SERMON IN SEVENS
Sometimes it is called, Sermon in Sevens, other times it is called Gospel in Sevens, and still other times it is called Gospel Sermon in Sevens. It depends on how many syllables are wanted. Because “GOS-PEL SER-MON IN SEV-ENS” has seven syllables, we could use that title. However, since this is Christmas time, the word Christmas has two syllables, and the word gospel has two syllables, we will use the title, “CHRISTMAS SERMON IN SEVENS,” which also has seven syllables.
The Sermon in Sevens begins with a seven-word sentence that you can see on the Website. These words are, “The big Word will call the herd.” One might ask, what would that big Word be? Might it be a word such as macronomothetisist? As a matter of fact, the word ma-cro-nom-o-the-ti-sist has seven syllables, but that’s not the big Word that will call the herd. Perhaps the big Word would be the biggest word of all, at least the biggest word I’ve ever heard. That word is the name of a lung disease called pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis.
Now that is a big word! There is only one other character that I ever heard use that
factitious word, and that is Granpa Simpson, when he said, “Why do you avoid me, what have I got pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis or something?” That’s old Abe Simpson, one of my favorite characters, and I’m becoming more like him every day. However, that is not the big Word that will call the herd, either.
Notice the sentence, “The big Word will call the herd.” All the words are small words. Each has only one syllable. In that sentence, there are seven words and seven syllables, so that one might think of --- bartenders and baseball. Bartenders are involved because with seven words and seven syllables, it might remind a bartender of a drink called a Seven and Seven, which is a shot of Seagram’s Seven Crown with 7-Up as a wash, and some people mix them as a cocktail.
Now baseball is involved because it is mentioned in the Bible, saying, “In the big inning was the Word,” seven words. Now that is
the big Word that will call the herd! One might say, wait a second there, The Bible says, “In the beginning,” not big inning. So you are stretching it, stretching one word into two words. That’s true, because in baseball, especially with men on base, you stretch before you make your pitch. That was the stretch, here comes the pitch.
Jesus Christ, seven words.
One might ask why is this Jesus so important, and why do so many people celebrate His birthday this time of the year? Well, He has quite a reputation! Some say that He was a great teacher, others say that He was a great prophet, and still others say that He is God. So with such a reputation, perhaps we should pay attention to what He said and what He did, while we squeeze the number seven in wherever we can.
For example, one statement that He made in a seven-word combination was this, “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God.” One might ask, how shall we do this? Well, He answered this question by saying, (we paraphrase) humble thy self as this little child, seven words. Why should we humble ourselves as little children? He answered this question with another seven-word combination. “Of such is the Kingdom of heaven.” So if we want to go to heaven, we should humble ourselves as little children. After all, Jesus did say, “He who is humble, shall be exalted,” seven words. Therefore, we might quote John the Baptist, "He must increase, but I must decrease," seven words. Jesus also said, “The Kingdom of God is within you,” seven words, and, "My Kingdom is not of this world," seven words.
If we are to humble ourselves as little children, perhaps we should think about what we did as little children. For example, one of the things that many of us have learned as little children is that wonderful hymn divided into syllables of seven. Je-sus loves me, this I know. For the Bi-ble tells me so. Lit-tle ones to Him be-long. They are weak, but He is strong. If we are to humble ourselves as little children, perhaps we should say, “We are weak, but He is strong,” seven words and seven syllables.
Another seven-word combination that this teacher, prophet, God said is in the Lord’s prayer. “Give us this day our daily bread.” However, in another place He said, “Man does not live by bread alone,” seven words. So it gives us something to think about, eh? That is what good teachers do, they make us think? He also warned us about hypocrites and told us how to recognize them when He said, “By their fruits, ye shall know them,” seven words and seven syllables.
The lesson here might be, by our fruits they may know us, seven words and seven syllables. “Good fruit comes from a good tree,” seven words and seven syllables, “We do not get figs from thistles,” seven words, and just for a little balance, He said, “Judge not, that ye be not judged,” seven words and seven syllables, along with this paraphrase, we are to love the unloving people, seven words. The Bible also says, “Do not cause discord among the brethren,” seven words, "Serve ye, the least of thy brethren," seven words, and, “Devine blessings come in blessing our enemies,” seven words--- Here are a few that might grab you. “Do good to them that hate you,” seven words and seven syllables, “Pray for them that despitefully persecute you,” seven words, and “A gentle word will turn away wrath,” seven words.
Jesus also said, “Ye are the salt of the earth,” seven words and seven syllables. The lesson here is, “Don’t let the salt lose its savor,” seven words. Another seven-word/syllable combination that He said was, “Ye are the light of the world.” Let us remember; however, the light of the world reflects the light of the sun-both SUN and SON. Another lesson for us to think about, eh? Jesus also talked about friendship when He said, “Friends lay down their lives for friends,” seven words and seven syllables. According to the Bible, “He laid down his life for us,” seven words and seven syllables.
So one might say, “What a friend we have in Jesus,” seven words, and this of course is another hymn in words and syllables of seven. What a friend we have in Jesus. All our sins and grief to bear. What a privilege to carry. Everything to God in prayer. A repeated line in this hymn is, "Take it to the Lord in prayer," seven words. If we follow this advice, we do not have to worry about anything! As it says in the Bible. “Cast thy bur-dens on the Lord,” seven syllables. "Put on the whole armour of God," seven words. "Jesus Christ is the Lord and savior," and, “The Lord Jesus will not forsake you,” seven words. "He that hath the Son has life," seven words and syllables. Jesus also said, “My yoke is easy, my burdens light,” seven words, along with, “For lo, I am with you always,” seven words. So you see, perhaps we do not have to make things happen, we can let things happen, and enjoy the process.
This attitude of letting things happen may remind one of saint Willie. Who is saint Willie? Saint Willie is Willie Nelson who seems to live in the zone. He enjoys playing that beat-up guitar of his, and singing. Because he is pretty good at this, people pay him to do what he enjoys doing. He also has written over twenty-five hundred songs, so song-writing seems to come easily for him. He has been in sixteen films, and said that acting is easy for him, too. He has also written two best-selling books, so writing books seems to come easily, as well. He has written a third book entitled THE TAO OF WILLIE, and in this book he said something like this. If sixty years ago, I could have planned a successful life, it would have paled when compared to what really happened. He followed this with a seven-word/syllable combination. “Fortunately, I was not in con-trol.” He seems to let things happen, rather than make things happen. "Wait upon the Lord." He is a heav-y tip-per, seven syllables.
Joyful abundance is yours, let it happen, seven words. Well, doesn’t that sound easy to do? (seven words) Just let it happen.
Now let’s see how Jesus gave a good example of letting things happen. When He was in the garden of Gethsemane, praying and sweating blood, He finished off His prayer with this seven-word/syllable statement. “Not my will, but thine be done.” That’s what you call letting things happen, so let’s see what happened when he decided to do that. He was beaten, ridiculed, spit upon, crowned with thorns and nailed to a cross. There are those who say He could have dissolved the planet at that point but decided not to do that. There was also a scroll above Him on the cross written by Pontius Pilate saying, “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews.” Others say the scroll read, “This is Jesus, King of the Jews.” Another version is, “This is the King of the Jews.” Anyway, each statement has seven words.
While hanging on the cross, Jesus used these seven words. “My God, why hast thou forsaken me?” He also said, “It is finished." His task may have been finished, but His life was not until He made this statement, “Into thy hands I commend my spirit,” seven words. Then He died, but He didn’t stay dead, since on the third day the sepulcher in which they put His body, was empty.
However, there was an angel there, and the angel said these seven words. “He is not here, He is risen.” Why shouldn’t He rise from the dead? (seven words) Earlier He said, “I am the resurrection and the life,” seven words. He also said, “In my Father’s house are many mansions,” seven words. He followed that with these two seven-word combinations. “I will prepare a place for you,” and, “Where I am, you may be also.” However, He didn’t go there until He gave what is called the great commission, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations,” seven words.
Well, what are we supposed to teach them? Jesus told His disciples to preach these seven words, "The kingdom of heaven is at hand." So perhaps we should teach that to all nations. We should also teach them this Biblical statement, “Grace through faith, the gift of God.” "Grace through faith, the gift of God.” There are those who believe that the profound depth and meaning of these seven significant words cannot be over-taught! So, I’ll say them again. “Grace through faith, the gift of God,” seven words and seven syllables. "Whatsoever is not of faith is sin," seven words. If we are drawn to teach these words, then perhaps, when our time comes, we may be able to cash in our treasures in heaven. What are our treasures in heaven? Well, some of our treasures in heaven could be these seven words. “Well done, thou good and faithful servant." When you hear these seven words, you’ve made it big, dude and dudette! You can find these seven words, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant," in the Bible; Matthew chapter twenty-five, verse twenty-one. Twenty-five, two plus five equals seven. Twenty-one is a multiple of seven, but more importantly, two plus one equals three, which could stand for the triune God, the Holy Trinity expressed in seven syllables, “Fa-ther, Son and Ho-ly Ghost.”
So you see, it all comes around, doesn’t it? Perhaps we should not say the words “you see” since the Bible says, “The things that are seen are temporal,” seven words, "The elements shall melt with fervent heat," seven words. But, “Things that are not seen are eternal,” seven words. To those that say that there is no evidence of unseen eternal things, we ask these three seven-word questions. Is absence of evidence evidence of absence? Is absence of evidence evidence of ignorance? Are we wise in our own conceits? Perhaps we could squeeze in at this point, "Many are called, but few are chosen.” "We walk by faith, not by sight." "For our Jewish friends, a stumbling block." "For our atheist friends, nothing but foolishness," but, "Be not deceived; God is not mocked." All these statements are seven-word combinations, seven words.
So as Jesus indicated with this seven-syllable statement, "I and my Fa-ther are one." Along with these seven-word statements, "My ways are higher than your ways." "Take up your cross and follow me." "I will make you fishers of men." The Bible also says, "Pray unceasingly, in contrite supplication with thanksgiving." "My strength is made perfect in weakness." "In Christ shall all be made alive." "The Word of God is not bound."
Each of these statements has seven words, seven words. Another point that we might teach is about success. The key to our success is commitment, seven words. Commit your thoughts; your actions will follow, seven words. Commit your actions; your thoughts will follow, seven words. Aha! Another elegant solution for all our problems, seven words. Wealth is earned when we make do, not doo-doo. We shall reap what we have sown. We have freely received; therefore, freely give, seven words. So, "Get thee be-hind me Sa-tan," seven syllables.
Anyway, Jesus said that He is coming back, seven words. Now this could remind us of a preacher, a hell-fire preacher. A hell-fire preacher is a preacher that preaches with emotion. For example, Jeeeesus says, it is written in the Thessalonians, in the Corinthians and in the Revelation that the SEVENTH trump shall sound, and in the twinkling of an eye, a righteous remnant shall be changed and caught up in a resurrection, rapture and reunion unbeknownced to mankind, be justified, sanctified, and glorified from this day forth and even forevermore, praise the Lord and maranatha! What does maranatha mean? It means, even so, come quickly Lord Jesus Christ, seven words.
Now comes time for the benediction. All good preachers have a benediction, and this benediction is
loosly based on The Bible, “May the Lord bless us and keep us, may the Lord make his face shine upon us and be gracious unto us. May the Lord lift up His countenance upon us, and give us peace-that peace which passes all understanding, shall keep our hearts and our minds through Christ Jesus.” Peace -- we finally got to the Christmas story. “Peace on earth, good will toward men,” seven words. "My peace I give un-to you," seven syllables.
To God be all the glo-ry, seven syllables, and these final seven words. MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR!