Sermon Sunday 5 February – Old, New, Borrowed, Blue

Readings:

Isaiah 40:21-31
New International Version 1984 (NIV1984)
28 Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.
29 He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
31 but those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.

1 Corinthians 9:16-23
New International Version 1984 (NIV1984)
16 Yet when I preach the gospel, I cannot boast, for I am compelled to preach. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!

Mark 1:29-39
New International Version 1984 (NIV1984)
35 Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. 36 Simon and his companions went to look for him, 37 and when they found him, they exclaimed: “Everyone is looking for you!”

38 Jesus replied, “Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.” 39 So he traveled throughout Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and driving out demons.

MESSAGE

“Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue!”

It’s a great line at a wedding! I have no idea about the something blue bit. I do know that I ministered in a church for nearly 9 years that had a “cry room” as you came in on the left. And it wasn’t for brides with wedding blues to cry in. I don’t remember too many brides crying on the way in or stopping in the cry room. I know many who cried for years afterwards.

Life for some people simply sucks! It’s messy.

And into this life of brokenness – where old and new seem the same, and people are often very blue and borrow too much to compensate for their sadness – God speaks.

All three readings today have gems in them. We need to hear scripture read more – and process it when we go home – and through the week at home.

Do you not know?
Have you not heard?

– is the repeated cry from Isaiah 40. The truth is many of us have. So much of church revolves around the people who know – that’s why we have work to do on the Missional church – asking the question – “who still needs to know in our community?” and “how do we do it?”.

The message of Isaiah is in the context of people who need GOOD NEWS – remember they were in captivity in Babylon. And in their separation and grief – the Creator of all the world is at hand:

“ He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.
29 He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.”

O and as a bonus this amazing passage:

30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;

It’s so easy to collapse even when you are young and have the strength – when you depend on your own strength – the prophet goes on to say:

31 but those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.

Of course it’s also translated as:

BUT THOSE WHO WAIT ON THE LORD, OR THOSE WHO TRUST IN THE LORD!

Just as the prophet Isaiah had good news for those people in exile, Paul had a heart for people in need too! The passage from 1 Corinthians exposes his heart for those who need to hear good news and his passion for the Gospel. In verse 16 he says:

Yet when I preach the gospel, I cannot boast, for I am compelled to preach. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!

His unpacking of this passion is fascinating:

19 Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. 20 To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. 21 To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some.

All things to all people – so that by all possible means I might save some.

Are you concerned about those who need to be saved?

We turn to the gospel to seal this today. People are streaming in to see Jesus the miracle worker – the healer who has authority over demons.

He does something interesting for the Son of God. We often see him as super-man Jesus. But listen to verse 35 from the Mark reading:

Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.

Pretty simple when you think you don’t have time to pray. What did Jesus do? Why not you? And of course his enthusiastic new followers come looking for him:

Simon and his companions went to look for him, and when they found him, they exclaimed: “Everyone is looking for you!” (verse 36-37)

He doesn’t go to these ones – possible because they were looking for healing and not salvation.

His response is great:

Jesus replied, “Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.”

Mark continues: So he travelled throughout Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and driving out demons. (v 38-39)

Do you think Jesus was the kind of preacher who wrote sermons?

Probably not.

From His heart he would have explained God’s purpose for their lives – the coming of the Kingdom – the fulfillment of all things in himself. Remember how they tried to throw him over a cliff (in Luke 4) when he explained that the reading of the day from Isaiah 61 referred to him?

We don’t know what he preached in these nearby villages. But he is very clear on this: “That is why I have come.”

And of course the context of his message in the synagogue in Luke 4 was very clear and recorded:

Luk 4:18 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed,
Luk 4:19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.”
Luk 4:20 Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him,
Luk 4:21 and he began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

So Isaiah preached good news to the exiles. Paul was passionate about being all things to all people in order to win some. And Jesus proclaimed the coming kingdom in himself and risked his life very early on in his ministry.

What about you?

“Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue!” This may help you remember a few things today.

Something old – the Bible is the old and it has not changed! We are still called to do this!

Something new – new ways, new challenges – new maps by which to navigate. We have to find new ways to share what God has given us.

Something borrowed – well that’s the gospel I guess! It’s not ours –we are custodians of this treasure. It’s on loan to us as stewards.

Something blue – the state of the world today which still needs good news.

How about it?

2012 – The year of action!

Do you not know?
Have you not heard?

Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!

Jesus replied, “Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.”

What are our nearby villages? And will we become all things to all people so that by all possible means we may save some?

Our mission is right on our doorstep!

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About robinpalmer

I am a Presbyterian Pastor living and working in Browns Bay on the North Shore of Auckland in New Zealand. We moved here at the end of March 2011 after spending five years in Wellington the capital city. I am passionate about what I do - about communicating and writing. I also enjoy my counselling work, especially with young people.

Posted on February 4, 2012, in Sunday Morning Sermons. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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