Summary: What does Jesus want us to put into practice (Matthew 7:24) so that we will be attractive bait? This week: A Promise Means Something; Giving, and Faith
Sermon for 9/14/2003
A. The only President ever to fulfill all of his promises was James K. Polk, the 11th President of the United States. President Nixon with the Watergate scandal. George Bush, Sr. said, “Read my lips, no new taxes.” President Clinton, “I did not have sex with that woman, Miss Lewinski.”
B. A young boy was driving a hayrack down the road when the wagon fell over in front of a farmer’s house. The farmer came out, saw the young boy crying and said, "Son, don’t worry about this, we can fix it. Right now dinner’s ready. Why don’t you come in and eat with us and then I’ll help you put the hay back on the rack." The boy said, "No, I can’t. My father is going to be very angry with me." The farmer said, "Now don’t worry, just come in and have some lunch and you’ll feel better." The boy said, "I’m just afraid my father is going to be very angry with me." The farmer and the young boy went inside and had dinner. Afterwards, as they walked outside to the hayrack, the farmer said, "Now, son, don’t you feel better after that great meal?" The boy said, "Yes but I just know that my father will be very angry with me." The farmer said, "Nonsense. Where is your father anyway?" The boy said, "He’s under that wagon."
A. How do the fish bite? Attracted to the bait. The bait is us and the hook is the gospel.
B. Gone over 4 points.
1. Bible study
3. Anger control
4. Control mind, eyes, body and heart.
Thesis: What does Jesus want us to put into practice (Matthew 7:24) so that we will be attractive bait? Go over points 4, 7 and 8
4. A promise means something (Matthew 5:33-37)
A. Young man who had left his wife and gone after another woman. His wife was unable to have children. He got this woman pregnant and he was in turmoil over what he should do.
B. Crazy rules for oaths.
1. If I have my fingers crossed behind my back, then it doesn’t count.
2. If we cut our hands and then shake on it, then it is binding.
3. In the days of Jesus it was just as silly. Swearing by heaven and earth was not binding, nor was swearing by Jerusalem, though swearing toward Jerusalem was. Pharisees gave a whole section of the Mishma over to binding and not binding oaths. Silly.
4. Jesus discusses this in his condemnation of the scribes and Pharisees in Matthew 23. If you swear by the temple it is not binding, but if you swear by the gold of the temple then it is binding. If you swear by the altar it is not binding, but if you swear by the gift on the altar then it is binding.
5. Our word should be good enough. To swear on a stack of Bibles, or over our mother’s grave is silly. Our word should be good enough.
6. Jesus says anything more than a simple yes or no is evil. In the East they are notorious liars.
7. We are becoming notorious liars here.
C. When I was buying my house we (the buyers, the sellers, the real estate agent, the bank representative) had to meet with a lawyer. We had to fill out numerous forms. Why? Because many people are not honest. We had to fill out a form stating that we would return to the lawyer is he forgot to have us sign some forms.
C. When we take the witness stand, judicial oaths. I suppose they are a necessary evil but it just underlines the fact that we are a society who puts no stock in a person’s word. This oath is to give a guarantee of truthfulness that a simple affirmation does not give.
D. Relatives, things that we do not mean.
D. My dad. I will not give my word until I have determined if I will be able to fulfill it.
E. This past week- unable to go and visit someone
F. Make no promises??? Can’t get a job, can’t get life insurance, can’t get married, and can’t take out a loan.
G. What about unrealistic vows? One time I made a vow to God that I would stay in a place for three years. It was hard but I felt like I needed to keep my word to God.
1. Many people dream of good things to do. Never do them. We need less dreaming in the church and more action. Take those dreams and work toward a few of them.
2. I want to quit smoking, I want to quit drinking, I want to quit swearing, I want to pray more, and I want to read my Bible more.