This morning's worship focused on beatitudes 3 and 4 with two challenges. 1) about rehabilitating the key Jesus quality of MEEKNESS. Our aggressive world considers meekness means weakness, but meekness could not be more different from weakness. Actually its about strong personality under God's control. Strong personality - yes! But personality demonstrating the fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22) -gentleness with the strength of steel. God blesses strong personalities submitted to him. Velvet covered bricks!
And 2) about how authentic is our desire for God to be more real - hungering and thirsting after righteousness. This gave us opportunity to marvel at Rom. 3: 21-26 and to consider the level of our own spiritual desire in our practical lives.
I had the luxury of being able to preach for around 30 minutes but next week I shall need discipline to keep it under 20 minutes! On the anniversary of 9/11 there is much to do in the two morning services. The next two beatitudes are:
Blessed are the merciful for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart for they will see God.
Three Scriptures will frame the sermon: Mark 10:13-22 and Matthew 18:21-22 for the first of these beatitudes; Mark 7:1-8 for the second.
I need to work hard to focus this sermon appropriately. There is so much rich teaching here.
At this stage of preparation the main impact of my sermon is:
By the grace of God this sermon will SAY - Christian living means Christ-like mercy love for those in need and who hurt us, together with personal holiness.
This sermon will DO - challenge hearers about showing mercy love with purity of heart.
As always I am grateful for friends who are sharing in my journey. All insights will be welcome.