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Gospel centred sermons, based on the lectionary often in advance.

Sep 1, 2011

Focus reading: Matthew 18:15-20

You may not be aware of it but when the author of Matthew’s gospel put together the sayings and stories of Jesus he did it in a very careful way.  It is made up of an introduction which talks about Jesus’ birth and a conclusion which is about Jesus’ death and resurrection. In between these there are five lots of stories about what Jesus did and these are each followed by a sermon. This week and next week we are looking at part of one of those sermons. (Chapter 18) If you look at this  chapter as a whole it’s all about forgiveness and reconciliation. We need to remember this, so that we don’t misunderstand what Jesus is saying. For instance today’s reading includes the rather famous saying of Jesus “if two of you agree on earth about anything you ask, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven.” (Matthew 18:19, NRSV) Looked at by itself we might be tempted to think that we can pray for anything such as a new car and God will give it to us, BUT this passage is actually about asking God to bring someone back to faith and the church. The main concern of God for us is that everyone should be friends with God and with each other. This I believe is what the cross and teaching of Jesus is about. It should also be the main focus of our prayer.


Questions for thought or discussion.

Read through all of Matthew 18. What would you say are the main themes of the chapter? What do you think about the idea that verse 19 is about praying for reconciliation? In what ways would this explain why some prayers never seem to get answered the way we want?  In what ways is the process outlined in today’s reading  a good one for dealing with “strays”?

A longer version of this file can be down loaded here.