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Sermons on “Matthew”

Grace Precedes Work

Jesus tells a lot of scary stories, parables about the end of time. Jesus’ story, about a generous, just, and trusting Lord commissioning three servants, is ultimately a story about both the essential core of discipleship and a warning to know the time in which we live.

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Love that Gives Us a Direction to Face and a Way to Be

Jesus’ double command to us comes to us as a gift. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and with all your mind, and Love your neighbor as yourself.” This double command gives us a direction to focus – toward God who is OUR love, who loves us already. And it gives us a way to be – we are meant to be people who live as God’s image-bearers, as people who love their neighbors in a world that is hurting.

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Pay Taxes. Worship God.

When faced with a question posed specifically to entrap him, Jesus gives his followers throughout the centuries a mature and valuable teaching about engaging in politics.

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Questions of Authority

By what authority does Jesus speak and act? This question is as important for us to answer as it was for the religious leaders who challenged Jesus. In fact, it’s one of those questions that requires an answer.

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What makes the Church the Church?

As the Church, we have the enormous privilege of sharing Peter’s confession that gives hope to those who are lost in darkness: “Jesus, you are the answer, the point, the last word, the meaning. You are it!”

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Great Is Your Faith

What do we do when God is silent? What do we do when Jesus’ followers are unloving and hostile? What do we do when Jesus himself seems to be against us? Perhaps we could follow in the footsteps of a remarkable person, a Canaanite woman whose extraordinary, persistent faith shines forth through the ages.

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How God moves us through desolation

When we have been with Jesus in a desolate place, he sends us forward.  Probably before we are ready, he sends us forward.  But like Jacob who walked forward with a limp and like the disciples who went forward in a boat into a dangerous storm, being sent forward is not being sent into ease. Rather it is being sent to engage again with challenge and danger. All the while, as we take those first steps, Jesus is praying for us, interceding on our behalf to his Father.

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The Mustard Seed

The Kingdom of heaven is like a wild, invasive plant. It breaks in and disrupts the status quo of our lives. And yet, even as it disrupts, the main purpose of the Kingdom is not anarchy or chaos, but shelter.

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The Whole Passage

Apparently, Jesus (much like the John the Baptist) wasn’t very succesful. Although crowds would gather to catch a glimpse of him, very few embraced the radically different path he invited them to walk. In response, Jesus offers a stark warning and an extraordinary invitation, and it’s crucial that we hear both words for ourselves today.

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Type 2 Discipleship

Jesus invites us into situations where we are forced to ask: are we going to make it? This is Type 2 Discipleship. Only in the midst of the troubles and challenges Jesus guarantee we will face, do we learn what it means to lay down our old lives and take up His Resurrection life.

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