Rule of Christ Matthew 18:15-20

“For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them”

Matthew 18:20

 

Here is a radical idea; go to the extreme to offer mercy to and celebrate one that challenges even the church. The rule of Christ intends to work differences out amongst those who disagree or when someone hurts another. Funny thing is, our faith calls us to celebrate the innocence of someone rather than seeking a guilty verdict. Seems like God truly does not want to hurt another and certainly does not want to lose somebody, no matter who they are or what they may have done. Under the authority of Christ, we seek the lost and by God’s mercy welcome them back. When we gather to consider how someone may have been wrong, Jesus is amongst us to right the wrong, to celebrate rather than condemn. Mercy is about second chances to those who repent. The rule of Christ is always about love for another and is self-less not self-serving. Perhaps the question is not whether someone is guilty rather the question is, what can we do to welcome another home. Sometimes it is not easy, and it certainly was not easy for Jesus. Jesus went to the extreme of death on a cross to save those that lost their way. When Jesus looked out and saw those who inflicted so much pain upon him he celebrated them proclaiming, “forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 22:34) When we seek to condemn, God offers mercy. What Jesus did was die on behalf of those who say and do dumb things, and that is a big group! When 2 or more are gathered in the Lord’s name, there is the affirmation that all are loved and that any conversations and actions taken are intended to give God and God alone glory. In other words, it is all about Jesus and the love that is shared with us and “paid forward” to others. Thank you Jesus, for continuing to love us always, even to the end of the age.
 

 

Pastor Tom


God Will Never Let You Go Matthew 18:10-14

“If a shepherd has 100 sheep and one of them goes astray, does he not leave the 99 on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray?”

Matthew 18:12

  To God, nobody is a lost cause; to God all people no matter what they have done are precious and beloved by God. Every once in a while, some more than others, we do things that we regret and sometimes what we do makes us feel unworthy of even God’s love. When we judge ourselves and others by human standards, we often leave the witness of Jesus the Christ out of the equation. The Christian church this week enters into the season of Lent, a time of reflection and introspection, a time of considering the amazing grace and mercy of God. Far from a condemning God, God seeks out especially those who have lost their way in life, and celebrates their return. Jesus says according John 3:17, “God did not come into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world may be saved through him.” You will never go far enough away that God will not seek you out; you will never do something that when you turn back to God’s everlasting arms that you will not be welcomed back home. You are celebrated and loved by God, no matter who you are and no matter how far sin has taken you astray. When we confess who we are, we begin to understand that the one “who never slumbers nor sleeps” is with us always, even when we do or say dumb things. The world may turn its back on you, but God never will. Take comfort and be convinced that there is nothing, absolutely nothing that will separate you from “the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:39) Thank you Jesus for seeking us out and loving us enough to find us, no matter how far we have strayed from you.

Pastor Tom

 


Listen to Him! Luke 9:28-36

“This is my Son, the Chosen; listen to Him.”

Luke 9:35

 

Jesus is probably one of the most recognized names in all the world; his name is used both to glorify God and unfortunately at times to condemn and malign others. The most dangerous opinion someone can have is an uninformed one; thinking we may know something or somebody while only listening to what we would like to hear. When Jesus took the disciples to the mountaintop, they knew him as a great guy who said and did a whole lot of things but really did not understand who he was, until God revealed to them the reality of the one they called “Lord.” Jesus witnessed grace, mercy, peace, joy, and hope all mixed into one. Sounds a bit complex and maybe to our human ears it is, but God has made life easy. The words that were spoken on that mountaintop proclaimed who Jesus was with the further command to listen. In a complex world that seems to be becoming more complicated by the day, Jesus streamlines what it is to be Christian, a follower of Jesus Christ; love God with our whole, mind, soul, and strength as well as loving our neighbor, not to mention the prohibition on judgment. The debates about our faith never seem to include these 2 commandments deemed the greatest by Jesus. We are good at debating who is worthy to serve, worthy to be part of the church and the nature of sin. Yet in the midst of our human conversations, God’s Word stops us in our tracks and proclaims, “This is my Son, the Chosen; listen to Him.” To listen means to stop, pause, and consider the Word made flesh without prejudice. When we think we have the answer, listen to Jesus, especially when we are attempting to judge other people and categorize them based on our human opinions. It is not so much “what would Jesus do,” but “what did Jesus say?” What did Jesus say about judging others? What did Jesus say about loving our neighbor? What did Jesus say about those others condemned? Just got to thinking, what if we lived what we heard from Jesus of the Gospels? God is good, all the time.
 

 Pastor Tom