Summary: This series will examine seven areas that we need to give up to God’s control if we are to follow Jesus in holistic community. This sermon begins by focusing on the importance of seven as a symbol of being complete or totally used by God.
September 7, 2008
A woman went into the doctor’s office for a condition that had been going on for 7 days. She was assigned to the new doctor in the office. At exactly 7 minutes after he went in to see her, she came running out of the room and screaming as she ran down the hall. The senior doctor in the office heard the commotion and corralled the woman. After calming her down, he got her to tell her what happened. The doctor stormed down the hallway to where the new doctor was calmly writing on the woman’s chart.
“What’s the matter with you? Mrs. Smith has been a patient here for decades. She has seven children and now 7 grandchildren. She is 67 years old and you told her that she was pregnant? What’s the matter with you?” ranted the senior doctor.
Without looking up the new doctor asked, “Does she still have the hiccups?”
We are going to start a new series entitled 7UP. As I talked about in the summer, this series will focus on seven areas that make up a holistic community. These are seven areas that the follower of Jesus needs to give God the control over in OUR lives. Today we are going to look at the importance of the number seven in Judaism and Christianity. Then next week we will begin looking at each of the seven areas in turn.
Each of these seven areas has a corresponding symbol and also a corresponding deadly sin that they work to offset. So you can keep these in mind, here are the seven areas, their corresponding symbols, and the deadly sin that they offset:
Symbol Area Deadly Sin
Fire Spiritual Pride
Water Emotional Wrath
Oil (anointing) Physical Gluttony
Light Mental Lust
Soil Environmental Sloth
Air Social Envy
Metal (gold) Financial Greed
Now there are other areas that we might be able to identify that we could add or just talk about. And I have prayerfully considered some of these but I really believe in limiting these to seven and I think some of the other areas that we could come up with will be covered in one of these. Two examples might be vocation also called work and then recreation. These are two important areas of our lives but I believe that a combination of these areas encompass those areas. Work is covered under financial and environmental which offset the sins of greed and sloth. Recreation is covered under social, physical, and even could be addressed by financial and physical as well.
Speaking of work, Morris was an obnoxious mechanic but he was good at his job. One day he spotted the chief heart surgeon waiting to pick up his Mercedes. Wanting to prove that he was just as good as the doctor, he called the doctor over. "So, Mr. Fancy Doctor, look at dis here work. I ALSO open hearts, take valves out, grind ’em, put in new parts, and when I finish dis baby will purr like a kitten. So how come you get da big bucks, when you an’ me is doing basically da same work?" The surgeon leaned over and whispered to Morris the loudmouth mechanic, "Try doing it with the engine running."
So why seven? What is so important about the number seven?
In the bible the number seven is hugely important. It occurs 329 times in the bible and if you include the word, “seventh,” that becomes 524. A majority of these occur in the first five books of the bible. It is hugely important.
God rested on the seventh day. He created humans on the sixth day making six a human number indicating that humans are incomplete without God being in their lives. Seven peoples were driven out of Israel by the Hebrews. After killing Abel, Cain was protected by God saying that anyone who tried to take matters in their own hands to punish Cain would receive punishment seven fold. Not only is the day of rest the seventh day but every seven years was to be a year of rest for the land and the canceling of debts. Then in the fiftieth year, which is seven times seven years, this was to be the year of Jubilee, a great celebration of God’s greatness. The Feast of Unleavened Bread lasted for seven days. There was a lampstand in the tabernacle and temple with seven candles. Seven priests went around Jericho seven times and on the seventh day of doing that the walls came down. In Matthew Jesus takes seven loaves of bread and multiplies them to feed the multitude and there are seven baskets left over. Jesus also pronounces seven curses on the hypocritical teachers of the law. Seven men were chosen in Acts to distribute food. There are seven lampstands in the book of Revelation that symbolize the seven churches. Seven is hugely important. Why is that? Because it is a symbol.