We continue our sermon series on “Ten Tough Topics”. On Wednesday, we talk about the “Gnostic Gospels” and on Sunday we think about “The Sins of the Church”. The final topic will discussed on Wednesday, March 16, on the topic “Forgiveness”.
Our Scripture Lessons on Sunday will be:
Isaiah 43:16-21 – Forget the past. Forget what we think we remember about the old ways of following God and of doing church. Forget those things because God is doing something new. God will make a way through the wilderness we are in. God will show us this new way so that we will bring praise to God.
Psalm 126 – This six verse Psalm can be divided in half. In the first three verses, the psalmist remembers what life was like when God restored the fortunes of Israel. In the second half, the psalmist call on God to once again restore Israel’s life, like new water flowing through the dessert. Perhaps we should be more like Isaiah above and less like the pining on the psalmist wanting to have the past restored to the present.
Philippians 3:4b-14 – If anyone can be proud of his upbringing in the Jewish faith it is Paul, and he tells us that in the first three verses. However, all of that is “rubbish”, he says. Actually, the Greek word that is translated “rubbish” really means dung, or the word we are all really thinking. Paul says his righteousness come not from works of the law but because of pistis Christou. This little Greek phrase is literally translated as “faith Christ”. The translator’s job is to decide between “faith in Christ” or “faith of Christ”. Paul then says he wants to know the power of Christ and his resurrection. However, he has not be made perfect (or reached the goal) yet. So he puts everything behind him and strains ahead toward the goal (with the power and guidance of the Holy Spirit.
John 12:1-8 – Some days after raising Lazarus from death and maybe the day before he goes into Jerusalem, Jesus is having dinner at Martha, Mary, and Lazarus’ home (they are sisters and brother). Lazarus is at the table and Martha is serving dinner. Mary takes some pure nard (an aromatic essential oil), anoints Jesus’ feet and wipes his feet with her hair. Judas (yes, THAT Judas) complains that she could have sold the nard and given the money to the poor. Jesus tells him to leave her alone. She bought the nard for his burial. He then says, “You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.” This last statement has caused a lot of consternation. However, Jesus was simply beginning a quote from Deuteronomy 15:11 and which his hearers would have recognized. “Since there will never cease to be some in need on the earth, I therefore command you to open your hand to the poor and needy neighbor in your land.” Jesus is not telling anyone to ignore the poor but to care for them while at the same time turning our hearts to Jesus.
Have a great week serving Christ in all that you do.
Peace in Christ,
Pastor Gary Taylor