Worship Audio 03 04 2018

Transcription details: Audio 03 04 2018

Date:   04-Mar-2018

Input sound file:         Audio 03 04 2018

 

Transcription results:

 

[silence]

Once upon a time, there was a man who lived in an older home, and in the middle of his living room there was a large hole. His neighbor came by and said, “Friend, you really ought to fix that hole.” And his response was, “Why? I know where it is. It’s in plain sight. Any fool would know to walk around it.” And his friend just shook his head. Sure enough, a couple weeks later, the man got up in the middle of the night to go down to the other side of the house to use the bathroom. He was half asleep, and there had finally come a time to where it was dark. And he couldn’t see the hole that was in plain sight, and he was half asleep. So he forgot where the hole was there, and he fell in the hole. And he died. Moral of the story: “Don’t do this. Don’t do this.” The base magazine at Moody Air Force Base in Georgia had this display advertisement. The corpsman who created it had been ordered to remind professional soldiers – you would think that anybody who was a professional soldier would understand this, but you know we tend to forget – to remind professional soldiers, “When you go home, don’t forget that a weapon can be deadly. Don’t become a statistic.” And friends, if they need to be reminded, you and I need to be reminded. But every accident that I know of that’s ever happened with a gun, an accident, not on purpose, an accident, the person would almost without fail say, “I didn’t know it was loaded.” Even people who are trained in safety can from time to time forget to do what they’re trained to do. For example, I know how to drive a van. I know how to drive a van in February. I knew how drive a van on February 8th of last year. And apparently I didn’t know that there was a slick spot on the interstate, and I found that I did not know how to stop the van from going off the edge of the interstate at far too fast a speed and turn over. Thank God I was wearing my seat belt. It took at least several months for me to ask myself the question, “If I’m really that smart, why was I driving in bad weather?” Kim and I were in Chicago last week, supposedly there was supposed to be some ice on Wednesday night. Guess what? We stayed an extra night, because today I say to myself well thank you Lord for taking care of me. That by the way is the view as I– the van had turned on the side and I’m looking up at the windshield, held up by my seatbelt. But now I don’t want to go on the road when the road is not safe. Jesus is in process of teaching us about safety. We are learning how to repent, which means we are learning how to rethink. And last week, he was talking about anger. And he was talking about the reality that we need to begin a lifestyle of continually being reconciled with others, and we are to make a priority if we come to Church to pray. And we remember that someone else, somewhere has something against us. We need to go make that right. It is a lifestyle of making that right. And today he goes on to remind us of the problem that anger is as a lifestyle for us. Verse 25: “Make friends quickly with your accuser,” Jesus says. “While you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison.” Verse 26: “Truly I say to you,” Jesus says – and whenever Jesus says, “Truly I say to you,” our eyes should open wide and we should pay attention. “Truly I say to you,” Jesus says. “You will never get out until you paid the last penny.” You see, if we harbor anger in our heart and let it grow, it will lead us to do the wrong thing. He goes on to another example. Verse 27: “You’ve heard it said that you shall not commit adultery, but I say to you, that everyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” This is not a problem of anger. It’s a problem of desire. We humans have a tendency to look with desire, and become overwhelmed by that. Now lest you think that that just applies to men, this picture. I searched for envy. And there’s a part of me that’s thinking that she’s looking at the sale counter at Macy’s, and somebody’s about to take the last one of something she wants [ laughter]. Sometimes I look like that when the last brownie disappears in the kitchen [laughter] because desire can draw our eyes in such away that it causes us trouble. And then Jesus says something that’s really shocking. Here’s what he says, “If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out.” Now because you know we are studying the commands of Jesus, I want you to know that word in red there, that’s a command. Jesus is the boss. Jesus says, “Hey, if your right eye is causing you to sin, pluck it out. Throw it away.” It’s better than you lose one of your members than your whole body be thrown into Hell. About this time, a whole bunch of people are wondering, “Well, what do the Buddhists say?” Because if this is a command, what are we to do with it? We have problems with desire, that desire captures our eyes, and this is what Jesus says we should do. Next verse, just as shocking, “And if your right hand causes you to sin. You know apparently the left eye and the left hand keep us okay. Apparently, it’s just the right eye and the right hand we have trouble with. If your right hand cause you to sin cut it off and throw it away. It’s better that you lose one of your members than let your whole body go into hell. Now I want you to understand that this command is not about you losing an eye, it’s not about you losing a hand, this command is about the reality that you have something that you need to throw away and you need to throw it away because it’s leading you astray. There are times that Jesus says shocking things. There’s an old joke that I’ve never really had of a way to tell it so that it’s funny but a man owned a mule and he would take it to the county fair and give children rights and he took his son along with him one day to help him and his son couldn’t get the mule to do anything and his father said, “Well. Here son, watch this. This is what you do.” He went over and got a two by four and he whacked the mule over the head with the two by four and from that moment on the mule did whatever the man said. The son goes, “Dad, why did you do that?” He said, “Well, here’s the thing when you’re dealing with the mule. First, you have to get their attention.” So these phrases are exaggerations, Jesus did not mean for you to do them literally, they’re overkill, they’re exaggerations. The fancy word forward is hyperbole. You can impress your neighbors if you go home and tell them that the sermon today was about scriptural hyperbole. But the reality is sometimes Jesus shocks people to get their attention, why? Because getting their attention means they’ll rethink, they’ll repent, they’ll see things from a different way. Jesus is trying to get your attention so that you understand something important. Don’t become a statistic because the thing you need to rethink is your idea of sin. Friends, sin is always loaded and it is dangerous and if you’re not wise and careful that sin that is always loaded is going to go off and do you harm. Sin is always loaded. Now please remember how in the last week we talked about how Jesus defines sin. All of the commandments boil down to three very simple things, you’re to love the Lord your God with all your [inaudible] heart, soul, mind, strength. Anything that pulls you away from that, anything that diverts your attention from that, anything that distracts you from that, that’s sin. It doesn’t matter how evil it sounds, it doesn’t matter how innocent it sounds. If it pulls your attention away from God, it’s sin even if the whole world says it’s not. You’re supposed to love God with all your heart, soul, mind, strength and your neighbor as yourself [as in?] anything that causes you to not love your neighbor. Remember how anger makes you want to use your right hand in a way that’s not okay? That’s sin. Not only that, anything that causes you to mistreat yourself, that draws your eyes towards something that harms you. It’s wrong. It’s wrong. Now lets get personal. I would like you to know I am not addicted to brownies, but I like to mention brownies as a wonderful example of something that’s not threatening, but for some of us it is almost an addiction. In addition to that, for some of us, you can eat a brownie, it will not do you any harm whatsoever. In fact, you can sing hymns while you eat brownies. But for some of us like me, a person who’s a diabetic, eating a whole pan of brownies, sometimes even one, it’s not good. And here’s the point of what Jesus is trying to say, if your tastebuds cause you to sin, it’s not about then you should do away with your tastebuds, it’s that you need to figure out that you should stop trying to figure out how to coexist with anything that causes you harm. You should stop trying to figure out how to coexist with anything that pulls you away from God. You should stop trying to figure out how to coexist with anything that causes you to harm someone or to harm yourself. If you’re blessed with someone who’s a member of the fellowship known as alcoholics anonymous. If you’re blessed to know someone who’s recovered from drug addiction, you know what they’ll tell you? The biggest problem is all the years you try to spend trying to drink without it harming you. You’re not smart enough to figure that out. I’m not smart enough to figure that out either. But what we’re drawn into with these temptations, and this is why sin is loaded, what we’re drawn into is trying to figure out how we can keep doing that thing and somehow magically it won’t hurt us or anybody else. And your friend will tell you that your life begins to change when you realize that you can’t coexist, that there are things that you simply must give up. Now, here is the brilliance of Jesus Christ and this model of loving God and loving your neighbor and loving yourself, some of us have to give up brownies. Many of us don’t. And Jesus wants us to rethink so we have commandments that work in every kind of human situation with every kind of person. But this particular one all boils down to this: you need to stop trying to figure out how you can coexist with something that’s harming you, harming your neighbor, harming your relationship with God. We all need to ask ourselves, are there places that we need to not go anymore? When you go to the grocery store are there things like brownies that you should not bring home? They need to stay at the grocery store. Are there people that you need to let go of? Why? Who is more important, Jesus Christ or that person who does you harm? What is more important? That substance, that delicious chocolate, that wonderful icing. Is that more important than the will of God? Shouldn’t be. You don’t need to throw your eye away. You don’t need to cut off your arm. Jesus wants to throw cold water on us so that we wake up and understand that if we put God first and work that out with our neighbor and ourselves, our lives will be blessed. It could be that there’s somebody here who is perfect. I want to meet you and get your advice. But if that person isn’t here today, for some reason I’m thinking of Jerry. But if that person isn’t here today, we’ll all have to just simply admit, since we’re not perfect, we need to wake up and put God first. Amen. Lord Jesus on the night you were betrayed, you took bread and broke it

 

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