All Show, No Go - Ash Wednesday message 2009 02 25

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    All Show, No Go(Ash Wednesday Service)

    February 25, 2009

    Joel 2:1-2, 12-17 Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21 2 Corinthians 5:20 - 6:10

    Scripture Lesson 1 - Joel 2:1-2, 12-17

    1 Blow the trumpet in Zion;

    sound the alarm on my holy hill.

    Let all who live in the land tremble,

    for the day of the LORD is coming.It is close at hand-

    2 a day of darkness and gloom,

    a day of clouds and blackness.Like dawn spreading across the mountains

    a large and mighty army comes,

    such as never was of old

    nor ever will be in ages to come.

    12 "Even now," declares the LORD,

    "return to me with all your heart,

    with fasting and weeping and mourning."

    13 Rend your heartand not your garments.

    Return to the LORD your God,

    for he is gracious and compassionate,slow to anger and abounding in love,

    and he relents from sending calamity.

    14 Who knows? He may turn and have pity

    and leave behind a blessinggrain offerings and drink offerings

    for the LORD your God.

    15 Blow the trumpet in Zion,

    declare a holy fast,call a sacred assembly.

    16 Gather the people,

    consecrate the assembly;

    bring together the elders,

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    gather the children,

    those nursing at the breast.

    Let the bridegroom leave his room

    and the bride her chamber.

    17 Let the priests, who minister before the LORD,

    weep between the temple porch and the altar.Let them say, "Spare your people, O LORD.

    Do not make your inheritance an object of scorn,a byword among the nations.

    Why should they say among the peoples,

    'Where is their God?' "

    Scripture Lesson 2 - Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21

    1"Be careful not to do your 'acts of righteousness' before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you willhave no reward from your Father in heaven.

    2"So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in thesynagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their

    reward in full. 3But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is

    doing, 4so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will

    reward you.

    5"And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues

    and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.

    6But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Thenyour Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

    16"When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men

    they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 17But when you fast, put oil

    on your head and wash your face, 18so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only toyour Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

    19"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves

    break in and steal. 20But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not

    destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21For where your treasure is, there your heart will

    be also.

    MESSAGE All Show, No Go

    Youve seen it before. There have been military offensives that had lots of press coverage but no realopposition, and were planned that way. There are cars that pretend to be something that they are not,

    cars that look like mini SUVs but have nothing special under the hood and there are the average sedans

    and tiny, fuel sipping commuter cars that have been tricked out with neon lights, ground effects,spoilers, fancy hubcaps and maybe even a hood scoop while having nothing special under the hood.

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    There is a phrase in modern language for all of these and anything else that pretends to be something

    other than what it really is, All Show and No Go. Some of the developers of these products wouldhave you believe that these products are something other than what they really are, but some are quite up

    front about what they are selling and they are clear that its all for show for the people who only want to

    look good.

    In our passage from Matthew, we heard Jesus caution his followers, 1"Be careful not to do your 'acts ofrighteousness' before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in

    heaven. Jesus took issue with the Pharisees and the leaders of the temple who made a big show of

    doing good. They told everyone how they tithed even from the spices that grew in their herb gardensbut while they did so they allowed their elderly parents to go hungry. Jesus continued,

    2"So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in thesynagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their

    reward in full. 3But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is

    doing, 4so that your giving may be in secret.

    These phony leaders also made a big public spectacle of their offering to God. They made theirofferings in public places of the temple courts where the offering plates were much like our Salvation

    Army kettles with a trumpet shaped opening. They wore flashy clothes and, having exchanged theiroffering for an equivalent amount in pennies, made a lot of noise and attracted attention to themselves

    by making their offering so that everyone would know (or at least think) that they were giving

    extravagantly. Jesus says that these phonies were in Jesus words, hypocrites, they were all show and nogo. They gave to God not because they honored God and not even because they cared about the poor,

    but only because they wanted to be honored by other human beings.

    Jesus says, when you pray, dont pray like the hypocrites, when you fast, dont do it like the hypocrites

    and draw attention to yourself. Jesus says instead of making a big show and trying to impress human

    beings and build up your stock in friends, favors, money and power his followers should check theirattitudes and their selfish motives at the door.

    In Pauls second letter to the Corinthians he writes, (2 Corinthians 5:20 - 6:10)

    20We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We

    implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21God made him who had no sin to be sin for us,

    so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

    1As God's fellow workers we urge you not to receive God's grace in vain. 2For he says,"In the time of my favor I heard you,

    and in the day of salvation I helped you." I tell you, now is the time of God's favor, now is the day ofsalvation.

    3We put no stumbling block in anyone's path, so that our ministry will not be discredited. 4Rather, as

    servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and

    distresses; 5in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger; 6in purity,

    understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love; 7in truthful speech and inthe power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left; 8through glory and

    dishonor, bad report and good report; genuine, yet regarded as impostors; 9known, yet regarded as

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    You have been reading a message presented at Johnsville Grace and Steam Corners United Methodist Churches on the date

    noted at the top of the first page. Rev. John Partridge is the pastor of the Johnsville Parish. Duplication of this message is a

    part of our Media ministry, if you have received a blessing in this way, we would love to hear from you. Letters anddonations in support of the Media ministry or any of our other projects may be sent to Johnsville Grace UMC or Steam

    Corners UMC at P.O. Box 205, Shauck, Ohio 43349. These messages are available to any interested persons regardless of

    membership. You may subscribe to these messages, in print or electronic formats, by writing to the address noted, or by

    contacting us at subscribe@johnsvillegrace.org. All Scripture references are from the New International Version unless

    otherwise noted.

    mailto:subscribe@johnsvillegrace.orgmailto:subscribe@johnsvillegrace.org

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