Many forces in the world today conspire against Christian faithfulness. Daily news cycles and Facebook posts seem to beg us to become discouraged in our resistance to a culture more ungodly by the year. In Matthew's account of a perilous sea crossing by Jesus' first disciples encourages us to stay faithful to Jesus against these forces that tempt us to give up.
Matthew 13:24-30; 36-43
In the Parable of the Weeds, Jesus teaches that God plans to leave the wicked in his world until the righteous have fully matured. The Parable promises divine resources for Christians to stand tall to the glory of God.
The difficult way to the narrow gate into eternal life is not obvious. A person must search for it. Jesus himself provides the model of what we are looking for. It is the way of love--imitating the cross of Jesus--that leads home to heaven. This requires great patience and perseverance.
Matthew begins his Gospel with a genealogy of Jesus neatly divided into three parts of 14 generations each. But this is obviously inaccurate, according to the precise historical facts. What is Matthew doing? He is pointing us to trust God as the good Father who is able to keep his promises no matter what.
We are all a work in progress--God's work! This concluding section in the Gospel of Mark challenges disciples of Jesus to obey to the best of their understanding; to trust Lord Jesus (who loved them with his very life) to correct them and to help them grow in his way.
Mark gives us two, compelling case studies in faith that saves. In short, from Jesus himself we are told to - like the woman whose hemorrhage was healed, and like Jairus whose daughter was about to be raised back to life - just keep believing in the awesome power and infinite goodness of God, our savior.
Recent, violent riots combine with the recent pandemic to raise questions about just what kind of moment we are living in. There is a temptation to fear, because the times are unfamiliar to us, and many things that seemed secure are now in question. In this message, we consider how the once-and-for-all hope in Christ gives Christians hope for this time and for all others.
Sunday evening sermon on perseverance according to Paul's Prison Letters.