July 17, 2016

Pastor Bernt P. Tweit

Old Testament Lesson; Genesis 18:1-10

Epistle Lesson; Colossians 1:21-28

Sermon Text; Luke 10:38-42

The Word of God we focus on for today is taken from Luke, chapter 10, looking at verses 38 through 42. This is in Jesus, our Savior's name. God's Word says:

Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet, and listened to His teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to Him, and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”

This is God's Word.

Last week Pastor Bartels preached on the account from scripture that is right before this, which is the account of The Good Samaritan. The Good Samaritan is a great portion of scripture to look at, as far as talking about our lives of 'Active Christian Service' for other people.

The portion of scripture we are looking at for today comes right on the heels of that, and it makes a distinction by now looking at the 'Passive Listening of God's Word'.

Active Christian Service

Passive Listening to God's Word.

Here, Jesus is encouraging that both are important - Our Active lives of Christian Service, and our Passive Listening to God and His Word. Both are needed.

Consider this. If we were to go back to the account of The Good Samaritan, and it was the Good Samaritan who stopped by to help that man who was left for half dead on the side of the road, and he would have just shared God's Word, or listened to God's Word, he would not have been much good to that man who was left half dead, would he? Rather, he was 'Active' in his life of 'Christian Service', helping that man who was injured on the side of the road. That is important.

But now, Jesus for today is also saying being 'Passive and Listening to God and His Word', sitting at the feet of Jesus, while listening to Jesus teaching, is also important.

Today, as we look at our text, we see two women, Martha and Mary. The word doesn't come out in our English text, but it does come out in the Greek. To start with, both Martha, and also Mary were sitting at the feet of Jesus.

Today, this is what I would like to do. I would like to look at the distinction between these two ladies. Let's look at Martha, and the words and phrases God's Word shares with us, as it describes her. Then, let's also look at the words, and phrases that describe Mary, as well.

Let's begin with Martha. Our text for today says, “Martha was distracted”. The King James Version says, “Martha was cumbered”. What was Martha distracted about? She was sitting at the feet of Jesus, but what was she distracted about? She had a houseful of guests, didn't she? Jesus, and His disciples. Martha didn't have a refrigerator, with a freezer. She didn't have a microwave. She didn't have running water. She didn't have a local McDonald's. And, she didn't have a Woodman's Grocery Store. If water was needed, she had to go to the well. If food was needed, she needed to kill the fattened calf. All of those things would have taken time. And so, here Martha is, distracted from listening to the words of Jesus, as she is thinking about all of these things she needed to do.

Maybe you have heard the story of the distracted farmer, who woke up one morning, and told his wife he was going to pick the ripened fruit. As he walked out the door, he realized he needed gas in his truck. So, he needed to go to the convenience store to get gas. But, on his way to the truck, he saw the pigs hadn't been fed. So, he went to the corn crib to get food to feed the pigs. On the way to the corn crib, he noticed the potatoes had started to sprout. So, he ran the potatoes over to the potato pit. As he was running over to the potato pit, he saw there was firewood that needed to be chopped, because his wife had said she needed wood in the house. As he was carrying wood to the house, he saw a chicken that came to him lame, and he went to go help that chicken.

It was lunchtime, and it was the heat of the day. When he stopped in for lunch, he realized he had not picked the ripened fruit, because he had been distracted. Now, all of that ripened fruit was falling to the ground, and was ruined. He was distracted.

Well, Martha too was “anxious”. That means she was worried, and she was “troubled”.

She was upset. And so, she went to Jesus, and asked Jesus to tell her sister to help her out. What Martha was doing was being “distracted”, “anxious”, and worried.

Jesus once talked the parable of The Sower and the Seed. In that parable, Jesus was talking about the seed that was cast onto the ground. There were four different types of ground.

       -One of those was when the seed fell among the thorns, the weeds, and the thistles. This was the result that falls right into what Martha's thinking was. The seed sown among the thorns hears the Word, but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth, the desires for other things, comes in, and chokes out God's Word, making it unfruitful.

You see, Martha had forgotten, Jesus didn't come into this world to be served.

Jesus came into this world to serve, and

give His life as a ransom for many.

So, Jesus needed to rebuke Martha, gently. He did so by saying her name twice, “Martha, Martha”.

There were other times in scripture when Jesus did that too. When Jesus was concerned about the city of Jerusalem, He said, “Jerusalem, Jerusalem”.

When Jesus was concerned about Saul on the road to Damascus, before he became the Apostle Paul, Jesus said, “Saul, Saul”.

Jesus was using Martha's name twice here for emphasis, “Martha, Martha”.

Raise your hands if you are crazy busy. I am sure many hands are going to go up. How many of you are just crazy busy? What are you crazy busy with? Work? Kid's activities? The list could go on, and on, and on, with the things we are crazy busy with. Does the Lord need to come to you, and say your name twice? “Fred, Fred.” “Matilda, Matilda.” Insert your name there. Does the Lord need to come to you, and say your name twice, because we are crazy busy. We are distracted. We are anxious, and we are troubled.

You see, that word 'busy', I am going to turn it into a little bit of a phrase.





I am going to make it into the phrase:





If we become too busy to hear God's Word, you know the devil has us right where he wants us. The devil will do anything he can to make us too busy, so we are busy under Satan's yoke, and we forget about the one thing that is necessary. Sometimes we can become distracted, anxious, troubled, upset, worried about many things in this life, and it takes our eyes off of the focus of the one thing that is necessary.

That was Martha.

Well, what about Mary? Notice what scripture says about Mary. Using some of these phrases to describe her, it says she sat at the feet of Jesus. She listened to His Word. And Jesus said,

“Mary has chosen the good portion,

which will not be taken away from her.”

Mary knew the one thing that is necessary. What is the one thing that is necessary? Well, the one thing that is necessary is God, and His Word. The chief hymn our congregation sang had some wonderful words inside it. It was the hymn, “One Thing is Needful”. We sang it together, but for emphasis, I am going to read through verse two, because it really gets at Mary's heart.

How were Mary's thoughts devoted?

Her eternal joy to find.

As intent, each word she noted, at her Savior's feet reclined.

How kindled her heart.

How devout was its feeling.

While hearing the lessons Christ was revealing.

All earthly concerns she forgot for her Lord

and found her contentment in hearing His Word.

Mary found contentment in hearing the words of Jesus, her Savior. Here is what Mary can get us to do. Mary can get us to focus our crazy, busy life, on Jesus. That is what Mary was doing. She was focusing her crazy, busy life on Jesus. And so, dear brothers and sisters in Christ, here is what I am going to encourage you to do, during the course of your week. I want you to diagnose your crazy, busy life. I want you to 'pull out the weeds' in your life, of those things that are not necessary, so that the one thing that is necessary remains.

C.S. Lewis, who was a Christian theologian, and professor said this about our crazy, busy life. He wrote in his book, Mere Christianity, “The real problem of the Christian life comes where people do not usually look for it. It comes the very moment you wake up in the morning. All of your wishes, and hopes for the day just rush at you like wild animals. Your first job each morning should consist of simply shoving all of those things back, and listening to that other voice, which is God's Word, and taking that other point of view, letting that other, larger, stronger life come flowing in, and so on, all day long.”

Remember what is necessary. It is not what I do for Jesus, but it is what Jesus has done for you. Jesus has done everything that is necessary for you.

       -He did that in the perfect life He lived, His life of perfect Christian Service.

       -He also did that in taking His life to the cross, where at the cross Jesus made full, and complete payment for all of our sin.

       -With the forgiveness of sin, He gives to you, and to me, that free gift of everlasting life, with Him in Heaven.

What do I need less of in life? Think about it, during the course of this week.

What do I need more of in life? The lesson for today is:

Jesus is the One thing that is necessary.

God is the One thing that is necessary.

Many of you know I love summer. I love the hot weather. I love the water. I love boats. I especially like inboard boats made by Correct Craft. And maybe this is one of the reasons why. Back in 1945, leading up to the invasion into Europe, the war department for the United States went to the owner of Correct Craft Boats, a guy by the name of Walter Meloon. They said, “We need boats for our invasion into Europe. Can you make 300 boats in 15 days?”

They went to him on February 9th, 1945, and by the end of the month, Correct Craft was to come up with all of those boats.

They were used to making 48 boats a month. How would they fill that order, going from 48 boats a month to 300 boats? Well, they prayed about it, as a family, and as a company. They said, “We are going to make those 300 boats, and we are going to fulfill the request by the end of February! But, there is one thing. We are going to take The Lord's Day off. We are not going to work on Sunday, because we want to stop, and we want to listen to God's Word.”

The War Department thought they were crazy.

But they said, “We are going to do it!”

Well, they planned February 9th, which was a Friday. And, they planned on Saturday. They took The Lord's Day off on Sunday, and went hard at it, on Monday. They made one boat.

On Tuesday, they made three boats.

On Wednesday, they made seven boats. They had made eleven boats in three days.

Now, at the end of the week, six days later, they had made 62 boats. 62 boats in six days.

They only had nine days left to fulfill that request.

They took The Lord's Day off to sit at the feet of Jesus, and to listen to Jesus' teaching.

They went back to work on Monday. At the end of the week, that is now twelve days total in working, they had made 306 boats. With three days to spare they had fulfilled the order the War Department had made for them! They had fulfilled the request, while taking The Lord's Day off.

They were asked to make more. And so, in the three days they had left, they made one hundred more boats, making four hundred boats in fifteen days!

That is an example of Active Christian Service. But, it is also an example of Passive Christian Listening.

       -Being active in our lives of Christian faith, just like the Good Samaritan, but

       -being passive in our lives of faith, and taking the time to listen to the One thing that is necessary. God's Word. It is in God's Word that we are focused on, that one thing that is necessary. And, it is Jesus, our Savior, who has done everything that is necessary for our salvation.