Are you a stumbling block or a stepping stone?

We can be a rock of faith or a stumbling block?

Romans 12:9 - end

Behave Like a Christian

9 Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. 10 Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honour giving preference to one another; 11 not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; 12 rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; 13 distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality.

14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. 16 Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion.

17 Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. 18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. 19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. Therefore

“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;

If he is thirsty, give him a drink;

For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.”

21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Matthew 16:21-end

Revelation of Jesus’ Death

Mark 8:31–33; Luke 9:22

21 From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day.

22 Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, “Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!”

23 But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.”

Revelation of Jesus’ Reward

Mark 8:34–37; Luke 9:23–25

24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. 25 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. 26 For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?

The Prophecy of the Second Coming

Mark 8:38–9:1; Luke 9:26, 27

27 For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works. 28 Assuredly, I say to you, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.”

Sermon

Manchester United spent many years climbing to success. Alex Ferguson stated that a pivotal moment came when he signed Eric Cantona which then led to winning the title and trophies.

Matthew 16:21 is a pivotal moment in Jesus’ ministry as He starts to teach them about how he must go to Jerusalem to suffer and be killed and resurrected on the third day.

His disciples didn’t really seem to understand. They really didn’t grasp how the messiah was to release them from bondage and allow them to worship freely. The disciples expectations of the messiah did not include; arrest, torture, death, pain. Perhaps they hoped for worldly success or power, but Jesus then continues to upturn conventional expectations – this time, for his followers.

“Goodness and righteousness will not earn people prosperity, but will bring them to struggle and suffering. Worldly progress and power are not the measure of success or true life. These are words that will have been hugely reassuring to the struggling readers of Matthew’s gospel. They may be hugely challenging to us.” - http://www.churchofscotland.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0011/21332/31_August_2014.pdf

At Christchurch our prayers go out to the people of Iraq in their troubles and especially the people who are having their faith tested and are losing their lives because they follow the Messiah - Jesus Christ.

  • How do we feel about being a rock for people, and how do we feel if we turn out to be a stumbling block?

May we be thankful for the times that we are a rock for people

and pray that we are not a stumbling block.

We pray for the people in Iraq that are following Christ

and are standing firm as rocks of faith.

let us be like Eric Cantona in that

we become a pivotal point

for bringing people to faith in Jesus Christ

Amen.

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