Sermon for 19th Sunday After Pentecost-10-03-2021

Psalm 26; Job 1:1-2:10; Hebrews 1:1-4; Mark 10:2-16

Psalm 26 is a prayer, a petition. David’s appeal was based on his willful choice of the Lord and he willingness to have that choice tested by the Lord. His hope rested no on his merits but on God’s justice. The blameless life David presented consists not in a perfect performance; rather in an inner life which loves the Lord’s house and His glory. We can neither earn nor demand God’s vindication, beloved; but we can vigorously ask for it because of who He is and not because of who we are.

In our lesson from Job, we see a man of God, named Job, who was blessed with a large family, wealth, camels, donkeys and oxen, large numbers of servants, and was considered to be an upright man and blameless, with a strong reverential fear of God. God permitted Satan to test Job’s faith. Would Job be obedient to God if he lost his great wealth, his family, and health? He was obedient and provided an example of obedience to all Christ’s followers. Job received messengers to find that one tragedy after another took away all that he had, including his family. Satan was sure Job would be crushed by all that had happened. Then, Satan assured God that if Job was beset by disease and potential death, Job would succumb to worldly ways, and Satan continued to pour on all he could upon Job. Satan claimed every person’s faith has its price. Job, however, proved Satan wrong, but his wife offered him another test of loyalty to desire to please loved ones may tempt us to disobey or forsake God. Job provided proof that our trust in God no matter how much we suffer, will always defeat Satan’s tests.

As Christians, the biggest mistake we can make is to assume that God will never let us down, He will not let us be hurt. Our lives as Christians is a daily walk, and one that may takes us into rejection, humiliation by others, and all sorts of things that we may not expect, but each test we face is one we face with Him through prayer and seeking His guidance, we are never alone, but He wants us to seek Him.

The author of Hebrews, probably a priest of Jewish origin. Jesus had fulfilled and surpassed the prophetic word, was stronger than angels and has been placed in the judgment seat for entry into the Kingdom of God. The author challenged his readers by telling them to leave he old ways behind and move toward maturity in Christ. The author is more like a preacher than a letter writer, because he goes straight into his message, for the people needed to understand they needed to continue in their faith with Christ.

The Gospel of Mark sees Jesus entering the region of Judea and across the Jordan. Some Pharisees wanted to test Him and asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” Jesus replied: “What did Moses command you?” he said. They said, “Moses permitted a man to write a certificate of divorce and send her away.” Jesus surprised his audience with strong talk abut marriage and divorce. Jewish teachers debated the meaning of a divorce, some stronger than others, but Jesus told them that the only reason God allowed Moses to make any provision for divorce was a concession to human sin!

Jesus told the audience that God’s intention for marriage was for a lifetime. When two people marry, they become one flesh, they are no longer two, but one. Jesus told His disciples privately that one whoever divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another commits adultery. This is a human sin problem, and each of us knows that to be forgiven for our sins, we must come before our Lord, in full repentance of our actions, seeking not to repeat them, thus those who marry should do so solemnly and intentionally to stay together and working out any problems together. Marriage is not be to be taken lightly.

We close with one of my favorite stories, little children were brought to Jesus for Him to place his hands on them, and pray for them, but the disciples rebuke those who had brought the children. Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” He then placed his hands on them, and blessed them. The kingdom of God consists of those with the “childlike qualities of trust, faith, and humility.”

I love the imagery of the children surrounding Jesus and can imagine a smile on His face, as He touches each one of them. I look forward to the day when Jesus puts His hands on my face, smiles, and says: “Welcome into the Kingdom.” “Your childlike faith, trust and humility is welcome here!” Don’t you want this too? Amen.

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