Summary: How can we buy milk and honey with no money - because the currency of heaven is trust and obey

NR 11-03-07

We must be changed

I would like to look this morning at our Old Testament reading and in particular at verse 1

"Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat!

Come; buy wine and milk without money and without cost.

At first blush this seems to be a paradox.

How can you buy milk and wine without money?

I think we find the key in verse 8 however

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD.

In other words, we need a mindset change and a life change to understand what the prophet is talking about.

The Christian Gospel has always been one of change.

Indeed the leaders of the Jews had Jesus crucified because he preached a Gospel of change.

He touched what was for the Jews was “holy cow”.

It went to the very fabric of their society - the unchangeability of their religion.

One of the great changes that Jesus heralded was that God’s chosen people included Gentiles –like you and me – non Jews.

Yet one of the great tenets of Jewish faith in Jesus’ day was that the Jews believed that they - and they alone - were God’s chosen people.

For them Gentiles - non-Jews like all of us - were beyond the pale.

And religious Jews like Saul of Tarsus – who went on to become the great St Paul, tried to stamp this heresy.

That is until he was changed by his own Damascus road experience.

And then – horror of horrors - he was called to be the Apostle to the Gentiles!!!

What a mindset change that was for St Paul – that most pedigree of Jews.

St Paul was born and bred into the strictest sect of the Jews. He was the archetypal Jew.

A Pharisee of Pharisees. An orthodox conservative. He even studied under the great Jewish teacher Gamaliel.

Yet he was called to be the apostle to those he used to see as “beyond the pale”

When we come to Christ - we have to radically change in two major ways:

1. We need to change the way we think and

2. We need to change the way we live

No one likes change – if we are honest about it.

If I am honest there are days when I long for the good old days when I was in my old Christchurch Bridlington.

But that is not where God has called me to be today.

The cost of Christian discipleship means that we have to leave our comfort zones to go where Jesus leads us.

I find it ironic when people say to me; “ I am not against change but… “ and then they give me their reasons why they are against change!”

Let’s rather face the fact we are against change - it is in our nature – mine too.

And let’s be honest with God too and tell him that in our prayers – and ask Him where he wants us to be.

Why are we so fearful of change?

I would suggest it is the fear of the unknown.

That is why so many people in the world around us fear death.

Yet when we know and trust the character of God, here on earth - we can trust Him in our last great journey beyond the grave.

And as a help for that great final unknown, Jesus teaches us by taking us through small unknowns now.

Why – because it builds up our trust in God so that when we come to that final journey to that great unknown - we can trust him fully.

Allowing God to introduce change into our lives is what Richard Foster in our Lent book calls our “Prayer of Relinquishment.” (Richard Foster Prayer – Finding The Heart’s True Home)

We give up our will – to take on God’s will in our lives.

Jesus, himself had to struggle with Relinquishment. We read in the Garden of Gethsemane, just before the Crucifixion in Lk 22:42 where he said this:

“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will but yours be done.”

Church isn’t about democracy – nor is it about getting people in.

Rather it is all about obedience to the will of the Father – and that often means change.

It is as we give up our will that we find the will of our heavenly Father.

Yes it is risky.

Andrew Murray the great South African 19th Century preacher put it like this:

The Spirit teaches me to yield my will entirely to the Will of the Father. He opens my ear to wait - in great gentleness and teachableness of soul - for what the Father has day by day to speak and teach. He discovers to me how union with God’s will is union with God himself; how entire surrender to God’s will is the Father’s claim, the son’s example and the true blessedness of soul.”

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