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A man was preaching to a church in Australia. The congregation had big black Bibles and severe expressions... And they knew their Bibles, and were proud of that. It was a smallish group, so he decided to engage them in dialogue: ’Who knows who the Pharisees were?’ They did. ’The Pharisees got a pretty nasty press in the New Testament - particularly Matthew.’ ’Now tell me all the *good* things you can think of about the Pharisees: The Pharisees knew their Bibles; were disciplined in prayer; fasted twice a week; gave about a third of their income to their church; were moral (very moral); many had been martyred for their faith; they attended ’church’ regularly; they were orthodox; and evangelistic. There was a deep silence. Someone sitting at the front said ’That’s us’ ’Is it?" the preacher responded. ’Then you’ve got a problem: Jesus said these sorts of people are children of the devil’

 
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In his children’s book, entitled "Is A Blue Whale The Biggest Thing There Is?" Robert Wells takes us from a size that we can grasp to one that we cannot grasp. The largest animal on Earth is a blue whale - the flippers on his tail alone are bigger than most animals on the Earth However, a blue whale isn’t anywhere near as big as a mountain. If we were to put 100 blue whales in a huge jar, we could put millions of "blue whale jars" inside a hollowed-out Mount Everest; yet Mount Everest isn’t anywhere near as big as the Earth. If we stacked 100 Mount Everests on top of one another, it would just be a whisker on the face of the Earth. And, my brothers and sisters, the Earth isn’t anywhere near as big as the Sun. But, the Sun, which is a medium-sized star, isn’t anywhere near as big as a red super-giant star called "Antares." Yet, Antares isn’t anywhere near as big as the Milky Way Galaxy. Billions of stars, including super-giants like Antares, as well as countless comets and asteroids, make up the Milky Way Galaxy. But, the Milky Way Galaxy isn’t anywhere near as big as the Universe. There are billions of galaxies in the Universe. And yet, filled with billions of galaxies, the Universe is almost totally empty. The distances from one galaxy to another are beyond our own imagination. The Creator of this vast Universe is Almighty God, who with a Word spoke everything into existence; a God who is present everywhere within and without this Universe; a God who upholds and sustains everything with His mighty Power With all of that in mind, there is a dilemma that we all find ourselves in: "How can we approach a God as great as this?" As we consider this Creator of the Universe, the "Master Architect" of all that is, we find ourselves in a position of wanting to know Him; but, not quite knowing how to approach Him. Jesus, the Christ, used the "Parable of the Pharisee and the Publican (or, Tax Collector)" to show us that there are two (2) ways to approach Almighty God - one of which is acceptable and the other which is not This sermon leans heavily upon a sermon, written by Rev. Dr. Barry L. Davis, entitled "Two Approaches To God," found at www.sermonworld.com, and used by permission.

 
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Rodelio Mallari
 
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JESUS. THE TEACHER

Of all the responsibilities and great offices that Jesus filled, His being a teacher rated near the top, if not at the top. When He gave the Sermon on the Mount, He seated Himself and His disciples came to Him: and He opened His mouth and taught them.

Let us think of the visual aids He used. Look at Him as He speaks about salt, sparrows, lilies, candles, eyes, hands, feet, lampstands, cities, gifts, prisons, heaven, earth, Jerusalem, rain, sunshine, neighbors, enemies, hypocrites, and a thousand other common things.

Let us think of His methods. The question method of teaching has been named after Socrates, but Jesus was the master when it came to questions. He asked His disciples, "Whom do men say that I, the Son of man am?'' Jesus used the lecture method. The Sermon on the Mount and His discourses on eschatology are examples. He employed the art of story telling. His parables were filled with short stories. He engaged in the discussion method. The Pharisees and Sadducees would bear witness to His discussions. He used the example method. His whole life became an example for the whole race.

Let us observe the content of His lessons. The messages He gave had divine wisdom. He astonished Nathanael and left him amazed as to how He knew. He absorbed the inquiries of Nicodemus and sent him away to ponder the new birth. He disappointed the rich young ruler and placed upon him requirements that left him sad and dejected. It was the truth that He taught that made the obedient glad, the disobedient angry, the stubborn defiant, and the strong fearful.

(©1978 by R.O. Corvin)

 
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