Sermon in a nutshell: Matthew 16:1-12
People are looking for a sign from heaven. Because every day is a challenge we want to have sure sign posts. Especially when we have to make important decisions or when we are going to face uncertain changes, we need signs. We are weak and imperfect. We are not sure about things.
That is the reason why Mr. Harold Camping could have many followers. He sounded so sure and knowledgeable. He could deceive many people to believe that the world was going to end on May 21, 2011. When the prediction went wrong, he said that it was the date for the “spiritual” end and now the new date for the “physical” destruction is Oct. 21, 2011. However, did you know that he previously corrected the judgment day twice? Once, he said it would be May 21, 1988 and another time would be September 7, 1994. Both times he was wrong and still people followed him!
When Jesus was on earth doing his ministry, he also warned against people like Mr. Camping, Pharisees and Sadducees. They read the Bible literally and tried to apply every verse to the daily lives. In the process, they lost the true meaning of God’s love and God’s spirit. Mechanical application of the Bible to the daily lives resulted in imprisonment of people’s freedom and joy. They produced many regulations and rules to rob people of the joy of worshipping God freely and voluntarily!
Jesus taught us to be on our guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees and discern the signs of the times. In other words, Jesus taught us to see the true meaning of the Bible: God loves us enough to give his only begotten Son for our freedom and salvation! We are the joy in God’s heart! When God sees us, God cannot hold God’s joy! Prophet Zephaniah said, “The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.” (Zephaniah 3:17) We are the joy of God!
That is why when we come to worship God, we are full of joy! We dance and we sing. Joy is the expression of the Holy Spirit in us. We clap and shout. It is natural for us to sing, praise, and dance in the presence of God. We are not here as losers who tried to keep all the rules but failed. We are here as God’s children who believe in God’s grace and love, who can face tomorrow’s challenges with confidence and trust in our Father, our God, our Creator. That is the true sign from heaven. Let us share that sign together wherever we go! We are God’s beloved!
- When do you sing and dance to express your feeling? When do you do that for the Lord?
- What is the “yeast” of the Pharisees and Sadducees that you are aware of? How have you overcome them?