unique office or vocation Jesus placed them in. But the same pattern is at work for you. God finds you by his grace. God calls you by grace through faith in Jesus. By God’s grace we follow where he leads. And God places you in vocations – callings in life – that are unique for you as well. And the beauty of those are that they are ordinary, everyday, vocations or callings. Father, mother, husband, wife, child, son, daughter. Student, teacher. Preachers and hearers. Mechanic, engineer, contractor. Police officer, nurse, soldier, sailor, airman, marine. The list goes on and is unique as each of you are.

 

Martin Luther called our many and various vocations in life the masks of God. In the home, church, and out in the world throughout the week your vocations are where God hides himself. And behind these vocation, God is hidden in your service to others as you go about your daily, ordinary callings in life. Just as others doing the same things, and in their vocations, are serving you. And God is behind all of this. And all of this is a blessing. And when you think of it that way, every good and God pleasing vocation is the Lord’s work. When you are washing the dishes, taking out the trash, or making lunches  you are doing sacred work. When you are designing bridges, treating patients, or serving your country, you are doing a holy thing. When you are spoiling your grandkids, sitting with your spouse or friend at a doctor’s visit, or praying for a fellow brother or sister in Christ, you are doing the Lord’s work.

 

This is how our Lord works. He finds. He calls. We follow and he works through us all by his grace. After all, God’s call to faith in Jesus is by faith alone, and yet, this faith is never alone. It is busy and active.

 

God calls us to faith and then God calls us to serve. God justifies and saves. And God calls us to love and serve our neighbor. And it is in your vocations where you have the greatest opportunities to do what Philip did for Nathanael when he asked “can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Come and see.

 

This is our vocation as followers of Jesus, as his disciples today, as his baptized people. It’s as simple as those three words Philip spoke to Nathanael: come and see. Come and see Jesus with me at church this Sunday. Come and see Jesus in bible study with me this week. Come and see Jesus in this devotion book; I want you to have it. Come and see Jesus. This too is our calling, our vocation. To point others to Jesus who finds and calls by his grace: follow me.

 

It reminds me of an old hymn in our hymnal (826 if you want to look it up). The second verse goes like this:

 

If you cannot speak like angels, If you cannot preach like Paul, You can tell the love of Jesus, You can say He died for all. If you cannot rouse the wicked With the judgment’s dread alarms, You can lead the little children To the Savior’s waiting arms.

 

God’s blessings to each of you in your callings…

In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Beautiful Savior

is a traditional Lutheran Church, faithful to God's Word and His Sacraments. We equip God's people to serve, love, and encourage one another as we grow in our personal relationship with Christ. We reach out to the community as beacons of light, sharing the love of God in Christ Jesus, our Savior.

Church Office Hours

Monday - Thursday 8:30am-3:30pm

Friday 8:30am-11:30am

The office is closed on Fridays during the summer months of June, July, and August.

Preschool Office Hours

August - May
Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday
8:30am-12:30pm

By appointment only June and July

Contact

Address
2306 Milton Way
Milton, WA 98354
Phone
(253) 922-6977
Fax
(253) 922-6977