Sermons from November 2016
Matt 5:13-16 What kind of effect can Beatitude people have on the world? After the Beatitudes, Jesus goes on to describe that very thing by calling Beatitude people the salt of the earth and the light of the world. It has been said that ‘Christians are ordinary people making extraordinary claims.’ With these verses in Matthew, one could turn that saying around like this: ‘Christians are ordinary people about whom Jesus makes extraordinary claims.’ Jesus has a strange confidence in the ordinary people sitting in front of him on that hillside in Galilee. He has the same confidence in his followers today. And, through these two metaphors of salt and light, Jesus reveals his startling assessment of life on this planet. And, what he reveals is just as true today as it was back then. Join us this Sunday as we consider the Beatitude Effect on our culture and in our world.
Matt 5:10-12 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. We now come to the eighth and final Beatitude, and it is the consequence of living the Beatitudes: persecution. You can almost hear Jesus say, “Sorry!” as he pronounces this one. Note that Jesus is not blessing those who seek persecution or those who are obnoxious or rude or proud. He blesses those who by find themselves encountering opposition simply by living a Beatitude life. The bottom line is this – the life Jesus provides us will provoke hostility. It provoked hostility for him, and it will provoke hostility for his followers (John 15:18-20). Jesus will go on to make this a double beatitude in verses 11-12. Maybe he knew we wouldn’t like it, and we needed to hear it twice? :) Join us this Sunday as we explore the different parts of this, the last, beatitude.
Matt 5:9 In the wake of yesterday’s election, the culmination of a highly contentious campaign season, our text for this coming Sunday is the seventh Beatitude: Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Jesus, being the ultimate peacemaker, calls us to not wage war, but to wage peace. He went and waged peace by going to a cross, in the process praying for his enemies. Paul will go on to say that as far as it depends on us, we are to live at peace with everyone. What an appropriate word for us for this week. Regardless of the outcome of the election, we are called to make peace wherever we go. It is many times not easy, but a cross is not easy either. In fact, the cross is the way to think about peacemaking. Once again, Jesus says that we are to deny ourselves, take up our cross daily and follow him. Peacemaking is one of the ways we take up our cross daily. In peacemaking, we deny ourselves and take great risk. But, so did Jesus. And, the reason peacemakers are called children of God is because they look like him when they make peace. God made peace with us through his Son at great sacrifice, and at great risk to his reputation. As his children, let’s do what we can this week to produce peace in the midst of difficult circumstances.
Jas 1:2 – 5:20 This Sunday we have a special privilege to hear from one of our dear friends, Mariam (Kamell) Kovalishyn, who was our 2012 women’s retreat speaker. She is currently a professor of New Testament at Regent College in Vancouver, Canada. Mariam has a M.A. from Denver Seminary and a Ph.D. from Saint Andrews. Much of her research has centered on the epistle of James, which involved extensive work in both Jewish wisdom literature and the gospel of Matthew. Mariam has co-authored a commentary on James, has published several articles in books and journals, and is currently working on a biblical theology of social justice. Mariam has a diversity of interests including music (both making and listening), hiking, skiing, and backpacking, art (painting and now pottery), and hanging out with her nephews and niece. She and her husband, Val, have been married for 2 and 1/2 years.