I stand humbly before you in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Please God infect this sermon with Your grace and continue to infect this congregation with that same grace so we can worship You cleansed by Your perfect and eternal glory. Amen.
An infection is the invasion and multiplication of microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses and parasites that are not normally present in your body. We may not even be aware that we’re infected or that the infection can be fatal for us.
A sermon about being infected may not sound very hopeful but bear with me. Today’s sermon is an explanation of our Gospel. Sin is the infection BUT so is JESUS.
I love it when Pastor references music and bands in his sermons such as Jackson Browne and Stealers Wheel. My favorite band growing up was Van Halen. While writing about the problem of sin in this sermon I was reminded of their songs “Running with the Devil” and “Ain’t talkin bout Love.” Listen to these lyrics “I live my life like there’s no tomorrow” and “I’ve got no love, no love you call real.” Very hopeful and uplifting right?
We can be overly focused on our life and death. We may be afraid of death and worry about dying young. In addition to that our poorly focused attention may cause us to question love. Our ability to give it as well as our capacity to receive it. We may even fear love because we worry about being hurt or betrayed or losing it. We may be afraid of trust because we doubt ourselves. In this world without focus and overwhelming distraction we struggle with our sanity because we’re losing faith in love, ourselves and God. We create our own hell on earth.
God’s word is what saves us. Every word in the Bible is perfect for us. Especially some of the first words. In Genesis 1, “God created the Heavens and the Earth.” That is the reality of His eternal plan right there. Heaven and earth in eternal relationship dwelling together. Any mention of Hell? Nope, we didn’t create it yet.
God dwells in the Heavens and our little Earth is in the Heavens. God is everywhere. He dwells with His creation. We are never alone. When we feel alone it’s because we distract ourselves from Jesus.
Jesus condemned the Pharisees for religious pride and hypocrisy in Matthew 23. They blocked people from the kingdom of Heaven speaking Hell onto Earth and their converts were twice as evil. And in James 3, the brother of Jesus explains how with our tongue we unleash Hell on earth with just our words.
The parables of Jesus like the one in today’s Gospel are about the Kingdom of Heaven. We live inside God’s Kingdom and Jesus is the King. We unleashed Hell on Earth so Heaven had to invade the Earth in the form of Jesus. Jesus fixed creation by infecting it with His grace. Infecting our whole planet and each of us.
Jesus always existed before He was physically born on this planet as a perfect human. He lived here for 33 years getting His Jesus-ness all over the place. No mask, no gloves. It may have started in Bethlehem but it spread all over. Here it is in Islip today. And before He ascended His blood dripped on the ground for over a mile when He carried our cross. The cross was then planted deep into the ground and at the foot of the cross His blood pooled on the Jerusalem limestone of Golgotha. His blood was still leaking out of Him even in the tomb. Our broken little world is infected with Jesus and we continue this infection when we take His body and blood and hear and share His word. He is the author of His Holy Word which makes Him the author of our eternal fate in His Kingdom.
The Kingdom of Heaven is the process of grace. God taking action in our lives. God is preparing us personally to enter into eternity with Him. If we live to be 200 we’ll still die young compared to eternity, right? Jesus is planting the wheat seeds. Perfect, ideal seeds customized just for us. Customized just for you. The seeds of His perfect, loving grace. The seeds that grow the perfect, created image of us.
When we get lazy, drowsy and sleepy we let down our guard. We let down our God. We remove the armor He gave us. We have that choice. We allow the enemy in. We accept evil, we embrace the distractions. We bind ourselves to the seeds of sin. We act upon our limited perceptions, we hurt ourselves, we hurt our loved ones, we say evil things, we judge others, we persecute loved ones and neighbors. We resist God, we defy Him and fight against His grace.
Then we dare to question and blame God. How did You let this happen? Why did You let this happen? We step away from His glory and grace. We separate ourselves from Him. We create Hell on Earth. A Hell for ourselves.
We are the weeds. Weeds that mimic the wheat. We put on a show of being good, upstanding Christians. We may even wear a cross, a robe and a sash but that won’t stop our Hell tongues.
In this parable the weeds are translated as bearded darnels. Farmers call it a “false wheat” because it looks exactly like wheat until it is fully grown so only time will reveal which is which. True wheat will sprout heads of grain. Bearing this grain will cause the wheat to bow. Like a true Christian will bear fruit, love, honor and obey God. The sinful weeds bear no fruit and stand defiantly before the true King.
Thank God, Jesus doesn’t allow His angels to uproot us from His kingdom and His grace. We can’t allow the seeds of sin to grow in us. We must let God be God. The wheat is Jesus revealing His vision, image and idea of us as we were truly created. The image of our perfection through the eyes of God. Let ourselves accept His grace and see it bear fruit all around us as we reflect His glory. Embrace His Word as it eternally overshadows us. LET GOD BE GOD! LET THE INFECTION OF GOD SPREAD INSIDE YOU SO YOU CAN INFECT OTHERS WHEN YOU SHARE HIS WORD, THE GOOD NEWS AND REFLECT HIS GLORY! MAKE JESUS VIRAL WITH OUR CONTAGIOUS GOSPEL!
In the song “Instant Karma” by John Lennon he says “We all shine on. Like the moon and the stars and the sun.” Jesus says we have eternal life. Eternal life in Jesus who shines as the Light of the World. That is a lot longer than the moon and the stars and the sun. That is, unless we change s-u-n to S-O-N. We will eternally reflect His glory because He infected our world and us. In the book of Isaiah, the sun and the moon will shine no more because the redeemer will shine upon Zion and the glory of God will shine upon us all. According to Daniel, His light will shine upon us in the current age and in the future age of the Kingdom of God. Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done!
BE WHEAT AND SHINE ON! AMEN!