Summary: This sermon explores the fact that God has authority of everything, and especially our sins.
Do you really believe that God has authority over everything?
Have you ever wondered why you don’t get your own way all the time?
When I asked this question when time, someone once replied, because thankfully God is smarter than me or you!!
The reality is no matter what happens or is happening around us God does have authority over everything.
Today’s Gospel reading emphasises this.
Listen to verses 21 to 22
21 They went to Capernaum, and when the Sabbath came, Jesus went into the synagogue and began to teach. 22 The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law.
Today’s reading reminds us that God’s word has authority and power over all words.
Jesus had walked into the synagogue.
A place of worship and teaching.
In the synagogues they talked about a lot of stuff.
Particularly about how God’s word could interpreted so they could meet God’s expectations.
Often their discussion were mostly about how God would change so they didn’t have to change much.
In other words about how God should fit around their lives and demands.
They talked about what God expected of them, without revealing a lot about what God was up to.
And into this situation walks Jesus.
Bringing not just a message of God’s law but also how God is helping you deal with His law.
The message of forgiveness.
That fact forgiveness works.
Who here is a tennis fanatic?
This time of the year is dreadful for sleep.
The Australian Open interferes in our life.
But the other night something interesting happened
Jelena Dokic publicly asked for forgiveness, said sorry for being a pain to the Australian public for her actions some years ago.
And thanked Tennis Australia for giving her another chance, even though she had publicly criticised them also some years ago.
Now the support she received probably indicates that many people have forgiven her.
And Tennis Australia’s actions show that forgiveness does and can work.
That it changes a person.
And the message Jesus brought into this situation
And brings to you today is that forgiveness not only works.
But it is the number one priority of God.
And the number one way people change.
And therefore it is the number one priority for each of us.
To receive his forgiveness and to share his forgiveness.
In the next few moments ask yourself the following:
What do you need God’s forgiveness for?
What sins of your past still hinder you, still get in the road of you having a great relationship with God
with every member of this congregation?
and with others?
And secondly who do you need to forgive?
Who are you holding bitterness and grudges against?
This week pray about and act on both these situations.
Ask Jesus to help you accept his forgiveness and to share his forgiveness.
But the message Jesus brings disrupts the group.
It disrupts the congregation, there is an evil spirit present.
Listen to verses 23 to 25
23 Just then a man in their synagogue who was possessed by an evil a spirit cried out, 24 “What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!
Many people believe that church’s are to be peaceful idyllic place.
A lot like a retirement village.
An art gallery.
A place with little disruption.
But there is one problem with this image.
It is not scriptural.
Jesus tells us that, “in this world we should experience trouble.”
If churches are truly in this world they will be more like a tent hospital on the front line of a war zone, like in the tv series MASH.
Church’s are the places where heaven meets earth.
Where God’s Spirit and Satan’s Spirit are interacting.
Now if you have the first image of church you would not expect Satan to be present.
But when you have the scriptural image of church you know Satan will try to disrupt what is meant to be happening through his church.
Satan doesn’t want people to realise how powerful forgiveness is.
Now none of us of would knowingly associate with a person who has an evil spirit.
But we all do.
Satan’s Spirit is often not obvious,
It often comes to us looking and acting as if he has our interests at heart.
In Matthew 7:15 we hear that Satan comes to us dressed like a sheep, but will actually be like a wolf.
In fact in today’s reading it highlights that Satan tries some tricks.
He tries to act reverent, He calls Jesus the Holy One.
And then he tries to get people on his side through scaring them away from Jesus and his way of life.