MISSION WOODS CHURCH
Worship. Sunday November 21, 2021
      • Bible Trivia
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      • Bible Trivia
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  • We Gather Together
  • Let All Things Now Living
  • Come, Ye Thankful People, Come
  • Grace Like Rain
      • Luke 21:25–36NIV2011

  • A Kingdom Divided

    It was nearly 30 years ago watching on my television as the verdict came down the city exploded. Angry crowds burst into the streets. Windows were smashed at the malls. Fires were set and could be seen from the balcony of our apartment. Gun fire could be heard. Looting was rampant. A man stopped in his truck in Hollywood was pulled from it and beaten with a fire extinguisher. A curfew was imposed throughout LA county. Most streets became ghost towns after dark. Lone vehicles were pulled over to confirm you were on your way to somewhere. The Rodney King verdict was announced exonerating 6 police officers.
    The riots continued. The whole area was on edge for days. And the media didn’t help. Standing in front of a store front the white reporter commented how the black community was in an uproar and looting stores. If you looked behind the reporter you saw people of every race exiting the store with their stash. We were glued to our television to see what was happening. On the second night my friends and I decided to go down to the AM/PM to get some soft drinks since there wasn’t anything else to do. The doors were locked and the Lebanese workers cowered behind the counter. Seeing it was us (all of us white) one of them came to unlock the door. Just as he started to open the door his eyes grew large and he slammed the door shut pushing us back outside. I turned to see what was so frightening. A man and his young son were walking behind us cutting through the parking lot. They were black. Our eyes met, and I nodded. The boy looked so sad, my heart sank.
    Days later standing in same store in Pasadena you could cut the air with a knife. Everyone was overly polite as if the smallest slight would explode into an all out riot. Rodney King himself made a televised plea, “Can’t we all just get along!?”
    Some would say it seems that history is repeating itself. We remain a nation divided. I believe that todays Scripture has much to say to us.
    Well, as promised we’re at the point in our Casket Empty series where the division of the kingdom occurs. What kingdom? Israel.
    Way back in Genesis we started with Abraham, and the covenant made by God with him. That he would be a father of nations, and a blessing to the world. We followed that lineage to David, still considered the great king over Israel. David’s son Solomon reigned after him, and now the kingdom is about to be divided.
    We remember the covenant made with David that as long as his sons walked in the way of the Lord that there would always be a ruler over Israel from his lineage. All that is about to change.
    I’d like to invite our “Reader in Residence” to come and read for us this morning from 1 Kings 11:29-39
    1 Kings 11:29–39 ESV
    And at that time, when Jeroboam went out of Jerusalem, the prophet Ahijah the Shilonite found him on the road. Now Ahijah had dressed himself in a new garment, and the two of them were alone in the open country. Then Ahijah laid hold of the new garment that was on him, and tore it into twelve pieces. And he said to Jeroboam, “Take for yourself ten pieces, for thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘Behold, I am about to tear the kingdom from the hand of Solomon and will give you ten tribes (but he shall have one tribe, for the sake of my servant David and for the sake of Jerusalem, the city that I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel), because they have forsaken me and worshiped Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, Chemosh the god of Moab, and Milcom the god of the Ammonites, and they have not walked in my ways, doing what is right in my sight and keeping my statutes and my rules, as David his father did. Nevertheless, I will not take the whole kingdom out of his hand, but I will make him ruler all the days of his life, for the sake of David my servant whom I chose, who kept my commandments and my statutes. But I will take the kingdom out of his son’s hand and will give it to you, ten tribes. Yet to his son I will give one tribe, that David my servant may always have a lamp before me in Jerusalem, the city where I have chosen to put my name. And I will take you, and you shall reign over all that your soul desires, and you shall be king over Israel. And if you will listen to all that I command you, and will walk in my ways, and do what is right in my eyes by keeping my statutes and my commandments, as David my servant did, I will be with you and will build you a sure house, as I built for David, and I will give Israel to you. And I will afflict the offspring of David because of this, but not forever.’ ”
    This is God’s Holy Word.
    Thanks be to God.
    Thank you Drew.

    A Kingdom Divided

    Let’s Pray
    Eternal, Righteous, Sovereign, Creator God to you we come. We come to you in worship, and we come to you to listen. Open your word to us that we might not simply be hearers of your Word, but doers. Give us wisdom and understanding to know how we might respond. Then give us the courage and the strength to respond in a way that brings you the glory you deserve. We pray this in the name of your Son Jesus, by the power of the Holy Spirit to your glory. Amen.
    As we are continuing our journey, through our timeline the kingdom is divided. The prophet Ahijah, dressed in a new garment tears that garment into 12 pieces. He says to Jeroboam, the son of a servant of Solomon, 1 Kings 11:31 “Take for yourself ten pieces, for thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘Behold, I am about to tear the kingdom from the hand of Solomon and will give you ten tribes” 1Kings 11:33 “because they have forsaken me and worshiped Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, Chemosh the god of Moab, and Milcom the god of the Ammonites, and they have not walked in my ways, doing what is right in my sight and keeping my statutes and my rules, as David his father did.”
    And so the kingdom is being torn from Solomon’s hands. But not completely, 2 tribes will remain in Solomon’s heritage because of David his father who did what was right in God’s sight.
    God says through the prophet Ahijah, 1 Kings 11:38
    1 Kings 11:38 (ESV)
    And if you will listen to all that I command you, and will walk in my ways, and do what is right in my eyes by keeping my statutes and my commandments, as David my servant did, I will be with you and will build you a sure house, as I built for David, and I will give Israel to you.
    Let’s stop here for a moment. Let’s look at the differences we’ve seen between some of the kings over Israel.
    Saul did some good things - he fought for Israel, though we find that he is a coward on his own. He took it upon himself to fulfill the commands of God - offering the sacrifice instead of waiting for Samuel to come do it. And it was not his fault - he never repented of these kinds of acts.
    David did some good things - clearly he fought for Israel and God, he had a great confidence in God going up against Goliath, and he also had his problems. His adultery with Bathsheba, and his plotting of the death of her husband. Yet he recognized his sin and he repented. Thus he was known as a “man after God’s own heart.”
    Solomon follows David and upon inheriting the throne he asks God for wisdom. God honors this request and blesses him with riches beyond measure (something he hadn’t asked for). Yet Solomon has his own issues, taking 700 wives and 300 concubines. He is not following in God’s ways as he worships other gods and does not strive to do what is right in God’s eyes.
    So the kingdom is pulled from his hands. No doubt he held to the promise that there would always be a descendant of David on the throne over Israel and yet here we see 10 of the 12 tribes being pulled from Solomon’s legacy. Not just the majority but the vast majority. And this is done while Solomon was still reigning.
    This becomes the northern kingdom. Solomon would reign over what was left and then when he died his son Rehoboam would reign in his place. The kingdom is divided.
    Note the promise that is given to Jeroboam. 1 Kings 11:38
    1 Kings 11:38 (ESV)
    And if you will listen to all that I command you, and will walk in my ways, and do what is right in my eyes by keeping my statutes and my commandments, as David my servant did, I will be with you and will build you a sure house, as I built for David, and I will give Israel to you.
    ah, but it comes with a caveat, 1 Kings 11:38
    1 Kings 11:38 (ESV)
    And if you will listen to all that I command you, and will walk in my ways, and do what is right in my eyes by keeping my statutes and my commandments, as David my servant did, I will be with you and will build you a sure house, as I built for David, and I will give Israel to you.
    Jeroboam would go on to make two golden calves (does that sound familiar) to worship.
    The challenge is there. As I’ve stood before you many times I’ve reminded you that our Christianity is not about the religion as much as it is about the relationship. I believe this to be true to my core. God calls us to relationship, not only with one another, but with himself as our Creator!
    Today, as we come to God’s word, I have no doubt we come as a divided congregation. I have no doubt there are different opinions on what should have happened this past week as to the Rittenhouse verdict. Still I would challenge all sides and opinions here today to admit we weren’t there. We weren’t there in that court room. We have not looked at all the evidence. We did not sit on that jury. We were not part of the jury deliberations. And neither was your favorite media commentator.
    No matter what happens, and no matter what we think should happen, God remains on the throne!
    In the midst of your strong opinions I will ask this question,

    How’s your whittling?

    I know that many people have had a very visceral reaction to the verdict. And in speaking to people of very different opinions as to how it should have been decided, they are absolutely positive they are right. And you know what? In all honesty, I have a very strong opinion too!
    And so I must ask myself, and I must encourage you all to ask yourselves, are you “listening to all that God has commanded you?” Are you “walking in God’s ways?” Are you doing what is right in God’s eyes and keeping God’s statues and commandments?
    You and I are living in a time of a kingdom divided. We hear, “Love others and you would have them love you.” and I have to ask would I want to be treated that way?
    Jesus said, Matthew 7:1-2
    Matthew 7:1–2 ESV
    “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.
    That last part is so hard,
    Matthew 7:2 (ESV)
    ...with the measure you use it will be measured to you.
    I’m serious when I say this, there are moments in our history, and this is one of them where most of us say, “Why doesn’t everyone see what I see?”
    We put our view up and assume it is the standard. And yet our Bible makes it clear we’re not the standard. Still, we’re happy to go around clubbing people with the log that it’s our own eye.
    Matthew 7:3 ESV
    Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?
    Jesus command is clear, Mt 7:5
    Matthew 7:5 ESV
    You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.
    Before we judge... Before we react…let’s first be sure we’re working on our whittling. How am I doing in my relationship with God? Take some time to examine yourself and repent and ask for forgiveness where we need to that we might see clearly where God is leading.
    None of us is called to judge our neighbor, we are called to love our neighbor.
    James 4:12 ESV
    There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?
    and
    James 4:17 ESV
    So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.
    and we know the wages of sin is death.
    As we continue through our journey of Casket Empty, we will see over and over again how God calls us to relationship with Himself. Away from our own reasoning. Let’s take a few moments to pray, confess, and ask God to make us right in His presence.
    Let’s pray:

    {Silence}

    Psalm 139:23–24 ESV
    Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!
    Holy God, we gather before your throne knowing You are the Way, the Truth, and the Life. As you have spoken to our hearts we ask that you would strengthen us to correct our ways, to be people of your peace, and of your glory. AMEN
      • 1 Kings 11:29–39NIV2011

      • Matthew 7:1–2NIV2011

      • Matthew 7:3NIV2011

      • Matthew 7:5NIV2011

      • James 4:12NIV2011

      • James 4:17NIV2011

      • Psalm 139:23–24NIV2011

  • Give Thanks
  • For the Beauty of the Earth

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