In the frontier days snake oil salesmen would sell potions guaranteed to cure whatever ailed you, from gout to gangrene and warts to weariness. Unfortunately their claims were a tad overblown, but in the passage we looked at today we get a glimpse of a genuine miracle cure.
Paul writing from prison to a church in the center of pagan idolatry, facing persecution bowed his knee to the father to pray for the solution to all their problems—that they might understand how much God loves them.
Today we will examine one of the miracles that Jesus performed which contains a very important lesson that all of us need to learn. Let me begin by warning you that today’s message is not only very important, but it is also a message that some may find harsh. I say this because today we are going to be speaking about and exposing a common sin that is frequently found in the life of many believers. When we speak about sin, generally the first thing that comes to mind is the Ten Commandments (spiritual law). That is, we think of the laws established by God which provides us the moral standards in which we need to base our life, isn’t that so? But the reality of it all is that sin is not limited to violating one or all of the Ten Commandments. I say this because sin is much more than the transgressions of the law, sin is: “…an action that is or is felt to be highly reprehensible…” In other words, sin is anything that we know is right or good, but that we fail to do. This is something that is extremely clear in James 4:17 when we read: “…Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin…”
What is the most common sin in the life of many believers? The most common sin is ingratitude. I say this because when we analyze our life, I think that we can all say that God has done, and is doing, great things in us. And for this we should always be thankful, but the reality is that most believers don’t even take the time to pray before each meal to thank God. Ingratitude is the unnoticed (not recognized) sin, and this is why today we are going to be studying a lesson that every believer has to learn. Let’s now turn to the Word of God.
Preaching Great Biblical Themes for a New Millennium
Literary critics usually agree that one of the dimensions which great works of literature have in common is that they manage somehow to touch the strata of story and symbol that lie buried deeply beneath them, in the accumulating stories and symbols of the ages. Thus Ernest Hemingway's greatest achievement among all his notable writings was undoubtedly The Old Man and the Sea, in which the old fisherman Santiago draws on the power of stories and myths before him, such as the Fisher King and Odysseus, and the large fish Santiago catches is somehow related to Moby Dick, Jonah's great fish, and other significant fish stories of the ages.
Readers may not realize that they are more deeply impressed by Santiago's story because of its resonance with other classical tales, but they are. The Sun Also Rises, A Farewell to Arms, and For Whom the Bell Tolls are great novels too. But in none of them does Hemingway so powerfully border on the mythological as he does in The Old Man and the Sea, and it is this transparency to other great stories of history that lends the last novel its classical depth and poignancy.