The Four Gospels and the Sacraments
"We need to see the forest as well as the trees." This sermon exhorts listeners to see the big picture of the Bible, as well as each individual story. What did God do in the over-all story of the Old Testament? In the New? Pastor Gregg Strawbridge examines what the four Gospels have to tell us about the sacraments, in the season of Epiphany.
Epiphany in the Sacraments
All Saints * Dr. Gregg Strawbridge * February 1, 2009
Biblical Truths - Every part of the Bible is a training manual for Christian life, whether the formative days of creation, the stories of the patriarchs, the rituals of Torah, the battles of David, the architecture of the tabernacle and temple, the prophetic books of Exile and post-Exile . . . or the Gospels. The Epistles are the doctrine of these narratives. If you see any Scriptural teaching as irrelevant, the perhaps you are not living as a Christian. Is only one verse or so meaningful? Do you only know one verse? (Prov. 18:16) Are you a “one note fiddle” in knowing the Bible? A full knowledge of the sacraments (baptism & communion) invoke a fullness to knowing the Word of God. The sacraments of the Christian Church arise from almost every page of Scripture.
Gospel Distinctions - Epiphany through the lens of St Luke, St Matthew, St Mark and St John. There is the Star in Matthew, the Benedictus and Nunc Dimittis canticles (of Zacharias and Simeon) in Luke which both refer to the “light” to the people/nations. With no “birth narrative” or canticles, St John actual has the words, “I am the light of the world” (John 9:1-7) since He is the true light that enlightens every man (1:9).
3) Theological Convictions - Away with the Gnostics! . . . We often unjustly schism/divide invisible things like faith over against the visible things like water, bread, wine, and flesh and blood people . . . If the covenant purpose of God (Gen. 12) is restoration of creation . . . It is wrong to think divide creational physicality from/vs creational spirituality. The spiritual/mental are “eternal” not temporal. Some people conceive of eternal life as eternal disembodiment, in which case sacramental actions which involve us in the world of material things are merely peripheral. MacPhee says, “Guts and palate for eternity, in a world with no food or drink? Man, ye'll have a grand time of it!”
Gregg Strawbridge, Ph.D., is the pastor of All Saints Church in Lancaster, PA. He became a committed follower of Jesus Christ at age 20, discipled in the context of a University Navigator Ministry. As a result of personal discipleship he went on to study at Columbia Biblical Seminary (M.A., Columbia, SC, 1990), as well as a Ph.D. in education and philosophy... read more