Jesus sat down on a mountain side and taught. What a beautiful picture of God incarnate.
Wesley points out three things at the beginning of this sermon.
- The teacher – Jesus – Lord of heaven and earth
- What? The way to the kingdom of heaven
- Who? All humankind
Wesley talks about the spiritually poor as those who have not yet given their lives to Christ. So like the taxcollector who thuds his chest whilst calling himself a sinner. A while ago I was at a bible study and someone asked “Can’t we communicate with God when we haven’t sinned?” To not be a “sinner” in the presence of God suggest something that we are not. It is suggestive of perfection which we cannot even begin to comprehend let alone attain it.
God knows we are imperfect, that we are sinners but if we are authentic in our quest to be more like Christ we are acceptable to him. All he asks is that we become living sacrifices, our whole lives given over to him. We do so in love, because we are in love with the Lord. In love because our whole being is infused with his love that he gives us freely and we respond by loving.
We are right with God because he forgives us our confessed sins. We can’t water down the need for confession, we can’t in church not talk about sin, we can dress it up into other words and call it mess or stuff or whatever but we do need to talk about sin. We need to talk about forgiveness, we need to forgive ourselves.
A friend once admitted that although God had forgiven them, they couldn’t forgive themselves, poppycock. If the creator of the universe deigns to forgives us with all the mercy and grace and love necessary, who are we mere mortals to say I can’t forgive myself.
Wesley goes on to talk about those who mourn, not the ones who mourn the loss of a house, a job, a reputation. I think of a public official shamed by his drug use, pulled into the public arena to state how sorry he was. He looked more sorry for being caught than for the act. Does the size of our house matter? Does the size of our payslip matter? We are here for such a short time, surely our time should be spent on Godly matters. God matters first, the rest comes because of God.
Who can separate us from the love of Christ?
What can separate us from the love of Christ?
Mourning an absent God?
Joy of the love of Christ sustains us through life’s difficulties, shields us, protects us, nutures us, challenges us, encourages us, loves us. God is with us, Emmanuel.