Greetings in the name of Jesus! This is a continuing effort on my part to make available to family, friends, and any other poor unfortunate souls that run across this, some of the thoughts that run through my mind regarding sermon preparation, newsletter articles, random thoughts (of which there are many), and generally how God is working in my life. I hope to post at least once a week but I'm not promising that.

So welcome to it.

Post Script:
A couple of people have asked me about the address. When I was putting this together I was preparing for sermons from the 6th chapter of John where Jesus refers to himself as "The Bread of Life" and these are passages that I strongly identify with. So artos is bread and zoe is life (roughly) and to quote Forrest, "That's all I have to say about that."

Thursday, March 4, 2010

3/7/2010 Sermon Notes

got forgiveness?
Isaiah 55:1-9
55Ho, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and you that have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. 2Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Listen carefully to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food. 3Incline your ear, and come to me; listen, so that you may live. I will make with you an everlasting covenant, my steadfast, sure love for David. 4See, I made him a witness to the peoples, a leader and commander for the peoples. 5See, you shall call nations that you do not know, and nations that do not know you shall run to you, because of the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, for he has glorified you.

6Seek the Lord while he may be found, call upon him while he is near; 7let the wicked forsake their way, and the unrighteous their thoughts; let them return to the Lord, that he may have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. 8For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord. 9For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
Luke 13:1-9
13At that very time there were some present who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. 2He asked them, “Do you think that because these Galileans suffered in this way they were worse sinners than all other Galileans? 3No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish as they did. 4Or those eighteen who were killed when the tower of Siloam fell on them—do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others living in Jerusalem? 5No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish just as they did.” 6Then he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came looking for fruit on it and found none. 7So he said to the gardener, ‘See here! For three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree, and still I find none. Cut it down! Why should it be wasting the soil?’ 8He replied, ‘Sir, let it alone for one more year, until I dig around it and put manure on it. 9If it bears fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.’” 

Isaiah v. 1-3 with references to wine and milk and honey (eschatological terms… the establishment of the new Kingdom of God’s reign on earth or the final coming of the Son of Man); one way we can understand this passage is that we do not have the means to effect or bring about our own restored relationship (salvation) with God… we thirst and hunger (for righteousness) but we have nothing in ourselves to quench the thirst or hunger… Yet God calls us to himself and provides the very thing we need… God calls us to listen and to respond… to feast upon him… his word to us… that is the true source of life (eternal life) that includes but goes beyond our physical life.

v3. inclusion into the covenant of David? By extension the covenant the God made with Abraham and the call that included being a light to all people to reveal to them the extent of God’s love for all creation… for all people to know and praise God?

v6-7. the covenant requirement… God calls all people to repent or turn away from our sinful actions and words (the wicked and unrighteous) and turn back to God… God’s desire is to be merciful and compassionate to all who deny Him… to all who curse him… (the source of Jesus’ lament from last week)…

v8. This goes against the logic and understanding of the world… it is contrary to the way we as sinful human beings reason.

Bottom line: God wants to forgive… but first we must be sincere in our desire for forgiveness and honest in our repentance….

That moment, or those moments, come when Jesus speaks a word to us (through a scripture, an individual, a situation) that hurts us. And the hurt is caused by our understanding that we desire Jesus more than we do anything else… and it becomes clear to us that we need to turn away from those actions

Lent can be a process that helps us to begin to listen more fully, more carefully so that we are willing to deal with the pain that separates us from God. God’s word to us in Jesus is not the source of our pain… it is the cure for our pain

Jesus is the expiation of our sin. The rooting or cutting out of our sin… that process has already occurred through the cross for the original sin of humanity… the sin is no more because Jesus has dealt with it already … but our specific sin(s) still needs attended to…

Jesus deals with that on a far more personal level as he speaks his Word to us… and the pain we experience it is not due to the Word but the reaction of our sin to the Word…

The image of having a splinter comes to mind… it’s not until we become aware of it that it starts to hurt and then the process of removing it can bring about even more pain… so our natural reaction (as a child) is to deal with the pain of the splinter rather than the pain of removing it. It isn’t until the pain of having the splinter in us is greater than the pain in removing it do we feel compelled to endure having it removed.

It is when we experience the pain of true repentance that the forgiveness given to us by Jesus on the cross becomes effective for us… in other words the splinter comes out and true healing begins.

Luke. In the verses prior to this (most of if not all of chapter 12) Jesus is speaking to the crowds about the coming judgment (12:57-59 the debtor pleading for reconciliation for example).

The examples that follow in our text relay a really simple message: repent now for the time is short.
This can and should be understood that our life is short and disaster can strike any of us without notice (recent events to remind us of this… the flooding of 2008, earthquakes in Haiti and Chile’, the recent death of the 14 year old girl from Williamsburg on I-80).

None of these events happened as a result of God’s anger or judgment of these person’s or city’s or state’s or country’s sinfulness. They are all part of life.

However, what it does do is show us the depth of God’s desire to forgive us… to restore us… his longing to have us close to Him in the life to come and even more importantly in this life.

God longs for our repentance because God longs for us to accept or make effective the forgiveness that he has given us in the Person of Christ Jesus the Son on the cross.

That’s where I see the link between this passage from Luke and the one from Isaiah. God longs for us to come to realize how we are separated from Him… God knows that on our own we will never be able to overcome that separation… that ultimately God, in the Person of the Son (Christ Jesus), will have to provide both the means and the ability (through faith) for us to be able to respond… to hear the word of God that allows us finally to long more for God than for the things that separate us from God… to hear the word that brings us to repentance… Then and only then will we know true forgiveness... and it is in that same moment that we experience what love and forgiveness feels like… it is then that we are made new…

On this side of glory we’re never perfect… but we know that we are forgiven…

And that forgiveness empowers us to live our lives in the Promise

1 comment:

  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.