Sermon Twenty Six The two gates

john                                                         audio clip


What follows a dry one, a rip roaring, face flushing rhetorical rant. Oh Wesley at his best, flailing arms and stamping feet. If people didn’t rush to the narrow gate after listening to this, their ears were surely closed.

Wesley’s main point is there is only one right way to be, to live, to leave this mortal coil but there are thousands of ways we can miss the narrow gate.

The world tries to blend us into it, telling us lies like there are shades of grey when there really is only black and white, right and wrong. When the lines get smudged we are in danger of leaving the boreen leading to the Kingdom of heaven and joining the highway leading to hell.

We know what is wrong? Or do we? We sometimes blend compassion for others in a particular situation with saying it is okay for that situation to exist.

I had a very surreal conversation today. We were talking about Jesus pitching his tent in our hearts when the other person said “Do you really believe there’s a God?” Bear in mind that if we are mid flow talking about tents and tabernacling this was not someone who came to know Jesus yesterday. You see every day, we need to look at ourselves and make sure the insidious nature of the world hasn’t seeped into our life. We need to be in conversation, with the Living God because it is when we stop doing that, the tendrils of the world take hold. When we remain focused on Him and live our lives through him we can keep distractions at bay, whatever they may be.

In another conversation the word manipulate was used and I automatically in my mind changed it to distraction. Because we can only be manipulated by someone if we are not deocentric. If God is the focus of our lives we can dismiss the distractions because we can measure what a person says by scripture, we can pray, we can talk to God about it. He wants us to end the race in heaven with all the other believers, so keeping on the boreen is hard, and in our own strength impossible but with the Spirit guiding us, a lamp to our feet, we can stay marching, ever forward.

God has a call on all our lives to proclaim the good news in our everyday lives. We don’t have to travel to do it. We witness in our families, in our neighbourhoods and communities and in our vehicles. A guy with an icthus bumper sticker has road rage – what is wrong with this image? A woman in the shop gets impatient in the queue and makes a cutting remark following up chatting about church life – what is wrong with this image? A Christian businessperson persuades someone to buy something they know they can’t afford – what is wrong with this image? Christian children call Muslim children names – what is wrong with this image? I could go on

We have been called to live distinctive authentic lives and not blur the lines, but showing compassion to those not there yet.