Sept 17-Oct 15 2017 Sermons> Stories from Matthew

September 17  15th Sunday after Pentecost

Scriptures: Exodus 14:19-31 ; Exodus 15: 1-11, 20-21: Matthew 18:21-35       Theme: Practice of Forgiveness

Thoughts: Jesus is trying to teach about forgiveness.  The disciples are trying to understand.  Seven times seems to them to be above and beyond.  Jesus astounds them with 490+ times.  How can this be?  For God, forgiveness is grace, and grace is infinite.  If we are forgiven infinitely then we should forgive infinitely.  Forgive and do not count the cost.  As we grow into the likeness of God our capacity to forgive will grow also.

 

September 24  16th Sunday after Pentecost

Scriptures:  Psalm 105:1-7, 43-45; Philippians 1:21-30;  Matthew 20:1-16        Theme: Is Timing Everything?

Thoughts: Legend has it that Constantine refused to be baptized until he was on his deathbed because he did not want to risk sin that would nullify his salvation.  God’s grace is not so fickle.  Timing is everything.  Accept the grace of God at you first opportunity and do not doubt God’s goodness to reward you.  Also, do not begrudge those who come to God’s grace late.  No matter when the reward is received it is far greater than we deserve and more than we can conceive.  So, rejoice!

 

October 1        17th Sunday after Pentecost, World Communion Sunday (offering)

Scriptures:  Ps 78:1-4, 12-16; Phil 2:1-13; Matt 21:23-32                               Theme:  Yes Then No or No Then Yes

Thoughts:  Jesus is always striking to the heart of the matter.  It seems so adolescent, but we all tend to identify with parable of obedience.  How often have we been one or the other of the two sons?  Ones immediately says “Yes” and then disobeys.  The other says “No” and later obeys.  The original question posed to Jesus is about His authority to judge the practices of priests, scribes and Pharisees in the Temple grounds.  Jesus “turns the table” as he usually does.  It is not really about Jesus’ authority but about our obedience.  Jesus is not concerned with the way things appear, but with the way they really are.  The authorities appear to be righteous in every way, but are disobedient at heart.  The sinners (outsiders) seem to be on their way to spiritual destruction, but through repentance and faith are actually ahead of the outwardly righteous.  Jesus sees into the heart.  Are we saying yes then no or no then yes?

 

October 8        18th Sunday after Pentecost, Columbus Day weekend

Scriptures: Ps 23; Isaiah 43:1-5             Theme: Do Not Be Afraid

The Lord says, “Do not be afraid – I will save you. I have called you by name – you are mine.

When you pass through deep waters, I will be with you; your troubles will not overwhelm you.

When you pass through fire, you will not be burned; the hard trials that come will not hurt you.

For I am the Lord your God, the holy God of Israel, who saves you.

I will save your life, because you are precious to me and because I love you and give you honor.

So, do not be afraid – I am with you!”

 

October 15      19th Sunday after Pentecost, Laity Sunday

Scriptures: Ex 32:1-14; Ps 106:1-6, 19-23; Matt 22:1-14                Theme:  God Tolerates No Bull

Thoughts:  Psalm 50:9 in the old RSV reads, “I will accept no bull from your house.”  Later versions changed the wording just slightly to take the double meaning away, but I like the old version.  The readings for today tell us that God will accept nothing but single-minded devotion.  Come to the wedding without excuse and come prepared or don’t come at all.  Wow! That seems harsh.  We all thought Jesus was always nice.  Well, Jesus accepts no bull.  We need to examine our lives and root out the golden calves we’ve been building.  What has been syphoning off your devotion to God?  What excuses have you been making for not attending to the things of God?  How have you come ill prepared to the feast of God?  This isn’t easy.  We are all victims of slow faith failure.  It is time to repent renew and restore.