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[Dr McCracken] The text is taken from the gospel according to Matthew chapter twenty two verse forty two what do you think of the Christ? This seems an appropriate text both for the first sunday after christmas and the first day of 1961 it gets right down to fundamentals it confronts each of us with a sharply personal challenge it raises all
sorts of practical issues for our everyday life a preacher should confront himself and these heroes with this question at least once a year. What do and I think of Christ is the most important fact about us our answer to his own question if it is sincere and honest really determines the kind of persons we are for example what do you think of the teaching of the Christ take beatitudes for they are the sermon on the mount and they described the character of the disciple
of Christ. Blessid are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessid are thee mourn for they shall be comforted. Blessid are the meek for they shall inherent the Earth. Blessid are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness for they shall be filled. Blessid are the merciful for they shall they obtain mercy. Blessid are the pure in heart for they shall see God. Blessid are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of god. Blessid are they which are persecuted for righteousness sin of theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Honestly what do
you feel about such teaching? How do you really get to chambers of commerce and labor unions and the security council at the united nations and on [intelligible] and layoffs and China. For that matter do you regulate your own behavior? In the light of this teaching? Nobody can claim that it is popular or even after nineteen hundred years. That it is wildly practiced. The common view is that if a man is to make good. He needs an assertive spirit. A a clever calculating mind feeling not too sensitive to the needs of others. Plenty of self assurance and something of a flare for self advertisement. To be
happy many a man would say you have got to make money. Lots of it to avoid pain and suffering to a press for your own rights to assert yourself. Christ startlingly reverses this poor way of life. Flatly contradicts it. Cuts across pride of place and grace and power urges on us the need of self denial cross bearing. Treating others as we would want them to treat us. How then do we regard His teaching as a lofty and noble, but unattainable and unworkable too perfectionist for this rough tough competitive world of
as for today and every day the standard of Christian life and character to be observed by us without adultery [intelligible] or toning it down. If we are not following the teaching of Christ what right have we to call ourselves Christians the fact is most of us are living by sub Christian standards. The sermon on the mount is an embarrassment to us. We don't know what to make of its call for meekness known resistance to evil love of enemies the loftiness of the ethnic we recognize but not its biting relevance in this city last week [intelligible] see peace no in a
most moving speech diagnosed the human predicament but did not make as much as a passing reference to the remedy provided in the ethic of Christ as for those of us who are Christians. We incline to settle into a Worldly prudential conventual way of life and are not markedly different from men or women who make no protense of professing the Christian name. It won't do it just won't do if we take our faith seriously we must work the moral principles of the Christ into our hearts and lives and into the heart and life of the world.
Let me put the question in another form. What do you think of the way in which Christ lived? Two things about his mode of life are outstanding one his perfect trust in God. Which showed itself in complete obedience to the will of God. This was what made Him calm in situations which fill us with panic. This was what made Him courageous where most of us are faint hearted if not cowards. This was why He put aside ambition and the lure of success and did the little things that do not rate among the famous exploits of history. Drying a widow's tear
is going to the assistance of a crippled beggar by the wayside. Once when his disciples were arguing about who should be greatest in the kingdom of god. He did something that one cannot imagine Plato or Napoleon or or or Darwin or any of the celebrities of history doing. He took a little child on his knee and in the crook of His arm and said unless you become like this little child you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven and that points to the other outstanding characteristics of his way of life. Namely his love of people the readiness with which he pulled himself at their disposal
the fact is the bible says that day after day after day he went about doing good among us do gooder is a term of disparagement why? Ask yourself that. Christ literally spent himself in caring for man woman and children. Comforting the sad, healing the sick, restoring sanity to the mentally and nervously disturbed lifting up those who morally have fallen. Offering friendship to social outcasts like drafters and prostitutes. The church with its huge buildings with its elaborate organizations with its ambitious programs as much to learn from Him. And you. What do you think
about his way of life to what extent do you accept it as guidance for the way you live your life? Did it affect your choice of a calling? Does it influence what you do with your talents and your money and your leisure? Are you sensitive to human needs? Have you anything of Christ's concern for people? All sorts of people especially people who are bruised, battered, neglected. Albert Schweitzer the philosopher theologists musician turned his back on Europe in his thirties and settled in Africa explaining the sect of self renunciation for it puzzles
so many people [intelligible]. I wanted to be a doctor that I might be able to work without having to talk for years. I have been giving myself out in words this new form of activity I could not represent to myself as talking about the religion of love but only as an actual putting it into practice. Dr Schweitzer thinks of the way the master went as a way the servant should [intelligible] still what then about us. Have we sufficient perfection about Christ's way of life to try to work it out in the situation where life has sent us.
Now a final consideration for this is a service of communion. What do you think of the way in which Christ died? Bear in mind that he need not have died when he did. In thirty-third year of his life. He could have stay by the carpenter's bench at Nazareth. He might've held His tongue. He might have let the powers to be alone. Instead of castigating them as [intelligible] and hypocrites and blind leaders of the blind and [intelligible] person. He might've done what so many of us do. Compromised with truth and live to be as white-haired as [intelligible].
As elderly as any of the scribes and pharisees responsible for handing him over to Pontius Pilate. He died remember as few men do in the prime of life violently I lay down my life of myself he said nobody takes it from me. He chose to die in such a way as to prove for all the centuries that all that He has ever said or done in the name of God was true. [intelligible] he met the very worst of man's inhumanity to man of cruelty and injustice and did it with love and forgiveness in his heart heart forgive the known not what we do. On Calvary he met to the sternest trial to faith of God. Which can ever be
met the stress of it. Seen in the cry of delection my god my god Why has God forsaken me yet the victory of His faith is seen in his final explanation father the word he had used on his lifelong his favorite deity father into the hands I commend my spirit. Love of man faith in God. Triumphant at the last. What do you think of Christ crucified? It isn't [intelligible] that all bodies who doubt that all reservations are withdrawn
that Christ comes into his own as Lord, leader, light, lore love so amazing so devine man's my soul my life. My all [Silence]
McCracken Sermon, 1961-01-01, The Acid Test
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WRVR (Radio station: New York, N.Y.)
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The Riverside Church (New York, New York)
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A sermon by Reverend McCracken on Christ's teachings.
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Producing Organization: WRVR (Radio station: New York, N.Y.)
Speaker: McCracken, Robert J. (Robert James), 1904-1973
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The Riverside Church
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Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
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Chicago: “McCracken Sermon, 1961-01-01, The Acid Test,” 1961-01-01, The Riverside Church , American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 21, 2024,
MLA: “McCracken Sermon, 1961-01-01, The Acid Test.” 1961-01-01. The Riverside Church , American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. June 21, 2024. <>.
APA: McCracken Sermon, 1961-01-01, The Acid Test. Boston, MA: The Riverside Church , American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from