Sermon Notes

“Learning from the Mousetrap Game” (January 28, 2018)

(Micah 6:6-8, Psalm 100, John 3:16-21)

     Ever heard of the Mousetrap game?  The highlight of the game is the turning of a crank, which sets into motion a chain reaction, eventually resulting in the capture of a mouse by a falling trap.  It’s fun to watch, much like watching a long line of dominoes falling over after tipping the first domino in line. In reading the scripture passages this morning, do you sense a chain reaction happening?  No?  Let’s try to find it together.

     From the gospel of John, Jesus is having a conversation with a Pharisee named Nicodemus.  Jesus has explained to Nicodemus that he must be “born again” in order to find salvation/have eternal life.  Confused, Nicodemus asks how one can to return to their mother’s womb for a second birth.  After Jesus explains he was referring to a spiritual rebirth (not physical), he spoke these well-known words:   “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”  Here’s where the chain reaction comes in.  In the original language, believe-in means to acknowledge a truth, but the words also carry the meaning of believing-into.  Believing into something denotes committing yourself to it, to devote yourself while working for a cause or person.  See the chain reaction?  By believing-in, and believing-into Jesus, we become people of action, we take-up the cause of Christ and become active in ministry (following Jesus’ example.)

     We find a chain reaction in Micah’s words this morning, right?  Micah was a prophet in the mid 700’s BC, speaking-out against the people of Judah for their dishonesty and idolatry.  The people were to be a light unto the nations, yet they were the very ones causing darkness and injustice.  In addressing the people, Micah proclaimed that their repentance and faith should prompt action on their part, as highlighted in v. 8: “And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly, love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.”  Relationship with God should create a chain reaction featuring this sort of ministry!”

      We don’t know who wrote Psalm 100, yet the intention of the psalmist is clear; it is a psalm of praise.  The psalm suggests that when you choose relationship with God, that decision prompts a chain reaction that causes you to rejoice (vv. 1-2.) Notice this chain reaction continues through us as we reach out to others, and that through us God’s goodness is made known forever (v. 5).

      And so this morning we are inspired by the Mousetrap game, which features a chain of events that begins with the turn of a crank. For us, when we accept Jesus’ invitation to both believe-in, and believe-into him, this become the first step in a chain reaction that brings God’s transforming love, peace and assurance to each other and the world.