Sunday, February 24, 2019 - 9 AM
Jubilee – Luke 6:27-38 Bascomb UMC / February 24, 2019 / 9AM & 11AM Focus: That God is on the side of the least of us and desires the greater good. Function: To challenge disciples in our mission to bank our resources with Christ. 5 Purpose Outcomes of the Church: Worship, Fellowship, Discipleship, Evangelism, Service Luke 6:27–38 (CEB) Behaving as God’s children “But I say to you who are willing to hear: Love your enemies. Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who mistreat you. If someone slaps you on the cheek, offer the other one as well. If someone takes your coat, don’t withhold your shirt either. Give to everyone who asks and don’t demand your things back from those who take them. Treat people in the same way that you want them to treat you. “If you love those who love you, why should you be commended? Even sinners love those who love them. If you do good to those who do good to you, why should you be commended? Even sinners do that. If you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, why should you be commended? Even sinners lend to sinners expecting to be paid back in full. Instead, love your enemies, do good, and lend expecting nothing in return. If you do, you will have a great reward. You will be acting the way children of the Most High act, for he is kind to ungrateful and wicked people. Be compassionate just as your Father is compassionate. “Don’t judge, and you won’t be judged. Don’t condemn, and you won’t be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you. A good portion—packed down, firmly shaken, and overflowing—will fall into your lap. The portion you give will determine the portion you receive in return.” OK, complete the phrase for me………….March comes in like a _______ (Lion) – Turn the other _______ (cheek) – love your _________ (enemies), judge not, ___________ (lest ye be judged) – forgive us our debts _____________ (as we forgive our debtors). Every phrase you knew so well (except that first one) was from this text today. In Matthew’s gospel we call this teaching the Sermon on the __________ (Mount). Luke’s sermon is given on a level place not on a mountain. For Luke, the mountain is a place of prayer, and there he chooses the Twelve. Now he moves to the plain below to be LEVEL with the people. Jesus identifies with the people – demonstrated by his baptism. Matthew’s “Sermon On the Mount” becomes Luke’s “Sermon on the Plain” or “Sermon on the Level Place.” (SIGH) It just doesn’t have the same RING to it does it? Matthew’s gospel uses 107 verses while Luke uses only 32 verses. And still, we must prefer the Matthew’s longer version because Luke’s version only shows up after Epiphany when Easter runs late – so not even every three years! Maybe because Matthew “cuts us some slack,” he eases up on the “Be-Attitudes” a bit when he says, “Blessed are the Poor in Spirit.” Luke just says “Blessed are the Poor” - the poor are contrasted with the rich - the hungry with the full - the weeping with the laughing. Some of us get a temporary credit in the “here and now” – while others gain an eternal credit when they stand before God – they bank eternal resources. Luke “showed us his hand” early in his gospel. Luke’s emphasis is clear when Mary sang her Magnificat - the arrival of God’s reign - will be marked by a complete reversal of fortunes for the rich and the poor, the powerful and the powerless, the full and the empty. We should not be surprised when Luke’s gospel delivers God’s favor – blessed are the poor, the hungry, those who weep, and those who are despised - and woe to you who are rich, stuffed with food, self-satisfied and beloved by the culture – you already have YOUR reward. Ouch! Jesus is not making a cut on the wealthy and resourced among us. Jesus has good, working relationships with resourced people. There are “success stories” about the wealthy in Luke like (4 slides) Zacchaeus the tax man, Barnabas the landowner, Cornelius the powerful centurion, Lydia with her purple cloth business. These people practiced Extravagant Generosity with the blessings God gave them. Linda Biddy remembers the Hubbard family here at Bascomb. Video Clip: The Hubbard Family part #1 It’s doubtful that Mark Twain said this, but I still like the phrase: “It ain't those parts of the Bible that I can't understand that bother me, it is the parts that I do understand.” Well, what Jesus is teaching us is very plain (standing there on that plain) is a direct challenge for all the followers of Jesus: reorient your relationships, reverse injustices, gain a right standing in the eyes of God so that God’s will can be done on earth (finish this phrase) ____________ (as it is in heaven). The “today” that Jesus declared at the synagogue in Nazareth still prevails; the Messiah who will come - has come, and the prophecy of Isaiah (Isa. 61:1–2) concerning the poor, the imprisoned, the diseased, and the oppressed is no longer a hope but is an agenda for the followers of Jesus. However, we are not called to be doormats. “Turn the other cheek” might imply that when someone attacks, we should do nothing in response. But this is the opposite of what the phrase means. Non-violent resistance is powerful! Firm but loving resistance can effectively tear down domination. This is the true significance and power of turning the other cheek. Non-violent resistance takes more will power and courage that striking back! We resist violence with love. Under the best of circumstances, aggressors would come to their senses, repent of their violence and seek reconciliation. But even if they don’t, disciples are always attempting to transform and convert their attackers. And discernment is required. I believe for the sake of conversion, the sake of the gospel and the kingdom of God, we are called to sacrifice. Extravagant Generosity – Planting a Tree whose shade you will never enjoy. Paying it forward! (story from Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations): “One of My Own” A long-time member and proud grandfather stood at the baptismal font with his family for the baptism of his baby granddaughter. Another infant from another family that was new to the congregation was baptized at the same service. Following the service, the two families intermingled at the front of the church as they took turns having their pictures taken. At one point, the mother from the new family needed to get some things out of her bag, and the grandfather from the other family offered to hold her baby. Other church members were mixing and greeting, and several commented on the grandfather with the baby, and he found himself saying several times, “Oh, this one isn't mine; I'm just holding him for a minute.” Monday morning the grandfather called the pastor at the church office and said he wanted to see him right away. The pastor assumed the worst, thinking somehow the long-term member was upset about something from the day before. When the grandfather arrived at the church office, he told the pastor, “I want to change my will to include the church, and I want to talk to you about how to do that.” The pastor was stunned and couldn't help asking about what brought the grandfather to this decision. The older man's eyes grew moist as he said, “Yesterday I realized something while I was holding that other baby, the one from the family that just joined the church. I kept telling people that wasn't my child, but then it dawned on me that it was part of my family, part of my church family, and that I have a responsibility for that little boy just like I have for my own granddaughter. I've been a member of this church for more than forty years, and in God's eyes I'm a grandfather to more than just my own. I've taken care of my own children with my will, but I realized I also need to provide for the children of the church. So, I want to divide my estate to leave a part to the church as if the church were one of my children.” Those who practice Extravagant Generosity have a God-given vision and faith to plant seeds for trees whose shade they will never see.1 Video clip: “The Hubbard Family #2 Ouita, Cecil, Homer – they gave us trees whose shade they never saw! A tragic reversal of that would be All My Sons - Arthur Miller's famous play based on a true story his mother-in-law read in an Ohio newspaper. From 1941–43 the Wright Aeronautical Corporation in Ohio conspired with army inspection officers to approve defective aircraft engines destined for military use. But several Wright aircraft assembly workers informed on their company and three Army Air Force officers were convicted of neglect of duty. In the play there are two sons – Larry, a pilot, now missing in WW II action and younger brother Chris, who intends to marry Larry’s former fiancé. It’s like admitting that Larry is gone forever to allow this marriage and worst, it’s revealed that Joe, the father of two boys, works for Wright Aeronautical Corporation. His sale of faulty aircraft engines could be the reason Larry is lost! He states the key line in the play – “They were ALL MY SONS.” The most ignored directive in the entire Bible is the year of Jubilee (from the Hebrew word for “a ram’s horn, trumpet” or “coronet”). Leviticus 25 (begin at verse 8) declares a great “re-adjustment,” a “start over” season, a year of liberty and rest. When Jesus announced his Messiahship at the Nazareth synagogue, he declared the “year of the Lord’s favor” – a Jubilee! Today Jesus teaches us plainly on the plane - a challenge to not only be generous with our stuff but be generous with our love! On 2 October 2006, 10 Amish girls were shot in their school house. Charles Roberts, 32, a non-Amish local resident, entered the school house on a Monday morning. Roberts brandished a pistol, he ordered all the children to lie down at the front of the class, below the blackboard. Just before he barricaded himself and the girls inside, Roberts let the boys go. When the troopers came, he fired at each of the 10 girls, then shot himself dead. Five girls died and five survived – and their families immediately bestowed their forgiveness. On the day of the killings, members of the Nickel Mines community took food to Roberts’ widow. Six days after the shooting, families who had just buried their daughters attended Roberts’ funeral and money poured in from around the world and they diverted it to the killer’s family, even though many victims faced huge medical bills. (invite the band up) Paul puts it this way: “What I mean is this: the one who sows a small number of seeds will also reap a small crop, and the one who sows a generous amount of seeds will also reap a generous crop. Everyone should give whatever they have decided in their heart. They shouldn’t give with hesitation or because of pressure. God loves a cheerful giver” 2 Corinthians 9:6-7 (CEB). Jeff Stinnett has come before this congregation for several years now and asked our members to “Step Up Toward Tithing.” Last year was an amazing year of giving and you bank eternal rewards when you tithe. I want to make this challenge many times during the year but most of you did not return pledge cards for 2019 even though the giving has remained strong. Has that “pledge card” model grown old to you? That’s OK, but giving should never grow old – We started this service with Psalm 37 saying: Take delight in the Lord, then God will give you the desires of your heart. That’s the way of conversion – delighting first in the Lord will ensure that God loves the cheerful giver…let us pray.