Kingsville United Presbyterian Church
March 22, 2020 (Fourth Sunday in Lent)
Pastor Bill Daywalt
“The Wounds of Adultery”
Our church building may be closed, but our church isn’t closed. God is here and so are we, united in worship of Him.
Prelude – Thank You Lord
Welcome to our virtual church service. We are united in spirit even though we aren’t in pew church body because of the corona virus threat to our bodies. Let us not forget that we are part of the body of Christ. Let us worship Him.
Call to Worship (Responsive)
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
Lord, You have taught us that bitterness bears bitter fruit of the spirit. Rage, brawling, slander and anger infect our hearts and souls.
Erase bitterness from our spirits and rage and anger, brawling and slander from our hearts. Let your forgiveness heal us, Oh Lord.
Malice erases forgiveness. Help us understand that forgiveness erases malice.
Heal us, Oh Lord.
Help us be kind to each other, make our hearts tender, help us forgive each other as God in Christ forgives us.
Lord, teach us kindness, give us tender hearts, grant us forgiveness.
Hymn Grace Greater Than All Our Sin
Prayer of Confession
Most Merciful God, Give us strong bifocals to look into our hearts and know that we have sinned with our judgments, hard hearts, and smug souls. Open our souls and selves to empathy, mercy, grace, and forgiveness. Sow in us the seeds of concern for others as well as ourselves. Teach us forgiveness. Give us grace in Your image. In Jesus Name we pray. Amen.
Silence for Personal Confession
Be still, my soul, The Lord is on thy side
Bear patiently, the cross of grief or pain
Leave to thy God, to order and provide
In every change, He faithful will remain
Be still, my soul, thy best thy heavenly friend
Through thorny ways, leads to a joyful end.
Assurance of Pardon
God is gracious and merciful and He freely gives us assurance of His mercy and grace and forgiveness of our sins. Through Jesus Christ who bore the burden of our sin and our guilt for the sake of the entire world, there is healing, hope, and life. Your sins are forgiven in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Response to Assurance: Glory Patri
The Old Testament Reading, Exodus 20:14
You shall not commit adultery.
The Epistle Reading, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11
Do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived! Fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, male prostitutes, sodomites, thieves, the greedy, drunkards, revilers, robbers—none of these will inherit the kingdom of God. And this is what some of you used to be. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.
The Gospel Reading, Matthew 9:9-13
As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth; and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he got up and followed him. And as he sat at dinner in the house, many tax collectors and sinners came and were sitting with him and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax-collectors and sinners?” But when he heard this, he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.” Go and learn what this means, “I desire mercy, not sacrifice.” For I have come to call not the righteous but sinners.’
Sermon: Pastor Bill Daywalt
The Wounds of Adultery
The story of Jesus dining at table with tax collectors and sinners is shared in all of the first three gospels—Matthew, Mark, and Luke. They have some variations—and the variations are important for the message of each gospel writer—but the point and the context is the same: Jesus sits at table with outcasts and is unashamed.
It is a powerful story at the very heart of the gospel about how we are all welcomed and embraced in spite of the truth of our sins.
Later in the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus will speak about how “tax collectors and prostitutes,” because of their faith in him, will enter the kingdom of heaven ahead of others who are self-righteous (21:28-32).
In Luke’s Gospel, we hear of Jesus’ intimate encounter with a “sinful woman” at the home of a Pharisee. She washes his feet with her tears and wipes them with her hair.
Eyebrows are raised, and criticisms abound. But Jesus sees it as an act of love and speaks words of endearing forgiveness to her (7:36-50).
And in John’s Gospel, we hear the story of a woman who was caught in adultery.
Jesus defended her over all her critics: “Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” All of them left, and the woman was alone with Jesus.
Jesus then said to her, “‘Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?’
She said, ‘No one, sir.’ And Jesus said, ‘Neither do I condemn you. Go your way, and from now on do not sin again’” (8:1-11).
Tax collectors and sinners were despised socially and religiously. The impurity of Jesus’ association with them could not go unnoticed.
But the legalism of those who criticized such association can still be found in the Church today—when the assembly is cold and uninviting to those who do not seem to “fit in.”
Such behavior is counter to the truth of Jesus’ mercy, by which we all have been accepted and loved by grace even though we do not deserve it.
For even the religiously faithful who shun the sin of adultery, Jesus broadens the commandment to include lust in our hearts (Matthew 5:27-30).
Such covetousness leads us away from the kingdom of heaven and down a path of being swamped in misguided attractions and sexual acts.
Consider David and Bathsheba as an illustration. The first sin of David was his covetous desire for Bathsheba. Everything else that followed—adultery,
Bathsheba’s pregnancy, attempts to conceal what he had done, seeing to the death of her husband Uriah, and then taking her in as his own wife—was all rooted from the time he first spotted her bathing on the rooftop.
David would be confronted about his sin by the prophet Nathan. And David would repent deeply for his wrong; though sadly and tragically, the child that Bathsheba had conceived died. Later she would conceive and give birth to Solomon (2 Samuel 11-12).
The opening of the Gospel of Matthew also notes this, but does not leave out the scandal of David’s adultery: “David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah” (Matthew 1:6)
Lest we think we are still off the hook even after consideration of these sexual sins, there are other meanings of adultery in Scriptures that hold the people of God accountable.
Hosea the prophet was instructed to marry a prostitute and woman of adultery in order to symbolize the depth of Israel’s own chasing after other gods. How much we all have missed the mark when we have pursued other gods in our lives in both word and deed and have left the kingdom of heaven peripheral to our being. We cannot justify ourselves.
Luther’s last words, “We are all beggars” may just as well have said, “We are all adulterers.”
Still it is not our own acts of repentance for our adulteries, however warranted such a response is, that finally overcomes the evil and scandal. Such repentance is but the fruit of the incredible grace of Christ who takes the sin of our offenses into himself. Luther noted this is in one of his most profound expositions of the gospel.
Christ takes the sins of all humanity into himself, including those of “David the adulterer” (whom Luther explicitly mentions), and bears them to the cross and death; but we are purged from all sin, death, and every evil by Christ’s “cleansing and righteousness.”
“And if any remnants of sin were to remain, still for the sake of Christ, the shining Sun, God would not notice them” (LW 26:280).
What we get to celebrate is that Jesus’ association with the lowliest of outcasts means for us and for all people that there are no bounds to his grace.
By his wounds on the cross there is the wholeness of healing that no one gets left out from the mercy of God; and no one is an outcast from God’s love.
All my life, Through the good and bad of life, whether I should gain or lose, Still, I choose, to live my life,
Every moment all for Thee, Walking oh so close to Thee,
While I’m learning every day, come what may to trust in Thee.
Take away the doubts that hide thy perfect will, give me faith instead and with Thy Spirit fill,
Then, all my days, be the guardian of my ways,
And I’ll know the glory of all Thy love, through all my days. Ralph Carmichael
Lord, bless us in our homes today as we give you the gifts of our love, attention, and helping others as You want us to do. Amen.
The Lord’s Prayer
Andrea Bocceli The Lord’s Prayer
Hillsong Singers The Lords Prayer
Let us pray for the church, for all in need, and the whole of God’s creation. Help us remember that Jesus took on the sins of the whole world for us and loves us and forgives us in spite of our sin. Amen.
May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all now and evermore. Amen.
Passing of the Peace
We can’t touch each other or see each other, but we can offer each other this promise of hope and peace. I Want to Stroll Over Heaven With You