Summary: God asks the impossible, disciples replyt increase our faith (proper response) He does - at the cross
Concordia Lutheran Church, Cerritos
Redeemer Lutheran Church, Southgate
Fountain of Life Lutheran Church, La Mirada
Pentecost 19, October 3, 2010
(note - this sermon was preached simultaneously by myself and two of my deacons, covering two churches in pastoral transistion - results were amazing - as it ministered to all three groups)
A Proper Response…
In Jesus Name!
May the grace, the love and mercy of God our Father and out Lord Jesus Christ, instill in you the trust in Him required to facilitate your loving and forgiving all those who need such a blessing!
• Temptations/Scandals will Come
Question. What things does the Bible promise to you? (let a few answer – you might need to prime the pump a little.)
Good stuff these Bible promises – right? Always?
In Mark 10, those that make sacrifices for the gospel are promised a lot of cool things- but also persecutions. James tells us to rejoice when we encounter trying times, for what those times do becomes something we will treasure. Finally, in today’s gospel, the ESV translates it as “temptation to sin”, the NIV says, things that cause sin” are promised to us as well. The NKJV says it’s impossible to prevent being offended.
Still want to claim that everything that the Bible promises is good?
Would you find it scandalous if I were to claim that even temptation to sin is a positive promise from God? Is it scandalous that things that might cause us to stumble in sin could be redeemed and used by God for our benefit, for our healing?
I will guarantee it, even as scripture promises us that times of temptation will come, that they are impossible to avoid. (pause)
But there is a way to deal with them
Even as scripture tells us that temptations and opportunities to stumble into sin occur, we also find out that Jesus gives us a method to deal with the sin that may arise. Let’s look at verse three and four again,
“3 Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, 4 and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.”
As we look at God’s strategy to deal with temptation and sin, it is important to realize that this passage is tell us not to pay attention to ourselves as individuals, but to pay attention to “us”, the people who make up this church – even those who aren’t here today because of travel or sickness, or anger or perhaps because they fear they have offended, or because we have offended them. Pay attention to yourselves – plural all of us, this community that is gathered to this place, by God.
Deal with it – deal with the sin, reconcile the relationships damaged by sin. Jesus tells we must forgive each other,. Even if the sin is committed seven times in one day, if our brother or sister betrays us, and hurts us, we must forgive them if they turn and confesses their offense.
It also says we need to rebuke them. Rebuking sounds harsh in English, but it is simply urging them, teaching them of the need for forgiveness, teaching them of the opportunity to be forgiven. We hear it more often as a stern and intimidating thing, but what it means is to evaluate in order to improve. Rebuking is to analyze those things that exist and plan what needs to occur to improve our situation. More like a progress report than a report card, for the judgment is not final – but offering a correction so that the goal is reached. We are to go to each other and encourage seeking forgiveness, that all may find it. How different this is from the world, which says, “fool me one, shame you, fool me twice shame on me…
We are to encourage those who have grieved us, who have hurt us, who have sinned against us. This includes in the encouragement the promise of forgiveness. (pause)
How many of you think this is a small challenge? (pause) A large challenge? Impossible?
I love the apostles reaction, their very proper response…. (pause) verse five..
• The Proper Response:
• Increase our Faith
• They realize the condemnation the command brings
(begginginly) “INCREASE OUR FAITH! “ (same in NIV and ESV)
This is a proper response, a very proper response. I can see James or John saying, “Lord, if you really want me to go over to Peter to encourage him to ask me for forgiveness for what he did, and then promising them I will forgive him…. I have to have more faith! I have to be able to trust you more!”