A sermon given during the 10:30am Choral Eucharist, by The Rt Rev’d Chris McLeod, on the 2nd July 2023.

SP Logo ColourPentecost 5 – 2023


Matthew 10:40-42.

New Revised Standard Version Updated Edition

40 “Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. 41 Whoever welcomes a prophet in the name of a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and whoever welcomes a righteous person in the name of a righteous person will receive the reward of the righteous, 42 and whoever gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones in the name of a disciple—truly I tell you, none of these will lose their reward.”

This morning’s Gospel reading is about welcoming. Jesus says, ‘whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me’ (Matthew 10: 40). St Paul spoke about Christians being ‘ambassadors for Christ’ (2 Corinthians 5: 20). It is another way of saying the same thing. As Christians we represent Christ, and if people welcome us then they also welcome the one who sends us. This is a challenge for us to be the type of person who people might like to welcome.

Walking the talk?

The common perception by most people outside the church contrasts with the view we have about ourselves inside the church. They think we are not very welcoming; we think we are. Many people outside the church view the church negatively. Dan Kimball, an American Christian commentator, asked some university aged students about what they thought about the church. 3 common themes emerged.

  • Christians and the Church have messed things up.
  • The Church took the teachings of Jesus and turned them into dogmatic rules.
  • Christians don’t apply the message of love that Jesus gave.

I would say that is a fair assessment of how other people see us. The average person’s view of Christians and the church is that we basically don’t walk the talk. Whenever we get media airplay it is largely negative, and, while I don’t think that is fair, we do not really help ourselves either. A lot of our own Christian publicity is negative.

We could say, well, they don’t welcome us, so the blame is on them, or we could look at ourselves and see whether we are worth welcoming. It has been my experience that if people see you as authentic then they do, in fact, welcome you. By that I mean we try and be the way Jesus wants us to be. We live the Christ like life as best we can and as the Holy Spirit enables us. Most people don’t mind faults; none of us are perfect. What most people respond to is integrity not perfection. People will see something Christlike in us that they will be attracted to. Again, as Jesus says, ‘let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven’ (Matthew 5: 16).


This morning at the 10.30am service we are baptising three people, confirming two, and receiving two into the Anglican Church. Isn’t it wonderful that we can extend this welcome. We are welcoming them to walk alongside us; to be fellow followers of Christ. They in turn will join with us in extending God’s welcome to the world. 

“Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me.