Monday, August 1, 2016

Sermon July 16-17, 2016

Title: Christ is the one thing necessary!
Text: Luke 10:38-42

40 But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” 41 But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, 42 but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”

A story is told of a first grader that became curious because her father brought home a briefcase full of papers every evening. Her mother explained, "Daddy has so much to do that he can't finish it all at the office. That's why he has to bring work home at night."

"Well then," asked the child innocently, "why don't they put him in a slower group?"

C. Swindoll, Growing Strong, p. 213.

As we today think about all that we do, the things that need to be done and the little time that we have, let us remember that :

Christ is the one thing necessary!

Now, in our lesson for today, the wonderful Martha and Mary story that we’ve all heard many times before, it seems that Martha gets a bad rap at times. Poor Martha, doing the work, and all that she could to take care of the Lord’s needs, having welcomed him ( and those who were traveling with him) into her house while her sister Mary only sits at the Lord’s feet and listens to His teaching.

Jesus and his disciples had been traveling as the sending of the 72 prepared the way. The Lord’s peace obviously rested on this house as Jesus was welcomed in by Martha. 

Now, you know how things can go when you have guests, expected or unexpected. The visit may have been expected but the time of Christ’s arrival may not have been, and even if it was, I have yet to see a hostess who didn’t still fret over the preparation, making sure that all things were in order.

Martha was determined to see that the needs of Jesus and those with Him were met, I’m sure, with exceeding abundance and that Jesus was distinguished as a beloved guest in her house. Mary on the other hand knew who was now visiting in her home and she was not to be taken away from her Lord - no matter what earthly things needed to be done.

“We have here two forms of service, each done to the Lord, each with the best of intentions, the one with the work of the hands, the other in listening to the words of eternal wisdom. They need not clash, but have their worth.”

P.E. Kretzmann Popular commentary on the Bible NT Vol. 1 Pg 326

At some point and as I’m sure you can relate - Martha gets frustrated with her sister. Martha is doing all the work by herself so that Jesus can be properly served in her home and she has lost all patience with Mary – who, I’m sure, remains oblivious to Martha’s dilemma.

She finally has had enough of it and in a tone that speaks of her frustration says:

“Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” Luke 10:40b

Christ is the one thing necessary!

We’ll in years past I know my wife has been there … and maybe you can relate. When the kids were at home and guests were coming over, Monica would have a list of things that needed to be done … and Amy’s would be reading a book, Jon in his room or outside and dare I say … me, sitting in my chair … reading … playing guitar … maybe banjo … whatever it was … it was important stuff here! Though there was a less than enthusiastic response by us all to cleaning up for family … friends … whatever.

“Would somebody please clean the upstairs bathroom!” might be a common command. “Russ, will you take out the garbage … and when you’re done with that, please set the table?” Monica, might be heard calling.

I might think to myself … “But, I’m reading or playing here … in a comfortable … reclined … position.” But being that I am the “garbage man” of my house I would get up and do what I’m told.

Monica’s focus is on our guests, whom ever that may be, and that they get served in the best way possible. The kids and I were a bit less joyful in service … even though we too want our guests served in the best possible way … we just don’t want to DO the work. Now, that has changed as the kids got older and moved out … not as much to clean up … and I’m the clean up guy!

Now, I’m sure that if Jesus was coming to your house, you would all want to sit at His feet and listen to the wisdom that he has to say just like Mary … right?

One responses might be:

“Well, the ball game is at 1:00 pm, I sure hope his visit doesn’t go on too long and get in the way of that.”

Or …

“I’ll be at my friends … tell Jesus hi for me and I’ll catch Him next time he comes.”

For some the response might be:

“You know … I don’t really like him that much … He’s your friend … why does he have to come over anyway and why now?”

These can be examples of how we all regard God and His word at times. It can be inconvenient to find time for God as there is always something else in life to do. But, the word of God that we have in our Scriptures today, is the same word of God that sat talking to Mary – the word made flesh - and the same comfort Mary received from Jesus, so that she forgot the cares Martha wrestled with, is the same comfort you too can receive by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Martha and Mary were both focused on Jesus but in different ways and the Good News that we’ve learned in our gospel lessons reminds us all that as followers of Christ, God uses us all as his messengers in the world.

But you can’t lose sight of Jesus. You need to know him - to be able to reflect him to a dying world. And while the cares of the world like those we’ve seen this past week can consume you and me … you must always remember that:

Christ is the one thing necessary!

During VBS next week we’ll see Martha and Mary in action. Some will be the Martha’s that make ready the space, food, games, set up the church and prepared the lessons. Mary’s only focus will be Jesus and the message of hope and peace to those precious little ones given into their care. Together the setting and message of hope will come together like the arms of a loving parent that these children can be wrapped in today, tomorrow and always because God’s word is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword. (Heb. 4:12)


It is said that Cyrus, the founder of the Persian Empire, once had captured a prince and his family. When they came before him, the monarch asked the prisoner, "What will you give me if I release you?" "The half of my wealth," was his reply. "And if I release your children?" "Everything I possess."He said."And if I release your wife?" "Your Majesty, I will give [my own life]."

Cyrus was so moved by the husband’s devotion that he freed them all. As they returned home, the prince said to his wife, "Wasn't Cyrus a handsome man!" With a look of deep love for her husband, she said to him, "I didn't notice. I could only keep my eyes on you - the one who was willing to give himself for me."


As you think of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ remember He was the one who was willing to give His life for you and me. Not, that Martha’s preparations for Jesus’ visit were not good, but Mary couldn't see what needed to be done - because her eyes were only fixed on her Lord and savior Jesus Christ.

41 But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, 42 but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”

Christ is the one thing necessary!

Jesus Christ, the word made flesh, came down from heaven for you so that

21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2Cor. 5:21)

The portion that you receive by faith is God’s righteousness and this is by the power of the Holy Spirit. And the portion that He takes upon himself is your sin which separates you from him. What God takes from you and gives to you is the eternal life in him that we who are in Christ share.

Christ is the one thing necessary!

Like our opening illustration, don’t let this life consume you so that, Christ the good portion, is ignored while you go about all that needs to be done. Remember that it is He who has come to live, suffer and die for you so that in Him you might have life and have it to the full.

Christ is the one thing necessary and He has come for you so that you might live in Him.

In the name of the Father and of the Son + and of the Holy Spirit.


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