Sunday, September 10, 2017
One Whole-Church Worship Service (at church) at 10:00 a.m.
All-Church Picnic at Pottawatomie Park at 11:30 a.m.
Rev. Troy Hauser Brydon & Rev. Jill VanderWal and the kids from VBS Arts Camp 2017

Introduction to The Divine Conspiracy…

Welcome to Fall, and welcome to The Divine Conspiracy! I’m so glad we’re all together in one service today, and I cannot wait to see how this season is going to unfold among us.

The book we’re reading together begins with these words, “My hope is to gain a fresh hearing for Jesus, especially among those who believe they already understand him.” If you’ve been around church awhile – like me – then you know what it’s like to have these words of life and truth start to fade into the background, as though they are white noise. If church is a newer thing for you or if you haven’t given much thought to faith beyond going through the motions of worship, then what we’re heading into this fall has all the potential in the world to rock you, to wake you up. Either way, I truly hope you’re eager to join us on this journey.

A couple of notes as we move forward…

…How many of you have started reading The Divine Conspiracy? I’ll be the first one to admit that it’s not a book you just can’t put down, like Harry Potter. So, here’s some encouragement for you. Is the book easy? No. Is it worth the effort? Absolutely. You’ll catch the rhythm of the way Dallas Willard writes, and, believe me, you’ll get entranced in the ideas he’s setting forward. They changed my life, and I believe they can change yours for the good.

…There are many ways to engage this material beyond the book itself. Sermons, classes, videos, and podcasts are all available. Even if you can’t read the book, drop in to one of the several class offerings, download the weekly podcast to hear a few church members offer their perspective on the material, or find your own way to engage the material. Just don’t skip it. You’ll miss out.

So, without further ado, we’re going to give a fresh hearing of Jesus, beginning with today’s sermon, which Jesus wrote. Jill and I are going to deliver Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, which is deep and beautiful and loaded with things you’ve heard before but probably not often in one sitting.

Sit back. Turn your hearts and brains on. Listen to God’s Word to you.

Matthew 5-7 – NRSV and N.T. Wright’s Kingdom NT hybridized

Troy – 5 When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. 2 He took a deep breath, and began his teaching:

3 “Blessings on the poor in spirit! The kingdom of heaven is yours.

4 “Blessings on the mourners! You’re going to be comforted.

5 “Blessings on the meek! You’re going to inherit the earth.

6 “Blessings on people who hunger and thirst for God’s justice! You’re going to be satisfied.

7 “Blessings on the merciful! You’ll receive mercy yourselves.

8 “Blessings on the pure in heart! You will see God.

9 “Blessings on the peacemakers! You’ll be called God’s children.

10 “Blessings on people who are persecuted because of God’s way! The kingdom of heaven belongs to you.

11 “Blessings on you, when people slander you and persecute you, and say all kinds of wicked things about you falsely because of me! 12 Celebrate and rejoice: for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

 

13 “You are the salt of the earth! But if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything. You might as well throw it out and walk all over it.

14 “You are the light of the world! A city built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 No one after lighting a lamp puts it under a bucket; they put it on a lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others. Then they will see what wonderful things you do, and they’ll give glory to your Father in heaven.

 

17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. 18 I’m telling you the truth: until heaven and earth pass away, not one letter, not one stroke of a letter, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. 19 Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, will be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

21 “You have heard that it was said to those of ancient times, ‘You shall not murder’; and ‘whoever murders shall be liable to judgment.’

Jill

22 But I say to you that if you are angry with a brother or sister, you will be liable to judgment; and if you insult a brother or sister, you will be liable to the council; and if you say, ‘You fool,’ you will be liable to the fires of Gehenna.

23 So when you are offering your gift at the altar, if you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother or sister,and then come and offer your gift. 25 Make friends with your opponent quickly, while you are on the way to court with him, or your opponent may hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you will be thrown into prison. 26 Truly I tell you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny.

27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’

Troy

28 But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away; it is better for you to lose one of your members than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away; it is better for you to lose one of your members than for your whole body to go into hell.

31 “It was also said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ 32 But I say to you that anyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of unchastity, causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

33 “Again, you have heard that it was said to those of ancient times, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but carry out the vows you have made to the Lord.’

Jill

34 But I say to you, Do not swear at all, either by heaven

Troy (it’s God’s throne!);

Jill 35 don’t swear by the earth

Troy (it’s God’s footstool!);

Jill don’t swear by Jerusalem,

Troy (it is the city of the great King!).

Jill 36 And do not swear by your head

Troy (you cannot make one hair of it turn white or black!).

Jill

37 When you’re talking, say yes when you mean yes, and no when you mean no. Anything more than this comes from the evil one.

38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’

Troy

39 But I say to you, Don’t use violence to resist evil! But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also; 40 and if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give your cloak as well; 41 and if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile. 42 Give to everyone who begs from you, and do not refuse anyone who wants to borrow from you.

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’

Jill

44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Troy

6 “Beware of practicing your piety before others in order to be seen by them; for then you have no reward from your Father in heaven.

2 “So whenever you give money to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you. That’s what people do when they’re just play-acting, in the synagogues and the streets, so that people will be impressed by them. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. 3 But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your alms may be done in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

5 “And whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites – those play-actors; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, so that they may be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. 6 But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

7 “When you are praying, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard because of their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

9 “Pray then in this way:

All together – on screen

Our Father in heaven,

May your name be honored,

10     May your kingdom come.

May your will be done,

As in heaven, so on earth.

11     Give us today the bread we need now.

12     And forgive us the things we owe,

as we too have forgiven what was owed to us.

13     And do not bring us to the time of trial,

but rescue us from evil.

14 For if you forgive others the wrong they have done, your heavenly Father will also forgive you; 15 but if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive you what you have done wrong.

Jill

16 “And whenever you fast, do not look dismal, like the hypocrites – those play-actors, for they disfigure their faces so as to show others that they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. 17 But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, 18 so that your fasting may be seen not by others but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; 20 but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light; 23 but if your eye is unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!

24 “No one can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.

Troy

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life?

28 And why do you worry about clothing? Take a tip from the lilies in the countryside. They don’t work; they don’t weave; 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?

31 So don’t worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ 32 For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 Instead, make your top priority God’s kingdom and his way of life, and all these things will be given to you as well.

34 “So do not worry about tomorrow. Tomorrow can worry about itself. One day’s trouble at a time is quite enough.

7 “Do not judge, so that you may not be judged. 2 For with the judgment you make you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get. 3 Why do you see the speck in your neighbor’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your neighbor, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ while the log is in your own eye? 5 You’re just play-acting! First take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbor’s eye.

6 “Do not give what is holy to dogs; and do not throw your pearls to pigs, or they will trample them underfoot and turn and attack you.

7 “Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. 9 Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for bread, will give a stone? 10 Or if the child asks for a fish, will give a snake? 11 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask him!

12 “In everything do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law and the prophets.

Jill

13 “Enter through the narrow gate. The gate that leads to destruction, you see, is nice and wide, and the road going there has plenty of room. Lots of people go that way. 14 But the gate leading to life is narrow, and the road going there is a tight squeeze. Not many people find their way through.

15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorns, or figs from thistles? 17 In the same way, every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus you will know them by their fruits.

21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many deeds of power in your name?’ 23 Then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; go away from me, you evildoers.’

Troy

24 “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. 25 The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on rock. 26 And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not act on them will be like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell—and great was its fall!”

Jill

28 Now when Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were astounded at his teaching, 29 for he taught them as one having authority, and not as their scribes.

The Word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.