Text: Matthew 10:5, 21-33
32 So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, 33 but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.
The Bohemian reformer John Hus, who lived about a 100 years before Martin Luther, was a man who believed the Scriptures to be the infallible and supreme authority in all matters of faith. He died, burned at the stake, for that belief in Constance, Germany, on his forty-second birthday. As he refused a final plea to renounce his faith, Hus's last words were, "What I taught with my lips, I seal with my blood."
Fear not for God knows you, loves you and is with you!
10 And he called to him his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every affliction. 2 The names of the twelve apostles are these: first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; 3 Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus;4 Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.
These are the twelve that Jesus sent out, instructing them. But the bulk of our text today points to what await those who profess faith in Christ.
21 Brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death, 22 and you will be hated by all for my name's sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.
The work of those who were sent would not be fun or easy. Persecution would be part of the lot of those sent. Not only would the world hate them but so too their family, brother, father children and so on. Christ says,
Have no fear of them … proclaim the truth! 28 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.
This past week was to be my vacation … and it was … to an extent.
The Monday before my vacation began I got a call at church. It was from Carol Cutcher daughter of Glenn Blackerby one of my shut-ins.
Pastor: “Hi Carol, How are you and how is your dad?”
Carol: “Hi Pastor, I’m doing well and my dad has never been better. He went to be with Jesus today.”
Well, I was sad to hear of Glenn’s passing and Carol was going to meet with the people at Coats Funeral Home so I said, “I want to do your dad’s service so let me know when it is and I’ll be available.”
Glenn Blackerby was a dear man. Married to Dorothy for 63 years he was changed after her passing about 8 months ago. Not that he lost faith … but that he lost patience. He wanted to go and be with Jesus and with Dorothy whom he missed greatly.
I was blessed to do Dorothy’s service about 8 months ago and knew Glenn would get there soon enough. As we visited at his home he would say, pastor I want to go be with Jesus and Dorothy … I’m ready. I would say, “I know you are Glenn and Jesus will call you to be with him in his time and way but not just yet. It may be because I just need someone to visit.
Glenn and Dorothy … were a lovely couple and demonstrated a faith lived out in love and service to others. I remember so fondly Dorothy exiting the service and shaking hands with a pleasant thought and Glenn, grabbing my hand and saying:
A mother goes into her son’s room to wake him for church Sunday morning. When she told him it was time to get up he said, “I’m not going!” Why not his mother asked? “I’ll give you two good reasons,” he said. “One they don’t like me and two I don’t like them” “Well,” … his mother replied. “I’ll give you two good reasons why you’re going.” One, you’re 47 years old and two, you’re the pastor!”
Life and faith and … jokes we’re the lifeblood of Glenn Blackerby and his life’s joy left him when Dorothy passed on to heaven.
That is part of our lot as well. To endure sin, death and the devil and we wait for that call that will come for each one of us to go and be with the Lord. At times in this life evil invades our life as that police officer at Flint Bishop international airport found when he was attacked with a knife. Other times death comes and wakes us all to that reality that death is real.
I’ve done 8 funerals this year and only Glenn’s was for a regular attending member. All others were either for those who requested a Lutheran Pastor because there had been a Lutheran background or lapsed attendance. I always am willing to serve as it is an opportunity to bring the word’s of Christ to those who need to hear … and at a time that they will listen.
I spoke with pastor Merrell as there was a call to do a funeral in Ortonville this coming Monday and though I really could use a break I called and offered to do the service for a lady who had a Lutheran background. Thankfully another pastor called earlier so I don’t have one this Monday but I remarked to Pastor Merrell, “I know how we can grow the church! Get people to need a Lutheran pastor … before they die.”
As Glenn Blackerby was known to say:
Life is like a roll of toilet paper …
… you never know when the end will come.
29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. 30 But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.
Christ has promised that he has a room prepared and where He is you too will be also. And He gives you and me the work to do with this promise:
12 “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, John 14:12a
The work of God is this, to believe on him whom he has sent.
God calls some to proclaim that truth publicly but he calls us all to speak these truths to those who need to hear, in good time and bad and at time of joy and at time of sorrow.
As our epistle reading for this day reminds us:
23For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Rom 6:23
“To them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name” (John 1: 12).
In the name of the Father and of the Son + and of the Holy Spirit.