Friday, March 10, 2006

Mark 7:24-30 - Eligible for Blessing


Passage: Mark 7:24-30
Originally Preached: 19/06/05 - 6:30pm Service - St Stephen's Anglican, Belrose
Series: A Boat, Cleanliness and a Woman from Outta Town

Description: What makes a person eligible for the blessings of God?

Comment:This is the last sermon in the series. This series lasted three weeks, on this podcast/blog it's taken me a few months to get through. I guess I'm rather slow at uploading things.

This is my favourite sermon of the three. I especially like the opening illustration because it's fun and it fits with the point I was trying to make too. You know that illustrations are at their best when they're good events in themselves but also fit well within the whole structure of the message.

The passage itself (which I didn't include in this recording of the message) is a hard one. I remember when I first decided to do it I grabbed it because it was a hard passage to do. It's hard because Jesus seems to say something rather rude to the woman. I like it because it doesn't give us this picture of this genteel Jesus who is always nice and kind and sips his tea in a dainty fashion. But we have a dangerous Jesus who doesn't fit with our ideas about how Jesus should behave socially. I like the passage because the dilemma of Jesus' rudeness is not one that we can easily solve. There is no easy answer. We can't stick up for Jesus, or entirely justify his bad behaviour. We have to let Jesus just speak for himself and stand up for himself. I guess all I've got is that Jesus is loving and wise enough that he knows what he was doing.

The idea that we don't deserve the blessings that we get from God is one that we Christians need to have beaten into us. We are continually trying to live in a way that will secure blessing or salvation. Grace is so hard and contrary to the way we think. We need to be continually reminded of that fact that we don't deserve what we have been given. We need to have God's goodness beaten into us, otherwise we're going to keep trying to get God to bless us because we're such wonderful people. Our eligibility for God's blessings comes to us only because of our relationship to Jesus and that is a hard and wonderful truth.

I remember making my joke about virginity. It was one of those moments where I could have gone either way because that's not the kind of thing you're meant to say in a sermon. I had been trying to work out whether or not to say right up until the point I said it. But I did it because I think it's an idea that would at least resonate with all the single young males in the congregation, so I figured even if it was a bit "risque" for church it was worth doing. In the end it wasn't a big deal at all, but it had a bit of a history by the time it got said.

The thing I enjoyed most about this sermon was just that I got to tell the gospel again. I do love to preach the Gospel. I love to preach it to those of us that believe it. Preaching to the converted is still a worthy pursuit, even though we may believe the Gospel it hasn't finished with us by far. I also love preaching it to people who don't believe, but that's a whole other matter.


Anonymous jenny said...

listening to this just now is the first time i have ever heard you preach. i just thought i would let you know that.

3/21/2006 9:26 pm  
Blogger Tom said...

Thanks. I'm glad you could listen. I hope it was worth the 27 or so minutes.

3/22/2006 12:10 am  
Anonymous jenny said...

It was.

3/22/2006 2:59 pm  

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