Once again it was a Sunday I just went home from work in the morning. Slept for 4 hours and got prepared for the 5pm service. Once again I was kind of put off going. But once again it was an amazing time.
Ellison was giving a sermon this week about Luke 18 on how to approach God. He just pointed out some very interesting points about this passage of scripture. First the contrast between the status of the Judge and the widow. Second the contrast of the character between this Judge and God. and third the contrast between the Pharisee and the Tax collector.
He said yes we should approach God diligently like the widow who seeks justice and to be vindicated. As God told us to in Isaiah 62:6-7 ''O Jerusalem, I have posted watchmen on your walls; they will pray day and night, continually. Take no rest, all you who pray to the Lord. Give the Lord no rest until he completes his work, until he makes Jerusalem the pride of the earth.'' Give Him no rest! I didn't really notice this passage when I studied the Bible in Chinese as it doesn't stand out as it does in the NLT version. God wants us to approach Him day and night and He is not gonna get annoyed or pestered! This is so reassuring. Then he quoted James 4:2 ''You want something but don't get it, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain,
so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask God.'' and Matthew 7:7 ''"Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking,
and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to
you.'' Gosh what a great reference!
Yes, sometimes we didn't even ask God for something and started to feel bitter. It doesn't have to be like that.
The second part of the Luke 18 presented another story of approaching God. While we are encouraged to approach Him diligently, we should not forget one thing – we are just sinners and we are asking for mercy with humility. In Christianity, humility is not like what the world defines. Humility is to know what you truly are and not more than that. The tax collector had a good sense of what he truly was but not the Pharisee. The inflated ego of the Pharisee had actually made his deeds less than meaningful. With his pride, he was not really communicating with God and he couldn't truly receive God's help for his weakness. While actually in our communication with God, we are actually most likely seeking help beyond praising Him and giving thanks. Ellison furthers to point out that comparison to others is a poison that will either make us too proud or too self-depreciating. That also means we oversee God's grace for us. He gives each of us different things in life according to His good will. So if we are too proud, we are not giving thanks; if we are too self-depreciating, we are the same not giving thanks to Him. Being too proud has another bad effect to our soul as we undermines others – we lost our acceptance to others. This too often occurs in churches sadly. Ellison said if we can remember not to undermine others while learning the tax collector's way of prayer, the Christian community will be much better off than now.
Yes, another spot on comment. I am so sad about the Christian community today sometimes, coz our tolerance towards one another has drastically dropped to a point where we are just like everyone else without the Christian faith. From his sermon, I can literally feel the calming and humble Spirit of a Godly man. I am really thankful to have listened to his sermon. Praise to God!
I feel like I am filled with new hope again with this passage of scripture. I never thought about how powerful this passage is. So thankful to get the perspective from the sermon this week!
This is a passage about love, encouragement and hope God has for us.
Thanks God for renewing my hope in Him.:)