Monday Morning Coffee with Mark

The Parable of The Life Browser

November 08, 2021 Mark Roberts Season 1 Episode 24
Monday Morning Coffee with Mark
The Parable of The Life Browser
Show Notes Transcript

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Welcome to the Westside church’s special Monday Morning Coffee podcast with Mark Roberts. Mark is a disciple, a husband, father and grand dad, as well as a certified coffee geek, fan of CS Lewis’ writings and he loves his big red Jeep. He’s also the preacher for Westside church.

Speaker 1:

Hello, and welcome to the Westside churches special Monday morning coffee podcast on this podcast, our preacher Mark Robert will help you get your week started. Right? We look back at yesterday's sermon so that we can think through it further and better work the applications into our daily lives . Mark will then look forward into this week's Bible reading so that we can know what to expect and watch for. And he may have some extra bonus thoughts from time to time. So grab a cup of coffee as we start the week together on Monday Morning Coffee with Mark.

Speaker 2:

Good morning. Good morning. Welcome to the Monday morning coffee podcast for Monday, November the eighth, I'm mark. And I hope you're ready to think about yesterday's sermon. That was a little different. Wasn't it. And prepare for this week in daily Bible, reading in Matthew's wonderful, wonderful gospel. We want to start the week, right? With a sharp spiritual focus. Pour that cup of coffee. I'm working on a cappuccino right here. Let's do it. Let's go to work. So yesterday I preached a sermon title, the parable of the life browser. And I'm going to give you a little behind the scenes, look at sermon preparation and some of my thoughts about that and how all that came together. I have really been impressed with Jesus's ability to make people think and to galvanize his ideas in the minds of his heroes , with the use of parables, as we've been reading in the gospels all year long, I've thought a lot about the tactics and techniques that Jesus uses as the master teacher. And I'm just very impressed with Jesus's ability to tell stories that make you think, and that you are still thinking about maybe even hours later as those trues echo around in your heart. And I, I want to do something like that. I have a couple of sermons where I've done a parable or a story kind of thing. And this was actually what I did yesterday was actually based on something I did more than 20 years ago, that involved an index card file. And I really didn't think anybody today that was under the age of 40, probably even knew what it's like to go to the library and look at the card catalog. So I needed to do some updating of that. I needed to think through that again in a different way. And as I began to think about what would it be like if your life was recorded on internet pages on webpages and you were at a browser and you were looking at those pages, scrolling those pages, reading those pages, clicking a new tab and seeing more pages I realized, I think I can make this into a story. I think I can make this work. And so that's what I tried to do yesterday. That's a risky kind of thing. I, I'm not used to that kind of preaching. And of course, as an audience, we're not exactly used to listening to that kind of preaching either, but I really would like to do more of that. I think I'd like to get to a place where I can do a parable three, four times a year and it not be quite so out of the ordinary. Maybe people even look forward to that. I hope if you're listening to this and you think of something that could be adapted in that way, or maybe you read something and you and someone is using this as a parable to illustrate some ideas from the Bible. Maybe you appoint me to that or send that to me so that I can think through that I need more material, but more than anything, I just need to be thinking more terribly. I'm not even sure that that is a word, but it should be. And I need to be seeing if I can preach and teach like Jesus. So much of my preaching is very doctrinal and very, very much based in here's a proposition. And now here's three points about that proposition. And here's what the Bible says about that proposition. And this is what we're going to do about that proposition. And, and without any question, I think that's very effective. I think that can be very effective. There's plenty of that kind of preaching in the Bible. And Jesus does that kind of preaching, for example, in the sermon on the Mount, even if it's not three points illustrated with PowerPoint and then an invitation song, Jesus could preach that way, but some of Jesus' best teaching is in parable form. And that's why yesterday I told the parable of a life browser. If you've not heard that sermon, you probably need to just go listen to that sermon, to have any idea about anything that I'm going to say next. But it is based on the idea of a young man who sees a unique and special computer. It's in a dream. And as he looks at the computer, it has a browser and he begins to browse the pages. And he realizes that these pages are the pages of his life. And the major points that I tried to make yesterday out of that is that every page in your browser, in your life is going to matter. Everything in the parable is written down, everything that he's ever done or thought. And the idea there is to help people think through or connect to the idea that all my actions, no matter how big or how small, all of them matter our lives really aren't made, made up of giant events. Much of what we do is smaller, but the Lord sees it all it, Lord sees it all. And that was the second point. You can't hide a single page from God. There's no way to delete your history. There's no way to clear your browser. God knows everything that we've done. God knows everything that we have thought all of it is open and laid bare before him with whom we have to do. The Hebrew writer tells us. And so in the parable, then Jesus enters the room and began to look at the pages of this man's life. And of course he's mortified because there's so many pages there that represent sand and that tele of wrong deeds and things that he should not have done. And in an amazing moment, Jesus touches the browser and the black pages of sin are turned in a flash to white Jesus cleanses his life is the metaphor there. And Jesus is the only one that can do that. So then the final point that I made is that we're all writing pages. That's what we're doing with our life. We're all writing pages now. And we need to think seriously about what those pages look like and what kind of pages we are writing and whether we've let Jesus come and cleanse those pages, are we letting Jesus deal with our sins ? I hope that sermon worked for you and was something that enabled you to think of some spiritual truth , maybe in a new way, or particularly I'm always looking for something. That's what I would call sticky. Everyone's heard a sermon that had an illustration or the way a point was phrased, or maybe the PowerPoint slides were just very memorable. They stick with us. And as a preacher, I'm going to get the opportunity to speak over a hundred times in a year. I want as many of those sermons as possible to remain with you. I want them to stick. And I hope maybe this one will be sticky in that kind of fashion. I don't really have a whole lot of things that I'd want to add to that sermon. I don't think, I think the parable was pretty complete. I did really toy with the idea of somehow networking the browser to other people's browsers because the flaw or one of the flaws, at least in my story is that the man is all by himself. And we aren't all by ourselves. Now, obviously I get it. We're going to be judged on what we do and there'll be no group judging. Hey, you're standing in a group of really fine people. You weren't really much of a disciple, but Hey, you get admitted with everybody else. Of course that's not how salvation works. And we all know that, but being part of a group of Christians can help you be a better disciple. And I need to think of some way to illustrate that. Maybe add that on , uh, you know, Jesus's parables, don't cover everything. Jesus parables don't answer every question that we might ask. Jesus uses some scoundrels in his parable sometimes, and that causes people a little bit of trepidation. Uh , so it's probably okay that I didn't hang a bunch of other stuff off the parable and in some way , bog it down so that it was theologically answering every possible conception of discipleship. But there is something to be said for the fact that, that my browser pages connect to your browser pages and you can help me and I can help you. And together we can serve the Lord in a better way. Maybe I'll develop that further down the line, some kind of parable of the network computers or something like that. But I hope that sermon, like I said, will be sticky with you. And if you have other ideas for parable sermons, or if you want to reflect with me a little bit more on how that worked and whether or not that worked, I would be interested in what you have to say about that. Send me a comment on Facebook or an email, or just grab me after church and say, Hey, I had something I wanted to mention to you about that sermon. I really liked this, or I didn't like that at all. That didn't work for me or something. Let me know what you're thinking about that because I am trying to explore more the idea of teaching and preaching like Jesus, by telling stories that catch and hold our attention. This week in daily Bible reading, we will read two complete chapters in Matthew, Matthew chapter 17, Matthew chapter 18. We have nice, clear, bright lines, nice clean sharp edges this week that begins Monday in Matthew chapter 17 verses one to 13 Matthew's account of the transfiguration of Jesus, the Christ. And when you read this, you will have a lot of questions. For example, why didn't all the apostles get to go or since it is Peter James and John, Hey, how about the foursome? The four Musketeers are Peter, Andrew, James and John, where is Andrew? And we can ask a lot of those questions and speculate a lot about all of that. And what that will do is keep us from seeing what Matthew wants us to see, which is Jesus is the Messiah, but his Messiah ship is blended with his suffering, his glory and his suffering go together. And Matthew is doing that out of verse one right away. He says after six days, Matthew very rarely gives us time indicators. He's tying this to the material in chapter 16, where Peter 16, 16 says you are the Messiah. And immediately 1621, Jesus is saying, yes, I am the Messiah. And that means I'm going to Jerusalem to be crucified, our suffering die. And I will be risen on the third day. That of course is way outside the box for these disciples. They need a lot of thinking about that. They need to really hone in on those kinds of ideas and the transfiguration is going to help at least Peter James and John do some of that as Jesus appears, verse three and talks with Moses and Elijah. Now, Matthew is the one that makes the most of Jesus's face shining. And that of course identifies Jesus with Moses Moses's face shown after he would visit with God, talk with God. He had to veil his face. His face was so bright after that. And both of these fellows, Moses and Elijah really stand out both as the summation of the law and the prophets. That's how the Jews would reference the old Testament, the law and the prophets . We don't think that much of Elijah sometimes because Elijah didn't right . We think maybe of Isaiah or Jeremiah or one of the minor prophets, but in Jewish thought, Elijah is super important on par with Moses. Moses is the model prophet Deuteronomy 18. Uh , but both of these men had strange ends . God berries , Moses, no one knows where Elijah went directly to having both men receive God's word on a mountain. And then of course, Jesus preached from a mountain in Matthew chapter five. So there's just a lot of parallels working here, lots of old Testament connection. The cloud settles upon them. Verse five. Matthew makes much of it being a bright cloud. And of course in the old Testament, a cloud is associated with God. The people of Israel are led by a cloud, and there's lots of language in the prophets about the cloud being of a harbinger of judgment, God rides on the clouds, Isaiah 19, bringing judgment, plenty of passages that talk about that as eco 30 Zephaniah, one Psalm 97, then the cloud here then says basically what was said at the baptism of Jesus, which is focus on Jesus. I don't think that Peter James and John took all of that in at that moment. I don't think they are getting all of that. Peter will say in second, Peter, one 16 that he understood this better later, but Jesus does say, as they're coming down the mountain verse nine, don't talk about it. You know, people don't understand Jesus as Messiah ship. Now, if these guys go and tell everybody, Hey, Jesus was talking to the two biggest characters in Judaism, Moses and Elijah folks are going to completely lose it. And there's no telling what would happen. We're just going to have to keep this under wraps for a while. So Jesus and the disciples come down from the mountain and our reading then concludes with the discussion of how the disciples understood that some of this has to do with John. The Baptist that Elijah has come already verses 11 and 12. And that's a small step. It's a small step, but it is a step that says they're finally beginning to put some things together on Tuesday, we read in Matthew chapter 17 verses 14 to 27. What dominates this account of course is the healing of this boy who has a demon. They come back down from the Mount of transfiguration. Here's this boy who has a terrible demon possession. Some have tried to make this into epilepsy, but it is most certainly not verse 18. Jesus rebuked the demon and the other apostles. They can't do anything with this while Jesus was away, utter and complete failure. Ambient FAC failure becomes a recurring theme. Just keep your eye on the idea of the disciples. Not understanding, not figuring it out. We saw that in chapter 14, verse 16, Jett 14, 26, 15, 16, 16, 5. Going to see that here in Matthew's gospel, the disciples, don't always latch on to everything that the kingdom of heaven and Jesus is saying about the kingdom and being the king. They don't always get that in the first pass. Uh , maybe we ought to remember here. Matthew is part of that group that failed. Matthew is part of the guys at the bottom of the mountain who can't do this. Jesus says you failed verse 20 because of your little faith. If you had more faith, you could move mountains around. Of course that's been terribly misunderstood. It is about genuine faith. It's it is saying something about the quality of your faith, not the quantity of your faith. You don't need an 18 wheelers load of faith to do great things in the kingdom of God. But this idea of moving mountains causes people, all kinds of difficulties. And of course, what they're not dealing with is that that's just a proverbial statement for overcoming tremendous difficulties. It's used that way. A couple of places in scripture, Isaiah chapter 40, it's kind of like the expression. I could eat a horse, nobody expects when they say, man, I'm so hungry. I could eat a horse that someone is going to cook up some horse. That's not where we're going with that. And Jesus, isn't saying you could literally pick up Mount Everest and chunk it in the sea. Why would you do that? And how would that relate to faith in any kind of way? But they do need more faith. They need to have more belief in Jesus and more belief in the powers that he has bestowed upon them. That our reading then concludes for 24 to 27 with a story that's only in Matthew. And that's the story of the temple tax. The temple tax was a tax that all Jews paid, all Jewish males paid age 20 to 50. And in Jesus's day, it was two drachmas or a half a shekel. And all good Jews would pay that tax. And Matthew is saying that Jesus is a law abiding Jew. I should mention here that this story gets attacked a lot. And lots of modernistic scholars and commentators will say something about that . Jesus was only kidding or that this is just some kind of legend. One of my favorite scholars noted to declare that a historical narrative is folklore has far reaching implications for the reliability of the text . That is exactly right. If we start writing stuff off in scripture has just being myth and legend. The question always comes, where do you stop writing myth and legend? And how do you know this is a true account of what Jesus does in order to be a law abiding Jew and Matthew records it because this gospel is for Jewish people on Wednesday. Then we begin Matthew chapter 18. The first nine verses is our reading for Wednesday. And I said that a theme here is going to be the failure of the disciples. And here is a failure verse. One they're asking about who is the marks account tells us they were actually arguing about who the greatest is in the kingdom. I wonder if Peter, James and John were saying, we saw something that you didn't see, and we can't tell you about it. I know something you don't know is that feeding into some kind of discussion about who's great in the kingdom. Jesus says the way to be great is to be humble in verse three, Jesus says, truly, I say to you, unless you turn to become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Kids get used out of that verse as models of everything from purity to innocence, all kinds of things go on there. If you've ever had a little kid, you know, they're not always modeled citizens probably won't go into all of that right here. But , uh , all of the parents are aiming. As I say that, probably what Jesus is going for here is that kids aren't concerned about their social status kids. Don't concern themselves with who's greatest. They're not into that. They don't worry about that. They'll play with anybody. They're not clash conscious. They don't care if you went to the right school or you have the right kind of clothes. And I think Jesus was calling to humility like that. And really to some extent, much of the rest of the chapter is developed from situations that will arise in the church where people don't practice, that kind of humility, the temptation to cause other people to sand verses seven, eight, and nine. And then there'll be discussion of how to bring back a brother who strays verses 10 to 14 and even reprove somebody who is an error verses 15 to 20, and then reconciliation and forgiveness are covered in verse 21 on through the end of the chapter there as Jesus talks about the importance of forgiving each other and caring for each other in that kind of way. So a lot of what happens here in these first six verses begins to drive. What's going to go on in the rest of our Bible reading here in Matthew chapter 18, Thursday's reading begins in verse 10 in which Jesus says don't despise kids because I tell you that in heaven, their angels always see the face of my father who is in heaven. This is the verse that has been used to say that children have guardian angels appearing before the Lord. And I'm not very comfortable with that. That is not what the verse says. The verse does not say that you have a specific angel assigned to you. Who is your guardian angel? There's nothing else in scripture that would suggest there is one angel for each person having said that. I feel like sometimes we just minimize angels. There are so, so much mistaken angel ology in our world today. And Paul certainly warns the Coliseum brother and about becoming overly fascinated with angels. And the Hebrew writers certainly tells us Jesus is greater than angels. So we want to keep our focus on the main thing. But sometimes the result of all of this is we just don't talk about angels at all. That's a mistake. Jesus is saying something angels are in the presence of God. That's what seeing God's face means. And clearly they're doing in some kind of function in some kind of way to help and assist us. Hebrews one 14 says that angels serve you and me in order to help us be saved. We should take great comfort in that rather than just trying to push this out of scripture, because it makes us uncomfortable. We should be thrilled that angels care about us. And that God cares about us so much that these mighty beings are dispatched to help and assist us. Even if we don't know everything about how they do that. When they do that, what that looks like we should still just be excited. That's how much God cares for us. Now, the rest of that chapter talks about verse 10 of fellow who's lost and who needs to be restored. And Jesus tells a shepherd parable there a little bit of a lost sheep thing reminds us of Luke 15. It is not exactly the same as Luke 15. And then we get the offended brother discussion in verses 15 to 20 to finish our reading on Thursday. And this procedure sets forth. Clearly the idea that we want to restore, we don't just cut people off. We don't just get angry and leave or push them out. We want people to be restored. The church will need to know how to heal itself. When things go amiss and Jesus is giving very much the kind of thing that we need to do, and to be a part of, if we're going to remain the family of God, this is rooted in the old Testament. It comes out of Deuteronomy 1915, and this is another place where Jesus community is going to be like his reel of old, the new Israel in some ways echoes the Israel of old. And maybe I would say this from verse 20. I love this podcast because I get to say a little bit more about Bible reading that I'm going to get to say on Friday when I read that or on Wednesday night, when we talk about the Bible reading, look at verse 20, where two or three are gathered in my name. There I am among them. People who cite that all the time in a variety of contexts , many times terribly misused. You know, I've got a foursome playing golf on Sunday, but Hey, wherever two or three are gathered, Jesus is there. So we can skip church and , and play golf OMI. But it's certainly not what Jesus means. And that is certainly not , uh , what the, what the new Testament would be teaching about our role in worship and our obligation to our brothers and sisters in Christ. Please notice verse 20 is in the context of church discipline. That's what that's talking about. God will answer the prayer of the church that wants to do he is , will and will be with those who are judging sin and working to purify the Lord's church. That's what verse 20 means. In that context, Friday's reading then concludes chapter 18 Friday. We'll read Matthew 1821 to 35. And this is the parable of the unforgiving servant. Notice a couple of things here for 22. Jesus said, I don't say to you, this question is forgiveness. How many times should I forgive? Not seven times, but 77 times. That's an old Testament connection. Genesis 4 24, layman vowel , 70 times seven vengeance. Jesus. Now overturns that and reverses that out. He then tells a story where a man owns owes a gazillion dollars and he does. This is more money than anybody could possibly pay in their lifetime. Some suggest this would be in our dollars today over a billion dollars. Imagine if you had gotten to messing in Bitcoin or the stock market or playing the horses, and somehow you ran up a bill of over a billion dollars. There's just no way an individual can pay that. There's not a chance in the new Testament world. You could be sold verse 25, although that's not going to pay much on the debt. A slave would be sold for somewhere around one talent, considering how much he owes here. That's not really going to put a big dent in the bill. Then he goes out after having been forgiven and he grabs a guy who owes him a hundred denier . I now Dinair , I is one day's wage for the working man. So this guy owes him about three months wages. Now that's not an inconsequential sum . It's not a nickel, but it's also not nearly what he owed and has just been forgiven. There's no way 10,000 talents. Verse 24 can possibly compare to a hundred. There I in verse 28 and this man verse 29 makes the exact same plea that he made. I will pay you instead. He is hard hearted and treats this man ruffly and unfairly unmercifully. And so he is turned over verse 34 to the torturers. The ESV has jailers with a marginal note, their torturers figure here, because torturers do what they make. You reveal hidden sources of money. People buried their money back then. And they would say, I can't pay, but a torturer would make you tell the truth. That's in the context of the new Testament culture. That's why Jesus says that. So my heavenly father verse 35 will do to every one of you. If you do not forgive your brother from your heart, what a powerful story about the need for forgiveness and that we forgive because we realize we have been forgiven and we have been forgiven so very much. Wow. Matthew 17 and 18. Those are tremendous chapters, really pushing us to think a lot about what it is to be in the kingdom of heaven. Thank you for listening to the Monday morning coffee podcast. We'd love for you to subscribe, follow rate, or give a review on iTunes or whatever app you are listening on. The best thing you could do is simply tell someone else about the show. Daily Bible reading can be very evangelists. People want to know more about the Bible, share this show with someone and urge them to read the Bible along with you, give them a Bible reading schedule, tell them to listen in and they can read God's word and spend time with Jesus Christ. So until next time, may your coffee be delightful? May your Monday be short and may the Lord be with you today all day. See you next week.

Speaker 1:

Thanks for listening to the Westside church of Christ podcast. Monday morning coffee with Mark, for more information about Westside. You can connect with us through our website, just christian.com and our Facebook page. Our music is from uppbeat.io. That's upbeat with two P's UPPBEAT where creators can get free music. Please share our podcast with others. And we look forward to seeing you again with a cup of coffee, of course, on next Monday.Monday,

Speaker 3:

[inaudible] .