St. Matthew’s Sermon 10-27-2019

In the vacation absence of Pastor Ron, Bryan Ellis delivered this message. Thank you Bryan.


Last month we talked about faith.   I stood here with a mustard seed on my finger and we talked about how little faith is actually needed or used in the world. 

Today we are going to talk about something even more powerful.   That is love. 

As we start I want you to think about who you love enough to die for.   Parents?  Children?  Family or friends?    Last nights uber driver?  The unknown Sherpa helping to climb Mt. Everest?  Protestors in Hong Kong?  Who do you love enough to die for?  For most of us there are limits.   If you don’t believe that let’s turn the question around.    Who wouldn’t you die for?    Al Qaeda?   Isis?   Adolph Hitler?   I’m pretty sure most people have a line somewhere. 

When I was a child, slightly older than Gabriel, I went to Sunday School every week.  While there we could get a gold star by a reciting bible verse.   So every week, for me, I recited John 3:16.  For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believeth in him shall not perish but have eternal life.    Somebody call Mrs Kaufman and tell her I earned my gold star this week. 

Think about that for a moment.   For God so loved the world.   There are no exclusions.   There are no exceptions.    God loves all.  He loves you.   He loves you.   He loves me.  And he loves Charles Manson.   There are no exceptions or exclusions. 

God loves you.   It doesn’t matter what you do.    He loves you.   God came to earth in human form.   He allowed himself to have nails driven into his wrists and ankles.   He allowed a spear to pierce his side.  He could have stopped it.   But he didn’t.   He died.   For you.   And for you.   And for me.  And for Ted Bundy and the unknown Australian bush guide and Mother Theresa and everyone.   No conditions and no exceptions.    Who do you love enough to die for?

 Sometimes I find myself at odds with history.    For this nation the most famous sermon ever given was delivered by Jonathan Edwards in 1741.    On that day he proclaimed that we are sinners in the hands of an angry God.    With all due respect to Rev. Edward I believe we are sinners in the hands of a Loving god.   One who loved each of us enough to die for us. 

Often we are harsher on ourselves than others would be.  We know our own deepest secrets.  We know those moments that shame us.   The ones we hope nobody else knows about.   We know those thoughts we have that we never want to see the light of day.  We have those things that we believe if others knew would influence how others see us.   The thing is.  God already sees them.   He already knows.    Everything.   He still loves you.   And me.   And all of us.  Not in spite of everything we are but rather because of everything we are.   God loves us enough to die.   Who do you love enough to die for?