Text Matthew 5:27-30
This is sheer brilliance from Ortberg. The emphasis is the importance of teaching on sexuality, and the universal struggle that it is for Christians.
The overall thrust is that there is no sin that God cannot forgive one who repents.
The Doing Knowing Gap
Text: Matthew 7:24-27
Date: 20th May 2008
A few things in here:
1. A phenomena in business, where companies know what it is that they need to do, possess the skills, but still fail to do it, and the ironic observation “that this never happens in humans”.
2. The the two most important parts of a sermon are the beginning and the end, but which of the two is it that preachers spend the most time on.
3. Illustrations about the difference between knowing a thing (like not to worry, and not to lust, and loving your enemies) and doing it.
4. The whole Dallas Willard thing about this being the rule of God amongst us. A strong retelling of the Divine Conspiracy here. The interpretation of the Sermon, that this is what life is like for those ruled by the kingdom of the here.
5. A nice quote from Rabbi Nathanael (25:25)
“Whoever studies Torah and does good works may be likened to one who lays the foundation of stones and bricks that rising water cannot overturn”
Ortberg notes that Jesus says something no Rabbi would ever say, not “the one who builds on Torah”, but the “one who builds on my words,”
Date: 21st April 2008
It’s a shame this one, because there is some great stuff here, but Ortberg kind of hangs everything on something which isn’t in the text. The core idea here is that Matthew, a despised tax collector, wanted his friends to meet Jesus so he organised a party with tax collectors at it and they met Jesus.
It might have happened that way, but the text is slippery. The Good News Bible translates Matthew 9:10 as “in Matthew’s house” (implying that party was Matthew’s idea) but the Greek is simply “the house” (which is what the ESV and NRSV go for) which leaves questions of instigation unanswered.
Despite a lot being built on a uncertain detail, there are other good things.
There is some good background on Matthew, and why he was despised as a tax collector.
There is the story of the woman who witnessed to the man who was attempting to rob her in her car, because she believed that Jesus was also in the car.
There is also a nice link between:
1. Who was the most spiritually mature person that ever lived?
2. Who was the most attractive person ever to folk who had sinned?
The idea being that the being attractive to sinners is not an adjunct to being spiritually mature, but part of that.
There is a challenge to be a Matthew to folk around you and also an exercise in looking at the folk you care about and wanting there to be a Matthew for them.
There is a nice wee exercise where Ortberg gets folk to take out their wallets and show any photos that are in them to folk who are round about them, and talk about these people. You could also do this with mobile phones.