March 19, 2017 – “The Real Jesus: Teacher of the Kingdom of God”

An audio file of the sermon from this morning, March 19, 2017, is available at this link.

A downloadable PDF file of the worship bulletin is at this link.

“What people sometimes call Jesus’s “ethics” or his “moral teaching” is really his description of the life of repentance, a life turned toward God, lived within God’s new reality. Without this context, the ethical teachings make no sense, and faced with this perplexing body of teachings people who don’t see it in context tend to give up and reduce it all to being nice. But Jesus didn’t mean we should be nice. No one in Jesus’ time would have dropped their tools and left their families to go sit on a hill to hear some wandering rabbi tell them to be nice. And it’s still true today. You don’t need Jesus in your life to be a nice person. You can do that without him.

“The God-directed, Jesus following life is much different from niceness. When the Kingdom of God has come near, you forgive instead of taking revenge; you make peace instead of insisting on your rights; you share what you have instead of trying to keep more for yourself; you heal people instead of wounding them; instead of demanding justice, you offer mercy. The repentance Jesus asks for is not feeling sorry for what you’ve done and vowing to do better, and it has nothing to do with being nice.

“It’s a courageous and joyful turn toward God’s new reality, living in it here and now.”