18 April 2014



2012
> Have You Not heard? Commissioning and Baptism
> Papatoetoe district 150 years opening service

2010
> Pentecost - The Genesis Experiment
> Freedom and human trafficking
> The Corinthian Puzzle - Resurrection Body
> [Waitangi Weekend]. Hope for a Future
> Being a Healing Community
> Turbans and Prophets in Manurewa
> Light to the Nations -O Surely Not the Samaritans!
> Jesus the real human - not Avatar

2009
> Prophet at Copenhagen Needed
> CLIMATE CHANGE - Revisiting the Creation stories
> Love Lived
> Questions of God
> Tsunami.and Job, God in disaster
> Reconciling Cultures
> John the Baptist - A reminder of reality
> Do not follow the advice of the wicked

2008
> If only You would sort it God!
> Invited and rejected - Texts of terror
> Saying Yes! but its really No!
> Thanksgiving
> Claiming God is on our side - Dangerous and Unwise
> Let your Love be genuine
> Bible and Qu'ran Ishmael and Isaac
> Fruitpickers wanted
> Faith Changing Culture
> Easter greeting - Peace be with you
> Freed For Seeing
> Temptations of Leadership - Dedication of leaders
> Let There be no Divisions Among You

2007
> How many husbands in Heaven?
> The Dishonest Manager
> The Prayer which Changes the World
> What are we getting them into? Succession planning
> Faith there is a future
> Forgiven - the one who loves much
> THE SHEEP HEAR MY VOICE, SIGNS AND WONDERS
> Temptation
> Free flowing wine, Free flowing grace

2006
> The Birth Stories of Jesus - whom do we serve
> Sexuality Working out our Faith
> What is Wisdom?
> Stilling the Voices of the Storm
> THE GROWING SEED
> Pentcost - Facing the Darkness
> Moving on from Betrayal
> Friends my Mother Warned me About
> Ethiopian Eunchs Are In - Good News For theChurch
> St Patrick and Mission today, Potatoes and Rice
> Family is a Cultural word

2005
> Christmas Day Reflection - Power of Hope
> Subverting the System - The Talents Revisited
> Living God! Joshua Leadership with Wet Feet
> Futurechurch conference and the Presence of God
> The Golden Calf is not the Name of a Pub
> Who?
> Induction Sermon - Pukekohe Who Is Your Neighbour
> What is Fair and What is Just?
> Confrontation at Hunters Corner
> Food in the Wilderness
> Bombers in London, Weeds among the Wheat
> The Gospel is already Sowen for us to Find
> Human sacrifice. God's Demand or Our Desire
> Marriage - From Contract to Promise
> Who is he?
> Seeing the Light
> The Man at the Well
> East of Eden- Our Story
> Dingwall 75th - Charity or Justice
> Doing Justice - An Induction Sermon
> Light in the world
> Tsunami - World in Turmoil

2004
> Promises Kept
> Christ The King - We don't have Kings anymore!
> What is Our Mission : Connecting with Other Faiths
> The Word of God is not Chained
> Descent into Hell
> What does the Lord Require - Assembly report
> 150th service Rev Sharon Ensor's sermon
> The neighbour who comes from God..
> Driving out Demons - Fears Of Mental Illness
> Flowing Waters 2 Spirit of Peace
> Flowing Waters 1 - Reflections in Japan
> Putting it On The Line
> Go Fishing- Youth Leaders Dedication
> Waitangi Day Celebration
> God's Love is Wider than We Want
> The Best Wine
> Dancing Stars - Science and Theology

2003
> First Sunday of Christmas
> Church culture to Mission Culture
> Be Wise
> Trinity - Beyond Miracles
> Sir Ed Hilary- Ascension Sunday
> Culture challenged by Love
> On the Road to Gaza
> Whose Voice? - Mother's Day
> Rows of White Crosses. [Anzac]
> Easter Day - Go , Jesus is Waiting for You.


Sermons
Sermon - 28 September 2008
Bible Verses: Matthew 21:23-32 & Philippians 2:1-13
(click the verses above to read the passages online)

Saying Yes! but its really No!

Be careful when a parable appears to be obvious in its interpretation. We've just read it - the father asks the older son to do something, he says no! shaming the father and certainly not pleasing him. Then changes his mind and goes and does the task.
The second son says yes Dad, showing his willingness to be obedient to his father. Pleasing the Father , then doesn't do it. "Which" says Jesus, to the church crowd, "did the will of the father? "
Jesus has just pointed out that those people who they excluded from worship in fact had heard John the Baptist For John came to you in the way of righteousness and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him; and even after you saw it, you did not change your minds and believe him.
And the Pharisees were very uncomfortable, they didn't dare say John was not from God nor admit that he could have been. . No wonder they were asking what Jesus" credentials were, they were trying to discredit him and his challenge to their accepted ways

But what was Jesus saying to them and to us? In fact the texts for this parable differ , in some version of the old manuscripts the sons get mixed up . We can't assume that the point about the one who goes and does the deed is in fact doing the will of the father. Is there something else we need to hear.

The rest of the New Testament says that we do not earn the Father's favour, by doing good work. And the parable of the prodigal son, remember the older brother in that, seems to tell us that stuff done reluctantly and purely out of a sense of duty and to achieve /earn the property is not what the Father's love is about.

No there is something more challenging for us in this.
Maybe we can say Yes too easily? even if it is well meant? The yes-brother wasn't a liar when he said “Yes,” but he became a liar when he failed to keep his promise. In his very eagerness in promising he became deceitful.. And when you say “Yes” or promise something, you can very easily fool yourself and others, as if you had already done what you promised.
It is easy to think that by making a promise you have at least done part of what you promised to do, as if the promise itself were something of value. But when you don't do what you promise, it is a long way back to the truth.

You know we like to please. And people like to hear what they want. I have seen people interviewing for jobs and someone comes in says I can do this and then this will happen. They believe and buy into it and then when it doesn't happen turn on the person concerned. Moses had only said God had asked him to lead them to a promised land, flowing with milk and honey . When the people are thirsty at Reprdim they start forming the "back to Egypt" party because their expectations of an easy ride have been dashed. Thye think that Moses is not delivering on his promises. But Moses reminds them that its not his promises its God's promises that we are travelling with. Moses does not take the place of God no matter how much pressure the people place on him. Moses complains to God about the stubborn lot he has been landed with and how God promised to give Moses what was needed for the journey.. God, who does deliver on his promises. gives them the water.

The “Yes” of promise keeping can lull us into a false sense of security. A promise seems great at the time its made, it makes us feel good, warm and fuzzy.but when we say No, we start to feel uncomfortable and it keeps on nagging at us. .
So suppose that neither of the brothers did his father’s will.
The one who said “No” knew that he was not doing his father’s will. A “no” does not hide anything, but a yes can very easily become self-deception, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”

When you've made a promise to go do something but don't its really hard to see that you are walking backwards.
When a person says No and turns their back on someone and walks away, they know which way they are going.. That is that! But when a person finds a way of looking at the person whom he is walking away from, and in so doing walks backwards while appearing to greet the person, giving assurances again and again that he is coming, or saying over and over “Here I am” – even although he is moving further away by walking backwards – then it is not so easy realize that he is actively not doing anything.
With the help of intentions and promises, he keeps up the honest impression that he is moving towards the good, yet all the while he moves further away. With every renewed intention and promise it looks if he is taking a new step forward but in reality he is really taking another step backward.
Good intention can very soon flare up again in more passionate declarations of intention covering up the fact that nothing is happening.

We don't praise the son who said “No,” but he remains aware that he has said No. and when he changes his mind. Obedience and action come together as a response to the father's wishes and he actually does it.

Like all parables Jesus leaves us with the end to write in our own story, as to where we fit and how we respond. But reminds us and the Pharisees that to do the Father's will requires substance.

People want to please and say yes. A huge amount of damage is done when people promise what is not theirs to deliver.
The world's economic crash has come because too many people said yes to commitments they were not able to keep. There was no substance to the promises and the whole lot unravels when that is exposed..

Over and over I see families where there is shared parenting and little kids sitting deeply disappointed because often it’s a father , sometimes a mother, simply does not turn up to pick them up for an access visit. They receive a message that they are not important enough for their parent to bother keep a simple promise.to come and fetch them.

In a purely practical situation I was told a story on Saturday. A friend of mine was telling about one of his staff who had got into big problems with debt and needed some help. HE had a letter from the IRD , didn't know what it was about but he owed several thousands of dollars. His boss couldn't understand how this could be as his pAYE was deducted as it was meant to. So he got permission to phone the IRD on his behalf. And discovered that the money for families had been paid to this man, but when he did overtime he was meant to tell WINZ so it could be deducted. His employer was unaware of this, the employee did not understand the requirements. HE did not have a landline, only a cell phone and no access to the internet. Try phoning IRD with a cell phone and see how long it takes. And with mounting penalties for unpaid tax and repayments for the extra benefit which was intended to help his family he was being sent into debt by our systems which actually promise to help him. His boss was told by IRD that %0 million dollars were owned by people who were getting themselves into a mess with this. Yet the Government department concerned would say no we are helping families but It is not bearing the fruit that was intended.

The Pharisees are being challenged as to whether they are actually doing the will of God and not just seeming to go through the motions.
The one who said no, could not fool himself and eventually changed and bore fruit.
Obedience is wholehearted, not just a promise to act. Jesus calls us into following, not just looking at the road map. For some of the paths he asks us to travel are unmarked, unexpected and maybe some we wouldn't choose but he promises that he has the authority to be our guide and will stay with us all the way.
He is one whose promises do have substance.

Rev. Margaret Anne Low

 

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