Sermon Title: “True Greatness”
Scripture: Matthew 23:1-12
This is one of those Sundays that as a Pastor we get to choose which suggestion we follow for the day: Do we talk about the Reformation or do we go with the lessons for the 20th Sunday after Pentecost? This year I chose the scriptures for the 20th Sunday after Pentecost, specifically in the gospel of Matthew.
We all know that Monday, October 31st is Halloween. If you have children or grandchildren, or maybe even yourself, thoughts might be on what kind of costume to wear, or at least what kind of mask to put on. Well, Jesus was kind of thinking about the same thing, though he was not thinking of Halloween. He was thinking about the costumes and masks that people put on in everyday life, especially the Pharisees.
Matthew 23 begins: Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: “The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. So you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach…everything they do is done for people to see.”
The truth is that the Pharisees do not practice what they preach. Do you know someone like that? It is so easy to preach to others, but so hard to actually follow your own advice. Come and hear what Jesus has to say about “true greatness” and where it is found.”
From the sermon on October 23, 2011 – When the lawyer asked Jesus: “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” Jesus answered, “Love God above everything else. Love neighbor as yourself.” Simple words, but not so simple to follow because most times we would rather only love those who are like us, or who love us.
In simple words, Jesus was teaching, “anyone who is in need, anyone who is alive, is our neighbor.” That’s what it means to love God. We are supposed to love people we don’t like. We are even expected to love people who don’t like us. We have to put ourselves in places where we are not comfortable.
We all need to be reminded of the greatest commandment – “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Our goal as a Chrisian and as a church is to touch people with the love of God.
Thought for the Week: God can turn obstacles into opportunities.
Let us pray: O God, for the breath you give to all living things, for the good, for the sum of all things, for the assurance we have in things hoped for, for the strength of love, we give you our thanks and praise. For these reminders that all things work for good for those who love God, we offer up our thanks and praise. Amen. Pastor Lorraine