Text: Matthew 7:1-6
Date: September 2, 2012
Listen to audio: September 2, 2012 AM Sermon
Even though pearls can be precious and valuable, their beauty is something that pigs miss. If you give a pig a pearl, he will probably want to eat it. And when the pig tries to eat it, he will probably get angry at you because you gave him something that he didn’t want in the first place – in spite of your good intentions.
When teaching His disciples about confronting others, he uses a strange illustration that involved pigs and pearls. Jesus is teaching us to use our words carefully. Even when we have the best of intentions, people may not appreciate the wisdom and insights that you share.
Text: Matthew 6:16-18
Date: August 28, 2012
Listen to audio: August 26, 2012 AM Sermon
Jesus did not want His followers to be individuals who made a big show of their righteousness, in order to impress the people around him. He taught them that when they fasted, it was not supposed to be evident to others, but rather, a time for personal reflection and drawing nearer to God.
Fasting may seem strange to people who live in a time when many of our needs are met so conveniently. Why would we skip a meal when we don’t have to. Jesus’ teaching helps us see that when we voluntarily sacrifice a pleasure, it’s purpose should be centered on seek God’s blessing, rather than the approval of others.
Text: Matthew 6:1-6
Date: August 12, 2012
Listen to Audio August 19, 2012 AM Sermon
We usually want to showcase our strengths and hide our weaknesses. We want to get attention for our accomplishments. In this part of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, He challenges His disciples to practice their faith in quiet ways – not to impress the people around us, but in order to grow nearer to God.
Text: Matthew 5:43-48
Date: August 5, 2012
Listen to Audio: August 5, 2012 AM Sermon
Sometimes it is difficult to act lovingly toward the people you treasure the most. In the midst of disagreements and daily stresses, to show love seems like a high calling – even towards someone you genuinely like.
In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus gives us a higher challenge than merely showing love to people we treasure. He tells us that love is to be a characteristic of the way we act towards all people – even our enemies.
On Sunday, August 5, we will consider Jesus’ instruction to love our neighbor, and explore its ramifications for our lives.
Text: Matthew 5:38-42
Date: July 29, 2012
Listen to Audio: July 29, 2012 AM Sermon
Sooner or later, someone will make you angry. It could be caused by thoughtlessness, or by an intention to do you serious harm. Our natural instinct is to seek revenge. We want to humiliate the person who embarasses us. We want to hit back when we have been struck. We desire to seek revenge in order to restore us to our rightful place.
Jesus teaches his followers to rein in their thirst for control. He does not want His followers to restore their stature by dragging others down, but through acts of service. Jesus’ counter-intuitive instruction about responding to offenses will be the theme of our sermon on July 29 at our morning worship service.
Text: Matthew 5:33-37
Sermon: Reliable Words
Date: July 22, 2012
Listen to audio: July 22, 2012
Summary: It’s hard to convince someone that you are telling the truth when they are skeptical. In order to be more convincing, we often come up with formulas that are intended to convince others that we are telling the truth. We say things like, “I promise,” “I’m telling the truth,” “scout’s honor,” or even “I swear.”
Jesus’ words in Matthew 5 help us understand that having credibility with someone else is not a matter of understanding the right forulas for convincing others that you are telling the truth, but rather a product of your integrity. If you want others to believe you, practice telling the truth.
Scripture Reading: “Again, ye have heard that it was said to them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths: but I say unto you, swear not at all; neither by the heaven, for it is the throne of God; nor by the earth, for it is the footstool of his feet; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, for thou canst not make one hair white or black. But let your speech be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: and whatsoever is more than these is of the evil one. “(Matthew 5:33-37 ASV)
Have you every spoke words of truth and people didn’t believe you? How can you let the people around you know that your words are trustworthy? How do you react when people don’t believe you?
The problems in the days of Jesus are not so different than are own? Jesus addresses the ideas of personal oaths and the words we use to get people to believe us. When Jesus addressed these concerns it is to people that are liars and shade the truth.
We live in a culture where we expect to be deceived? We live in a culture where we are no longer appalled at lying, but celebrate those that are able to skillfully pull it off.
Jesus is calling us to integrity and new character, to stand on our character as truth sayers. Jesus is not just speaking of the words we speak to guarantee our integrity, he is addressing the need to promise at all. In the world that God originally created lying was not part of it. Doubt, deception, promises, and swearing, are vows that point to a deeper cultural infection. To live beyond the oath taking, and linguistic tricky to captivate the hearer to believing that what you have to say is true. The need to make oaths and promises points to a deeper reality that ones words may not be trustworthy and may indeed need to be dressed up in order impress.
Jesus’ Teaching Offers:
1. Penetrating insight
Jesus teaches that the way one lives should be the real solution to ones character, not the cloak of vows and promises. Act according to the way you speak and you don’t have to qualify what you say.
2. A whole new way of being human
Greg would go home everyday and write a poem. To see him on any given day, you had no idea he wrote poetry, it was tucked away and it seeped out once in a while. In the sermon on the mount Jesus has said that if you want to be his follower you must not let your anger get you into sin, if you want to be a follower of Jesus you must avoid lust like the plague, if you want to be a follower of Jesus you must let your words speak the truth simply. If you regularly have to prove the sincerity of your words you must ask yourself whether your character is in need of repair.
If you are looking to an example of what it means to live a life of integrity we can look to the Christ as the model of what integrity in words means. “let your yes be yes, and no be no.”
Text: Matthew 5:31-32
Date: July 15, 2012
Listen to Audio: July 15, 2012 AM Sermon
On Sunday, July 15, we will continue our series that is based on Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7).
In Matthew 5, Jesus is responding to a debate between two Jewish schools of thought. Followers of one Rabbi, Shammai, believed that divorce should only be allowed in extreme cases of indecency. Another group, follower of the Rabbi Hillel, believed that divorce was permitted for almost any offense, so long as the husband lawfully informed the wife of the divorce, and released her from her marriage commitment.
Jesus indicates that divorce is not a matter to be taken lightly.
Jesus’ words resonate in today’s world. Even though the divorce rate in America seems unacceptably high, and even though most people know someone who has suffered through a divorce; divorce hurts. If you ask almost anyone who has endured a divorce, they will indicate that there was pain associated with the dissolution of a realationship that they thought would be permanent – even if there were understandable reasons for the divorce.
In Matthew 5:31-32, Jesus continues His habit of causing His followers to consider the impact of God’s instructions, and to challenge them to live in a way that is in step with God’s teaching.
Text: Matthew 5:27-30
Sermon: Wandering Eyes
Date: July 8, 2012
Listen to Audio: July 8, 2012 AM Sermon
On Sunday, July 8, Pastor Bill will continue our series of sermons from the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7). This Sunday, we will consider Jesus’ words about adultery. Jesus helps us recognize that the commandment that forbids adultery is more than a prohibition of sex outside of marriage, but it is also a call to purity.
When we allow our minds to entertain lustful thoughts, we walk a dangerous path that leads to isolation rather than intimacy. Jesus warning to His disciples serves as a guide for many who live in a culture that is saturated with sexual imagery. We are called to guard our hearts.
Text: John 3:1-21
Sermon: “God So Loved”
On Sunday, June 24, Rev. Richard Blauw will be leading our morning worship service, while Pastor Bill is on vacation. Our sermon will be based on the story of Jesus talking with Nicodemus, found in John 3.