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Martha & Mary

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul
The Truth Network Radio
September 25, 2022 12:01 am

Martha & Mary

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul

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September 25, 2022 12:01 am

Serving others is an important virtue in the Christian life, but it is not a greater priority than hearing the Word of Christ. Today, R.C. Sproul continues his series in the gospel of Luke to consider an important lesson that Jesus gave to a friend named Martha.

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Mary Martha hosted Jesus in their home. But Martha started to get annoyed and she confronted Jesus, what's matter with you.

Why aren't you having my sister here helping me and instead of having me do all the work I want you to go to Tauber to give me a hand with these things are now. She's telling her Lord what he's done wrong and then now tells our Lord what he needs to do to correct the matter.

We think with the story of Mary and Martha Russo practical. We look around since the others who aren't working quite as hard as we are and we get annoyed just like Martha. But the point of the story isn't division of labor, Dr. RC Sproul points out, it's a division of priorities to continue. Now our study of the Gospel according to St. Luke and where in the end of chapter 10, and I will be reading beginning at verse 38. In reading through verse 42. Now it happened, as they went, that he entered a certain village and a certain woman named Martha welcomed him into her house.

She had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus Street heard his word. But Martha was distracted with much serving as she approached him and said, Lord, is do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone. Therefore, tell her to help me and Jesus answered and said under her, Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things but one thing is needed and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her again. This is a very brief passage, but one that is filled with profound significance as it gives us a word from Jesus himself to his beloved friends. Martha presumably there at Bethany again. This comes to us through the superintendence and inspiration of God, the Holy Spirit, who is a God of total truths and I asked you to receive it as such this morning. Let's pray again, our father and our God. We look to you as the fountainhead of all that is true in all that is good and all that is beautiful and we pray that the truths which is revealed to us this day in this your holy word may rip our souls and influence profoundly the way we live out our faith before you. We ask it in your name. Amen this morning sermon is intended to be a very practical one, not one that's going to be heavy with theology or philosophy of that sort of thing, but will deal with some of the fundamental principles by which we are to live out the Christian life were told by look at it happened as they went to the entered a certain village. Now let me stop you.

Are there some questions or he doesn't tell us what the village was. He doesn't tell us how many of them went to the home whether the whole group of disciples of Jesus came to Mary and Martha's house for dinner or if all of the disciples went with Jesus to Bethany and then they separated, and Jesus alone went to the home for supper. We don't know these details and so in many ways we have to guess presumably Mary and Martha that are mentioned here are the Mary Martha that we made elsewhere, particularly in John's Gospel, the brother of Lazarus and Jesus raised from the dead, and they often hosted Jesus in their home. Bethany just beyond the slope of the amount of all those overlooking Jerusalem. So in any case, we are told that he entered this village and a certain woman named Martha welcomed him into her house, presumably she's the older sister as the houses assigned to her and she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus feet, and heard his word.

Now the crux of the matter comes up in verse 40 but Martha was distracted with much serving now. What was a distraction. Was she distracted because she was left in the kitchen to prepare a meal for Jesus and for sister and herself brother perhaps, or even greater responsibility to prepare a meal to feed all of the disciples if it was the whole number that had come with Jesus into the home or is the service that is being in view here, not simply the preparation of the meal, but perhaps the cleanup afterwards Les and I were talking about this passage this week because she just glared at me because no I'm not gonna say everything that we had a narcosis when we began our ministry in Lincoln. Here we began it as a study center in the mountains in western Pennsylvania and much of the format of it was patterned after Francis Schaeffer's debris.

In fact, Dr. Schaefer had a hand in helping us get that study center started and we followed some of the practices that have been done in debris. Principally, this that are resident students stayed with several families there that were host families and the students would stay with the resident families and sleep in their homes and have meals at their tables and every night at dinner time. The topic of discussion would be theology around the table following the practice that Martin Luther had in the 16th century in Wittenberg where he would meet his students for what he called to straighten or table talk.

So now you know where the title of our magazine came from the tabletop, but we would spend time after dinner after the dishes were clear continuing the discussions about theology around the table while the women the host wives would retire to the kitchen to clean up the dishes and on more than one occasion as we would have staff meetings. Women would raise the question now. Why is it that we don't have the students helping out with addictions and then would have to go to this text, New Testament, and explain to them that is important as it was to clean up after dinner was even more important to spend this time discussing the truths of God. While that message that had not yet gotten across the Martha as the market was distracted with much serving only stop here and saying that service is an extremely important virtue in the Christian life affect service is considered one of the means of grace. The means of grace are those instruments those things that God gives to his people to assist them and help them in their personal growth in righteousness and conformity to the person of Christ.

And so we serve not simply to do good things. But as we serve each other and serve others in this world where aiding in our own spiritual growth in our own sanctification. And so it's not a bad thing that Martha was so busily engaged in as it were distracted by service, but obviously she was becoming more and more annoyed as she was left to do all the service while her sister were sitting out there having a nice wonderful conversation with Jesus. So finally, her annoyance reaches its peak, and she comes to see Jesus. She approached him and listen to what you said, Lord. So far so good.

Do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone.

Therefore, tell her to help me, Lord. What's the matter with you, Lord. She comes in a call Jesus Lord and then proceeds to rebuke him and say what's the matter with you. Why aren't you having my sister out here helping me in stead of having me do all the work I want you to go Tauber to give me a hand with these things are now. She's telling her Lord what he's done wrong and then now tells her Lord what he needs to do to correct the matter solicitor Jesus answered Martha Martha that if you heard me preach on Matthew seven you know the significance of this address, because over the other building when we were going through the Gospel of Matthew, I preached a sermon where at the end of the sermon on the mount. I said the scariest thing that Jesus ever taught was when he said that the end of that sermon that on the last day. Many would come to him, saying, Lord, Lord than we do this in your name did we do that in your name and so on.

And then he says to them depart from me, I never knew you please leave.

I don't know who you are. I pointed out on that occasion that there about 15 times in sacred Scripture, where people are addressed by the repetition of their name.

Some of you will remember that and that those workers of lawlessness who on the last day would claim to know Jesus. They would say on the last day, not simply Lord but they said, Lord, Lord, indicating a deep personal relationship with affection is God addressed Moses.

That way take up that way Abraham that way, and so on through the Scriptures will hear only about five or six times in the New Testament where anybody is addressed by the repetition of their name and this is one of them, indicating that when Jesus rebuked Martha he did it in the most tender fashion possible. He looked at her, Martha, Martha, you're worried you're so troubled about many things I can see that the chapter understand something. One thing is needed and Mary has chosen that good part. I noticed that Jesus didn't say Martha Mary has chosen the good part, and you've chosen the bad part.

Jesus is not saying that serving the way she had been serving was a bad thing to do.

This is not a contrast but it come narrative analysis. Basically what he's saying is what you have been doing working to prepare the all of these things and serving is a good thing, but the better thing.

The higher thing. The higher is the one that Mary has undertaken what I want us to think about this morning is this why did Jesus say that why was it better that seemingly Mary neglected the regular duties of preparation and service to spend time in conversation about love and we know one thing this was not chitchat.

This was not idle conversation. She was conversing with the son of God.

She was attending his teaching. She was devoting herself to a means of grace that was far more powerful than even service itself. Let me refresh our memories a bit by going to the book of acts in the early church gives the description of how things were going at the end of the second chapter of the book of acts are read these words after Peter's sermon on with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, be saved from this perverse generation, and then those who gladly received his word were baptized in that day about 3000 souls were added to them and they continued steadfastly in the apostles doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread and in prayer here in this little brief description we get a clue as to how the first century church Spanish time in worship and in the assembly. They came together. First of all to devote themselves to the apostles teaching as well as your fellowship as well as for the celebration of the Lord's supper, as well as for the offering of prayers and the giving of the sacrifice of praise and worship, but one of the things that Mark that early church was their dedication and devotion to the teaching of the apostles on Sunday morning. We don't just have worship. I believe and I think our whole session believes our whole ministerial staff leaves of the single most important thing that we do in this church's corporate worship on Sunday morning. There's nothing more important for our souls than to be here on Sunday morning for worship.

The author of Hebrews. In chapter 10 exhorted the people of that day, not to neglect the coming together in the assemblies of the saints, he realized it is a rule in this church, as well as other churches that on any given Sunday morning 25% of the members are absent. I could be there out of town. They could be there, ill as a host of possible reasons but the average person is not slick one out of four weeks but yet the average member of the church message 1/4 of the assemblies of worship for the people I can remember I was teaching in a seminary in Philadelphia that the president of that seminary was former Bishop from Australia and he told a story one day about a curate that he had in the Cathedral back in in Australia and one day the young curate came to work and he hadn't shaved. And so the bishop's pastor Mrs. what you say and he said well every morning I get up and wait for the leading of the Spirit, if the spirit leads me to shame shame if the spirit doesn't leave me the shame I don't shave and this morning I got up the spirit didn't lead me to say so. The bishop said that the administration will want to make it easier for yourself and for the spirit of God instead of traveling with the Holy Spirit every morning for directions on whether you should say were not.

Why don't you just as a matter of principle, the side to shave every morning and so the young man took it to heart valve. What's the point of that little story the point that little stories this that our attendance in church on Sunday morning should not have anything to do with whether we feel like God calls us to solemn assembly as his people as his congregation and we are the be here if we possibly can. And so I challenge to make it a matter of principle. Say no to the inclination to sleep in one out of four times, but being here and make sure that you're here just for your soul for the whole people of God, who encourage each other by neutral presence and fellowship. But most importantly I don't know but you I need to be in worship on Sunday.

I love the been worse, but Sunday morning, but I do love it. I need and I we don't have enough of not like were overwhelmed with too much time in the presence of God in too much study of the things of God. Now, in addition to that, we've just started a new calendar year, and one of the things of great importance that we do at St. Andrews's offer a wide variety of courses of education for adults as well as for children in our Sunday school program and if you look in the bullet meal see the different courses that are available to you, not right now we have approximately 25% of our people in Sunday school that right Kevin 25%. That's one out of four know maybe that's where those people are that the income you want that to come. The Sunday school and set a church but again, if you notice the pattern not only in the first century church with throughout church history that people who grow in grace not only are always in worship, but they are devoted to study to grow the show themselves approved. Not so that we can gain knowledge to be puffed up arrogant and proud by our theological acumen or something like that.

No, we need to have ours fed so I'm suggesting to you I'm urging you to give all of Sunday morning to your Christian development to Christian life not only worship but also make it a point to be involved in learning the things of God. This is what Jesus calls the better part. This is what Martha was doing. Martha set out to let the dishes get dirty for 15 minutes.

I'm going to let some of these things. The press upon me every day that have to be done. The chores and so on.

I will leave them because Jesus is here and I have a chance to learn from him. And so while Martha was grousing and complaining and feeling annoyed at her sister Mary was basking in the presence of Christ. That's how we grow. These are what we call the means of grace again that God has given to his people for their sanctification. I talk a lot about justification and we can't be sanctified less were first justified, but were justified to sanctification that God saves us that we might be change that we might be brought into conformity with him. I've told you this before the Old Testament tells us as a man thinks in his heart so is he is not that the Old Testament writer confused the organs of the brain and of the heart.

We think that thought takes place in the brain, while the Old Testament author understood that only says as a man thinks in his heart what he was getting at was this we have all kinds of ideas that racing around our mind and in one ear and out the other and so on.

But then we have what are called core beliefs. The word core is the word for heart and so a core belief is one that gets beyond your immediate consciousness and penetrates into your heart into the very core of your break what you really believe is how you and that's why repentance of the New Testament is called changing your mind until we get the mind of Christ will never begin to live like Christ. That's why Christian education is so important not to pass a test to get a degree, but that are core thinking may be informed by the mind of Christ.

And so again I asked that this week you will give serious consideration to increasing your study of the things of God and taking advantage of those courses that are made available to you here at St. Andrews. Finally, Jesus said Mary is chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her. If we choose to spend that time with Christ, if we choose to devote ourselves to being his feet to get everything we can from his teaching what ever we get will be taken away.

That's God's promise and when we concentrate on the teaching of Christ. When we sit at his feet. We will begin to arrange our priorities correctly. As Jesus says in Matthew six. All these things will be added unto you today on Renewing Your Mind.

We have heard a challenge to put Christ first in our lives. This is from Dr. RC Sproles verse by verse series through the gospel of Luke as we finish up chapter 10 we still have more than half of the book to go so that means our resource offer today will be a helpful study companion for you through the rest of the series. Contact us today with a donation of any amount and will provide you with a digital download of Dr. Sproles commentary on Luke. It's an opportunity to learn from a trusted teacher, and theologian as he leads us through God's word and cures his perspective on living faithfully for God's glory, you can request this digital resource with a donation of any amount to leader ministries or offices are closed today but you can give your gift and make your request online and Renewing Your you know I connected with Wigner ministries 32 years ago because my pastor shared his copy of table talk magazine with me.

It's not a stretch to say that simple act was life-changing for me and for my family.

That's why I would appreciate it if you would share this daily Renewing Your Mind program with your friends what you read, or website look for the share button right in the middle of the page. You can post a link to Facebook or twitter or even email a link to a friend or family member. Look for that sure and that you may never know what impact it may have next week as we continue Dr. school studying in the gospel of Luke. We will concentrate on a simple prayer. Jesus taught his disciples. I hope you'll join us next Sunday.

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