Good Morning! Here is the Sermon Recap from October 12.
Both sermons looked at Matthew 6, examining forgiveness and the Lord’s Prayer.
Morning Sermon: Matthew 6 (audio here)
Evening Sermon: Matthew 6 Extended (audio here)
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Here’s the basic version of the story used in the morning:
Today, if you would hear it, I would tell you a story. It is a story from a kingdom of old, from a time perhaps long ago, but not so long as you might think.
There was, in this time, a great kingdom. The king was gracious and wise, and his will was good. He had reigned since before the stars were known to shine, and there was no apparent ending to come of his time upon the throne.
No one truly knew the king, though he had messengers who went out upon his errands. None knew him, that is, save his son. At least, that was all that anyone knew. The king ruled from a throne set among a council of three, though none dared appeal to one seat or another, so tightly was the unity among them.
Since time immemorial the king had ruled, though few wanted to acknowledge his rule. He maintained the roads, saw to it that many of the fields and herds were cared for, and showed benevolence that only a truly great king could show. Still and all, his subjects rarely acknowledged him.
The king was not unaware of the rebellion. He had known it, not only before it happened but before he had brought people forth to populate his kingdom. His messengers had, perhaps, wondered at why he would do this. In fact, some of his own servants had taken their responsibility of working the king’s errands and bent it to the point of dragging the king’s subjects away from his ways and into following their own.
The king had his representatives throughout the kingdom, some gathered tightly into one group, but all working to spread the fame and obedience to the true king throughout the realms. These representatives had difficulty, though, as the nature of men is to sometime strive with one another as much as with itself.
In anticipation of this, there were rules and teachings intended to train the people to follow after the king’s ways. He was just and truthful, so the people were commanded to be like him. They stumbled often, for even on the best of days perfection was unattainable.
Further, the king was known for the perfection not merely of action but of desire and thought. None of his subjects could match his decrees and many gave over to the enemy in despair, following those who had become derelict of duty joyfully.
This was also not lost on the king, who purposed that the rebellion would end, and that his rule would be known. His justice would be known as it should be, righteous and pure, and no longer feared but blessed.
To this end, he sent first heralds to proclaim the plan. It was no different than it had ever been, but it was different than the people had understood. Nevertheless, his heralds proclaimed the coming events, their truth attested by the king’s provision of other information about the kingdom at the same time.
All the while, the king had a feast prepared for his people. It was not the stuff they were accustomed to, for his fare would satisfy all their wants as well as their needs. It remained only for the people to come.
They could not come, though, as they were. The feast was to be held in the presence of the king, and the people could not come before him in their rebellion. The rebellion must end first.
At this point, the king executed the pinnacle stroke of his plan. Rather than rely on heralds or the vain hope that someone might blunder into his feasting hall, the king sent forth his son, the one who shared in the council of the kingdom, occupying one of the thrones of tri-unity. This son would go and bring in all the subjects of the kingdom.
In his travel to the people, though, he did not come unscathed from the lofty grandeur of the palace. First, he had to mask his magnificence, for the righteous justice of his place in the kingdom was too much for the people to behold. This was not all that he did, though.
The king’s justice required the lives of the rebels. The king sent his son to proclaim his grace to the people, for the two had formed a plan that would permit the rebels to lay down their rebellion and return to the king.
The rebels, though, fearing the identity of the son determined that the best course of action was to kill him. After all, if he were there to execute the king’s justice then they would face death themselves. And nobody wanted that.
But here they were caught unawares by the wisdom of the king and the compassion of the son. For in executing the one who was without fault, they added to their rebellion and yet allotted its payment as well. The king’s law required the lives of the rebels, but the son died in their place.
All was not done at this point, though, for the goal was not merely to remove the penalty of the rebels but to restore them to right fellowship with the king. To bring them back to where they belonged. To bring them to the feast of the king.
Those whom the son had called began the journey to the kingdom, learning to set aside their rebellions and walk in the son’s path, knowing it to be the way back to the king. As they passed throughout the land, they sent forth tidings of the king and his grace, his mercy, and his justice. They gathered all who would to join in the journey.
At times, some of those who gathered intentionally set out to the furthest expanse of the kingdom to find others who needed to join their travels. Many heard the message, though not all responded to it. Some remained deaf to the king’s command and call to his table, no matter what was done to persuade them.
Others? They came to walk the path for a time, but their heart never came alive to the king’s call and sometime later wandered away.
As they traveled, the people heard the words recounted of the grace of the king. Of the king’s efforts to bring them home, for the son had laid down a perfectly clear path, and to those whose eyes were no longer blinded by rebellion, they could see that not only the footprints of the son coming to them, but the ones leading them back to the king. They marveled at this, knowing that the words of the heralds had suggested the son would not remain in the grave and having heard from others that he had, indeed, overcome the penalty of rebellion to guide the path back.
There were obstacles along the way, and in the process the rebels who had been redeemed began to struggle in their steps. Not only did they struggle in their steps on the path, but it was not uncommon for them to bicker with each other.
First, there were those who were aghast at who else had joined in the journey. Old hurts from the fields they came from were not readily forgotten, and the people reheard the old debates perhaps too readily.
Second, there were debates about the right manner to follow the path. After many bitter grumps in the night, some of the travelers never spoke to each other again!
Others stumbled from the path and returned, but were treated badly by the ones who never left.
After all, they had not left the son’s footsteps! How could anyone depart and expect to come back without their fellow walkers exacting a price for their infidelity?
Upon arrival at the king’s table, though, the traveling party was surprised to find a few things.
First, they were pleasantly surprised to find the son of the king present, very much alive. They had believed it true, but here they saw him.
Second, and less pleasant, they found that the king had assigned seats to them all. Many found themselves assigned to sit beside the very ones they had shunned on the road, or commanded to aid those who they had wronged in the journey.
Many stood to argue, forgetting that they were in the presence of the king—and as they perceived his judgment about to fall on them, they saw the son lift up his hand, showing the scars of their own abuse on his body.
His hands showed not only the marks of their execution, but of the harms they had visited upon one another. His face showed the pain and grief of not only their betrayal, but of all the harm they had seen in their lives.
The king stood, and spoke very clearly to the people gathered:
Those who have truly understood what I have done for them, what my son has done, recognize that the harms they hold against one another pale in comparison. At each of your seats, you will find a list of the charges related to your rebellion.
You, of course, can do little but plead guilty. In fact, you already did.
But consider that I have allowed, through the price you exacted from my son, you to gather here at my table. Yet you dare to hold your neighbor’s offenses against him in this time?
Do you consider that wise? Is that the character you have learned from me?
You are welcome at my table, but you must acknowledge that so, too, are these. Even your enemies.
Footnote: There were some who had traveled that were not present at the great banquet. Along the way, their harms had become too much; he had set a table for them where they could heal before joining the larger party. The king’s grace had extended even to those who caused their harms, but his compassion did not require they face the source of their immense pain yet.
1. Prayer is about communication with God
2. Public prayer should consider the hearers (John 11)
3. The petitions matter:
a. Identity of the one prayed to
i. all of the request petitions of the Lord's prayer are subordinate to the concept of surrender to the will of God
ii. It is about the embrace of His kingdom
VI. (7-9 Minutes) Dining Room (personal growth)/Living Room (immediate life application)
A. Dining Room (personal growth): How this nourishes us as believers: recognizing the greatness of a God who already knows
B. Living Room (immediate life application): Prayer--fascinating that we get very social media worked up about praying with "in Jesus name" at the end, and yet Jesus did not teach us to do that!