SermonOur Epiphany
An all-creatures Bible Message

Our Epiphany
 
A Sermon Delivered to
The Compassion Internet Church
 
10 January 2021
 
Frank L. Hoffman, Pastor

Scripture References

Genesis 1:1-5
Mark 1:4-11
Acts 19:1-7
 
Our epiphany can or could have been when we first came to truly believe in Jesus as our Lord and Savior and were born again. We may have had other epiphanies when we came to understand or see the light of other life-changing events, such as what led us to become ethical vegans.
 
Unfortunately, most of the people have seen these truths and have rejected them in favor of continuing to live in the corrupt and ungodly ways of this world with all its violence that cause millions of humans and billions of animals to suffer and die every year.
 
Iím sure I saw those flashes of light that pointed to the truth many times before I was truly born again and filled with the Holy Spirit, and it took me slightly over 40 years to do so.
 
This is also the reason we donít get upset or dislike anyone who is still living in the ways of this world or who believes differently, for I was like them until the love, compassion, and empathy of the Lord flowing through others finally got through and I accepted their message.
 
This is also the only way we are ever going to have true and lasting peace in the world as it is in heaven.
 
To get a little better understanding of what our epiphany is all about letís take a look at Genesis 1:1-5Ö
 
1. In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
 
I hope we believe this even though it doesnít say how God did this, but that really shouldnít matter because there is more to this creation than meets the eye at first glance.
 
2. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.
 
If we think about this, isnít this similar to the way that scientists say our solar system and earth were formed?
 
But the scientists mostly leave out God in their explanations, but even though everything was still dark the Spirit of God, the Holy Spirit hovered over this beginning of creation.
 
To us this is something like not being able to see our epiphany.
 
3. And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light.
 
This is like when we should be able to see or understand the things of God, when the light of spiritual knowledge shines forth into our souls and spirits.
 
4. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the
darkness.
 
And if we continue to think spiritually, God saw that what He had revealed was good, and separated it from what wasnít good.
 
While we are spiritually thinking about this, remember that our sun us always shinning, but it is only the rotation of our earth that moves us from light into darkness, which to us is like when people turn their backs upon the things of God, which is a willing act of defiance, even though we may not have realized it at the time.
 
So, we are told thatÖ
 
5. God called the light "day," and the darkness he called "night." And there was evening, and there was morning ó the first day.
NIV
 
We also believe that this is when God started to count days, but even that doesnít mean that the time of a day was the same as it is today.
 
This first day could have taken billions of years, for as we are told elsewhere in the Bible, to God a day could be a thousand years.
 
So once we start to think like this and open our hearts and minds to the things of God in the heavenly places, we also are moving closer to our spiritual epiphany leading to our rebirth, and this is part of what led me to becoming born again.
 
While still thinking about our epiphany letís take a look at Mark 1:4-11Ö
 
4. And so John came, baptizing in the desert region and preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.
 
The baptisms that John was performing were in preparation for the coming of the Lord, for we cannot accept Jesus Christ or the Holy Spirit into our lives if we have not truly repented.
 
I say truly repented because anyone can say they have repented and be dunked in water without truly repenting. Our repentance must be from the depths of our soul and spirit.
 
5. The whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem went out to him. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River.
 
We know as a fact that most of these people had not truly repented, for they also cried out for Jesusí crucifixion.
 
This is why we always qualify someoneís repentance, for we cannot see on the outside if they truly repented; this can only be seen over time by observing their lifestyle.
 
6. John wore clothing made of camel's hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey.
 
This is not consistent with living in the heavenly will of God, for it involves causing the death of some animals, even if, as some scholars say, the locusts were really carob beans, which has been called St. Johnís bread.
 
7. And this was his message: "After me will come one more powerful than I, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie.
 
This is where we begin to see our epiphany, and that of many other people for the one coming after John is Jesus Christ, and if we recognize Him as our Lord and Savior, He is our epiphany.
 
8. I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit."
 
If we truly believe and have repented and seek to live by Godís heavenly will, then we have another one of our epiphanies: our rebirth and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, which is something that we all should seek.
 
This is really the only way we will truly have peace on earth.
 
9. At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan.
 
Jesus had nothing to repent of because He was sinless, but He was being obedient to the calling as a witness to others, as we all should be as a child of God.
 
10. As Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove.
 
This is much more dramatic than any of us experienced or could experience, because we believe that this visual miracle was to empathize who Jesus really was.  
 
11. And a voice came from heaven: "You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased."
NIV
 
We may never be totally sinless as was Jesus, but this is the way that we believe God desires to see all of us.
 
And we further believe that if we are truly are born again and live in the heavenly will of God where there is no pain or suffering or death, we will no longer be a part of the ways of this violent world, which includes no longer having the foods of death and suffering on our plates.
 
Letís conclude our discussion about our epiphany by looking at Acts 19:1-7Ö
 
1. While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul took the road through the interior and arrived at Ephesus. There he found some disciples
 
We believe that these disciples were believers in Jesus and were trying to live as God desired them to live, but something was still missing in their lives.
 
2. and asked them, "Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?"
They answered, "No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit."
 
Today we believe that most people have heard of the Holy Spirit, but relatively few of them accepted Him into their souls and spirits, which is what Paul seems to have recognized as well.
 
3. So Paul asked, "Then what baptism did you receive?"
"John's baptism," they replied.
 
So, Paul beings to explain what was missing in their lives, for he was leading them into their own epiphany, as everyone today should have done.
 
4. Paul said, "John's baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus."
 
This was their epiphany, as it should be all of ours.
 
5. On hearing this, they were baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus.
 
This can happen to anyone who truly believes.
 
6. When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied.
 
This is another of their epiphanies, as it should be for all of us.
 
7. There were about twelve men in all.
NIV
 
And there are billions of people here on earth who still need this, but we cannot make it happen; we can only be a witness to them of Godís heavenly will here on earth.
 
Their belief is between them and God.
 
All we can do is point them in the right direction, as well as telling them about our epiphany or epiphanies, and if that is what they truly want, God will lead them in that direction, as He did me.
 
Amen?
 
Amen.

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