Dear Family Folks of Five-Doves,
Each week, pastor emails parishioners his sermon scripture for the coming
sermon. This one gave me pause to reflect on again.
"Here is how Jesus¹ Sermon concludes,
"Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the
door will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who
searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.
the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road is easy that leads to
destruction, and there are many who take it. For the gate is narrow and the
road is hard that leads to life, and there are few who find it. Beware of
false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous
wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorns,
or figs from thistles? In the same way, every good tree bears good fruit, but
the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad
tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and
thrown into the fire. Thus you will know them by their fruits.
"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. 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?' Then I will
declare to them, 'I never knew you; go away from me, you evildoers.' Everyone
then who hears these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man
who built his house on rock. 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. 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. The rain fell, and the
floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell --
and great was its fall!²
Now when Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were
astounded at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority, and not
as their scribes."(Matt. 7:12-29).
I wonder if this concluding passage is a good example of the
challenge we face with the Sermon. On the one hand, there are familiar and
comforting sections, and on the other, there are some provocative, even
off-putting statements from Jesus. How do these fit together?
always, I look forward to your questions and comments, and I look forward to
seeing you in worship.
Peace and best wishes,
College Presbyterian Church
Chaplain, Hampden-Sydney College