So, if you are coming to the altar with your gift, leave your gift right there before the altar, and go first and be reconciled to your brother. Matt 5:24 (TKNT)
Friends, meet Jarrod McKenna.
A while ago, Jesse and I heard him give an incredible sermon at a conference here in Australia. It was both inspiring and challenging. And we’ve been following him online ever since.
Jarrod is passionate about people experiencing and learning to live God’s saving love. He is the Teaching Pastor at Westcity Church (Perth, Australia), a co-instigator of #LoveMakesAWay movement and co-founder of #FirstHomeProject where he lives with 17 recently arrived refugees. Seriously, guys! Feel free to jump online and check out his work. Over the next couple weeks, we’re honored to be sharing with you a devotional series written by Jarrod. Send all your comments and questions to firstname.lastname@example.org – or in the comments below we’d LOVE to hear from you.
Your Gift – Sermon on the Mount Series – Part 1
The Sermon on the Mount, and the command to “love your enemies” in particular, was the most quoted teachings of Jesus in the early church. Why? Because for the early church, it is the “how” of living God’s love.
This side of the Resurrection this reality is plain: the Cross not only announces “forgiveness of sins,” it declares “freedom for kingdom living”!
The Sermon on the Mount is how we live the grace that has saved us so the nations will glorify God. (Matt.5:14-16) The Sermon on the Mount is how sinners like us practice the grace that has made us part of God’s people of peace, humility, confession and integrity in a fallen world.
While repentance and obedience might be the least sexy words in the church today, they are the only authentic and joy-filled response to the Gospel of a Crucified yet Resurrected King and his kingdom. So hear Jesus’ words:
“Whoever hears [the Sermon on the Mount] and puts [it] into practice are like a wise person who built their house on a rock.” (Matt.7:24) Lord have mercy and make us wise disciples who live your teachings, not moronic religious people who ignore them. Amen.
“You heard that it was said to the ancient people, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever murders’; and anyone who commits murder shall be liable for judgment. But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; who uses foul and abusive language will be liable to the lawcourt; and anyone who says, ‘You fool,’ will be libel to the fires of Gehenna. So, if you are coming to the altar with your gift, leave your gift right there before the altar, and go first and be reconciled to your brother. Then come back and offer your gift. Make friends with your opponent quickly, while you are still with him in the street, in case your opponent hands you over to the judge, and the judge to the officer, and you find yourself being thrown in jail. I’m telling you the truth: you won’t get out until you’ve paid every last penny.” Matt 5:21-26 (N.T. Wright’s “The Kingdom New Testament Translation”).
PRACTICE: GO BE RECONCILED.
‘Church-going’ is incredibly important. Yet God prioritizes peacemaking over merely being present. This isn’t a proof text for skipping out on Communion; rather it’s the impetus to make things right before coming to the Table. “Go first” Jesus insists.
Peacemaking is always participation in God’s grace. Our witness in humbly seeking to right wrongs and be reconciled is even more important than getting to worship on time.
Before offering ourselves in worship, we are to go to those who we are in conflict with and do what we can to live peaceably with everyone, as much as it depends on us. Don’t let the sun set on your anger but become, as Chance the Rapper puts it, ‘a force to be reconciled.'
Before you bring your offering on Sunday, who do you need to reconcile with? Who is a reconciler who can mentor you in doing this?
PRAYER: Lord Jesus. Thank you for the grace that has reconciled us to yourself. Empower us now in our broken relationships to be a part of your ministry of reconciliation. Amen.
Contributed and Written by: Jarrod McKenna
You can watch the “Love Makes a Way Documentary,” by copying this link into your web browser: pktfuel.com/LMAW
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