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God's Invitation

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GOD’S INVITATION

SUNDAY, JULY 14, 2002

YEAR A, PROPER 10 (15)

SELMA ORIGINAL FREE WILL BAPTIST CHURCH, SELMA, NC

WELCOME

THANKS

LET US PRAY:

COME HOLY SPIRIT, FILL THE HEARTS OF YOUR FAITHFUL AND KINDLE IN US THE FIRE OF YOUR LOVE.  SEND FORTH YOUR SPIRIT AND WE SHALL BE CREATED.  O GOD, WHO BY THE LIGHT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT YOU DID INSTRUCT THE HEARTS OF THE FAITHFUL, GRANT THAT BY THE SAME HOLY SPIRIT WE MAY BE MADE TRULY WISE AND EVER ENJOY YOUR CONSOLATIONS, THROUGH JESUS CHRIST OUR LORD.  AMEN

Isaiah

55Oh, come to the water all you who are thirsty; though you have no money, come! Buy and eat; come, buy wine and milk without money, free!2Why spend money on what cannot nourish and your wages on what fails to satisfy? Listen carefully to me, and you will have good things to eat and rich food to enjoy.3Pay attention, come to me; listen, and you will live. I shall make an everlasting covenant with you in fulfilment of the favours promised to David.4Look, I have made him a witness to peoples, a leader and lawgiver to peoples.5Look, you will summon a nation unknown to you, a nation unknown to you will hurry to you for the sake of Yahweh your God, because the Holy One of Israel has glorified you.

6Seek out Yahweh while he is still to be found, call to him while he is still near.7Let the wicked abandon his way and the evil one his thoughts. Let him turn back to Yahweh who will take pity on him, to our God, for he is rich in forgiveness;8for my thoughts are not your thoughts and your ways are not my ways, declares Yahweh.9For the heavens are as high above earth as my ways are above your ways, my thoughts above your thoughts.

10For, as the rain and the snow come down from the sky and do not return before having watered the earth, fertilising it and making it germinate to provide seed for the sower and food to eat,11so it is with the word that goes from my mouth: it will not return to me unfulfilled or before having carried out my good pleasure and having achieved what it was sent to do.

Conclusion

12Yes, you will go out with joy and be led away in safety. Mountains and hills will break into joyful cries before you and all the trees of the countryside clap their hands.13Cypress will grow instead of thorns, myrtle instead of nettles. And this will be fame for Yahweh, an eternal monument never to be effaced.[1]

 

 

 

Romans

B:     THE CHRISTIAN’S SPIRITUAL LIFE

The life of the spirit

8…9You, however, live not by your natural inclinations, but by the Spirit, since the Spirit of God has made a home in you. Indeed, anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.10But when Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin but the spirit is alive because you have been justified;11and if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead has made his home in you, then he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will give life to your own mortal bodies through his Spirit living in you.12So then, my brothers, we have no obligation to human nature to be dominated by it.13If you do live in that way, you are doomed to die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the habits originating in the body, you will have life.

Children of God

14All who are guided by the Spirit of God are sons of God;15for what you received was not the spirit of slavery to bring you back into fear; you received the Spirit of adoption, enabling us to cry out, ‘Abba, Father!’16The Spirit himself joins with our spirit to bear witness that we are children of God.17And if we are children, then we are heirs, heirs of God and joint–heirs with Christ, provided that we share his suffering, so as to share his glory.

Glory as our destiny

18In my estimation, all that we suffer in the present time is nothing in comparison with the glory which is destined to be disclosed for us,19for the whole creation is waiting with eagerness for the children of God to be revealed.20It was not for its own purposes that creation had frustration imposed on it, but for the purposes of him who imposed it—21with the intention that the whole creation itself might be freed from its slavery to corruption[2]

 

Matthew

13That same day, Jesus left the house and sat by the lakeside,2but such large crowds gathered round him that he got into a boat and sat there. The people all stood on the shore,3and he told them many things in parables.

 

Parable of the sower

He said, ‘Listen, a sower went out to sow.4As he sowed, some seeds fell on the edge of the path, and the birds came and ate them up.5Others fell on patches of rock where they found little soil and sprang up at once, because there was no depth of earth;6but as soon as the sun came up they were scorched and, not having any roots, they withered away.7Others fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them.8Others fell on rich soil and produced their crop, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.9Anyone who has ears should listen!’

Why Jesus speaks in parables

10Then the disciples went up to him and asked, ‘Why do you talk to them in parables?’11In answer, he said, ‘Because to you is granted to understand the mysteries of the kingdom of Heaven, but to them it is not granted.12Anyone who has will be given more and will have more than enough; but anyone who has not will be deprived even of what he has.13The reason I talk to them in parables is that they look without seeing and listen without hearing or understanding.14So in their case what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah is being fulfilled: Listen and listen, but never understand! Look and look, but never perceive!15This people’s heart has grown coarse, their ears dulled, they have shut their eyes tight to avoid using their eyes to see, their ears to hear, their heart to understand, changing their ways and being healed by me. *16‘But blessed are your eyes because they see, your ears because they hear!17In truth I tell you, many prophets and upright people longed to see what you see, and never saw it; to hear what you hear, and never heard it.

The parable of the sower explained

18‘So pay attention to the parable of the sower.19When anyone hears the word of the kingdom without understanding, the Evil One comes and carries off what was sown in his heart: this is the seed sown on the edge of the path.20The seed sown on patches of rock is someone who hears the word and welcomes it at once with joy.21But such a person has no root deep down and does not last; should some trial come, or some persecution on account of the word, at once he falls away.22The seed sown in thorns is someone who hears the word, but the worry of the world and the lure of riches choke the word and so it produces nothing.23And the seed sown in rich soil is someone who hears the word and understands it; this is the one who yields a harvest and produces now a hundredfold, now sixty, now thirty.’[3]

 

 

 

 

 

 

BELOVED

YOU ARE CORDIALLY INVITED TO FOLLOW MY SON, JESUS

ON A JOURNEY TO SALVATION

WORK CLOTHES, AN OPEN MIND, A CONTRITE HEART, AND A SPIRITUAL ATTITUDE REQUIRED

EXPECT TO ENCOUNTER TROUBLE ALONG THE WAY

FOLLOWING MY SON, JESUS, WILL NOT BE EASY BUT HE WILL LOVE YOU AND I WILL FORGIVE YOU.

YOUR CREATOR,

GOD

BELOVED

YOU ARE CORDIALLY INVITED TO A HEAVENLY BANQUET

AT THE THRONE OF MY FATHER, ABBA

TO BEGIN AT A TIME YET TO BE DETERMINED

LASTING UNTIL FOREVER

CASUAL ATTIRE

RSVP AS SOON AS POSSIBLE

YOUR SAVIOR,

JESUS

                                           

 

 

 

WHO IS INVITING US?

· GOD HIMSELF

· AND GOD’S SON, JESUS!

 

WHO IS INVITED?

· EVERYONE

· THE GOOD, THE BAD, THE UGLY…EVERYONE

 

INVITED TO WHAT?

· TO FOLLOW JESUS

· TO EAT, DRINK, BE FRUITFUL

· TO INVITE OTHERS

 

HOW SHALL WE RESPOND TO THE INVITATION?

· TRAVEL THE SPIRITUAL PATH

· NOT THE PATH OF LEGALISM

· OPEN OUR HEARTS TO THE SEEDS OF THE KINGDOM

        

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • WE NEED TO BE HONEST ABOUT OUR DOUBT…THE OPPOSITE OF FAITH IS NOT DOUBT BUT SIN…DOUBT IS OFTEN THE PLACE WHERE WE BEGIN OUR FAITH JOURNEY.

 

  • EXPECT CRITICISM AND REJECTION IF WE FOLLOW JESUS.                                “IT IS NOT NORMAL FOR CHRISTIANITY TO BE POPULAR.”  BILLY GRAHAM

 

  • EXPECT DISAPPOINTMENT.  BUT SOME SEED WILL FALL ON FERTILE GROUND AND THE HARVEST WILL BE BOUNTIFUL

 

  • LOOK AND LISTEN FOR GOD’S TRUTH.  GIVE THE SEED TIME TO GERMINATE.  WATER IT, LET IN THE SUNLIGHT, AND BE PATIENT.

 

  • WHAT DOES THE SCRIPTURE SAY; WHAT DOES THE SCRIPTURE MEAN?
  • BOTH QUESTIONS ARE IMPORTANT; BOTH QUESTIONS NEED ANSWERS
  • SCRIPTURE HAS MANY LEVELS OF MEANING; SCRIPTURE IS ALIVE; SCRIPTURE NOT DEAD.
  • READ IT AGAIN, AND AGAIN, AND AGAIN, AND AGAIN.

 

 

 

 

 

WE ARE INVITED

  • TO COME
  • TO EAT AND DRINK
  • TO LISTEN
  • TO BE SPIRITUAL
  • TO BE GOD’S CHILDREN, HEIRS TO THE KINGDOM
  • TO BE FRUITFUL, BOUNTIFUL, AND OVERFLOWING
  • TO FOLLOW JESUS…WHEREVER

 

  • JESUS OFTEN LEAVES THINGS UNSAID, REQUIRING US TO THINK!

              “JESUS CAME TO TAKE AWAY OUR SINS NOT OUR MINDS.”

 

  • SOME OF US HEAR ONLY WHAT SUPPORTS OUR OWN VIEWS.    WE HAVE A CLOSED MIND OR A HARDENED HEART AND GOD’S TRUTH CANNOT PENETRATE OUR MIND OR OUR HEART.

 

  • SOME OF US WILL ACCEPT ALMOST ANYTHING AND WE CHANGE OUR MINDS CONTINUALLY, GOING WITH THE LATEST FAD.  FACED WITH THE SMALLEST DIFFICULTY WE TAKE THE EASY ROAD, REJECTING THE KINGDOM PATH.

 

  • SOME OF US HAVE NO CONVICTIONS AND EVEN SATAN’S IDEAS ARE OK. WE HAVE NO DISCERNMENT, NO CONVICTIONS.  DISASTER AWAITS US AND WE WILL BEAR NO FRUIT.

 

 

 

WHEN SHALL THE KINGDOM COME?

·        WE PRAY, “…THY KINGDOM COME, THY WILL BE DONE, ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN.”

 

WHERE IS THE KINGDOM?  IS THE KINGDOM IN THE HERE AND THE NOW OR IS IT SOMEWHERE ELSE AND IN THE FUTURE?

·        JESUS IMPLIES BOTH NOW AND THEN, BOTH HERE AND SOMEWHERE ELSE. 

  • HE SAYS THAT THE WHEN AND WHERE ARE PERCEIVED BY THOSE WHO THINK DIFFERENTLY AND LIVE DIFFERENTLY. 
  • THOSE BORN FROM ABOVE, THOSE BORN AGAIN, THE WEAK, AND THE MEEK; THEY WILL SEE AND INHERIT THE KINGDOM!

 

 

THE PARABLE OF THE SOWER IS THE FIRST PARABLE JESUS TELLS AND THE ONLY ONE WITH AN EXPLANATION.

 

  • EVERY SINGLE PERSON LISTENING TO JESUS KNEW THAT SEED WAS PRECIOUS AND VALUABLE.  IT WAS TO BE THROWN ONLY ON A FIELD.  NO DIMWIT WOULD THROW IT ON A PATH OR ON ROCKS OR AMONG THORNS – NO DIMWIT THAT IS EXCEPT GOD!

 

 

 

 

  • JESUS IS ASKING US TO BELIEVE THROUGH THIS PARABLE IN A GOD WHO WANTS ALL OF US TO RECEIVE THE SEED, EVEN THE MOST SHALLOW, THE HARDEST OF HEART, AND THE MOST EVIL.  GOD THE SOWER WILL THROW THE HEAVENLY KINGDOM SEED ON EVERYONE OF US, REGARDLESS.

 

  • THE GALILEAN FARMERS WHO WERE LISTENING TO THIS CARPENTER/PREACHER SPEAKING TO THEM FROM A BOAT MUST HAVE HAD A GOOD LONG BELLY LAUGH AT THIS PARABLE – A SOWER THROWING SEED EVERY WHICH WAY TO ALL SORTS AND CONDITIONS OF SOIL – NOW THAT IS FUNNY!

 

  • WHEN THEY HAD FINISHED LAUGHING, JESUS WAS READY TO SPRING THE TRUTH ON THEIR RECENTLY PLOWED MINDS.  GOD WAS SOWING THE KINGDOM SEED AND JESUS WAS THE SEED THROWN OUT ONTO EVERY KIND OF SOIL. 

 

  • JESUS WAS IN THE BUSINESS OF FLINGING HIMSELF AND HIS MESSAGE TO EVERYONE, NOT JUST TO THE PLOWED GROUND OF THE DEVOUT, THE RELIGIOUS, AND THE WELL BEHAVED.  JESUS, THE SEED, WAS CAST ESPECIALLY TO THE ROCKY AND WEED INFESTED SOIL OF SINNERS.  THERE IS NO GROUND THAT DOES NOT RECEIVE THE SEED. 

 

 

 

  • THE HARVEST OF COURSE LIES IN OUR RESPONSE TO THE KINGDOM SEED.  THE GOOD NEWS IS THAT OUR ROCKY HEARTS CAN BE SOFTENED, THE WELL WORN PATHS OF OUR MINDS CAN BE OPENED, AND THE HOLY SPIRIT CAN RENEW OUR WEED INFESTED INNER LIVES SO THAT WE MIGHT RECEIVE THE KINGDOM SEED INTO A FERTILE LIFE AND BE FRUITFUL.

 

  • JESUS NEVER SEEMS TO WORRY AND FRET ABOUT THE HARVEST.  HE LEAVES THAT UP TO GOD AND SO SHOULD WE.  UNDERSTANDING THE GOSPEL IS NOT AN ACHIEVEMENT BUT A GIFT OF GOD.

 

  • AS CHRISTIANS WE BELIEVE THAT THE VICTORY OF THE KINGDOM IS SURE AND CERTAIN AND HAS BEEN PAID FOR WITH THE BLOOD OF JESUS.  WE MUST ONLY ACCEPT THE INVITATION TO COME AND SEE.

 

  • THE FRUIT, THE BOUNTY, AND THE INCREASE ALL BELONG TO GOD AND GOD WILL PROVIDE.

 

  • INVITATION

 

  • AND NOW UNTO GOD THE FATHER, GOD THE SON, AND GOD THE HOLY SPIRIT BE ASCRIBED ALL MIGHT, MAJESTY, POWER, AND DOMINION THIS DAY AND FOREVERMORE.  AMEN.

 

  • HYMN #_______________.


----

[1]The New Jerusalem Bible. 1995, c1985. Includes indexes. (Is 55:1-56:1). Doubleday: Garden City, N.Y.

[2]The New Jerusalem Bible. 1995, c1985. Includes indexes. (Ro 8:9-18). Doubleday: Garden City, N.Y.

[3]The New Jerusalem Bible. 1995, c1985. Includes indexes. (Mt 13:1-24). Doubleday: Garden City, N.Y.

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