Compline – Sermon 40
Prayer to start
May the words of my lips and the thoughts of our hearts be graciously received for the Glory and Honour of our Lord Jesus Christ
The word love can mean lots of different things
We love our families
We love to watch television
We love our work or our hobbies
But loving God is a different sort of Love altogether
Jesus commands us to love God with all our heart, all our mind, and all our strength – to love God unconditionally – and completely
point 1 Love’s Extravagance
In our reading we see the love of God being expressed in many different ways
by Martha – serving at the table – she was a practical woman – and showed her love through the work of her hands.
Martha was always honest with Jesus and exercised extraordinary faith when she identifies Jesus as the Son of God – and believed in His ability to do something to help her brother – Lazarus
She had been criticised for being too taken up with the preparations – that she missed the close fellowship with Jesus – that her sister and brother enjoyed
But she did not leave off serving – as some might who when found fault with – for going too far one way – might run too far the other
She still served – but within hearing of Jesus’ words
Martha was a loyal disciple of Jesus who loved Him with ardour and zeal – she gave her token of love to Christ who had given real tokens of His love to her and her family.
-Then there is Lazarus – reclining at the table – eager to enjoy Jesus’ company and absorb His teaching – He had been used by God to evoke faith in others
Lazarus’s life was now firmly linked with that of Jesus – He too would attract crowds and bring people to God –
Lazarus showed his love for God by accepting – the cross handed to Him when He was brought back to life – to be a living witness to the power and truth about Jesus –
like Jesus he too would become a target – for those who wished to hinder the effect of God’s miracle
then there’s Mary – a woman with deep personal commitment and faith in Jesus – who fell at His feet in worship and adoration –
who came and poured expensive perfume over them – and wiped them with her hair – here we see loves extravagance – she took the most precious thing that she possessed – and spent it all on Jesus – Mary’s love gives all – her regret is that she has no more to give –
We see her humility – oil is usually poured onto someone’s head – but she never dreamed she would be good enough for that
She wasn’t worried about what others thought
And we see her un-self-consciousness – in Palestine no respectable woman would ever undo her hair in public – and usually a slave rather than a friend attended to the cleaning of a guests feet. To her the cost of these acts was irrelevant
The fragrance of this generous gift – fills the house with far more than a sweet smell – it brought a warm pervasive glow of Love – Mary is giving her best in preparing for His coming death
and finally there is Jesus Himself –
the willing guest – always ready to give and receive – even in the last week of His life – He puts aside the thoughts of His own suffering and death – accepts the offer of a meal – and continues the work of the Father – sharing His time with those who are to witness after Him
Jesus offers His love and trust to all – even those He knows would deceive Him – Judas – who is skilful in handling money is given charge over the common purse – even though He knew he was a thief
Often temptation strikes us through our gifts
And then there is the response to Mary’s gift – recognising the true worth of her giving
Care for the poor is important – but there are times when the lavish worship of God is more important
The world needs both generosity and extravagance – showing love to the poor, the neighbour in need as well as showing love to God in an action of worship.
Here we see four example’s of love offered for the Glory of God
Which best describes your love of Christ?
Are you the willing servant ?
The attentive listener and witness?
The lavish worshipper?
The carer – ready to meet all and give and receive in His name
God commands us to be all of these – to be like His Son – who served, witnessed, worshipped and cared – who gave everything – even His life – unconditionally –and completely – for the Glory of the Father and for the salvation of all
May the love of the Lord Jesus draw us to Himself
The power of the Lord Jesus strengthen us in His service
And the joy of the Lord Jesus fill our hearts