Sermon 7/18/2021: The Reputation of Jesus (Pentecost 07)

If you prefer to worship at home at this time or simply wish to listen to the service or sermon again, 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/576276338

Screencast-o-matic: https://screencast-o-matic.com/watch/crib0iVi0cF

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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: 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

HYMN 397 I Need Thee Every Hour
Randy Owen, The Isaacs – I Need Thee Every Hour [Live]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tfPZ9mRIKgs

(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:
Day by day, day by day, O, dear Lord, three things I pray:
to see thee more clearly,
love thee more dearly,
follow thee more nearly,
day by day. Amen.

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 405 Seek Ye First The Kingdom Of The God
SEEK YE FIRST (The Kingdom Of God) | The Maranatha / Karen Lafferty | Worship Song | With Lyrics
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k3S1wfXmYPw

(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: The Reputation of Jesus
Text: Mark 6:30-34, 53-56
Series: The Gifts of the Comforter

Right-click, open in new tab to play … Sermon audioSermon slides as a PDF file.
Audio at Kinmundy UMC … Audio at Wesley UMC

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SERMON NOTES

Mark 6:30 The apostles returned to Jesus, and told him all that they had done and taught. 31 And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a lonely place, and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. 32 And they went away in the boat to a lonely place by themselves. 33 Now many saw them going, and knew them, and they ran there on foot from all the towns, and got there ahead of them. 34 As he went ashore he saw a great throng, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things.

(Mark 6:35-52 describes the feeding of the 5000.)

53 And when they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennes’aret, and moored to the shore. 54 And when they got out of the boat, immediately the people recognized him, 55 and ran about the whole neighborhood and began to bring sick people on their pallets to any place where they heard he was. 56 And wherever he came, in villages, cities, or country, they laid the sick in the market places, and besought him that they might touch even the fringe of his garment; and as many as touched it were made well.


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HYMN Count Your Blessings, Name Them One By One
Guy Penrod – Count Your Blessings
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HBYTjNQ8ens

(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: 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.

All Scripture quotations are from the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1946, 1952, and 1971 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Quote from Putting Down Roots by Norann Voll. Image by Engin Akyurt from Pixabay

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

TRANSCRIPT

The reputation of Jesus: Jesus has a reputation, and as we lift him up, we strengthen the power and influence of his reputation.

Let me remind you of a story from Matthew, Chapter nine, about a woman who was in trouble. She had an illness, which was a matter of great shame in the nation of Israel and the religion of Judaism. She had an illness that caused her to spend all of her money on doctors seeking a cure, and nothing worked. She was in a place of great hopelessness, when all of a sudden, she made a decision, and you’re familiar with that decision. She decided if I simply touch the hem of his garment, I will be healed.

Now, think a little bit about that. That is a decision a little bit like I can text and drive perfectly safely. That is a decision a little bit like, if I have cancer, all I need to do is drink enough diet Mountain Dew because that cures everything. (Now, we know that that’s wrong because it’s diet Dr. Pepper that we should be drinking!) But really, when you think about it, this takes a lot of gall. Essentially, most of us would say, “This is a stupid decision on her part.”

Nonetheless, she got up close to Jesus in a crowd of people. It was important to her because of the nature of her illness that she be healed with no one knowing it because there would be great public embarrassment to her. So in the crowd, she reaches out and follows through on this stupid, stupid decision that she made, and it worked and she was instantly healed. Not so stupid, is it?

But the lesson that we need to learn from that is the same one that Jesus gave to her. When it was all figured out, Jesus looked at her, and he said, “Daughter, your faith has made you well.” She made a decision of faith, and she kept to it.

Now, keeping the faith is not very popular today. There’s a lot of us who protect our feelings from potential disappointment. What if it doesn’t work? We protect ourselves by not believing, but doubting.

But there is such a thing as the placebo effect. There is such a thing that what you believe does have power in your life.

This is my little insulin pen that I inject a little bit of insulin into my body every night … friends, it’s really smart for me to believe that this medicine works because by being skeptical, by being afraid to believe, we can undercut the efficacy of any medicine, any treatment, any doctor’s advice. Make your decisions carefully, but remember the power that faith has to release God’s will to act in our life.

About a week and a half ago, I put this picture on Facebook of a woman drinking her coffee, and I told this little story from Norann Vall, who said that she was sliding into chronic depression. She could feel herself at the edge. She could feel the darkness creeping in. And her husband said to her, “Just write down one thing. Write down one thing that you are thankful for.” And so she did, and the only thing that she could find to be thankful for was the beautiful image of the gleam of the sun on the surface of the coffee in her morning cup of coffee. Now, we all know, by the way, that that morning cup of coffee is somewhat miraculous, but it was beautiful and it lifted her spirits and she wrote it down and you know something? It lifted her up just a little bit as she wrote it.

Finding that one simple thing to give thanks for and writing it down started a chain reaction. She found another and another and this practice of giving thanks and writing it down protected her, lifted her up out of a growing depression.

What you believe can affect your life and health.
What you decide to believe can release God’s power in your life.
And what you are thankful for strengthens your faith.

Once upon a time – and that means that the preacher made up the story – a daughter went off to college. And when she left, the father handed her a checkbook and said, “Use this carefully.” Well, three weeks later, she called her dad and she said, “Dad, there’s something wrong with my checking account. The checks keep bouncing.”

And the dad said, “Well, have you carefully written in the checkbook register every check you wrote, the date of the check, the number of the check, and the amount of the check?”

And her answer was, “Well, dad, I still have checks left. How can I be out of money?” (I told you I made this up.)

And the father very carefully said, “What we need to do is keep a record of every expenditure.” So they went back through and they reconstructed each check that was written and the father said, “Now add that up for the balance.” And she added it up and she said, “Oh, Dad, I’m in so much trouble. I am thousands of dollars overdrawn.”

And the dad said, “Honey, have you written down the deposits?”
And the daughter goes, “What deposits?”
And the father says, “Have you written down the deposits that I made into your account so that you would have what you need?” And of course, she hadn’t. She hadn’t noticed.

But they wrote down the deposits, and guess what, everything was okay … but you need to keep track of the deposits or you won’t understand what your balance is.

Our heavenly Father makes a direct deposit, a blessing, into our lives. And just like direct deposits, if you ever have any of those with your checking account, unless you write them down, they’re not there when you calculate whether you’re blessed or whether you’re overdrawn. When we count our blessings, that’s a secret of happiness … especially if you count your blessings while other people are adding up their troubles. We need to focus our attention on our blessings and it will help us to be thankful. That will increase our faith. That will release the power of God.

The scriptures in this section are about Jesus and the crowds. This is a picture of a crowd in Ghana, Africa. They’ve gathered for a revival. There’s no place to hold it inside, so they’re outside. What’s written at the website is that the rain was so heavy it almost forced the people to go home. But in Africa, there are not as many hospitals as in the United States. There are not as many doctors. There are not as many social service agencies to help people. And so people have become used to the reality that if they can’t fix it themselves, they may need to come together and ask God for help. And so, you see, their need causes a crowd to form. And in Africa, Jesus has a reputation of being someone who can help people in their time of need.

Mark 6:30. Jesus had sent the apostles out in groups of two to preach and to do miracles and to do all these other things, and the Holy Spirit worked through them, and they were very excited. They came back to where Jesus was, told him all that they had done and taught. And Jesus said to them, come away by yourselves to a lonely place and rest awhile. For many were coming and going around them and they had no leisure even to eat.

You see, there were always crowds around Jesus of people who needed help. And so they ran away. They escape. Verse 32. They went away in the boat to a lonely place by themselves. But many saw them going and knew them. And they ran there on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them. As Jesus went ashore, he saw a great throng and he had compassion on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd. And he began to teach them many things.

Now, something to keep in mind, miracles are wonderful. But sometimes the way you heal people is you teach them. You teach them things like how to wash their hands. You teach them things like what God wants. You teach them about the importance of forgiveness. All the other and various things that Jesus taught brought healing into the lives of people.

Let me go back here, what happens right after this is the miracle that’s called the feeding of the 5000, where Jesus decides to feed them. And, of course, there are lessons in that miracle. But today, we’re talking about the crowd. So right after that, Jesus, again, is trying to seek a chance where they can be with each other. So they can talk quietly and privately. So they go across the Sea of Galilee again to the other side. Verse 53, “When they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret and moored to the shore. And when they got out of the boat, immediately, the people recognized Jesus. And they ran about the whole neighborhood. ‘Jesus is here. Jesus is here.'”

Because, you see, Jesus has a reputation.

And they began to bring sick people on their pallets to any place where they heard that he was. And wherever he came in villages, cities, or country, they laid the sick in the marketplace because Jesus had the reputation of being someone who would help. And in that setting, centuries ago, there were few other options.

But look at this last phrase here. “They laid the sick out everywhere where they knew he would pass by, and they besought him … They begged him … that they might even touch even the fringe of his garment. And notice: and as many as touched it were made well.”

Not so stupid. It’s a decision, after all, because, now that everybody believes it, it still works.

So here’s the question. How did all of these crowds of people come to the decision that this touching the hem of his garment would bring healing?

It’s because people who saw it the first time didn’t keep quiet about it. They were amazed. They rejoiced. They gave thanks. And everything they said increased the reputation of Jesus.

If you’re blind, like Bartimaeus was, cry out. He can help you.
If you have leprosy, he can help you. Whatever it is, Jesus can help you.

And this lesson that’s taught by the woman who reaches out and touches his garment now has become known as a sure thing. And it works.

But why does it work? People have come to believe because they believe this: what Jesus did earlier, they believe he’ll do now.

And I want to say to you, brothers and sisters, what Jesus did in these pages of the bible that we read, I believe he will do that now.

But as Jesus said to the woman, “It’s your faith that makes this work.” So how do we increase our faith, and increase the faith of other people around us as well?

Something we need to remember is every single one of us is a part of a network. This wasn’t something that was invented when they invented Facebook. Human beings have always talked with each other. We used to call it gossip. Now, we call it social media. But human beings have always been made this way. You have a network. There is a network of people that you talk to every week. And you have influence over them, and they have influence over you. They listen to you. They don’t always do what you say, but they listen to you, and you have influence over them.

When you give thanks for what God has done, the people in your network gain more faith. It’s the same thing that Jesus said, “Your own faith has healed you.”

And so when we give thanks– look at what Jesus did. Look at that beautiful gleam of the sunrise on the surface of my cup of coffee.

Look at what Jesus did. Look at that sunset. Look at that field of corn. That’s an answer to prayer. Look at what Jesus has done.

When that’s the message that spreads back and forth through our network, people gain in faith. And so the gossip about one healing spreads throughout the whole nation. But I want to suggest to you, when you’re talking about something wonderful that God has done, let’s not call it gossip. Let’s call it gospel.

The word gospel means good news. Let’s not call it gossip. Let’s call it good news. Because when we give thanks, it builds the faith of people. And faith causes miracles.

Now, we don’t normally assign homework in church. There’s not normally a final exam in church. But I do want to tell you — there will be a pop quiz when I interact with you this coming week. If I see you somewhere, in the grocery store, I’m going to look you in the eye, if I don’t forget, and I’m going to ask you what God has done that you found worth being thankful for.

To be honest, if you write it down, it’ll be more powerful. Like it was powerful for Norann. But I’ll ask you what God has done that has made you thankful.

And so here’s the thing, I’m not hoping to stump you. But unless you think about this in advance, you might find yourself stuck without an answer. “What have you got to be thankful for today?” I will say to you. And I hope you immediately pop out with your answer. Because not only will you pass the test, you will strengthen my faith.

Because Psalm 107:2 says this, “Let the redeemed of the Lord say so.” The good news in your life wasn’t put there to stay. The good news from God was given to you so that you can give it away. “Let the redeemed of the Lord say so.”

Please pray with me. Lord Jesus, sometimes we choose to believe the silliest things. But Lord, when we choose to have faith in you, sometimes we are astonished by what is released to act in our lives because we have chosen to believe. Lord, don’t let us be influenced by a world that keeps telling us to doubt. The world keeps telling us not to hope. The world keeps telling us not to yearn for the best. Lord, help us to make the decision to hope and believe and have faith in a God who sees our great needs and answers our prayers. Because then, Lord, your power can be released throughout our personal network to bless and help people all around us. Lord, we ask that this might happen in the name of Jesus Christ.

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.

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

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