Monday, June 11, 2007

Sermon Pts 5 & 6

5. The Proud
You see the Pharisees were all mixed up. The were so focused on their own Orthodoxy they failed to see that was their very stumbling block. Their assent to righteousness ultimately led them into the sin of pride. Their priorities were backwards:
-More concerned with preservation of their holiness than with the helping of another’s sin
-Were interested in condemning rather than forgiving, with criticism than with encouragement.
-Focused on outward orthodoxy rather than in practical help.
Can you see why Jesus quoted Hosea 6: 6? The Pharisees in their self proclaimed holiness had made access to God exclusive. They thrived on a “who’s in, who’s out” mentality. The problem is, they were making the rules and not God. Hosea 6: 6 reads- “For I desire mercy, not sacrifice.” Closely paraphrased we could say: “It’s compassion I want, not religion”. The Pharisees were too proud to admit they were sick, and so arrogant in thinking they were to diagnose everyone else, not God.

6. More Bad News
My friends, I’ve tried to spend some time expounding on the history and context of this one conversation in Jesus’ life. I’ve tried to show you that we are all sick, and Jesus has come to call everyone, but only those who can come to know they need him will listen. I have ripped on the Pharisees for a while now. Jesus railed against the Pharisees for their self-righteousness. In verse 13 when Jesus says “I have come to call not the righteous but the sinner” another translation reads: “I’m here to invite outsiders, not coddle insiders.” Let me read that again, imagine Jesus saying to the most “religious” people on that planet: “I’m here to invite outsiders, not coddle insiders.” (The Message) My friends how often do we create an insider and outsider scenario for those we encounter in the world? How often to do we pass judgment upon people we’d rather condemn than love? As the church, as “religious” people, can we not be guilty of the same sins of the Pharisees? Let me show you what I mean.

Friday, June 3rd I went to go see Spider Man 3 on opening night. Not only was it opening night of what was the biggest opening weekend in history, but I had obtained tickets to the showing at the Galaxy Theatre in the Valley on THE MEGA SCREEN, which I’m pretty sure you can see from space. For someone like me, Spider Man 3, on the mega screen, opening night, is a big deal; especially when you consider that I ordered about 20 tickets ahead of time and there were a group of us from church who all went together. Now, some of you parents might know this, but Friday nights at the Galaxy Theatre feels like a Middle Schoolers Convention. I mean kids are being dropped off, picked up, talking on their cell phones, talking to their friends, talking on their cell phones to their friends friends, it’s like an industrious colony of bees, really quite a spectacle to see. So there I am in line with all my church buddies, when I spot one group of middle schoolers in particular. Now keep in mind I’m only 23 years old, so I’m still shocked and disgusted when I have thoughts or speak words that sound like something my Dad would say. But I had one of those parental moments, a wave of “old-fashioned-ness” came over me, and I thought: “Goodness, I can’t believe what those girls are wearing!” I mean here was a group of 14 year old girls dressed like they might have stage names. I sat there; shocked at how their parents let them leave the house looking like a floozy, and how much of their bodies they were revealing to everyone at the movies. It was ridiculous, I even made some head shaking comments to my buddies with me.

Do you see what happened? There I was with my “church friends” looking down and shaming these girls in my mind. Since I was so righteous and thought that anyone who dressed like has got to be a heathen, I put those girls in a different category than myself. There tiny skirts were on my mental “no-no” list and so I condemned them. Where is the compassion in that? Isn’t my pride and loveless-ness worse than their short skirted-ness? If you think about it, the latter is a lot more easy to fix. Changing your clothes is a lot harder than transforming your heart. I was as guilty as the Pharisees.

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