Sermon of the Week, August 26, 2012
- SERMON OF THE WEEK
August 26, 2012
Next Sunday, August 26th, is the second Sunday after Assumption. Gospel reading for Sunday is from Luke 11:9-20.
"Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation and a house divided against itself falls." (Luke 11:17)
Abraham Lincoln gave a memorable speech in Springfield, Illinois, back in 1858, with his huge hands gripping tightly on to the speakers podium. He declared slowly and firmly: "A house divided against itself cannot stand."
Lincoln was talking about the country that was divided on the issue of slavery and so many others. He got the phrase from the Bible. The phrase is recorded in the gospels of Mathew (12:25), Mark (3:25) and Luke (11:17).
Jesus was being accused by the Pharisees of driving out demons by using the power of Beelzebub, the ruler of the demons. Jesus knew what the Pharisees were thinking. Jesus said to them, "Any kingdom divided against itself will be ruined and a house divided against itself will fall. If Satan is divided against himself, how can his kingdom stand?"
Jesus refutes his accusers with logic. Jesus said, Satan will not attack his own subjects. If he does, his kingdom would fall.
We live in a world full of division based on envy, greed, dishonesty, greed and so on. We live in a world that is separated from the Word of God.
Unity was present on the day of Pentecost when the Christian Church was established. Acts 2:1 says,"the apostles were all in accord in one place."
What happened since then is a different story. Now there is deep divisions in the world, in the nation, in the community, in the family, in the church, and so on. Lack of fellowship in Christ is a destructive factor in today's life style. Missing link of fellowship in Jesus Christ can only bring back the lost unity.
We see a striking parallel that is mentioned in Ephesians 4:3-6 about Corinth. The City of Corinth, located on the narrow neck of land connected to the mainland of Greece, was at the time a booming city, intellectually superior, materially affluent, but was morally bankrupt. The people were indulged in immorality, greed, dishonesty, drunkenness, lust, selfishness, and so on.. There was deep divisions in communities, as well as families. Different groups were forming and quarreling among themselves was very common.
St. Paul started to weave the thread of unity there. St. Paul preached continuously telling them that there will always be differences of opinions, but those differences can be healthy if they can be approached in a Christ-like manner by seeking the truth, and the will of God. If we are wrong about something, we must be willing to admit it. If it is a sin, repent and ask for forgiveness.
Jealousy, envy, and greed divide people in this world. Gossip and slander separates people.
Yes, there is a cure for the division, according to St. Paul. That cure is, "love, faith, kindness, truth, and forgiveness. The very nature of God is the cure for all the divisions. St. Paul says, "Love is patient, love is kind. It doesn't boast, it is not proud, it is not rude, it is not self-seeking, and it keeps no record of wrongs."
What St. Paul offered to Corinthians can be a practical lesson to achieve unity in today's world that is badly divided by disunity and blame.
Rev. Dr. V Kurian Thomas, Valiyaparambil