October 1, 2017, A Sermon on Matthew 21:28-32 – Guest speaker Helen Harris

To listen to this sermon, click here:  Z0000044

There is a story of a rich young man who was taken to the hospital seriously ill and the doctors told him they would do all they could but weren’t sure if he would recover. The man was scared to death and asked the doctor to please get him well. He said. if you help me get better, I’ll donate one million dollars to the hospital fund. Fortunately, the young man began to improve and recovered and was released from the hospital. Several months later the doctor happened to see the man and asked how he was doing. He said to him. do you remember you said if I you got well, you’d like to donate a million dollars to our hospital fund? The young man replied, “Wow, if I said that, I must have been really sick!”
How many of us have fallen short of keeping promises? We all know we’ve said yes and then find ourselves doing something else. We have good intentions but fall short of our commitment. We have all done it, myself included.
The Pharisees were members of the highest religious authority in Israel and needed to keep the law. They believed they were role models and that their rules and beliefs were the right way and that sinners couldn’t be a part of it. The Pharisees thought they were not like other people, they had love and respect for themselves, but not for God or others.

Jesus told many parables to the disciples, the crowds and the Pharisees wherever he went on his travels and the Pharisees didn’t like hearing them. When John the Baptist came preaching the way of repentance, the Chief Priest and elders heard his words but refused to repent and acknowledge God.
With the parable of the two sons:
The first son said he would not go, but changed his mind. The second son said he would go but didn’t. Both sons were guilty of the commandment “honor thy father and mother.”
Jesus wanted the Pharisees to see that their sins and their way of thinking was taking them away from God. He wanted them to repent and be part of God’s Kingdom. The Pharisees saw themselves as the second son the older of the two. They were saying yes, but not willing to commit to God – They failed to fulfill a commitment and were resistant.
The tax collectors and prostitutes were like the first son and were not role models by any means, but were true followers of God’s law. The Tax collector was honest about himself and prayed. They were sinners and asked for God’s mercy. They wanted to repent of their sins and turn their lives around and hear God’s words. They wanted to enter the kingdom of God.

Jesus didn’t say everyone would enter the Kingdom of God because of their behavior. Jesus came into this world to save all sinners and died on the cross for all our sins. When we look in the mirror, do we see a good person looking back in the reflection? We all need to understand we all need forgiveness, as no one is perfect. The Pharisees thought they belonged to a unique club that by doing good and keeping all the rules, it would get them into the Kingdom of God. By disobeying the rules and being sinful you would never be accepted by God.
To believe and have faith in Jesus and repent you will be saved.
This parable hits home for all of us, for a second chance to say YES to him.
Not just doing the right things, but having a change of heart.
Amen

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