Refuge Christian Fellowship
Sermon on the Mount: The Generosity of The Father
Sep 23, 2018
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Character Assassination

Matthew 7:9-11

Why do people assassinate the character of God?

“As soon as the snake saw his chance, he slithered silently up to Eve. ‘Does God

really love you?’ the serpent whispered. ‘if he does, why won’t he let you eat the

nice, juicy, delicious fruit? Poor you, perhaps God doesn’t want you to be happy.’

The snake’s words hissed into her ears and sunk down deep into her heart, like

poison. Does God love me? Eve wondered. Suddenly she didn’t know anymore.

‘Just trust me,’ the serpent whispered. “You don’t need God. One small taste,

that’s all, and you’ll be happier than you could ever dream. [...] Eve picked the fruit

and ate some and Adam ate some, too, and a terrible lie came into the world. It

would never leave. It would live on in every human heart, whispering to every one

of God’s children: God doesn’t love me. And it wasn’t a dream. it was a

nightmare.”

~ Sally Lloyd-Jones, The Jesus Story Book Bible

We often turn God into a religious tyrant who only cares about pious acts of

religiosity devoid of joy, emotion and life. We have skewed ideas about what God

is like, what God cares about, and what God desires from us and for us.

Jesus has shown the Father to be full of Grace and love, the author of all good

and incredibly gracious to both the righteous and the unrighteous, the deserving

and undeserving. God, the Father, not only wills but pursues our happiness and

flourishing - our good.

Ex. 34:6-7

Titus 3:4-5

“We must understand that God does not ‘love’ us without liking us - through gritted

teeth - as ‘Christian’ love is sometimes thought to do. Rather, out of the eternal

freshness of his perpetually self-renewed being, the heavenly Father cherishes

the earth and each human being upon it. The fondness, the endearment, the

unstintingly affectionate regard of God toward all his creatures is the natural

outflow of what he is to the core - which we vainly try to capture with our tired but

indispensable old word ‘love.’

~ Dallas Willard, The Divine Conspiracy

Luke 15:1-2

Luke 15:11-31

The reason we judge others harshly and wrongly is because we really don’t

understand the graciousness and generosity of God the Father - we have judged

him wrongly, our assessment of him is wrong, which in turn keeps us from asking,

seeking, and knocking for the good things we need - we too are kept out of the

love of the Father. We don’t really think the Father wants to give us good gifts.

The golden rule

“So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the

Law and the Prophets.”

The Golden rule is not so much a rule but a vision that Jesus is calling us into. It is

an invitation to virtue by giving a vision of how to relate to other people. It is a

practical out working of the teliosity (wholeness) and greater righteousness that

Jesus has been teaching us.

God is calling us to be a community where the the generosity and graciousness of

the Gospel is the vision and relationship that forms all other relationships - God’s

mercy and kindness toward us through Jesus’ life death and resurrection.

“As the surrounding society loses its connecting glue, the most important

response is to build local, small scale forms of community, teaching our children

and congregations how to re-establish strong, life giving relationships in a world

falling apart. What matters at this stage is the construction of local forms of

community within which civility and the intellectual and moral life can be sustained

through the dark ages which are already upon us. Our families and churches must

become centers of civilization that reach out beyond themselves with a model

form of community. The strongest Christian communities (families, congregations,

groups of singles) are those driven by a larger vision - a sense of ministry. If God

has given you a dependable income, a loving spouse, a strong church community,

a reliable group of friends, those gifts are not just for you. They are to equip you to

reach out and draw in those who are broken and searching. God is giving you the

opportunity bring hope that Christianity is real and not just words - to put flesh and

bones on the message of hope and healing. Christians must be prepared to

minister to the wounded, the refugees of the secular moral revolution whose lives

have been wrecked by its false promises of freedom and autonomy - we are at a

unique moment in history where we have an incredible opportunity to become safe

havens where people witness the beauty of relationships reflecting God’s own

Commitment and faithfulness.”

~ Nancy Pearcey, Love Thy Body

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