Sermons on Matthew

My Embarrassingly Late Insight About Prayer

Text: Matthew 7:7-11 Our text this week is the well-known  “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find…” saying of Jesus about prayer. Another well known text about prayer is John 14:13  “I will do whatever you ask in my name.”  Some folks conclude that they can ask for anything, add the phrase “in Jesus’ name,” and get a blank check from God. I tried that once.  “Dear God, please give me a new Ferrari. …

Falling Sparrows

Text:  Matthew 10:29-31 Today we are looking at the subject of natural evil.  When you kill someone, that’s moral evil.  When a hurricane kills you, that’s natural evil.  Natural evil covers many subjects like, “Why do I have cancer?”  Where is God in all this?  We’ll be examining Jesus’ saying about God and falling sparrows.  Does God send  suffering, permit it, know about, or something else?  Below are several translations of our text. (RSV) For only a penny you can…

What’s Our Defining Label?

Text:  Matthew 2:1-15; Galatians 3:28 This Sunday we are looking at the traditional story of the three Wise Men visiting Jesus, and how this is seen as the first step in Jesus’ mission being spread to all races, cultures, and nationalities of the world.  But our interest is in the role and impact of labels that we wear.  Labels can be helpful.  Wearing the label “senior citizen” allows me certain discounts, a special VIA bus card, automatic mail-in ballots, and…

It’s All In The Name

Text:  Matthew 1:20-23 20…an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet: 23 “Look, the…

Enjoy God’s Creation

Text:  Matthew 11:18-19 Nehemiah 8:9-10 9 And Nehemiah, who was the governor, and Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, “This day is holy to the Lord your God; do not mourn or weep.” For all the people wept when they heard the words of the law. 10 Then he said to them, “Go your way, eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions of them to those for whom…

God Is Not A Dumb, Rich Uncle

Text:  Matthew 6:5-8, 7:7-11 This section of Matthew has the largest collection of Jesus’ teachings on prayer.  In my younger years, my prayers were an attempt to bring God up to date on what was going on with me, and to intercede for all the   people in my life and around the world who needed help.  Gradually, I came to realize that God was really, really smart and already knew what I was saying.  In fact, God knew what I…

Choose Now

Text:  Matthew 9:9-13 Our text today is the call of Matthew to be a disciple and the theme is “the power and consequences of one decision.”  Just say the words “I do” in the right place and you’ll find yourself married or in the army.  One decision. I had an uncle Bill who lied about his age to join the Navy during WWII.  By the time the Navy discovered this, he was on a destroyer in the South Pacific and…

Our Building Project

Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.  The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.  But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand.…

“The Stranger’s Bargain”

Text: Matthew 21:1-11 Our text for this Palm Sunday is so familiar—Jesus entering Jerusalem on a donkey. Is it possible to get new insights out of a text we have been hearing all our life?  In this time of social distancing, just reading about a huge crowd of people welcoming Jesus is a novel idea. Someone once said that the United States would be far better off today if            Washington D.C. were filled with statues of heroes on donkeys, rather…

“Focus, Focus, Focus”

02-23-20               Transfiguration Sunday Text:                   Matthew 17:1-7 Sermon:            “Focus, Focus, Focus” We hear the story of the Transfiguration at least once a year and I must confess, I haven’t heard a really new idea about this text in 40 years.  Maybe we’re relying too much on logic to appreciate what’s happening here.  I know a story about a woman who asks her engineer boyfriend, “Do you really love me?”  He replies, “Premise number 1, you’re attractive.  Premise…

Doing a 180

Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented. As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of…