Sermon Sunday 21st June 2020

Preacher Ted Grantham

mmxx 21st June : Matthew x 24 – 40 

 

24 “The student is not above the teacher, nor a servant above his master. 25 It is enough for students to be like their teachers, and servants like their masters. If the head of the house has been called Beelzebul, how much more the members of his household!

26 “So do not be afraid of them, for there is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. 27 What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs. 28 Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.[b] 30 And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

32 “Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. 33 But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven.

34 “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to turn

“‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law— a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’[c]

37 “Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.

40 “Anyone who welcomes you welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Christian Paradox

Introduction

Jesus says, 39 Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

 

It sounds very strange. Does it make sense? When something seems to be a contradiction like this we call it a paradox.

 

We expect it to make sense: Jesus was not incompetent; Matthew, acting under the Holy Spirit, was not incompetent.

So we must unravel this paradox.

We must make sense of it.

 

Jesus was speaking about two different types of lives, a physical or personal life; and a spiritual life.

 

He means that those who concentrate on only their material welfare and neglect their relationship with Jesus will end up losing that relationship altogether, that is, losing their spiritual life, and those who concentrate on their relationship with Jesus, that is, their spiritual life will enjoy him regardless of their material circumstances.

 

The whole of this little speech is full of paradoxes.

 

Jesus’ comments about slaves and pupils are general wisdom literature, but in our fallen world this is sometimes reversed. A pupil, for instance may be a genius and a teacher just ordinary.[1] Who was Einstein’s teacher, for instance?

 

Jesus comments about secrets being revealed refer at least to the Last Judgment and may also refer to justice in ordinary society. What was thought to be secret will be discovered.

 

His comments about the relationship between body and soul are more serious. They are leading towards the climactic comments about losing and saving life.

 

Whom are we therefore to fear? Jesus is clearly referring to the fear of God. But we are also clearly taught that God is a god of love who is on our side against evil. How are we to understand this paradox?

 

Fear is an interesting word: it can have a range of meanings from mere caution to sheer terror.

 

In practice, we fear many ordinary things that we do not always recognize as fear. We fear electricity, for instance. There are strict rules about using electricity. Only specially trained people are allowed to work on electrical equipment.

The wires that convey electricity are specially coated with insulting material, and so on. This is because we know that electricity is dangerous

 

But We know about electricity, so our fears are well controlled.

 

Similarly we fear road traffic. Cars and pedestrians have separate places. There are special places where pedestrians can walk safe from traffic.

 

Our knowledge of God is not so clear. But we know that through faith in Jesus that we will not put ourselves in spiritual danger.

 

A similar paradox concerns peace and strife. One of Jesus’ titles is Prince of peace. Why does he then say that he has come to bring strife?

 

Strife is often the worldly reaction to Jesus. Perhaps we remember Raelene Castle, the CEO of Rugby Australia saying that anything in the bible was hate speech or words to that effect.

 

 We know that such a statement is rubbish, but it illustrates the strife which can occur because of Jesus.

 

Strife is the normal condition in the world; it is widespread and almost in every country. As Christians, however, we are expected to overcome evil with good[2].

 

 

Finally in our reading Jesus promises to acknowledge us as belonging to him if we also acknowledge our relationship with him.

 

Lessons

 

There are a number of lesson that we should learn from this reading.

 

The first is to imitate Jesus.

 

We are all pupils of Jesus; we are also meant to be his willing servants. Jesus says, It is enough for students to be like their teachers, and servants like their masters.

Jesus expects us to be like him, and we can do this by consciously imitating Jesus’ attitude of love and self sacrifice[3].

 

Human beings are very independent-minded, particularly Australians. We don’t take easily to authority being imposed on us;  we expect it to be earned, but here we are reminded that Jesus is the head of the spiritual kingdom. Some of his enemies called him Beelzebul, that is, the prince of devils.

 

As head of the spiritual kingdom, he warns us who also belong to that kingdom, he calls us his household, that we can be called devils or evil people.

 

Inserted into this speech is the comparison between us and sparrows.

We should take particular note that it is Jesus himself who states that humans are more important that sparrows. Sparrows were bought cheaply, but we can generalize that we are more important than any other animal. Humans have a dual nature: we are truly animal, but we are also members of the spiritual world. God has made us as living statues of himself and breathes into us the spirit of life. 

 

The Father has life within himself and he has given the Son to have life within himself and the son gives life to whoever he wishes[4]. Jesus has given this life to us.

 

And Jesus has declared here that we are more important than other animals. So we can discount learned philosophers who say that animals are more important than humans.[5]

 

We might be called upon to lay down our life for Jesus. This does not necessarily mean being killed, we may be called on to serve others in some capacity. Jesus counts service to others as service to himself.[6] This is a form of sacrifice. 

Jesus laid down his life for us on the cross.  When we follow him, the going may be hard and in some cases may lead to persecution of martyrdom. But we know that at the end is eternal life.

 

The lesson is that we must be prepared to sacrifice.

 

Jesus

Jesus says, 39 Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

 

Jesus is offering us life. We know from other parts of the bible that he is offering eternal life. Eternal life is not just referring to the joys of heaven, which some people call pie in the sky, eternal life starts when we choose Jesus through faith, and relate to him in prayer.

 

Jesus stresses that choosing him has to be our fist option. There are many beautiful and worthwhile things that are worth choosing, but only when they follow Jesus. Even if members of our family want to prevent us from following Jesus we must choose him. Noöne else can offer us eternal life.

 

Jesus’ references to the Last Judgment remind us that he is also the righter of wrongs.

During our lives we have to endure many wrongs. We should leave redress to Jesus. Only he knows enough, loves enough has power and control enough to right wrongs. Vengeance is not ours to take; we must leave it to him.

 

Jesus promises to acknowledge us. This is an extraordinary honour.

 

The Queen’s Birthday honours have recently been announced, and there are the usual complaints that some people did not deserve the honour that they received. This may well be true, or not, as the case may be; but we too have the honour of being acknowledged by the eternal son, and we certainly do not deserve that honour.

 

Application

We can apply all these lessons and information to our own lives.

First and foremost, we must acknowledge Jesus if we expect him to acknowledge us.

We must welcome him into our lives, because by doing so we welcome also the One who sent him.

When we choose Jesus, it is a decision. We are commanded to love him and love is also a decision. We show our love by doing the things that he has asked of us, loving our neighbours, being kind and patient.

 

But we know that we live in a world where there is a lot of evil. Jesus stands for good so we must expect difficulties when we align ourselves with him.

 

But best of all we know that Jesus is with us. He has promised to be with us till the end of time: all our lives[7].

 

We are accompanied by the eternal Son, through whom all things were made.[8]

 

 

 

[1] The English composer, Henry Purcell, was a genius. Pelham Humphrey was his teacher and recorded Purcell as his pupil on his, (Pelham’s) tombstone.

[2] Romans 12: 21

[3] Philippians 2: 5

[4] John 5: 26

[5] E.g. Peter Singer, who holds a professorship and Monash and in the USA

[6] Matthew 25: 40

[7] Matthew 28:20

[8] John 1: 3

Rev David Tsai Sermon Sunday 9th February 2020

Blessed are the pure in heart .

 

 

“Blessed are the pure in Heart ,for they will see God.”

 

Jesus commends the pure in heart not the quick of mind, nor those who are religious, nor the pious.

The heart is the centre of the personality

 

Purity Now

 

Purity of heart is indispensible for company  with God, for "seeing God”.

 

Ps 24:3  ¶ Who may ascend the hill of the LORD? Who may stand in his holy place?

 4 He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to an idol or swear by what is false.

 

Ps 73:1 ¶ [A psalm of Asaph.] Surely God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart

 

Purity not just conformity.

 

Purity of heart must not be confused with outward conformity. We may begrudgingly obey some rules. It is the motivation, the world within - of schemes and plans. 

 

The awkward questions of this beatitude

 

What do we think about when our minds slip into neutral?

 

Do we use deception as a last resort or even an early choice to get out of trouble?

 

Do we enjoy humour which is at someone else’s expense?

 

What do you want more than anything else?

 

What and whom do we  love?

 

To what extent are our words and action a true reflection of what is in our hearts?

To what extent do our words and actions form a coverup for what is in our heart?

 

Blaise Pascal said -  ‘ If everyone knew what others said about him , there would not be four friends in the world.’ 

 

We all need to draw near to The Lord God asking for PURITY with a future view.

Blessed are the pure in heart 

 

Heb 10:22 

let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.

 

The purity of Jesus.

 

(1) He took time with people and never seemed too preoccupied to help or to encourage. He didn’t have an agenda promote himself.

 

(2) The whole of his life - not just his religious part - was open to view.

   

Matt 8:24 There was a storm when Jesus and his disciples were on a boat and he was asleep until a storm came up suddenly and they woke Jesus up. Jesus calmed the storm.

 

Matt 26:38   37 And taking with him nPeter andothe two sons of Zebedee, he began to be sorrowful and troubled. 38 Then he said to them,p“My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and qwatch4 with me.” 

That he was fully God and fully man yet pure of heart and humble of Spirit.

 

One of the clear examples of the purity of heart of Jesus is from  

  

John 4:7 

When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, "Will you give me a drink?”

 

It was about the sixth hour. Twelve noon midday .

Jesus was on a journey from the north, Galilee towards Jerusalem, travelling by  the most direct route which goes through Samaria.  Most Jews do not take this route they go around Samaria and the reasons are captured in His conversation with a woman.  His disciples were at the market and assumed he would be resting. He is thirsty and goes to the local well, celebrated as Jacob’s well.

She was shocked by this request

John 4 Verse 9  9 The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, 

ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?”

 (gFor Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) 

They carry carona virus.

She was speaking from her head from the fact of the discord between Jews and Samaritans. 

Jesus replied from his heart.  Let’s not begin with prejudices but with God’s gifts from his heart to us all.

10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who 

it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked  him and he would have given you ,hliving water.” 

The Samaritan woman’s mind was in a whirl.

Her mind is in overload.

 

Jesus is not speaking to her from a mind governed by the conventions of human divisions.  By any religious and social standard of a Jew he should not be making conversation with a Samaritan man or woman.  As a teacher, a Rabbi, he would have distanced himself from this woman 

  1. The Samaritans only regarded the first five books of the bible of the OT .

  2. Jerusalem is not mentioned in the first five and is therefore not The Holy City to the Samaritans. Mt Gerizim is mentioned in Deut.11 and is blessed and so the Samaritans worship there. 

 

Jacob is of course is mentioned in the first book of the Bible the ‘father of the nation’ and his well right there where Jesus encounters this woman is at least common ground to Jew and Samaritan. 

 

It is right there that Jesus departs from his head which would have said 

         “Don’t go there with a Samaritan”.

 

However He speaks from the depth of His heart and says -  

         “I am able to give you living water” more than just H2O .

 

Vs 11 She answered with her mind again - 

         “you don’t even have a bucket to reach that deep ..”

 

She was still thinking of H2O, she thought that living water  which bubbles with freshness is the water from  the deepest part of the well, from where the underground stream feeds the well. 

No wonder her mind was in a whirl. She replies . Sir “ you don’t even have a bucket to get the surface water .How will you reach the bottom to the source of the well?

Now Jesus dives deeper. He is tugging at her heart strings. Jesus comes to the heart of the matter .

    I am not talking about water H2O 

vs 13 Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, 14 but kwhoever drinks of the water that I will give him lwill never be thirsty again. 2 The water that I will give him will become min him a spring 

of water welling up to eternal life.”

 

Vs 15 . Finally with that Jesus reaches her heart 

 

The woman was thirsty not from H2O but from realities in her life which made her heart thirsty .She needed an eternal dimension to her life , which does not stop bubbling and goes into the life to come. 

15 The woman said to him, “Sir, ngive me this water, so that I will not be

thirsty or have to come here to draw water.”

 

All the women of the town came early in the cool of early morning or in the evening to draw water. It was the ladies coffee and chat time . 

She came at midday. She was rejected ?. Why in verse 16 ;J esus  held the mirror up to her . “ may I meet your husband. “there was  quick reply ‘ I don’t have a husband. Jesus replied with 

 

v. 17 “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’;18 for you have 

had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband. 

What you have said is true.”

 

The woman was concerned. 

Is this a deal breaker Jesus when you said? “Ask and I will give you living water ?”

What if my life does not measure up .

 And by the way,  vs 20 the fact that where we worship is not in Jerusalem? 

 

Jesus said “ vs 24 It does not matter where you worship? In Spirit and in truth. From ones heart ‘in Spirit and in truth’ .

 

One last question from her. Something which Samaritans and Jews alike believed . The Messiah , the saviour who is to come who will declare and live the truth to save His people . 


25 The woman said to him, “I know that fMessiah is coming 

(he who is called Christ). When he comes, ghe will tell us all things.”

 26 Jesus said to her, h“I who speak to you am he.”

 

39 Many Samaritans wfrom that town believed in him xbecause of ythe woman’s testimony, “He told me all that I ever did.” 4

0 So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them, and he stayed there two days. 41 And  many more believedzbecause of his word. 42 They said to the woman, “It is no longer  because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, aand we know that this is indeed bthe Savior cof the world.”