SER # 34Wa
FIRST UMC – NEBRASKA CITY
11TH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST
SUNDAY AUGUST 16TH 2020
TEXTS: MATTHEW 15: 10 – 21 – 28
THEME: MESSAGE OF THE HEART.
Jesus was once again among the people sharing the good news. Given the information we got from the passage people must have been arguing about what to eat and what not to eat. The Pharisees were complaining because the disciples had plucked the ears of the wheat as they walked across the wheat field on Sabbath which meant they were working. The Pharisees were keen on what people eat and what they represent but Jesus was challenging them to something that is even greater than what they thought. Jesus reminded them of the very obvious thing that ‘what we eat through the mouth somehow goes out to as waste but does not defile us.’ It is what comes out of our hearts that often defile or tell the story of who we are. Jesus wanted the disciples and the pharisees to learn very important lesson from what really comes of the heart of human.
- From the heart comes blessing: The Hebrew word for blessing is Barak which also might mean praise, congratulate or salute. The Kiswahili word for blessing in We are called to pronounce blessing not only to our family but to the church and people we love. Words of blessing coming from the heart of a parent means a lot to the child. Jesus was reminding the Pharisees that they had a responsibility to pronounce blessing. We have several stories in the bible where Patriarchs (church fathers) as quoted offering blessing to God’s people. God pronounces blessing to Abraham in the Old Testament. “I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all the peoples on the earth will be blessed through you” (Genesis 12: 2 – 3). God’s people are forever blessed as we read in the Beatitudes in Matthew 5. 3 -12. Paul also reminds the church in Ephesus that they are truly blessed. “Praise be to the God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessings in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3).
- From the heart comes grace: The grace of God is known as unmerited favor that God gives us. Instead of being punished God offer us forgiveness that we don’t deserve. It’s out of the heart that this kind of thinking can come from. The bible has lifted several verses that teach or remind us about grace. Paul writing to the church in Ephesus said these words as it regards to grace. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith and this is not from yourselves, it is a gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8). When words of grace come from our heart it means we are understanding and will not count on the mistakes of the other person. When grace is applied in every situation, we become less judgmental and more loving. Jesus was inviting the pharisees to be gracious in their actions and in what they said for what they said came from their heart.
- From the heart comes judgment: This was the biggest challenge of the Pharisees and other religious leaders of Jesus time. They counted themselves as the custodians of the moral and all religious practices. But more often than not Jesus was able to point out their hypocrisy. Remember one time, Jesus remined them to remove the log in their eyes before they try to get the speck out of the other person. “Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? (Luke 6:41). The bible warns us never to judge others. The pharisee seemed to be very good at judging anybody who was not conforming to their rules. These rules were not what the bible said but they rather added them to meet their own way of life. When it came to honoring the sabbath for example, they added so many rules around it such that it was almost impossible to fulfil the requirement of Sabbath. You could not even tie your shoes races or button your shirt for that amounted to working on a Sabbath day. Jesus was therefore teaching his audience that judgment comes from the heart but not from what people eat. We are remined by they word of God never to judge. “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you” (Matthew 7: 1-2).
- From the heart comes repentance: We know that when we repent before God our life is changed to a new beginning. When we repent from the heart, we become new creatures. People come before God to repent their sins. It is with repentant heart the we are to be received by our holy God. Through repentance we turn our hearts to God. Though we speak with our mouth the genuineness of our repentant is that which comes from our hearts. When people repent of their sins, they are set free from the bondage and become free. They are heaven bound. Repentance breaks the chain of oppression as well giving oneself a new beginning in life. God will always accept a repentant heart and God will not forsake it.