Summary: When Jesus comes into our life, everything changes, mostly in the form of disaster; however we are given the ability to stand, and in doing so we are transformed into the glory God that wants from us. Yes it is painful, but we are victorious.
This sermon was delivered to the congregation in St Oswald’s in Maybole, Ayrshire, Scotland on the 10th July 2011: by Gordon McCulloch (A Scottish Episcopal Church in the Dioceses of Glasgow and Dumfries).
When Jesus comes into our life, everything changes, mostly in the form of a disaster; however we are given the ability to stand, and in doing so we are transformed into the glory God that wants from us. Yes it is painful, but we are fighting for victory.
Prayer: Loving God, open our hearts and our minds, that we may hear with joy your message today, and that we may live in the assurance of your love forever. Amen.
Our reading this morning is taken from Matthew’s Gospel chapter 13, verses 1 to 9 and 18-23. “Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the sea. Such great crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat there, while the whole crowd stood on the beach. And he told them many things in parables, saying: "Listen! A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seeds fell on the path, and the birds came and ate them up.
Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and they sprang up quickly, since they had no depth of soil. But when the sun rose, they were scorched; and since they had no root, they withered away. Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. Other seeds fell on good soil and brought forth grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. Let anyone with ears listen!"
"Hear then the parable of the sower. When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what is sown in the heart; this is what was sown on the path. As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet such a person has no root, but endures only for a while, and when trouble or persecution arises on account of the word, that person immediately falls away.
As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the lure of wealth choke the word, and it yields nothing. But as for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty."
That was a very familiar gospel reading, the story of the sower; so let us pray that we hear this sermon as God wants, let it fall on good fertile soil and enable us to produce fruit from its goodness. The sermon is shorter this week, but it maybe slightly heavier, but it is full of good news.
This morning I would like to focus on the first four verses of Roman chapter 8; which start with a therefore, which means these verses start the conclusion to the first 7 chapters of Romans, and to my mind it is one of the greatest chapters in the whole Bible.
The book of Roman is all about experiencing New Life in the Spirit, and in the first four verses of Chapter 8, Paul tells us about how we have been delivered from three elements of sin, and its consequences in our lives. So let me quickly read them to you again.
Romans 8:1 therefore there is now no condemnation to them who are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
Romans 8:2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made US free from the law of sin and death.
Romans 8:3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:
Romans 8:4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
Up until chapter 8 Paul has been reminding his readers that in our natural self we are sinners and that we are under the wrath of God. The old fashioned preachers would say, you are all miserable sinners and you all deserve to be burned in hell; but these preachers forget to mention that Romans chapter 8 clearly tells us that through Jesus we are free from sin, and that we are saved this punishment because Jesus took our very place. We can therefore commune with God without sin being a barrier.