1st Sunday after Trinity – Sermon 101

13th February 2011 Off By Derek Buckthorpe

Prayer to start

May the words of my lips and the thought of our hearts be graciously received for the Glory and Honour of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ
AMEN

Introduction 

Well did you see it?

The little black dot moving across the face of the Sun – that once in a lifetime event – that no one else alive has ever seen ?

Was it worth waiting for? – was it the spectacle we hoped for?

If Venus didn’t capture your heart – maybe the football will – or the tennis – with Wimbledon just round the corner –

We go through life – with great expectations – from events – from people – from God –

God – too expects great things from us – but all too often – we fall short of His mark –

Our readings – this morning – contain everything from – adultery – murder – deception – – sacrifice – love – forgiveness –

They show us- that despite our failings – the condition of our heart – is so important to God – that He’s prepared to do – everything He can to keep us

  

Point 1      Sins and their consequences

Our OT story is well known – from a chance walk on the roof of his Palace – David catches a glimpse of – Bathsheba – the wife of one of one his most valiant soldiers – and falls for her – He commits adultery with her – and she becomes pregnant –

David – plots – to kill her husband – and take her for his wife – by sending Uriah to the battlefront – together with a letter – instructing – that he be – placed – in a position where he can’t escape death –
When Uriah – is killed – and after – a suitable period – of mourning – just as he planned –Bathsheba becomes his wife – and bear him a son –

(Sounds more like a melodrama than real life?)

Because of his crimes – David’s – heart had been torn away from God – so God reached out to him – through Nathan – to help him see the truth about himself –

He told David a parable on shepherding – a subject close to his heart – how – a rich and powerful man – used his influence to rob – a poor man – of the only precious thing he had in the world – just for his own enjoyment –

Nathan’s words struck deep into David’s heart – and he didn’t like what he heard

‘As the Lord lives- the man who did this deserves to die – He shall pay for the Lamb four times over – because he has done this – and shown no pity”

Nathan said to David – “You are that man!”

As so often is the case – we see the splinter in someone else’s eye – but not the plank in our own

There were many times – when David could have stopped the crimes – he was committing – but he didn’t – eventually he became so entangled – in his sin – that it corrupted him – completely

Sin is about – missing God’s mark – God hates sin – so when we sin – the first step towards restoring our fellowship with Him – is to repent and accept His judgment –

David – was quick to pass judgment – on the rich man in the parable – but through it – he saw himself – and afterwards – his repentance was complete and genuine –

In this passage we see the real heart of God – we see His boundless love – reaching out to David – David’s sin was horrendous in anyone’s eyes – but God’s grace was more than sufficient to forgive and restore him –

Because of David’s confession – and plea for mercy- God lifted the words – of judgment – that David – pronounced on the rich man – and applied them to him –

David himself would not die – but four lambs – four of his sons – would feel the consequences – of his sins

Although we don’t always realize it – our sins extend far beyond our own lives – to our family – our friends – and even strangers we’ve never met –

We all try to hide from our sins – like David – but inside – we know –that -God will eventually – rescue us – expose – our secrets to us – and their effects on those we touch –

Point 2   fellowship and sacrifice

In or NT lesson – we have a another confrontation – this time between Peter and Paul – and it’s Paul reminding Peter of the truth –

Some Jewish Christians – in the Galation Church –wanted the Gentile Christians – to be like them – to follow the Jewish Law – (and be circumcised) – and tried to claim – that unless they did – they wouldn’t be saved –

And Peter was beginning to be swayed by them –

Paul’s response was clear – stop messing with the message – – the truth should not be compromised –

Our salvation is not won by anything we do – we are all justified before God – in the same way – the way of the cross – and it has nothing to do with what we do –

We are made right with God –not by our own actions – only by God’s actions –

Paul was speaking from personal experience – he once tried – to win God’s favour – by obeying every rule and regulation –

But he soon found himself running round in circles – not knowing whether what he was doing was what was wanted – or even close to what was wanted –

He came to realize that no matter how hard he tried – how much effort he put into it – all he managed to do – was to expose his own helplessness –

so eventually – he abandoned the lot – and placed himself at God’s mercy –

In the end – the law had driven Paul to God – so – there was no way he was going back to the bad old ways –

When Paul gave himself to Jesus – the change in his life – was so great – that the only way he could describe it -was to say – he’d been crucified with Christ – the man he used to be was dead – he’d become a new person – with Jesus Himself – inside him –

The Gospel at its heart – is not about us striving to be like Jesus – but about Jesus working within us – Yes He wants us to become more like Him – so that out lives speak to others – but not with our own efforts – but – from His presence within us – and by the renewing power of the Holy Spirit –

The Bible tells us that we have a choice – to live for self – or to live for God – which ever one we choose – we have to die to the other – and once we die to our past self – the dead should remain dead – and the Spirit move in –

Just as a glove is useless without a hand in it – so we are useless without God’s hand through Jesus – to fill us with His power – to enable us to do all the things He wants us to do –

Those who have been justified – live justly
Those who have been made holy in Christ – live holy lives – those who have experienced God’s love – love others – those who have experienced God’s forgiveness – forgive others –

When we are made right with God –
We think differently
We act differently
We are different

Which brings us on to our third – conflict – of the heart – love and forgiveness

 

Point 3     love and forgiveness?

The woman wasn’t sure why she’d come – except to hear and see the one they call the healer –

When she looked through the window – they were reclining at the table –

She began to turn away – He looked up – their eyes met and suddenly the noise was dimmed – her heart was held –

Seeing all – He forgave her – filled – loved –

Pushing people aside – she burst through the door – and stopped a His feet – looking – asking begging – she saw the offer was still there – held in the warmth of His smile – the love in His eyes-

At last she was released – in that moment – she became open – to the living and dying of this man –
Her tears fell on His feet – her trembling fingers fumbled with the jar – and the liquid streamed through her hands –

The sweet smell filled the air – and touched them all –

Gently she drew her hair – around His feet – and wiped them tenderly – and kissed them once again – in final acclamation –

Our gospel reading – shows us two contrasting attitudes to life and to God – the no need – no love and therefore no forgiveness attitude of Simon – and the all need – all love and all forgiveness attitude of the woman –

Simon frowned on Jesus – and fumed at the woman – to him the physical contact was irresponsible – but instead of rebuking her – Jesus spoke words of forgiveness – assurance and comfort –

Simon saw her for what she used to be – Jesus saw her for what she could be –

Simon was the one who was blinded – not Jesus

He had no way of knowing that a that moment – she was nearer to the arms of God – than he could ever dream of –

The parable Jesus told – was about being let off a debt – a debt that couldn’t be paid –

Jesus reminds us – that the amount of love we give is proportional to – our awareness of how much we have been forgiven –

Simon wanted little from God – so he gave little – the woman wanted everything – she gave everything –

What Simon didn’t realize is that – God gives us much more than we can ever know – so like the woman we all owe much more than we can ever pay –

 

Conclusions

Is your life full of power – passion and purpose for God? – Do you love the way you say is right – or the way God says is right?

Does you heart belong to you – or to God?

The God who cannot tolerate sin – became sin for our sake – so we can be set free – and He continues to reach out for us today – even when we fail Him –

The heart of the matter – is that if we belong to God – however short we fall –He will continue to give us His Grace -and use us for His Glory –

Have you given your heart to Jesus?

If you have – then that really would be an event of a lifetime –

 

Prayer to finish

AMEN