If you are a pastor or lay person who wants to use this to preach in church – that is why I posted it. I don’t care about credit, I only care that God’s word is preached and Christ is glorified. I pray He uses this sermon in a mighty way through you. You have my permission to take ideas from it, alter it, add your own illustrations, and use it however God leads you, fully or in part. God bless you in your ministry. You can bookmark this to check out the other free written sermons on my blog.
I can’t imagine there’s anyone sitting here in church today, or reading this sermon online, or listening to it on a CD or on the internet that hasn’t heard the phrase, “With God all things are possible.” I also can’t imagine that each one of you, here or wherever you’re reading this or listening to this, haven’t experienced at least one moment when you’ve seen something that seemed impossible happen. For some of you one thing might have been when the United States put man on the moon. For some of you, one may be seeing Leslie Kitchen graduate from college and now attending grad school. For some of you, one may be Andy Jones being in church, getting his GED, and now going to college. And some of you haven’t heard a thing I’ve said the last few sentences because you thought about something you would have one time said was impossible, and you’ve see it happen. In the USA Today newspaper on Friday, there was an article saying that it seemed impossible when Bill Gates’ had a vision for Microsoft of having “a computer on every desk, in every home.” Or Jeff Bezos, from Amazon, setting that company on a path to have “every book, ever published, in any language available for Kindle customers to purchase and begin reading in less than 60 seconds.” Some day people will say, I remember when it seemed impossible that we would ever have a cure for cancer. It seemed impossible that cars would drive themselves. It seemed impossible that Jesus was ever going to come back!
In the scripture from Matthew, the disciples have heard Jesus say some things that seemed impossible. At the end of chapter 18, Jesus says you must forgive your brother’s sin against you how many times? Seven? No, seventy times seven. I picture Peter thinking, impossible. Then in chapter 19, the Pharisees are asking Jesus about divorce, Moses said a man could divorce a woman for any reason. Jesus says, no. No divorce. Unless she’s been unfaithful. And while I don’t want to get sidetracked here, I believe in our understanding of how husbands and wives are to treat each other, we would agree that in cases of abuse, divorce is appropriate. So Jesus said people should stay married and I picture the disciples thinking, impossible. (And husbands and wives, this is not a good place of an amen – I repeat not a good place.) As a matter of fact in chapter 19, verse 10, the disciples say, it would be better not to get married. If you have to keep each other forever, forget it. That’s impossible.
Then someone whom we who know this story call the rich, young ruler, (and for you who don’t know the story, think cocky young dude with a lot of money) comes to ask Jesus what he has to do to inherit eternal life. Jesus tells him part of the Ten Commandments, specifically that part about how you treat others – and the rich, perhaps spoiled, young guy says, all this I’ve done from my youth. And Jesus, apparently picking up on his attitude and sensing that the guy places a lot of stock in his possessions, hits the guy where it hurts. Sell all you have and give it to the poor, then your treasure will be in heaven, then come follow me.
Don’t get lost here thinking everyone is called to sell everything and give it to the poor. Luke 19 tells of another rich man, Zacchaeus, and Zacchaeus said he said he was going to give part of his wealth away and Jesus approved.
So back to the rich young guy, he walks away sad, not willing to do what Jesus required.
Pause – I said Jesus hits the guy where it hurts. Jesus has this habit of requiring of people what’s most precious to them.
If you really like control – what do you think Jesus wants you to hand over to Him?
A. Money B. CONTROL or C. Anger Issues?
If you answered control, you are correct.
If you really like money, what do you think Jesus wants you to hand over to Him?
A. MONEY B. Control or C. Anger Issues?
If you answered money, you are correct.
If you have anger issues, what do you think Jesus wants you to hand over to Him?
A. Money B. Control or C. ANGER ISSUES?
If you answered anger issues, you are correct.
Do you see how it works? Whatever it is that you want to hold onto more than anything else – If you were the person who went to Jesus is this scripture, His answer would have been that thing. He says, let go of that, and hold onto Me. It’s never the easy stuff, it’s the hard stuff, you might say the “impossible for me” thing.
In the scripture we read from Exodus (Exodus 22:26-27) – it is talking about collateral. If you take your neighbor’s cloak as a pledge (Some versions say pawn), return it by sunset, because that cloak is the only covering your neighbor has. What else can they sleep in? When they cry out to me, I will hear, for I am compassionate.
I heard Rev. Tom Long taking about this – he did a little back and forth with God –
What do you have there?
I have this guy’s coat.
Why do you have it?
So he’ll pay me back.
You need to give it back to him by the end of the day because he may need it.
I know he’ll need it, that’s the idea.
You don’t seem to compassionate – When He cries out to me, I will hear him because I am compassionate.
If you’ve ever seen Pawn Stars, or put up collateral at a bank, you know it’s impossible for them to give it back before they get their money back. It’s the one assurance they have that they will get their money back.
And God says, I don’t even care if you get your money back – give it back to them before the sun goes down because they need it. It is impossible to run a business like that!
So back to the Scripture from Matthew – the disciples have been with Jesus, heard Him talk about impossible forgiveness, impossible marriages, impossible generosity, and they’re thinking hey Jesus, that’s ___________ (say it with me) IMPOSSBILE.
And just to make sure that they get it, because they’ve proven time and again they’re not necessarily the brightest – He says, it’s harder for a camel – the largest animal they would have around there, to get through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.
After a few hundred years, some people decided Jesus was talking about this certain city gate called the “eye of the needle” and that camels would have to get down on their knees to get through. That it’s that hard. Many preachers I respect don’t believe that Jesus was talking about a hole in the city wall called the eye of the needle. If that’s the case, that’s not impossible. They, and I, believe Jesus was saying it’s impossible like pushing a big behind beast of a camel through the eye of a needle.
We know from experience that on our own, at times forgiveness is impossible. On our own, giving generously or sacrificially is impossible. On our own, turning the other cheek is impossible. Debbie Roush had a great post and example of this on Facebook the other day when she said “Lord thank you for helping me to be nice to people who aren’t always nice to me.”
You see, Debbie knows that on our own, it’s impossible to be nice to people who are not nice to us. We want to repay people evil for evil. We want people to pay for what they’ve done.
And the disciples ask the right question – Who, then, can be saved?
Jesus says with men, on your own, it is impossible.
It’s awesome that God specializes in impossibilities.
He says, you are not alone. I am with you. Don’t be afraid. And don’t worry. Don’t worry about tomorrow, don’t worry about what you’re going to eat, don’t worry about where you’re going to sleep, don’t worry about what others do to you. You just give it all to God and he will provide the way. Don’t worry if people take advantage of you, don’t hold a grudge.
How is that possible? It is impossible from the world’s perspective.
Impossible that God came to earth in the form Of Jesus –
Impossible that Jesus would die on the cross for our sin –
I pray you see the hope and comfort in today’s message.
Some people have impossibilities they’re facing. Some of you have impossibilities you’re facing. From our human perspective and abilities, we say IMPOSSIBLE. And God says to you and to me, you’re wrong. Nothing is impossible with Jesus. With Jesus, ALL Things are possible. With Jesus, you can do the impossible. And we’re called to do the impossible. It’s what I love about Andy going to college to get a degree. It looks like the impossible. And that’s what’s going to be so unbelievably awesome when he does it. He can do it because with God, all things are possible. God is so awesome. Paul figured it out in Philippians 4:13 – “I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.”
. Maybe you have a bill due, maybe you have a marriage on the rocks, maybe you have a family situation that is without a solution, maybe you have an unhealthy addiction, maybe you have an anger issue, maybe you are afraid to step out in faith.
Jesus said to the disciples, and says to you and to me, on your own, you are right… there are some things that are impossible.
And Lord knows, you’ve tried…
over and over and over
Do you have an impossibility in your life?
Do you know our God is the God of the possible. He is the God of Hope – Romans 15:13 – the only place in the Bible that He’s called that – Now may the God of Hope fill you will all peace in believing as you trust in Him.
Possible is right here (at the altar) and right here (in the Bible).
With God, all things are possible.