"So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." Romans 10:17

Blessing Not Burned is Better

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A sermon given on November 22, 2009 on Matthew 13:1-9.

Blessing Not Burned is Better Transcription


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

I used to attend George Mason University down the street.  This is the college I went to but there was one thing I used to hate was the exams, the reason because they had multiple choice answers. I hate multiple choice something you want to learn about me I hate multiple choice. The reason is two of the options look exactly the same. So one option may be you can get rid of it, but two options one of these of two options could be it.

But what I hated even more than that was option C and D and E. One option was all of the above and the next option was none of the above. Now it is all confusing, which one is it going to be, is it all of the above, none of the above, is it B, is it C? Honestly may be I have deslixia, I hated multiple choice and I could never figure what the right answer was? today we have multiple choice in the Gospel Mathew 13, lets look through it:

  • First option A, was the seeds by the way side and the result is you will be devoured.
  • Option B, is stoney ground, the result is to be burned or scorched.
  • Option C, is thorns the result is being choked.
  • Option D is good soil result is blessing 30, 60 100 folds.

Today multiple choice is much easier than I remember the exams in the University. Which results would you chose? A, B, C or D....D is it.

Option D, it seems easy, it seems that everyone will chose option D but lets look at the gospel, Mathew 13:9 "he was has ears to hear let him hear".  Today we have an option, out of four one you will be devoured, one you will be burned, one you will be choked and the fourth one blessing. It seems like an easy option or is it? To get a better idea of these options, lets look at the same chapter of the gospel but later on, Mathew 13:14-15

14 And in them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled, which says: 
  ‘ Hearing you will hear and shall not understand,
   And seeing you will see and not perceive;
15 For the hearts of this people have grown dull.
   Their ears are hard of hearing,
   And their eyes they have closed,
   Lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears,
   Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn,
   So that I should heal them.

what is it saying in this prophecy? it is saying that it looks like it is an easy option,   Option D is blessing, everyone should chose blessing but what is it saying? but is is saying that everyone hears the Word but we can not understand. We see lots of good things, we see the Bible, we see the Word of God but we don't also perceive. Also it says here, the hearts of the people have grown what? have grown dull..the hearts of the people have grown dull. It looks like today is an easy multiple choice answer, everyone chose blessing, but the problem is we can't, our hearts may have grown dull, lets ask ourselves this question each one of us as we are sitting here has my heart grown dull? has my relationship with Christ gone stall, gone cold? when I read the bible does it make sense? how many of us have that when we read the Bible it makes sense? how many of us come to Liturgy and we don't enjoy it? how many of us hears lots of sermons, we have three great fathers, and they preach lots of sermons, how many does it register? may be because our hearts has grown dull so what do we do? that is the question for today..to get the answer lets go to vs. 15

15 For the hearts of this people have grown dull.
   Their ears are hard of hearing,
   And their eyes they have closed,
   Lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears,
   Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn,
   So that I should heal them.

The Lord is promising that if we do something He will heal us, He will bring blessing to us, what do we need to do? we need to...we need to...who's got it? lest they understand with their hearts and turn...and turn..I want to tell you today that the word of God will never make sense to you, will never bring you blessing, that multiple choice of answer D will never happen in your life unless we can turn. It says here in prophecy of Isaiah if we turn God will heal us, turn from what? everyone of us needs to turn away from something, may be it is some big sin, may be it is an impure life, lack of purity, may be for one of us or many of us it is anger, may be for some of us it is pride, may be it is laziness, whatever it is? everyone of us should figure this out today, if I want this blessing if I want 30, 60, 100 folds in my life then I need to turn away from something. Today in the liturgy we need to think about what we need to turn away from, it is not just the sermon, today after the sermon we will have the liturgy. The continuation of liturgy, the liturgy of the Eucharist. During this time we should pray and see what we need to turn away from if we don't turn away from some kind of sin, from some kind of thing keeping us away from Him then the word of God will never bring blessing to your life. And actually more than that, the word of God will never make sense to you, you can read and not understand like the prophecy of Isaiah, you will hear and not understand, you will see and not perceive. It will not make any sense to you, lets pray that we can have this good soil that the word of God can make sense. If you don't believe me lets turn to Hebrews 6 listen carefully and see what you think it says vs. 7

7 For the earth which drinks in the rain that often comes upon it, and bears herbs useful for those by whom it is cultivated, receives blessing from God; 8 but if it bears thorns and briers, it is rejected and near to being cursed, whose end is to be burned.

Here if the water goes on the good soil it makes it cultivated, fruitful receives blessing. There is blessing in there and the word of God wants to come into our life and bring blessing option D but if there is thorns or other things keeping us from that it will bring what? cursing and will be burned this is exactly like the gospel is saying.  You can see that the message of Hebrews is the same as the gospel of Mathew so what do we do ? we need to turn..turn away. We have to make a decision today, to turn away from our sin turn away from evil, turn away from impure life, anger, pride, laziness, if we turn away then God can bring healing and blessing. Today like I said in the liturgy we will continue prayers, there is of course the prayer of reconciliation where we have to be reconciled to God, there is a prayer later on wherein the seven prayers where it is saying the purity of the all faithful people all of us, there is a prayer for all of you to be like pure. Also we know the prayer of where the bread and wine are turned into the body and blood of Jesus, during that time we also want to be turned..today we want turning..we want to turn away from something and go towards Christ, if we don't turn away like the gospel says today we will not receive option D the blessing. I am praying for all of you today, I am praying that we don't continue to be devoured, burned, and choked the only way or one way that is important for us is we need to turn away today during the liturgy I want us to pray our eyes closed when Abouna Anthony continues the prayer. During the prayer don't just stand up and say Lord have mercy and just say stuff and bow down and then stand up there is no meaning..okay there is times when you can pray so remember each one of you need to think about one thing that you want to turn away from. when you turn away from that sin that is when everything makes sense how many of you lets be honest I will confess the same thing how many of you many years of Sunday school you hated it, or liturgy boring, the bible can't even understand it.  If you are in that category then may be you are in the other three options then may be your life is choking you, and devouring you and keeping you away from that blessing. Only way that the liturgy is going to be enjoyable to you, the only way that the word of God is going to be enjoyable to you the only way that the Sunday school is going to be exciting to you is if you turn away. There has to be some kind of turning away from our sin today, in the liturgy pray for it, I know everyone of us including me has something that we cant let go everyone of us enjoy something some desire but the prophecy of Isaiah is true we will never understand we will never be healed if we cant turn away from whatever is keeping us away from Him? everyone in the beginning wants said option D I want 30, 60,100 fold.   I promise you, you will never get that unless you turn away. Turn away from whatever is keeping you.

Back to Hebrews, there is a friend of mine in Hebrews, his name in Abraham, God is giving him a promise,

 13 For when God made a promise to Abraham, because He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself, 14 saying, “Surely blessing I will bless you, and multiplying

You want to obtain the promise of blessing..if you want to obtain the promise of blessing you need to turn away, there is no other way, liturgy will never be enjoyable, the bible will never be understandable, the Christian life will never make sense until you turn away.  I know from my experience from many years of my life I couldn't stand the liturgy I used to come to church and look in the door and see everyone in the liturgy after it is finished may be I will go to Sunday school for few minutes and may be I would not go, this is most of my youth. But It wasn't until I let go of the sin that was keeping me from my Lord, and until you do that you will be the same nothing will make sense nothing will be enjoyable. I am praying for you today that the rest of the liturgy is prayer not just Lord have mercy, Lord have mercy and whatever, it is prayer, during the prayer time pray that God will help you turn away from your sin as the Bread and Wine are turning into the Body and Blood.   You should pray that you would be turned into a new creation and turn from whatever is keeping you from that, blessing will be multiplied and you will be blessed.  I am praying for you today that the Lord will give you option D and bless you in your life. I don't want to see you anymore to be burned, to be devoured, or to be choked. These three options will keep you empty.  I pray for you Option D, but one thing you need to do to receive it is turn away, lets pray for that today, today we want blessing not burned because it is better. Blessing not burned is better lets say it all together "Blessing not burned is better" now you said so if you believe that then you must turn away. Blessing not burned is better, much better trust me. During the liturgy let it be prayer, turn away from whatever it is that is keeping you away from him but nothing will make sense until we do I am praying for you, pray for me.

Glory to be to God forever and ever Amen.