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JMPC Sunshine 8.23.2020

Sermon Series: Lost and Found
In seminary we had a professor ask us what our favorite part of the Bible was, when we answered, he admonished us for favoring parts of the Bible instead of the entire Bible. I carried this with me as I served in churches as a pastor. Today though, I will tell you that Luke 15 is my favorite part of the Bible. I think it exemplifies my entire faith. I think it shows us who Jesus is in such a great way. It shows God’s grace and love. It shows the joy of God’s community when people return to God.
It all starts with Jesus eating with tax collectors and sinners. The church people are grumbling about this, how can the son of God surround himself with “these people”? It is easy for all of us to scoff at the Pharisee’s, how could they be so exclusive. A good exercise for us would be to put names on these seats. For example, let’s say Jesus was sitting at a 7-person table. He is in one seat, but instead of the tax collectors being in the other 6 seat I would like you to place people you know in the other six seats. People who you would not expect Jesus to be sitting with, and make sure you think of specific people. Maybe they are rival politicians, criminals, or even a relative. Think of 6 specific people before we start the sermon series.
The reason for this exercise is simple, Jesus giving these parables is set up by the uncomfortableness of the Pharisee’s. We can miss the set up in the generality of the company Jesus is keeping. We live in very interesting times right now, and it can be easy to stay mad at people if you don’t think about them sitting at a table with Jesus. It is easier to be angry with them if you don’t see them as someone who God loves. Join us these next three weeks as we explore the parables Jesus gives in response to him eating with “others”. Fill up the table with specific names, and see what God has to teach us about love, grace, and forgiveness.
Sermon Series: Lost and Found
August 23 – “Wanderer” Luke 15: 1-7
August 30 – “Careless” Luke 15: 8-10
Sept 6 -“Defiant” Luke 15: 11-32

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