Saturday, August 31, 2013

Proper 17

Pentecost 15 – Proper 17
Luke 14:1, 7-14
September 1, 2013
A case in humility

The Savior in dealing with His hearers expresses Himself in simple words and concepts that we need to know and understand concerning our relationship with Him and with each other. Today He speaks concerning a humble person.  A humble person; we’re told by the Savior, will take the lowest place and will invite the needy.

1       This is a good insight into a rather boorish rich behavior found in this world today.

A.    There is a class of people who classify themselves as above all others. They can use their wealth as a means of looking down on others with contempt.

B.    There are three kinds of people in this world with respect to money.

1.    For some, money is meant to be spent.
2.       For some, money is men to be saved.
3.       For some, money is nothing at all.

Where you find yourself upon this continuum of regard for money will determine how you will react to others of less or little means.

C.    When you find someone of less means then you – how do you react to them? Do you invite them to your place, into your home – knowing that they can never repay you? Or do you invite only those who are able to comply or repay? Whom are you willing to associate with says much about your character. Again, will you associate only with those who can repay and return the favor? If you do – what good have you proved?

D.    Showing compassion, especially to those who are wanting,
helps us to be gracious and practice true hospitality. It is one thing to entertain someone who is able to repay in kind. It is yet another to demonstrate the compassion of Christ to those who are not able to return in kind.

Jesus is not simply giving good advice. Rather, He's turning convention on its head. He's challenging the status quo. He's inciting something of a social revolution. And for all these reasons he's inviting the death sentence He eventually gets.

Jesus dares not only to stand outside the social order of His day; He dares not only to call that social order -- and all social orders -- into question; but He also says these things are not of God. Jesus proclaims here and throughout the gospel that in the kingdom of God there are no pecking orders.

And while that sounds at first blush like it ought to be good news, it throws us into radical dependence on God's grace and God's grace alone. We can't stand, that is, on our accomplishments, or our wealth, or positive attributes, or good looks, or strengths, or IQ, or our movement up or down the reigning pecking order. There is, suddenly, nothing we can do to establish ourselves before God and the world except rely upon God's desire to be in relationship with us and with all people. Which means that we have no claim on God; rather, we have been claimed by God and invited to love others as we've been loved.  

Transition: Practicing hospitality is a good model for living. It gives us insight into the life of the Savior.

2. Still deeper consider how the Savior chooses to deal with you.

A.    He becomes human. He breaks into time and space to be our Savior. He gives up the glories of heaven and takes on human flesh. He takes on flesh to be a man to become Your substitute.

B.     He takes your sin. Jesus, the innocent victim, who had committed no treachery – He dies for the human race. He became your substitute. When Jesus died all sin was drowned and killed. When Jesus took your sins to Himself He took each and every sin to Himself.

He did not wait to be asked to save the human race. He decided before time dawned or before there was a time, or a sun moor or stars to mark time – Jesus cam to bear your sin in His own body that we may die to sin and live unto righteousness.

C.     He forgives your sins for His own name sake. Jesus obeys His Father’s will, willingly took your sin and proceeded to forgive the sins of men. By faith you and I look to Jesus for forgiveness and life. Faith clings to Jesus Christ alone who did for all the world atone – He is your own redeemer.

We are rich for He was poor; is not this a wonder? Therefore praise God evermore here on earth and yonder.”

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