Shan Church Sermon – May 3, 2015 – (through translator)
Good Morning everyone.
My name is Troy Roberts, and I’m a teacher at Chiang Rai International Christian School.
My family and I moved to Chiang Rai from Alaska in America in August, and we love living and teaching here.
You probably can figure out who my wife and kids are, but my wife is Cora, my son is Chanan, and my daughter is Rinnah.
They keep me laughing!
We’ve made Chiang Rai our home and we plan to serve God here for years and years to come, if He let us stay.
The Word of God ———————————–
I’m humbled to have a chance to share a story from the Bible with you.
I really don’t know if I deserve to be heard by you.
I’ve only met a few of you, and I haven’t been able to serve you at all. But these stories are the word of God.
The same God that made the world from nothing and made each of us in His image has given us these stoires from him so that we can know him.
He loves us, and he wants us to know Him better.
I don’t know you well enough to tell you how to think and how to live your lives, but He does,
I hope today, as we learn these stories together, that you’ll hear Him teaching you through the stories, and not just me.
Opening Prayer ————————————-
Father, you are great! You made the world and you made each of us. Thank you!
Please help us to understand what your Son, Jesus is teaching in these stories.
Speak only what is true through me, and send yoru powerful Holy Spirit to change us as we learn.
We ask all this for Jesus sake.
Story Practice —————————————
I’m going to act out a story for you two times, and when I am done, I’d like you to tell the story to someone near you.
I’m a teacher, and I’ve learned that people, adults and kids, learn better when they are doing more with what they are learning.
So today, we are going to play and learn at the same time.
Please try to follow along.
The Pharisee and the Tax Collector (Luke 18 paraphrased) —————————————
Jesus told this story to a group of people who were very confident in their own goodness.
[chest pat and a thumbs up]
Jesus said, “Two men went into the temple to pray.”
[two fingers up………………………….pray hands]
One man was a religious leader and he prayed “Thank you God that I am not like other men.”
[one finger up, hands on hips……………………………………………………………wave “no” hands. Shake head no]
“I do not have many wives. I am not a thief or an evil person, like this tax collector”
[pinch pull motion…….angry face with fists….point down to tax collector’s spot]
“I fast, and I give my money away.”
[block mouth…hand out motion]
But the tax collector stayed far away and did not lift his eyes to look up.
[motion backwards……………………………….cover eyes head down]
He beat his chest and said, “Have mercy on me, a sinner”
[hit chest with fist]
Jesus said, “the tax collector went home forgiven and reunited to God, not the religious leader.”
[guesture to tax collector spot and shake head yes. gesture to leader spot –up high- and shake no.]
“For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”
[thumbs up hand pushed down. Fist beating chest lifted up.]
The Pharisee and the Tax Collector (Teaching) —————————————
In Jesus’ story, two men went to the same place, to do the same thing, but with very different lives and very different hearts.
The religious leader was called a Pharisee, they followed every law of God.
They even made up extra rules to make sure that they never got close to breaking a rule.
They were always doing good. As the Pharisee said, he didn’t do evil, he fasted, and gave money often.
Pharisees were looked up to as very important men.
But the tax collector was thought of as a traitor and a thief.
During Jesus’ lifetime, Romans ruled over the Jews, Jesus’ people.
And the Romans took taxes from the Jews.
Tax collectors were Jews that helped to collect the money for the Romans.
Helping the Romans made the tax collectors seem like a traitor to their own people.
And many tax collectors demanded extra money to keep for themselves. They were thieves!
Most Jews hated tax collectors.
Yet when the good Pharisee prayed, he was not forgiven, but when the tax collector prayed, he was forgiven.
Because the tax collector was humble!
He felt so sorry for his evils that he could not lift his head and he hit his own chest in sorrow.
He humbled himself.
He came to ask for mercy.
The Pharisee though came to tell God about all the things that make him good already, without any help from God.
The Pharisee didn’t think he needed God’s mercy because he thought he could be good by his own work.
But all the good work, fasting, and money giving in the world will not forgive our evil deeds.
We have all lied (even small ones)
We have all thought about hurting someone (Jesus said that hate is the same as murder.)
We have all been jealous of someone else’s things
We have all ignored God at times
We have all done evil, but God wants to exalt the humble.
We need to stop thinking about how good we are, and remember for a moment the evil we have done.
We need to lower our heads and ask for mercy from God because of Jesus.
He has done everything to make sure that we can have mercy immediately,
He doesn’t care what evil you have done. He can still forgive you because Jesus died to pay for our crimes.
In fact, Jesus gave mercy to a thief as he hung on the cross dying.
The Criminal on the Cross (Luke 23 Paraphrased) —————————————
Jesus and two criminals were led up the hill to be hung on crosses.
[1 finger and two fingers move uphill. Fingers make a cross]
The Roman soldiers nailed the three men to the crosses
The soldiers and the crowd insulted Jesus and made fun of him
[point and laugh]
They yelled, “If you are the king of the Jews, then save yourself”
[…………………………….put on a crown………flex your arm muscles.]
One criminal beside Jesus said, “Yeah, save yourself and save us too!”
[lift arms as though on a cross………….Nod head to Jesus. Nod head up.]
The other criminal said, “Don’t you fear God?”
[step over and make cross arms]
We have done wrong and we deserve to be punished, but He has done nothing wrong.”
[x motion with hand shake head yes……………………………….X motion with hand shake head no]
“Jesus, remember me when you enter your kingdom.”
[………..point to your brain/head…..put a crown on your head]
Then Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”
[step to center. gesture to criminal. Pat chest. Two arms up to heaven.]
This man was an evil man, a sinner. He even admitted it in front of Jesus and the crowd.
This man was about to die. He only had a few hours left to live.
He had nothing to offer Jesus. He had nothing to give Him.
But he humbled himself before Jesus.
And asked Jesus to remember him in the His kingdom.
He treated Jesus like a king.
He believed Jesus, and Jesus promised him that he would see paradise with him before the day was over!
A dying criminal with nothing to offer is given a free ticket to heaven because he feared God, humbled himself, and treated Jesus as a king.
My Dad’s Faith in Jesus —————————————
My dad died of cancer five years ago.
He left my mother and I when I was a boy, but I found him again as an adult and we started talking on the phone.
I told him about Jesus, but he doubted the story.
One day, he called and told me that a friend had told him about the thief on the cross,
and that he had called out to Jesus and trusted his life to Him.
We spent the rest of the conversation talking about how amazing it was that Jesus would die for us and that he rose form the dead.
We talked about the joys that God has planned for us in paradise.
It was a great talk with my father and with a new brother in the family of God.
The next time I called to talk, my father was being rushed to the hospital where he died.
My father had done many terrible things in his life, and he had only trusted in Jesus for two weeks before he died.
But like the thief, my father humbled himself and called on Jesus, and he was promised paradise.
He’s here now.
I hope you won’t wait as long as my father did.
I hope you’ll call out to Jesus today.
Whether you know Jesus or not, please humble yourself, admit your crimes to him, and be forgiven and changed forever.
Ask someone here to pray with you, and begin to learn more about God through his Bible.
Closing Prayer —————————————
King Jesus, we are sinners. thank you for dying for us
Please help us to humble ourselves and to treat you like the king you are.
Please remember us in your kingdom.