Friday, April 10, 2009

Sermon Notes: Getting It Wrong

Mark 16:8 “And the women went running from the monument, ecstatic and taken with trembling; but they said nothing to no one, for they were in awe.”

I Intro – fear and awe
A other translations use fear, Greek word closer to “in awe” or “amazed.”
1 Most bible scholars now view this as the end of Mark
B women weren’t afraid – were amazed at what they had seen
C in their amazement & enthusiasm, they forgot to do what they had been

II Getting It Wrong

A we live in awe of God
1: (Col 1:16) “For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him.”
2: Not just us – (Ps 19:1) – “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands!”

B but we can’t understand God
1: (Cor 2:11) “No one knows the thoughts of God”
2: This is why Jesus teaches us the Lord’s prayer:
“Father . . . thy will be done.”
a which is the same prayer he prayed at Gethsemane
b Jesus, who had the best notion of what the Father was doing still had incomplete knowledge – and he wanted to get it right – so he prayed “Father, thy will – not mine – be done.”
3: but we aren’t Jesus and so we get it wrong.
a confounded by the voice of God
i Can’t understand it even when we hear it. (John 12:28-29) “ Then a voice came from heaven, "I have glorified [my name], and will glorify it again." 29The crowd that was there and heard it said it had thundered; others said an angel had spoken to him.”
b go the wrong way
i Paul wandered through Asia to end up in Philippi, Abraham wandered around Canaan, and the Israelites wandered in the desert for forty years

C difficult to accept, easy to understand in three different ways

1 God is in charge
a a teacher, a pencil-pusher, a carpenter may not understand or see what his or her individual contributions mean to the finished project – but must take it on faith that the work will
get done. If a carpenter were always acting like a foreman, checking up on everyone, the house would never get built, if the bookkeeper was spending all of her time in the sales rooms, the balance sheets would fall apart.
b but because our roles in God’s will are rarely as clear-cut as our roles for paying bills we get confused. We plan as if we knew God’s will, clinging to our plans even when it’s obvious God has something different in mind.
i but unlike an office worker, who can strike out on his own if he doesn’t like his boss, we don’t have any other options
c which is why Jesus taught us to pray “Father . . . thy will be done”

2 God is everywhere
a our hand doesn’t ask why must it hold this cup, our stomach doesn’t debate the merits of digestion, our cellular membranes don’t take a vote on using insulin instead of ATP to transfer glucose, our mitochondria don’t wish they were ribosomes, our carbon atoms don’t try take over oxygen’s job, the electrons whizzing around our protons and neutrons don’t stop to ask “what’s the brain up there doing?”, our quarks aren’t wracked with angst over getting older
i (neither should we concern ourselves with such things – Jesus specifically tells us not to worry, because God loves us more than the lilies and the birds)
b so we should be assured, that as the hands and cells and quarks of God, our existence is full of purpose and meaning: We are necessary, even if we can’t see or understand what’s going on.

3 God knows everything
a the best part of watching high-level chess is seeing someone think ten or twenty moves ahead – God thinks every move ahead.
i for those who don’t believe in free will, they see this as God having everything planned out for us. I prefer to think that God has just forseen the possibility of all of our choices and made plans accordingly – just like any master chess player.
ii so even when we misstep, God is there to take advantage of it.

III Making It Right

A What about those Marys that forgot to tell the disciples about God? Well, we find out in the other Gospels that they eventually remembered.
1 So why should Mark end his Gospel with such a forgetting?
a not a lost page, but an emphasis on how we get things wrong.
b why?
2 because Mark wanted to emphasize our greatest instance of “getting it wrong”: the crucifixion

B How did we go from celebrating Jesus to crucifying him?
1 because we didn’t understand
a we had God with us, but were mislead by our own desire i glory
ii problem-solving
iii power
b these are God’s desires, too – and what He wanted to give us but because we couldn’t understand what he was saying, we thought we were getting the short end of the stick – so we gave Jesus over to sticks and stones

C But God is the ultimate gamer – and can turn our wrongs into rights
1 instead of taking Jesus away from us, he gave Him right back in the resurrection
a and through Jesus gives us
i the light of His glory
ii an answer to all our problems
iii power through faith
2 so even if we forget to tall anyone about God because we’re struck dumb, He’s there to right our wrongs and loosen our tongues so we can try to talk to each other in a language we can understand.

IV Closing Prayer
Lord, help us to understand
that we will never get it right.
Help us to see
that we are a part of your plan.
Help us to let go
of everything that isn’t You.
Help us to embrace
the life of the risen Jesus
understanding that even in our worst wrong
you can create the greatest good.


Loyal & Julie Frisbie-Knudsen said...

Well done, Michael! That sounds right on. And I pray that the power of the Living God speaks through you to make these words come to life - that you would be touched. And that others would be touched as well.

Way to go - praying for you.
- Loyal.

G. M. Palmer said...

Thanks, buddy! If you guys are ever up in Jax of a Sunday, I'd love for you to join us on guitar and vox!