In Christ s Body, we are all connected to each other. The world has never been more connected. Whenever something happens, no

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1 Pentecost 5 Sermon Series: Get Connected Ephesians 4:25 In Christ s Body, we are all connected to each other. The world has never been more connected. Whenever something happens, no matter how far away from us, we hear about it in seconds. The internet, social media, texting, cell phone, technology. One example is the tragedy, the act of terrorism that took place in Orlando last weekend. For many of us, the text alerts started just after 2 am (CST), and the news alerts and texts just kept coming all night long, detail after detail being revealed. (And you know, friends, the only response must be one of Christian love and compassion. No matter who it is that is hurting, let them see Jesus through us, through our response to such events. We can be praying for those who mourn, those who remain hospitalized, and that the Name of Jesus will be proclaimed.) But in spite of the world being more connected through technology, I hear more and more people saying that they feel disconnected, alone, afraid, unloved. Technology can be a great thing, but it can distance us from the people in our lives. We can be isolating ourselves from the people right around us just by spending so much time online. We were created to be connected, not isolated. How do I know that? God said, it is not good for man to be alone. Why not? Because we were created in the image of God. And the Bible tells us that God is love in order to love you have to be connected, in a relationship. (By the way, whether or not someone is married or not is irrelevant. There are many kinds of relationships with people.)

2 I heard about the famous people of Rosetan, Pennsylvania, it s a small town in eastern Pennsylvania. For decades, the people of this town were living into their 90s and 100s! And they did everything wrong! They ate high fat diets of sausage and gravy, greasy diets every day. They smoked. They weren t much for exercise. Yet, they were living into old age. Then something changed. Some of the younger generations needed their freedom, their space, and they started to move out to the city. And eventually, the people of Rosetan, Pennsylvania began to die younger. What scientists concluded was that the glue to a healthy life is healthy relationships. Getting connected emotionally with other people, and getting connected spiritually with the Lord. Get Connected! There are 4 metaphors in the Bible that tell us what it means to be spiritually connected, why being connected with the Lord is so, so important. First, being spiritually connected is compared to being BUILT INTO A BUILDING. Ephesians 2:22 says, In Christ you are built together into a building for God. What is a building? It s a series of items that are welded together, or glued together, or stapled or nailed together. There is no support for the building to stay standing unless every part is connected, glued, stapled, nailed together. We ve all had the experience of visiting a building site before the building is complete. If you know anyone who is building a new home, they visit it almost every night to see the progress. And you take tours.. here s where the kitchen will be, here s the bathroom. And you always see spare parts lying around. A piece of pipe. An old 2 by 4. They re not connected. They re not part of the building.

3 A disconnected frame has no support. Unless you are standing on a firm foundation and the parts are connected, there is not support. Rain and wind will come and rip it down. But YOU are a building that rests on the foundation of Jesus Christ. His death on the cross and resurrection bring you forgiveness of sins and life. Your baptism joins you to the family of believers. And because you are connected, joined, a part of the building, you have support. Your church family gives you support in the Lord. When you get cancer news, when you get laid off, when you lose a loved one, WHO SUPPORTS YOU and LIFTS YOU UP IN PRAYER? The Lord does it through people. A DISCONNECTED FRAME HAS NO SUPPORT. So Get Connected! A second illustration of what it means to be spiritually connected is like the parts of the human body being joined together. The Bible says that the Church is the Body of Christ. And every part of the Body is important. Everyone matters. But if we cut off a body part, if it becomes disconnected, IT STOPS GROWING. Ephesians 4:25 says In Christ s Body we are all connected to each other. Paul warns in Colossians 2, we only grow if we are connected to the Lord. We grow only as we get our nourishment and strength from God. We only grow by being connected to the Lord. This is a picture of unity in the church, not necessarily uniformity. Look around. We are all different. We have different gifts, but all are important. Everyone is needed. It s like the jigsaw puzzle that you complete, but one piece is missing. You notice right away. Not everyone shines as flamboyantly or brightly. But the little light in your

4 refrigerator go out and you see how important it is. Let the nightlight in your bathroom go out, you find it s pretty important at 3:00 am. A DISCONNECTED BODY PART Stops Growing. When we cut ourselves off from the body of Christ, from the Church, we stop growing too. So, Get connected! A 3 rd illustration of what it means to be spiritually connected the Lord, the Bible says, is it is like being connected to a VINE. The night before Jesus was crucified for our sins, Jesus gave some last minute instructions. He said, Live in me, and I will live in you. He said, The branch must stay attached to the vine. He had the picture of a grape vine. There won t be any grapes if the branch is broken off from the vine. There won t be any tomatoes this year if the branches are broken off from the main vine. What Jesus is saying is that God is not a distant idea. God is real. He nourishes us in Word and Sacrament. And the way you know you are connected to Jesus is if you are bearing fruit. The fruit of the spirit (not tomatoes and grapes) but the fruit of the spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, selfcontrol. A DISCONNECTED BRANCH BEARS NO FRUIT. So, Get Connected! A 4 th illustration of what it means to be spiritually connected is like being part of a family. Most of us know what it feels like to be part of a family. You belong! Back in Jesus day Roman law was very interesting. Parents COULD abandon a child that is born to them. But Parents COULD NOT abandon a child that they adopted.

5 God s family is the church. We have an adoption ceremony that we call Holy Baptism: Sins forgiven, faith worked in our hearts, we are assured of heaven, we are part of the family. A disconnected person does not belong. As a family, we look out for one another. The phrase one another is used 58 times in the New Testament: Love one another pray for one another Care for one another Serve one another Greet one another Help one another Encourage one another To get connected means to love Him, and to love Others. You know, most of us know the verse John 3:16 For God so love the world that He gave His only begotten Son.. But how many of us know the verse 1 John 3:16 Because Christ gave Himself for us, we must give ourselves to one another. In other words, Get Connected. We don t have to go through life lonely, afraid, disconnected. In Christ, we are joined to the building and we have our support. In Christ, we are joined to the body and we are nourished and grow. In Christ, we are connected to the vine, and we bear fruit. In Christ, we are adopted into the family, and we belong. We have brothers and sisters in Christ. For most of the summer, our sermon series is going to how praying the Lord s Prayer connects us to Christ and to one another.

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