SERMON TITLE: “Gospel of Freedom: Freedom for Service”
SERMON TEXT: Matthew 9:35-10:15
PREACHER: Rev. Kim James
OCCASION: July 30, 2017, at First UMC
We United Methodists aren’t so aware of this as our Lutheran brothers and sisters, but this year is the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s posting of his 95 Theses on the door of the Catholic Church in Wittenberg, Germany. Recently, I read that the famous image of Luther nailing his list of complaints on the church door may be more legend than fact. But, whether Luther actually nailed his concerns to the door or not, his 1517 publication of 95 points of protest definitely set the Protestant Reformation in motion. Luther’s goal was to improve the existing Roman Catholic Church, not to start a bunch of new denominations. But, for sure, Luther and other 16th century reformers broke the Roman Catholic Church’s monopoly in Europe and set Christians free for serving humanity in many different ways.
All through this month of July, as we’ve been celebrating our freedom as Americans, we’ve also been contemplating the Christian “Gospel of Freedom” found in Matthew, chapter 9. So far, we’ve covered freedom from paralysis, freedom for mercy, freedom for life, and freedom from limitations. Today’s reading finishes off chapter nine and stretches us a little bit farther into Matthew 10. As we observe the mission of Jesus and his disciples, let’s consider how we receive “freedom for service.”