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Thomas F. Fischer, M.Div., M.S.A., Editor


Second Sunday After Pentecost
Series B

Option #1: "The Purpose of The Day of Rest"
Mark 2:23-28
Rev. Wayne Dobratz, B.A., M.Div.

Whenever the cameras pan over a Moslem city, you see the minarets. They are towers that broadcast the call to prayer four times each day. Many Moslem countries mix religion and politics. It wasn’t long ago that an Afghan man had death threats because he had become a Christian. America has always had freedom of religion. We are free to worship or not to worship. So how do we decide? And how do help our family or friends decide correctly? In his response to the law-oriented Pharisees, Jesus teaches us THE PURPOSE OF THE DAY OF REST:

I. Not to lay another guilt trip on us

A. It was a capital crime in the OT to violate the Sabbath--Ex 31:15-17; Num 15:32-36

B. Pharisees added to God’s law--Matt 23:23-39; Matt 11:28-30

C. King David showed that laws--e.g., Ex 29:32-33--are made for humanity’s benefit, not for its harm--text, vv25-26

D. Jesus sets His people free from the law’s accusations and condemnation--Rom 8:1

II. The Day of Rest in the New Testament is to give an opportunity for self-examination, meditation, and spiritual growth-- text, vv27-28

A. Self-examination--1 Cor 11:28, 2 Cor 13:5, Ps 119:59

B. Meditation--Josh 1:8ff; Ps 48:9, 77:12, 119:15-16, 27-28, 143:5-6

C. Growth--1 Cor 3:6-9; Eph 4:11-16; 1 Pet 2:2; 2 Pet 3:17-18

Barnes’ Notes on the New Testament, Mark 2:28:

God ordained the Sabbath not only to be a picture of that rest which remains for the people of God, but to be also a means of promoting the welfare of people in general... God prohibited work on the Sabbath day, lest servants should be oppressed by their masters, that the laboring beasts might have necessary rest, and that people might have a proper opportunity to attend to spiritual and eternal truth.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon, "Grow up into him in all things":
We must not neglect our own spiritual growth and ripening. If we would ripen in grace, we must live near to Jesus--in his presence--ripened by the sunshine of his smiles. We must hold sweet communion with him. As the sun rises first on mountain-tops and gilds them with his light, and presents one of the most charming sights to the eye of the traveler; so is it delightful to see the glow of the Spirit’s light on the head of some saint who has grown in the Spirit.
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Lamb's Message
 
Object: loaf of bread to illustrate John 6:35: "Man was not made for the Sabbath, but the Sabbath for man."
 
Jesus lived 2,000 years ago in a world very different from ours and in a country far away from ours. They worshiped on Saturday, the seventh day, the last day of the week. We worship on Sunday because Jesus rose from the dead on Sunday and because the Holy Spirit was given on Sunday.
 
In Old Testament times you couldn’t work on the Sabbath Day; you couldn’t even pick up sticks or you would get in deep trouble. On one Sabbath Day, Jesus’ disciples were hungry, so as they were walking through a field of grain they picked kernels of wheat and ate them. The Pharisees said that this was wrong.
 
That’s when Jesus said something that many people today don’t understand. He said: "The Sabbath was made for man; not man for the Sabbath." What does this mean? It means that God tells us to worship because it is good for us. We need it. What food is to our bodies, the words of Jesus are to our souls. Jesus said: (John 6:35) "I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.
 
Our souls, our spiritual lives, grow when we are fed with God’s Word. That’s what Jesus means when he says that "The Sabbath (the day of worship) was made for man." It was designed for our good.

So I hope you won’t let silly things keep you away from God’s house. You can go have fun on the weekend; just find a place to worship where you are. If you have a friend over, bring your friend to church with you. We wouldn’t stop eating just because it’s the weekend when we want to have fun. So why should we stop feeding our souls?
 

 
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Option #2: "God Uses Cracked Pots!"
2 Corinthians 4:5-12
Rev. Kelly Bedard, B.A., M.Div.
 
The Point:  Our "crackpot bodies" and lives ultimately serve to point to Jesus Christ.
 
The Problem: Congregational personalities and conflicts blur our vision.
 
The Promise: God "cracked" Christ for us and, through the Spirit, turns our eyes from ourselves to the gracious work of Christ which brings life to us and, through us, to others.
 
The above is inspired by and adapted from a sermon study by David Schmitt.
 
1. Mary Dessein retells this Indian fable about a water-bearer. A water-bearer carries two large pots on a yoke across his shoulders, up the hill from the river, to his master's house each day. One, has a crack and leaks half its water out each day before arriving at the house. The other pot, is perfect and always delivered a full portion of water after the long walk from the river. Finally, after years of arriving half-empty and feeling guilty, the cracked pot apologized to the water-bearer. It was miserable. "I'm sorry that I couldn't accomplish what the perfect pot did." The water-bearer says, "What do you have to apologize for?" "After all this time, I still only deliver half my load of water. I make more work for you because of my flaw." The man smiled and told the pot. "Take note of all the lovely flowers growing on the side of the path where I carried you. The flowers grew so lovely because of the water you leaked. There are no flowers on the perfect pot's side."
 
2. Mahatma Gandhi said "My imperfections and failures are as much a blessing from God as my successes and my talents, and I lay them both at His feet. Why should He have chosen me, an imperfect instrument, for such a mighty experiment? I think He deliberately did so."
 
3. Leonard Cohen:
    "Ring the bells that still can ring, forget your perfect offering.
    There is a crack, a crack in everything. That’s where the light gets in, that’s where the lights gets in."

 

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This page was revised on: Monday, November 13, 2006 12:59:36 PM