Sermon in a nutshell: Matthew 24:1-14
We have been talking about the self-centered life and God-centered life for three weeks. These are totally two different world views. They have two different purposes in life! These are the teachings that Jesus gives to us in Matthew 23.
Self-Centered Life God-Centered Life
Why do you keep the laws? I do not want to be punished! I want to honor God.
What does the law do? It shows how righteous I am! It reminds me how sinful I am!
What is your proper title? Rabbi, Teacher Sinner, A child of God What is your concern? How can I go into heaven? How can I share Good News?
What is more important? Gold and Gift Worship, Justice, Mercy, Faithfulness
What should we clean? Outside Look Inside of our soul
What should we remove? Messengers of God’s Word My ego, pride, and prejudice
What is the main question? What is there for ME? How to serve God and others?
When Jesus finished these teachings, Jesus told the disciples not to pay attention to the grandeur of the Temple. It would be gone sooner or later! Actually the temple was destroyed in AD 70 by the Romans. The symbol of the self-centered life is gone!
However, the followers of Jesus survived all the persecutions and odds of the times. They spread the Gospel all over the world. They conquered the Roman Empire and Christianity became the official religion of it. With the road system and the common language (Greek)of the Roman Empire, the Gospel spread rapidly in the empire and the nations under its influence.
The disciples still had some hope for the worldly power and asked when Jesus would come second time. Jesus replied decisively that all the believers would go through persecution and hardships! We would not get glory. We would be hated by the nations! In that time, the only thing that would help us to keep our faith would be a faith based on God-centered life.
If our faith is based on the reward system, we would not be thankful when things are not going well for us. However, if our faith is based on the God-centered foundation, we will serve God in any condition. We will give thanks to God even in the most difficult situation. Jesus said, “Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved” (Matthew 24:12-13). Let us examine again whether our faith is “give-and-take” bargain-faith or “Marriage Covenant”commitment-faith. May God bless all of us who keep our faith in this hard time!
- Count the blessings that you have received from God!
- When did you feel that God blessed you deeply?