Sermon 5/02/2021: Resurrection Instructions: Matthew 28 (Eastertide IV)

At this time, due to Coronavirus concerns, many are not quite ready to return to face to face worship. If this includes you, please click on the link below to watch the entire worship service as a video on your home computer, tablet or smartphone:

Link to Video:

Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/544101717

Screencast-o-matic: https://screencast-o-matic.com/watch/crhnVwVeEs0

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If you would prefer not to view the video, you’re welcome to use the links below to have a time of worship at home. (Just right click on the link to “open link in a new tab” to play each hymn or the sermon in a separate tab, and close that tab when finished.)

CALL TO WORSHIP: Please recommit your life to follow Jesus as Savior and Lord with the words of The Centering Prayer:

Lord Jesus, today I am far less than the person I want to be or can be with your help.
I ask today that you would be more and more the center of my life.
Guide me to all that is good, cleanse me from all that is not.
Teach me Your ways and form in me Your nature.
Help me to serve you in flow as I am gifted.
Help me to notice my neighbor and work through me to redeem my neighborhood.
I am a sinner; please be my Shepherd, my Savior and my Lord. Amen.

HYMN 348 Softly and Tenderly Jesus Is Calling
Softly and Tenderly – Anne Murray (worship video with lyrics)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w572Nk__-34

(Just right click on the link to “open link in a new tab” to play each hymn or the sermon in a separate tab, and close that tab when finished.)

A TIME OF PRAYER (Testimonies, Joys & Concerns)

Congregational Prayer: God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.

Please pray for yourself and your neighbors, lifting up your needs to God while giving thanks for answered prayer.

The Lord’s Prayer: Our Father, who art in heaven; hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.

HYMN 618 Let Us Break Bread Together
J.D. Sumner, The Stamps Quartet – Let Us Break Bread Together [Live]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_QoolEJe6a0

(Just right click on the link to “open link in a new tab” to play each hymn or the sermon in a separate tab, and close that tab when finished.)

MOMENTS WITH THE CHILDREN – If you are blessed to have children with you, ask them what they are thankful for, and then thank God together!

GIVING OF OUR TITHES AND OFFERINGS – these can be mailed to the church office.

MESSAGE: Resurrection Instructions: Matthew 28
Text: Matthew 28:7-10, 16-20: Philippians 3:9-10
Series: Building Bridges from Easter to Pentecost

Right-click, open in new tab to play … Sermon audioSermon slides as a PDF file.

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SERMON NOTES

Philippians 3:9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own, based on law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith; 10 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,

Matthew 28:7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and behold, he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him. Lo, I have told you.” 8 So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 9 And behold, Jesus met them and said, “Hail!” And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brethren to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.”

16 Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. 17 And when they saw him they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.”

Phil 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

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HYMN 572 Pass It On
PASS IT ON | WITH LYRICS
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lYA_ym0C0E4

(Just right click on the link to “open link in a new tab” to play each hymn or the sermon in a separate tab, and close that tab when finished.)

BENEDICTION: Let us dedicate ourselves to the service of Jesus by joining in the Prayer of Saint Francis:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace
Where there is hatred, let me sow love
Where there is injury, pardon
Where there is doubt, faith
Where there is despair, hope
Where there is darkness, light
And where there is sadness, joy
O Divine Master, grant that I may
Not so much seek to be consoled as to console
To be understood, as to understand
To be loved, as to love
For it is in giving that we receive
And it’s in pardoning that we are pardoned
And it’s in dying that we are born to Eternal Life
Amen

(If you wish, you can listen to this prayer being sung:
Sarah McLachlan – Prayer of St. Francis
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=agPnMxp5Occ )

If you worship at home, please let us know so we can pray for you!

TRANSCRIPT

Resurrection Instructions: As Philippians 3:10 says, Paul’s goal, among others, is that I may know Him, Jesus Christ, and the power of His resurrection.

Think for a moment: who taught you how to tie your shoes?

My father was teaching me, and I was determined to do it my way. He finally laid his hands over my hands to stop me. And he said, “If you try to do it your way, you’re going to wind up in trouble.” A few minutes later, he didn’t lay his hand on my hand. He slapped my hands and told me to stop and do it the right way. You see, somebody is supposed to show you how to tie your shoes. You are not supposed to figure it out yourself.

Somebody is supposed to show you how to ride a bike. You are not supposed to learn it all by yourself.

Someone is supposed to teach you how to read, not simply hand you a book and tell you you’re on your own.

But what’s become common today because we are busier and busier and busier, and I’m talking about a century’s worth of being too busy, is we expect children, we expect other people, to figure out how to do things that are important without any help.

And it’s kind of amazing how many of them succeed in some way. They read a book and learn how to do something. My brother says that no matter what it is you want to learn how to do, there will be a video on YouTube about how to do it. (You have to hope that the video will be correct because there’s a lot of stuff on YouTube that’s just simply wrong!)

But we have a problem today that comes because we expect people to wing it through life … to figure out how to do everything on their own and without help, and it’s led to plenty of problems. Who teaches you how to do what’s truly important?

And now that we’re adults, we still need help. That’s not always in the area of information that we need help. There’s a whole lot of us that know a lot about things, but we don’t know how to do things right. We’re talking about the how. And it’s the same way for the Christian life because someone is supposed to teach you. Someone is supposed to teach me how to do what Jesus wants us to do.

I’m 66 years old. And the memory that I have for most of my life is I had to figure it out all by myself. Part of that’s my fault. But if I had my life to live over again, one thing that I would change is I would look for a teacher to show me how.

That’s good advice. Paul writes these words, “Finally, brethren,” it’s Philippians 4:8, “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” No matter what goal you might wish to set for your life, no matter what you might hope for would be better or different either in your life or in the life of someone you care about, whatever hope you have, whatever plan you might have, it will be a better plan if you find a teacher and draw from their life how to do the thing that you hope to do. Otherwise, just like your shoes, life could easily be all tied up in knots and very difficult to repair.

On Resurrection Day, on Easter Sunday, Jesus told the women, “Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he, Jesus, has risen from the dead and behold, he is going before you to Galilee. And there you will see him.” Lo, I have told you.” They have been given their instructions. It’s time to go to Galilee.

Think for a moment, what is Galilee for these disciples? What is Galilee for you and I? Where is your Galilee?

So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy and ran to tell his disciples. And behold, Jesus met them and said Hail or Hello, and they came up and took hold of his feet and worshipped him. And then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brother to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.”

Did you hear that? Tell them to go to Galilee. Do you think they did? They did not.

Hasn’t that been the problem with the church for all time? Hasn’t that been the problem with followers of Jesus for all time? Jesus says, “Go to Galilee,” and they stay right there in Jerusalem. Who knows why?

And so Jesus, instead of meeting everyone in Galilee, has to begin to speak to the disciples individually to tell them what they need to do because they missed the chance to obey and meet him in Galilee.

Now, it says that when they went to Galilee, to a particular hill– we don’t know which hill. There were many hills where Jesus taught his disciples, but perhaps it is one like this.

This is a hillside in Galilee. Galilee is the fruitful part of Israel. More crops, less desert.

Galilee is the home to the disciples. It’s where they’re from, where their families live, where their neighbors are, where they worked.

Galilee is where they walked these roads with Jesus and followed him. And he gave them instructions, and they learned how to obey him.

So now they’re back on familiar territory, they’re back in Galilee. And when they saw him, they worshipped him. But some doubted. They are still less than perfect, just like we are.

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” You know what that means? When Jesus says to do something, there is no one, there’s no political figure, there’s no religious expert, there’s no scholar, who has the right to contradict the teachings of Jesus. “All authority in heaven on earth has been given to me.” This is what we say whenever we say, “Jesus is Lord” – so now that you understand who the boss is, here are your instructions.

“Go, therefore,” Jesus tells his disciples, “And make disciples of all nations.” And he simply assumes that they understand what to do, where they could go.

Well, remember “Love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. And love your–“ what? Neighbor as yourself.”

Where you go is to your neighbor. Now, your neighbor might be someone who is in your family. It might be a family friend. It might be someone you have fun with, you play games, you go to ballgames, might be someone you work with or volunteer with, might actually literally be someone who lives down the street, might be someone you see on church on Sunday. But the first part of making disciples is to go to your neighbor.

When your neighbor wants to follow Jesus, they need to be baptized.

And then comes the last part– teaching them as you have an opportunity to observe all that I have demanded of you.

You see, Jesus has given instructions to people. And the way the great commission ties up loose ends is for us to teach other people what Jesus wants them to do. They are not supposed to learn all by themselves.

And not only that, we’re not teaching about knowledge. We’re not only sharing information. Jesus did not tell us to go explain everything to everybody. What Jesus wants is to be able to observe – to see people doing what he asked them to do. In other words, if a camera can’t see it, you’re probably not following the instructions, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.

Now, there are experts – so-called experts – who will say, “This command was given to the 11 disciples standing on the hill. It’s not for you or me. It’s for the church to obey.”

Friends, we need to take the bible literally whenever we can. Jesus told them to observe every single command including the Great Commission. This is for all of us, not just the religious experts — every command including this one.

And here’s the problem. Who taught you how to do this – to make disciples?

Now, I’ve been asking this question since I went to do my doctoral work back in the year 2000. Who taught you how to do this? In the universal answer in workshops that I’ve led and online classes that I’ve taught is, “Oh, my gosh. No one has taught me how to do this.”

And the response is, “Well, it’s no reason then that the church doesn’t do this very well you’ve been left to learn how to read without a teacher. You’ve been left to try to do your best.”

But the reality is, just as the picture shows the Holy Spirit descending on every disciple, and then it flows out from every disciple to every other disciple, the truth that Jesus Christ has taught us flows into our hearts and minds. And when we take time to interact with other people, when there’s an opportunity, which, again, God provides, you’ll be able to share that truth because the person you’re with will in some way need it or ask a question.

But the main thing I want to say today is someone needs to teach you. And how they teach you will be how you teach others.

So the first part of the lesson. Every week we pray this prayer because you have a neighbor. This is what we do when we go. It’s as simple as this. Every week we pray, Lord, help me to notice my neighbor. And the minute you notice your neighbor, instead of being too busy to pay attention, you will realize, my neighbor needs my prayers, my neighbor is having a problem. And then you just need to do what you feel in your heart is the right thing to do, because what’s the command? To love your neighbor. And God will use that to work through you, to redeem and change and bless your neighborhood, whatever neighborhood that is.

So how do we go? We simply notice the people that God puts in front of us and respond as a Christian would. Now, every other command of Jesus is a nuance of that, is a variation of that, can help you to do it more wisely and accurately, but that’s basically it. When you interact with someone else, look for an opportunity to obey Jesus Christ.

Here’s another part of how. This has to do with the teaching, how to observe the commands of Jesus. In education, they call this scaffolding. We have some teachers in our midst – you probably know a lot more about this than I do! Some people also talk about it with regard to coaching.

But when you’re going to teach someone how to do something, the very first thing is you do it, you model it, and they watch. And then they try it, and you explain, and then they watch you, and then they try it. But the first part is I do and you watch.

But then it moves into the middle part, we do and we learn from doing it together.

In the very first part of the gospels, Jesus said to them, follow me, that’s always the first commandment, and he took them around Galilee, and he showed them what to do. But when you get to Matthew chapter 10, he sends them out. We do it. You cannot learn how to swim without getting into the pool. A basketball team cannot learn how to play together unless they play together. The church cannot be what the church needs to be unless we begin to interact with each other, learning how to do what Jesus wants us to do!

And now, they’re standing on that high hill in Galilee. And Jesus says to them, in essence, “We are now at the time to where you’re going to do, and I’m going to watch.” Jesus has given them the recipe. Here are the instructions for what you’re going to do. Here are the ingredients, the things that you do it with, the main one of which is taking time to notice your neighbor. Now, you go do them, and I’ll watch you. And I’ll let you know how to adjust what you do.

Friends, this is an instruction on how to live in the power of the resurrection. We need to figure out how we are going to do it, but I think I’ve tried to present it in as simple a way as possible. If you will notice the people around you, God will give you an opportunity to bless them. And at the right time, if you’re familiar with the words of Jesus, God will give you the opportunity to share what Jesus says. And that may completely change someone’s life, because what you’re saying as you notice your neighbors, “See what I do? Now, let’s do it together!”

Because people need a teacher. They cannot learn how to follow Jesus all by themselves. They cannot learn how to pray all by themselves. They cannot learn how to read the Bible all by themselves.

Now, there’s has to be at least one person who says, “Pastor Dave, isn’t that teaching your job?” Why, yes, it is. But here’s the problem. If the only chance I had to teach you is a sermon, how long do you want that sermon to be?

I want to tell you, we could start with Matthew 1:1 and go all the way till Wednesday, all night long! But if we’re going to have shorter sermons, then we’re going to have to have other times that we sit down and talk.

And I want to make a commitment to you. You call me. You let me know. I’ll meet you anywhere at any time to talk about how we can do what Jesus wants us to do. I will do that.

Please pray with me. Lord Jesus, whether the pastor teaches us, the Sunday school teacher teaches us, the Bible study leader teaches us, thank you. Thank you so much for people who gave of themselves so that we could turn and find the Lord. Thank you so much, Lord Jesus, for putting people in our way, people who noticed us when we were struggling, people who checked up on us to make sure that things were better, people who prayed for us, and we knew it, because, Lord, we’re here in church today because of people like that. Lord, help us to understand that it’s your wish that just as someone was like that for us, we can learn how to be like that for someone else! Because, Lord, you go with us. You were always there to guide us. Lord, help us not just to be hearers of your word, but also doers. Help us to be those who follow these resurrection instructions from Matthew 28. We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION: Let’s have a conversation! Please reflect upon the questions below as you consider the material presented above. In a comment, share your thoughts and additional questions. What would you like to know?

What grabbed your attention?
What is the human need or problem?
What questions do you have about any quotes provided?
Does the Bible say anything about this?
What solutions do you see for the problem?
What specifically could we begin to do to make a change?

Additional Resources
Kinmundy United Methodist Church is located at 308 E. Third Street, Kinmundy, IL 62854. Worship begins at 9 am Sundays. The building is handicap accessible.
Wesley United Methodist Church is located at 3381 Kinoka Road, Patoka, IL 62875 in the country between Kinmundy and Patoka. Worship begins at 10.45 am Sundays.
VISION: We are a functional family of God, where Jesus is Lord and people grow.
MISSION: Every layperson is called to carry out the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20); every layperson is called to be missional. (¶126 of the 2016 Book of Discipline)
Paradigm: There are two kinds of people in this world: people who need to become disciples and disciples who need to become disciple makers.
 

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