Sermon at First Presbyterian Church Lockhart

"Trust Me – Serve Me”

Jeremiah 8:18-9:1, Psalm 79, I Timothy 2:1-7, Luke 16:1-13

                                                          September 19, 2010                              

by James Greene

 

           There seems to be a golden rule, that it takes some time to trust someone.  Trust is something that is built up over time and experience, kind a like, the green alga that builds up on the sides of the turtle tank.  All of a sudden one day it is there.

           Trust in God works much in the same way.  It is something that develops over time, in our lives and our experience with God.  The problem is, that God has been with us and for us through the ages.  It is the obvious step for us to take: that we can trust God.  He calls us to Trust Him, and He calls us to serve Him in all that we are and all that we do.  The title of today’s sermon is “Trust Me - Serve Me”

 

I  Trusting in God    Israel/Jacob – Jerimiah

 

In Jeremiah, we see the conversation between God and the prophet.  It is a conversation about trusting in God.  He asks the prophet why do the people provoke Him, even in their rebellion, with their turning toward worthless idols.  They turn away from God, because they do not trust in His Promises.  The result is despair.  The fear and horror of our circumstance comes upon us in the realization we are not saved.  

What we have failed to learn, is that, we should still to trust in God.  We are to trust Him even in the midst of our sorrow and our mourning.

 

II  What does Trusting and Serving God look like?                  Jeremiah/Psalm

 

           In Psalm 79, like Jeremiah we see how the nations invade, defile and destroy the temple and Jerusalem.  They have slaughtered the people and given them over for food, for the wild animals.  There is none left to bury the dead.  Israel has become a disgusting element among the nations.  This reads like an excerpt out of the book “The Jewish Wars”, where Josephus describes the violent and destructive siege of Jerusalem.  Not only were the three major Jewish groups inside Jerusalem killing each other for power and control, but also, they were besieged on the outside by the Roman army.  In the end, the entire population of Jerusalem was destroyed and the city completely leveled.  This involved the killing of the people and the dismantling of the entire city by hand. 

We see the call of Israel to The Lord to come save them, and to pour out His wrath on the nations that do not acknowledge God.  This is the “calling down” of a curse upon the godless people who are destroying Israel.  In calling upon God to show that they trust in His love - for His people.  They call Him to avenge them and to be their shield and defender. 

This response to God’s salvation, is that they will again trust in God , Praise and follow God, through the generations. 

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III Trusting God - Serving God, - trusting God through prayer.       I Timothy

 

           In I Timothy we see Paul’s call for prayers, and requests for kings, and all in authority.  This is a call to trust in God and to serve Him through our praying for those in authority that we may live in peace.  This serving God through our prayers and trust, pleases God.  Who is our Savior.  Who’s desire is, that all people would be saved.  It also outlines for us the one truth of our Christian faith.

           There is only one God, and one mediator between God and mankind – this is Jesus,  - The Christ – Who in the proper point in history through His testimony and gave himself as a ransom for all people.  His example of trusting God (the Father) and serving God (the Father) is our model of behavior required of us by our God.  We are to trust Him  (in all things) and serve Him (in all things).

           All prayer (without anger or argument) is to God (the God of all people).  This does away with the curses, because God desires all people to be saved.  We are called to trust in one God, to be our savior, and to serve that one God because of that salvation.          

 

IV Giving an account of our management in our serving God  - Luke

 

           In Luke we see Jesus teaching in a parable about the shrewd manager.  This is a tough reading.  It is basically broken down into two sections: the tough first section on the shrewd manager, and what I call the trust section.  

           Tough Section

Here is a picture of a man who is fired because of his job performance.  He is wasting his master’s possessions.  It appears that he has been making his “extra money” by overcharging the business partners of his master.  He has been keeping back resources for himself.

Before he is terminated, he does his best to take care of himself – again.  He gives back to the master’s business partners what he has been making.  This ends up being a win – win situation.  The master is seen as benevolent for lowering his cost to the business partners, and the manager has made friends of the business partners of the master.

The manager still has not used the master’s resources properly.  The key word here (is that) he is dishonest – his dealings were unrighteous, both to the master, and the business partners.  His intent was evil in the sight of the master.   The master could not trust him, and he did not serve his master righteously.  He was not in right relationship with the master or the master’s partners. 

 

           Trust Section

           The trust section is a reflection of the behaviors laid out in Proverbs.  If you are trustworthy in a little  - be trustworthy in a lot  - (and the opposite).  The servant is trusted with the resources of the master, just as God trusts us (servants) with the resources we have in this life.  If our focus becomes the resources – like the shrewd

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manager, then we are not serving the master, and we loose the master’s trust in our righteousness.  We must be trust worthy, and we must serve the master, or we are not trust worthy and we only serve the masters resources.  Somewhere in our lives, people have trusted us.  They have given us a chance, what we did with that trust is how we became trust worthy, or not.

 

 

V “Trust Me - Serve Me” – what does that look like?

How much are we to trust God for our salvation in using the resources we have to take care of people.  We are not to be closed fisted in our approach to people and to life.  We are to serve God in our actions in our work; in our integrity as the people of God, and living into God’s standards of behavior.

 “Trust Me – Serve Me” is tied to, the two commands, to love God, and love the neighbor.  It is that right relationship, that “righteousness”, in our relationship to God and to God’s people.

 

And we do it all….

 

                      In the Name of    the Father,   the Son,   and the Holy Spirit.  Amen

 

 

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