Archives for August 2012

Sermon: Counting the Cost- Forgiveness

Counting the Cost- Forgiveness

Luke 14:25-35

In The Gospel Narrative,

[25] Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them, [26] “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. [27] Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.

If he were campaigning for president…GAF!!!

Polls would plummet!

Jesus is on mission to save the world…forgiving sinners who had made themselves enemies. This mission is set forth as finishing with a great feast…the feast of Messiah, the feast of Salvation and reconciliation.

Last week…..Immediate previous teaching:

[15] When one of those who reclined at table with him heard these things, he said to him, “Blessed is everyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God!” [16] But he said to him, “A man once gave a great banquet and invited many. [17] And at the time for the banquet he sent his servant to say to those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’ [18] But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a field, and I must go out and see it. Please have me excused.’ [19] And another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to examine them. Please have me excused.’ [20] And another said, ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.’ [21] So the servant came and reported these things to his master. Then the master of the house became angry and said to his servant, ‘Go out quickly to the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in the poor and crippled and blind and lame.’ [22] And the servant said, ‘Sir, what you commanded has been done, and still there is room.’ [23] And the master said to the servant, ‘Go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled. [24] For I tell you, none of those men who were invited shall taste my banquet.’”

The essence of Jesus’ mission is forgiveness and the banquet is a meal of reconciliation and celebration of forgiveness.

Not trying to win their vote but save them from Hell.

By Adam’s sin humans are at enmity (strife) with God. God against man.

Jesus is planning to change this situation>> putting enmity between the “Seed” of the woman, his elect, and the seed of the Serpent, those who follow the Satan. He was going to accomplish this in Jerusalem by dying on the cross to purchase forgiveness for those who are his.

>>>>The difference between these two groups is FORGIVENESS or the lack thereof.

His blessed Seed are to know forgiveness and reconciliation through his death.

The seed of Satan are opposed to God and his forgiveness. They hate God and God’s ways. They love strife.

The mission of Christ is forgiveness and peace which preserves, restores, savors like salt. He is on a journey to Jerusalem to make a feast of forgiveness through his torn body and his shed blood .

HIS MISSION IS NOT EASY…FOLLOWING HIM IN IT WILL NOT BE EASY.

He illustrates:

[28] For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? [29] Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, [30] saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’

John Stott, years ago in his book Basic Christianity, wrote, “The Christian landscape is strewn with the wreckage of derelict half-built towers. The ruins of those who began to build them were unable to finish for thousands of people still ignore Christ’s warning and undertake to follow Him without first pausing to reflect on the cost of doing so. The result is the great scandal of Christendom today, so-called nominal Christianity.

 

[31] Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? [32] And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. [33] So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.

Following Jesus is a personal Battle.

Are you ready to go all the way in the battle with evil? Evil in yourself? Evil in others…compelled by the GOSPEL of FORGIVENESS and PEACE?

When we set out to follow Christ, we set out to live a life of costly forgiveness because we have received a costly forgiveness.

Jesus counted the cost! Jesus calculated the battle losses!

The Son of God goes forth to war,
a kingly crown to gain;
his blood red banner streams afar:
who follows in his train?
Who best can drink his cup of woe,
triumphant over pain,
who patient bears his cross below,
he follows in his train.

Forgiveness that transforms what it touches in us…… and through us extends to others.

Queen Elizabeth’s Christmas message to the commonwealth- December 2011

Although we are capable of great acts of kindness, history teaches us that we sometimes need saving from ourselves – from our recklessness or our greed. God sent into the world a unique person – neither a philosopher nor a general (important though they are) – but a Savior, with the power to forgive.

Forgiveness lies at the heart of the Christian faith. It can heal broken families, it can restore friendships and it can reconcile divided communities. It is in forgiveness that we feel the power of God’s love.

Will you follow Christ?           How far?

 

Will you receive God’s grace and keep it selfishly?

 

[34] “Salt is good, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? [35] It is of no use either for the soil or for the manure pile. It is thrown away. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

Salt—-According to one source: The Hebrew people harvested salt by pouring sea water into pits and letting the water evaporate until only salt was left. They it  for seasoning and as a preservative. In addition, salt was used to disinfect wounds. (We tend to eat too much salt, but) Salt is a necessity of life and was also used as a unit of exchange.

 

“Salary” “worth your salt”

The Salty Gospel of forgiveness, is essential, preserves, disinfects, seasons….and is the currency of the King and the Kingdom.

 

Will you lose your saltiness?     Washed out?

 

An old grandfather, whose grandson came to him with anger at a schoolmate, said, “Let me tell you a story.

I, too, at times, have felt a great hate for those that have hurt me so much, with no sorrow for what they do. But hate wears you down, and does not hurt your enemy. It is like taking poison and wishing your enemy would die. I have struggled with these feelings many times.”

He continued, “It is as if there are two animals inside me: One is good dog who does no harm. He lives in harmony with all around him and does not take offense when no offense was intended. He will fight only when it is right to do so, and in the right way. But the other is a wolf, ah! He is full of anger. The littlest thing will send him into a fit of temper. He fights everyone, all the time, for no reason. He cannot think because his anger and hate are so great. It is hard to live with these two inside me, for both of them try to dominate my spirit.”

The boy asked, “Which one wins, Grandfather?”

The grandfather said, “The one I feed.”

 

We are the well-salted people! Soaked in the brine of baptism into Christ, which as Peter said in Acts 2 is “a baptism for the forgiveness of sins.”

 

The meal before us here is salty with forgiveness when we receive it in faith. When we receive it feeds our new life and our old enmity is starved out.

 

If we do not receive it in faith or refuse it, we preach an un-gospel of non-forgivness to ourselves and others. We lose our saltiness and are good for nothing but to be cast out.

 

“Salt is good, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored?  It is of no use either for the soil or for the manure pile. It is thrown away. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

Come to the feast of Messiah! You are invited…may God’s grace compel you to come in.

Come get re-salted with gospel forgiveness and be prepared to forgive others.

Come for all things are now ready!