Posted by on Sep 27, 2020 in Pastor's Blog | Comments Off on God at Work in All of Us

Dear Lord….it has been a very long, puzzling time for us these past months. We aren’t used to being in one place for most of the days. We aren’t used to not being able to be with friends and relatives having dinner and coffee together. We welcome the reminder that you are always with us and you are working in us to make a difference in the lives of people…including ourselves. Our Bible readings for this Sunday are from Exodus 17:1-7, Philippians 2:1-13 and Matthew 21: 23-32. In the text from Exodus, we see the Israelites complaining because they do not have water. They are blaming Moses for bringing them to the wilderness without the things they had in their homes in Egypt. One of the things they need now is water. Moses follows God’s direction, hits the rock with the staff he used to strike the Nile River and the Israelites had water. In Philippians, Paul is teaching the Philippian people more about the mind of Christ. He is encouraging them to be of the same mind. Loving each other in the same way and agreeing with each other. He challenges them to look more to the interests of others rather than always to themselves…which imitates the mind of Christ, who thought of others in the ultimate way, by giving up His life for the forgiveness and salvation of all God’s people. Paul tells the Philippians that God is working in them to change what they like and prefer. God is also working in us to remind us of his love. He is working in us to move us to look for the good in others, to work for change in our lives. In verse 13, Paul states, “for it is God who is at work in you, enabling you both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” We MUST leave what is not necessary in our lives behind and move forward to serve others…with God’s blessings and help. God works through us…to change us and to help us bring others to his world. Then, in Matthew, we see Jesus the day after he cleansed the temple, being confronted by the temple leaders and scribes. These people are questioning Jesus authority, seeing that He has an effect on other people who become believers. These leaders ask Jesus where His authority comes from. Jesus knows what they are attempting to do. These people are not believers and they did not accept or follow John the Baptist. So, Jesus said he would answer their questions, if they could answer his one question. The question was about whether John’s baptism came from heaven or was it of human origin. The temple leaders did not believe Jesus and we are allowed to “hear” their reasoning and thinking. They found out that no matter how they answered, they would not win. They knew the people believed John and this made the leaders afraid. The leaders did not believe John or Jesus. Little did they realize that by refusing to answer Jesus’ question, they were showing their ignorance which made them unfit to lead the people.

So, Jesus continued by telling the leaders and chief priests a parable. This parable again is about a vineyard and the owner and his two sons. The vineyard is God’s world. God is the owner. The first son represents known sinners who have repented. The second son are the religious leaders. The first son was asked to go to work in the vineyard, but refused to do that. He later changed his mind (repented) and went to work in his father’s vineyard. The second son said he would be happy to work for his father and then changed his mind and refused to work in the vineyard. Jesus then asked the church leaders which son did the will of the father. They answered, the first son. Jesus then said that those who are sinners (tax collectors and prostitutes) who accepted the words of God through John and repented of their sins would be the first to enter God’s world/vineyard The leaders would not accept John’s words or believe him. They rejected him. They didn’t even change their minds but faked obedience. We have a unique challenge to continue to reach God’s people in our current situations. It hasn’t been easy to exist in this time. We all get down-hearted. We’re tired of the situation. Are we being asked to look at what is really necessary in our lives? Regardless of how we are feeling right now, we need God working in us to leave behind what is not necessary and move ahead to serve others. We need God’s help in grounding ourselves in Him…He is working in us and will change us. Yes…this isn’t easy, but God is always at work within us. It is God’s work within us that moves us to work for Him in our world. We can live the theme of Jesus’ parable which is “Doing God’s Will.”

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