Sermons

Summary: Like Jacob, we must keep our focus on Jesus not the obstacles which get in our way.

Genesis 29:15-28

Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52

“The Trickster Gets Tricked”

By Rev. Kenneth Sauer, Pastor of Parkview United Methodist Church, Newport News, VA

In our Old Testament Lesson for this morning: Jacob the trickster gets tricked.

Jacob had literally ruined and wrecked his life.

He had deceived and lied to his father to steal the blessing and inheritance from his brother Esau.

Esau had threatened his life, and now Jacob was on the run.

But the most marvelous thing had happened to Jacob--it’s what we talked about last week--He saw

God’s Stairway to Heaven!

He had experienced an encounter with the Living God.

God had confronted Jacob, and led him to make a new commitment--a vow that the Lord, the God of

redemption and salvation, would always be His God!

God gave Jacob a new life, a new beginning, a fresh start, a brand new day to live!

Immediately after Jacob had his encounter with God, Jacob began to search for what was to become his

new family!

There is always joy when we are converted and begin a new life, or make a new commitment to God.

And when this happens to us, we need to do exactly what Jacob did.

We need to search for our new family--the family of God, the family of the church.

Because we need each other’s fellowship, help, and encouragement!

We need to join together in studying God’s Word, and in our service and witness for the Lord!

As the Bible says in Hebrews 10:25: “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing,

but let us encourage one another.”

Think of a campfire.

When all the logs are placed together properly....each log contributes to the fire and continues to burn.

When you take one of the logs away from the fire...what happens to that log?

It goes out...doesn’t it?

The same goes for the Christian....there is no such thing as a successful, lone-ranger Christian!

We must stay together, fellowship together, learn from each other, and burn brightly together if we are

going to survive.

As soon as I gave my life to the Lord, I immediately searched out for other Christians.

One day, I was walking across campus when I saw a flier: “Bible Study--Wednesday nights at 6:30.

These people soon became my new family.

Anyway, back to Jacob....

He went to his mother’s brother...a shifty guy named Laban.

Here’s another thing we need to keep in mind....there are a lot of “wolves in sheep’s clothing” out there....

...So, it is very important that we become involved with a theologically sound fellowship of Christians--lest

we be led astray!

And it is especially easy for the newly converted to be led astray...because they have not yet matured in

their faith....and have not yet learned the Scriptures.

Anyway, let’s return again to Jacob....

Laban, the brother of Rebekah, the grandson of Nahor, was overjoyed to welcome one of his own flesh and

blood....

....and perhaps Laban was impressed by the strength of Jacob, and thought he might make a good

shepherd.

And almost certainly, Laban considered Jacob to be a possible husband for one of his two daughters.

Leah and Rachel were both eligible, and Laban never missed an opportunity to drive a hard bargain.

Jacob was smitten with one of Laban’s two daughter’s Rachel.

Rachel was unusually beautiful and attractive.

On the other hand, Leah, the elder sister, wasn’t so attractive.

Her eyes lacked a certain luster and sparkle.

The Scripture simply says that Leah “had weak eyes.”

Anyway, “Jacob was in love with Rachel”, and he made an agreement to work for Laban for 7 years in

return for Rachel’s hand in marriage.

Now, it’s true that Laban was offering Jacob both a home and a job when Jacob desparately need both.

So, Jacob worked seven long, hard years for Rachel, but they were joyful years!

The years seemed like only a few days because of the great love he had for her.

How much love do we have for our Lord and His church?

How long and how hard are we willing to work for God in order to reap a great harvest of souls?

What would we commit ourselves to because of our love for God?

Are we willing to give it our all?...

...because that is what is required of us.

In our Gospel lesson that Virginia read earlier Jesus says that the kingdom of heaven

“is like a treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold

all he had and bought it.”

Have we sold all we have in order to obtain the kingdom of heaven?

Are we willing to do anything in order to get it?

If not, we ought to re-evaluate how much we love God....

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