Faithlife Sermons

Reloading the Gospel

THE MATRIX  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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We are a people of faith and Christ calls us to lay our fears aside and put that faith in action.

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Scripture

1 Corinthians 1:18–25 (NLT)

18 The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God. 19 As the Scriptures say, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise and discard the intelligence of the intelligent.” 20 So where does this leave the philosophers, the scholars, and the world’s brilliant debaters? God has made the wisdom of this world look foolish. 21 Since God in his wisdom saw to it that the world would never know him through human wisdom, he has used our foolish preaching to save those who believe. 22 It is foolish to the Jews, who ask for signs from heaven. And it is foolish to the Greeks, who seek human wisdom. 23 So when we preach that Christ was crucified, the Jews are offended and the Gentiles say it’s all nonsense. 24 But to those called by God to salvation, both Jews and Gentiles, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 This foolish plan of God is wiser than the wisest of human plans, and God’s weakness is stronger than the greatest of human strength.

Focus Statement

We are a people of faith and Christ calls us to lay our fears aside and put that faith in action.

Point of Relation

So, here we are, the final chapter of this journey through the Matrix.
All along, you have known who Neo is believed to be by Morpheus...
THE ONE…a Christ-like figure who will save humanity from slavery to Artificial Intelligence.
THE ONE who would destroy the Matrix and the machines that run it and restore humanity back to it’s rightful place...
To LIFE…real and free LIFE.
THE ONE who will SAVE the world and humanity…who will restore order…and establish peace and harmony.
We also know that one of Neo’s team members, Cypher, is cynical;
Trinity is unsure, and others are more curious to see if it is true...
Morpheus is certain…no one else is…including NEO.
You will also recall that Neo visited the Oracle who told him some interesting, if not disappointing, things.
In fact, it wasn’t so much what she told him…but what he thought she told him.
She, if you recall, looked at him and said, “hmm…that’s interesting, but...” and you’ll say:
"But What”, Neo replied.
“But you already know what I am going to say.”
“I’m not the One,” Neo responded.
So, she in fact only stated that he “knew” what she was going to say...
But she never told him whether or not he was The One.
She let him make his own assumptions.
You will also recall that she did share that Morpheus really believes Neo is the One...
And, to be fair, the Oracle was the one who revealed to Morpheus that he would be the one to find THE ONE...
But Morpheus believes Neo is The One…he is so certain...
that he will sacrifice himself to save Neo’s life.
This is where we pick up today.
As Neo finishes with the Oracle, he and the team head to their hotel, which is the building they arrived at when they entered the Matrix…
remember, they came through a land phone line…like the OLD dial-up way of connecting to the net...
Which is perhaps the one place the film slightly dates itself...
Once they reach that building they realize that the Agents are on to them and...
they eventually find out that Cypher betrayed them all.
In order for them to escape, they tried to climb down floors from inside the wall.
But when Cypher sneezed…shocker there...
The agents hear them and begin to tear down the wall.
That is when Morpheus chooses to save Neo and the team’s life...
and he jumps through the dry wall and attack the agents to buy the rest time. to escape.
Once captured, and he is captured. they torture Morpheus to get him to give up the location of ZION.
Now, he did that so that they could escape…believing he found The ONE…and his call had been fulfilled in finding Neo.
But, as we know, Neo doesn’t believe he is The One and as such…he believes Morpheus is throwing his life and his ability to find The One away...
So, rather than stay on the ship, Neo and Trinity decided that they would take an arsenal of weapons with them and:
RESCUE MORPHEUS from the Agents.
I am not going to go into too much detail here because, hey, we are watching the movie afterwards anyway…so...
But let’s just say that Neo and Trinity make a grand, EXPLOSIVE, entrance into the building Morpheus is being held in.
Which then alerts the Agents to their presence…which was all a part of the plan...
Divert the Agents from Morpheus so that he can be rescued...
But this also means that Neo…
Will have to face and confront the Agents.
In other, more plain words, Neo is going to sacrifice himself for Morpheus.
That’s the plan: It’s a SUICIDE MISSION.
So, Neo and Trinity carry that plan out...
and Neo pulls some really awesome stuff off…signs or miracles that there’s more to Neo than he realizes.
During the rescue, Neo was able to dodge bullets...
Though he got nicked.
Trinity witnessed it and asked how he did that…to an even more confused and shocked Neo…
who obviously had no clue how he did that.
He’s able to run up walls like he’s defying gravity...
He’s able to employ all his training as a MASTER...
Someone not to be messed with.
Still, we all know from last week…THE AGENTS are REALLY NOT to be messed with...
They can circumvent the Matrix, bend or break the rules…and if you kill them...
They come back through another human standing nearby.
It is virtually IMPOSSIBLE, let alone IMPROBABLE, to beat them...
UNLESS you are The One.
And Neo is put to the test as he is forced to fight Agent Smith…the leader of the Agents.
Punch for punch, kick for kick, Neo holds his own with the Agent…
Even defeating him…killing his host...
Yay, right?!?!?!
The good guy wins...
Except that Agent Smith didn’t die…just transferred to the nearest human...
and thatNeo opened the wrong door, with an agent on the inside, and BANG...
Neo gets shot multiple times in thestomach and chest.
In slow motion, we watch as Neo realizes, tries to resist death…but ultimately falls to the ground dead.
The film then goes aboard the Nebuchadnezzar to show Neo plugged into the Matrix...
His face lifeless…blood coming out of his mouth.
Morpheus…Trinity, who had escaped the Matrix and were back on the Nebuchadnezzar…and their comrade Tank...
They are all staring in disbelief that Neo died...
Trinity, standing by his lifelelss, plugged-in body…crying…whispered to him…”Neo. I am not afraid. You see the Oracle told me I would fall in love with The One. Sk you see, you can’t be dead. You can’t be. You know why? Because I love you. You hear me, I love you.”
and remember that the Oracle told Trinity that she would fall in love with the One.
And, again acting as the female face of God, kissed him...
As if to breathe life back into him.
And sure enough…though he had been dead FOR REAL…no life left in his body...
NEO woke up… as if from a SLEEP...
And was ALIVE…RESURRECTED…
He was THE ONE!
Death was NOT real in the Matrix…nothing is real in the Matrix…a
Neo’s death and resurrection…are solid proof he is the long-awaited ONE…
he is the Savior who was promised to come.
In his final showdown with the Agents, one of them sprays bullets at him from an automatic gun.
Neo lifts his hands and the bullets just pause in the air.
Just like there is NO SPOON…there ARE NO BULLETS.
Neo picks one out of the air and looks at it, drops it…followed by all of the bullets dropping to the floor.
Neo now TRANSCENDS THE MATRIX...
And rather than fighting in the Matrix…he simply hops inside the Agents…destroying the CODE…THE ANITVIRUS SOFTWARE…that creates them!
Neo IS THE ONE…and the film ends with him flying off to save the world from the Matrix.

Things to Consider

While the ending is awesome...
It took Neo sorting through is own fears and doubts and HAVING FAITH before he was able to reach his full potential and know his true identity.
The same is true for us as well...
We need to soul search, read and meditate on Scripture, pray daily, worship, partake in the Holy Sacraments...
And really discern who we are and what God is calling us to do…using our God given talents and abilities.
Then, like Neo, we need to ACTUALLY take action upon LIVING our ROLE out in the world.
What stops us from doing that?
FEAR.
There are risks to reloading the Gospel…to being a disciple of Jesus and bringing people to know and worship him.
We fear Evangelism for the obvious reasons...
People will look at us like we are crazy...
Like our story is far-fetched...
Like we are “puppets” to a human institution...
or whatever the case may be.
But still, if we allow our fears to cause us to doubt ourselves...
Then we will never see the full potential we have through Jesus Christ our Lord.

What Scripture Says

In our Scripture reading today, Paul tells us outright what risks there are to being a disciple…a promoter of the Gospel...
He writes that, and I quote from verse 18a:
“The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction!”
He continues to warn in verses 22-23:
“It is foolish to the Jews, who ask for signs from heaven. And it is foolish the Greeks, who seek human wisdom.
So when we preach that Christ was crucified, the Jews are offended and the Gentiles say it’s all nonsense.”
“But”, Paul says in verse 24-25, “to those called by God to salvation, both Jews and Gentiles, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God.
This foolish plan of God is wiser than the wisest of human plans, and God’s weakness is stronger than the greatest of human strength.”
Let me ask this, do you believe that?
Do you believe that God’s ”foolish” plan of the cross is wiser than the wisest of human plans...
And that God’s weakness…if there is such a thing…is stronger than the greatest of human strength?
Do you really believe that?
If we really, TRULY believe that…with all our being...
Then we will ACT upon that belief.
We will trust God’s plan and FOLLOW IT.
And a HUGE part of that plan involves US SHARING THE GOSPEL...
We should not assume everyone we meet knows and has a relationship with God...
Nor should we EVER be APATHETIC to the well-being of others…spiritual or otherwise.
We…as Christians…are called to be EVANGELISTS...
and our mission field is right here…NEWTON.
That is what Paul is saying...
Though it may look or sound foolish to those possessed by the world order...
But to those who HAVE BEEN CALLED TO SALVATION...
That’s you…that’s me…that’s US...
CHRIST is the POWER of God and the WiSDOM of God.
And here’s what Christ has commanded us: in Matthew 28:18-20:
“I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. 19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
Jesus also said in Mark 8:38
38 If anyone is ashamed of me and my message in these adulterous and sinful days, the Son of Man will be ashamed of that person when he returns in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”
And Paul very clearly and boldly responds to that in his letter to the Romans 1:16
16 For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes—the Jew first and also the Gentile.
I have both Romans 1:16 and Mark 8:38 tattooed on my right shoulder with the words Disciple and Not Ashamed .
That tattoo reminds me that I NEED that BOLDNESS in CHRIST as well.
I need to step out and serve Christ with no reserves or hesitations.
We all need that reminder…though I am not saying you all have to run out and get tattoos...
But we all need that reminder…and so you have it today...
But we all need to, as Christians, “come into our own” like Neo did, and remember the URGENCY.
We ACT on faith…not by the sight of things...
We step out in faith, embrace who we truly are in Christ our Lord...
and RELOAD THE GOSPEL into all that you do, and in all of whom you talk to.

What This Means for You

Friends, in order to be come RELOADERS OF THE GOSPEL...
you must, as Neo did, sort through your fears and doubts...
You must soul search...
And you must ask this question of yourselves:
“Do I TRUST who I think I am and doubt Christ?
Or do I TRUST WHO GOD knows I am…and FOLLOW IN FAITH?”
Christ believes in you and so do I...
Because I place my faith in Christ!
There are so many ways you could serve Christ and bring others to know him.
In worship alone, we have plenty of places we could use help...
It would be great to have a few more Lay Servants...
It would be great to have more people in the choir. Like to sing? Talk to Henry.
We need more people to step up for Sunday School…which is a part of worship too!
We could use people to step up as Trustees. Are you handy? Maybe that’s the gift God is calling you to use.
Or maybe you like to socialize and can have natural conversations with people where your faith is brought in as the conversations flows.

What This Means for Us

Church, we can do this together if we place our faith in THE ONE, not Neo…but Jesus Christ...
If we TRULY place our FAITH in God and step forward.
Together, with Christ leading the way, there is nothing that can stop us from Reloading the Gospel into the world...
Preparing the way for God’s Kingdom, ZION, to be here on earth as it is in heaven. Amen? Amen.
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