Knysna Methodist Church

Sermon Notes 20 February 2022

Knysna Methodist Church – lectionary notes – 20.2.2022

Genesis 45:3-11, 15
Joseph introduced himself to his brothers but they were worried in case they were going to be punished for the way they had treated him. It must have been a huge shock for them. Joseph was very emotional as he told them who he was.

Joseph told them how wrong they had been all those years ago, but did not want them to be sad or angry with themselves. His grief and anger was a thing of the past and he wanted them to move beyond their own emotions too. Joseph was convinced that what had happened was part of God’s plan to save His people in this time of famine. God did not want His people to be absorbed into the pagan nations but to stay apart for Him. He had been in control all the time.

Joseph was keen for his brothers to return home and fetch his father. So he embraced all his brothers, even those who had been cruel to him, and they spent time sharing all their experiences since they had parted.

Psalm 37:1-11
This is a wisdom psalm, written when David was a mature man. David advised people not to worry or be envious or angry when evil people seemed to succeed. Their success would only be temporary. In the scorching heat of the Middle East, a plant will only last a few days. This image perfectly described the transient success of those who reject God.

Instead, David advised the righteous person to trust God and do everything for His glory. He urged them to enjoy every blessing God showered upon them and make a conscious effort to think about God’s goodness rather than anything else. As people align their lives with God they will discover their life is both happy and satisfied.

When people do trust God, they discover peace, protection and fulfillment as they surrender to Him, just as God has promised. Others will begin to notice the change.

This may take a while. There is no need for them to defend themselves or become angry. They can trust God to fulfil His promises. They, as God’s people, will inherit the earth whilst those who reject God will not, for they will slip into oblivion. David stresses the importance of God’s promise to His people by repeating it.

At the end of this psalm, David reminds people that it is God who provides their salvation and strength, not any efforts of their own. Those who follow God are drawn closer to Him in times of adversity. They can be assured of the fact that God loves them and they can trust Him.

1 Corinthians 15:35-38
Paul does not answer his own question about how the dead are raised because it seems obvious that it is God who raises them up. People die – but they will be reunited in Christ with their family again. Just as a seed grows into a plant that does not look like the seed, the resurrected body may have no resemblance to the earthly body that has died. The physical human body is corrupted by sin, tainted with shame, and is weak. The spiritual resurrected body on the other hand, is perfect, glorious, and powerful. The beauty of these glorious bodies can be glimpsed in Moses’s face (Exodus 34:29-25), in Christ’s transfiguration (Matthew 17:2), and in Stephen’s death (Acts 16:15).

Our physical body is inherited from Adam; our resurrected body originates in Christ. We will bear His image. When Jesus rose from the dead, He could still be touched and He ate with the disciples. Yet His body was not limited to the laws of nature. It is only when people have attained spiritual bodies like that of Christ that they will be able to inherit the kingdom of heaven.

Luke 6:27-38
Jesus is in the middle of the series of sermons which are known as the Sermon on the Plain. He gave a straightforward command – love your enemies. It was easy to understand – but very difficult to implement. However He was telling Christ-followers they need to trust God when they are confronted by those who oppose them. He instructed His listeners to do something good for such people, and to bless them and pray for them. They were not to speak badly of them but present them in the best way to others. They were to accept any wrong-doing such people did against them and trust God to defend them. The slap on the cheek which Jesus speaks about was an insult rather than an attack. Jesus does not say Christ-followers should never defend themselves in the case of a physical attack.

The Law of Moses stated that no one should take another person’s cloak. Jesus said His followers were to give sacrificially for they know that God will take care of them.
Jesus turned a well-known negative command into a positive one. People were familiar with the negative – ‘do not do … what you would not want done’. Now Jesus said ‘do … what you want done to you’. This new version would have made an impression on His listeners.

The world knows it is not hard to love those who love them. But a Christ-follower needs to be different and so is called to love those who do not love them. This is what God does and He sets the pattern for His people. So they have to be merciful; they must not judge others by thinking the worst of them for the time will come when they too will be judged. They were, instead, to forgive people and be generous in their love for others.
If the lived a generous life they would be blessed. A Jewish robe could be pulled up above the belt to form a pocket. This pocket would not be enough to hold the blessings they would receive and so it would overflow onto their laps.

Jesus told the people that whatever measure they used to assess another would be used to assess them.

Points to Ponder
• Who, amongst your family members, would you love to see again? What is the first thing you would say to
them? Why is this so important to you?
• How do you feel when you see someone apparently succeeding through illegitimate means – corruption,
blackmail, manipulation etc? How would you tell such a person that their success will not last?
• How would you bring God into such a discussion?
• Do you trust God to provide everything you need or to extricate you from false accusations or hurtful
situations? Why/why not? How can you help one another in this regard?
• How would you help someone outside the group who has doubts about this?
• What excites you most about having a heavenly body when you rise to heaven?
• What do you think will be your greatest challenge to love others the way Jesus tells you to love? Why is
this so?

Genesis 43; Psalm 37; 1 Corinthians 15; Luke 6

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