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Showing posts from September, 2016

A Call for Decision: Matthew 7:13-14

Throughout this sermon, our Lord has been describing to his audience what it means to follow him.  At this point in the sermon, he moves from description to application, from instruction to exhortation, and he continues in this way to the end of the sermon.  He does so because it is never enough to be merely interested in righteousness; one must become committed to it.  The truths of God were never meant to be treated as museum pieces, admired and studied, but only at a distance.  I read a lot of history, especially military history.  Recently I have started reading a short history of the Korean War.  It describes some of the horrific tasks assigned to the US infantry fighting at the front; one unit started off in a battle with over 200 men, and they ended up assaulting a position with a bayonet charge when they had only 33 men left.  My experience reading about that is infinitely separated from the actual experience of the men who lived through it; even more so from the experience of…

Matthew 7:12 – The Golden Rule

My parents have a grandfather clock in their living room.I grew up with its musical chimes and rhythmic dongs.It chimes every quarter of an hour, and at each quarter it chimes longer until it reaches the top of the hour when it not only chimes but dongs out the number of hours.And it can be very loud, especially if you are not used to hearing it.However, having grown up with it in our living room, I became totally oblivious to its noises.In fact, I could be sitting right next to it at the noon hour and never hear it.It was different with visitors.One time, we had some visitors stay with us overnight and they slept in the living room.Unfortunately, we forgot to turn the clock chimes off and so as a result they didn’t get very much sleep that night!What I never heard kept them awake because I was used to the sounds of the clock and they weren’t.
It’s the same with truth.We can hear a truth so often that we don’t really hear it anymore.And I wonder if our text this morning doesn’t fall in…

Asking, Seeking, Finding – Matthew 7:7-11

This is perhaps one of the most comprehensive and comforting promises in all the Bible.  And yet, no sooner do we read a promise like this than we immediately begin to doubt it.  First of all, many people doubt this because it is just not true that God “answers” every prayer (by “answers” we usually mean that God says yes to our request and gives it to us).  There are many things that we have prayed for that simply have not been given to us.
I once read a story about a school in Cuba, where the teachers in order to indoctrinate the students to put their faith in the State rather than in God, told the children to pray to God for a piece of candy.  The children prayed, and of course they received no candy.  Then the teacher instructed the children to pray again, this time to Castro, and as they prayed the teacher went to each child and put a piece of candy on his or her desk.  When the children opened their eyes, there was a piece of candy.  Of course, the lesson was supposed to be that …

Judge Not: Matthew 7:1-6

On June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court of our nation ruled that gay marriage is legal in all 50 states.  This was not a surprising ruling, given the court’s recent rulings, but it was nonetheless a landmark decision.  It highlights the increasing velocity of moral decline in our country.  Accompanying this moral decline has been an increasingly loud chorus of voices that denounce any attempt by anybody to say that any kind of sexual deviance is sin.  In the present instance, if you were to publish a statement that you believe that homosexual behavior is sinful, you will be roundly condemned on all sides.  And you are almost sure to hear – especially if you are a Christian – that Jesus said, “Judge not, that ye be not judged.” 
Which happens to be our text this morning.
This text is probably now the most famous passage in all the New Testament, if not in all the Bible.  I am amazed how many clearly irreligious people can quote it.  Whereas in past generations, one could make the argument t…