Title: Fear not! Here I stand! In Christ!
Text: Romans 10:26-28
26 “So have no fear of them, for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. 27 What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. 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.
The tension continues. Luther is called to give a response. How about you or me? What responsibility do we as Christians have in our own day?
We too live in tension between the secular and the holy. What God has said versus what man and the world says.
1 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. This first line from God’s word in the book of Genesis, which means beginning of something, is put in tension between man and science that says creation began or was the result of no creator … but only because of a bang of cosmic proportions that set all things in motion.
20 And God said, “Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures …
24 And God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds—livestock and creeping things and beasts of the earth according to their kinds.”
Darwin’s theory of evolution on the other hand says that there is no creator but only natural selection which over time changes and adapts from one kind into another called Macro evolution. As Christians we understand micro evolution or changes within kinds and adaption to environments.
In a May 13, 2015 posting on Live Science “What is Darwin’s Theory of Evolution” Kar Than writes:
In the first edition of "The Origin of Species" in 1859, Charles Darwin speculated about how natural selection could cause a land mammal to turn into a whale. As a hypothetical example, Darwin used North American black bears, which were known to catch insects by swimming in the water with their mouths open:
"I can see no difficulty in a race of bears being rendered, by natural selection, more aquatic in their structure and habits, with larger and larger mouths, till a creature was produced as monstrous as a whale," he speculated.
God’s word again says:
7 then the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.
27 So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.
God creates life. He gives man and animals the same command to be fruitful and increase in number.
28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
Man says, on the other hand … it is only a fetus and that life begins at birth so pay no attention to the prenatal care that the medical community calls for, it is your right and your decision to remove that inconvenience and to take that life, in the womb. Or … as the activists call for on demand and without apology.
The conflict in our day is much the same as Luther’s. What does the word of God say and do we stand on the word of God or on the word of man?
Luther’s theology started to develop even as early as 1518. It started to go beyond the paying of indulgences to free those in purgatory, to the theology of the cross and the understanding of God’s mercy not earned by what we sinners do - but that God’s mercy is purely a gift, given to you and me by faith in the suffering servant Jesus Christ, who by his sinless life, substitutionary death and glorious resurrection paid the price for the sins for the whole world.
Psalm 51:16-17 (ESV)
16 For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it;
you will not be pleased with a burnt offering.
17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
The night Jesus was betrayed both Judas, who betrayed him, and Peter, who denied him, ran off with broken hearts. Judas turned inward and being overwhelmed with guilt killed himself. Jesus appeared to Peter and restored him. (“Follow me” John 21:19b)
Lutheran Hour Ministries Study Guide Session 4 pg2
Luther had to answer the questions posed to him. “Martin Luther, are these your books?” “Yes.” “Will you recant all of these writings?”
So he gives an answer without “horns or teeth” … a straight answer.
“Unless I am convinced by the testimony of the Scriptures or by clear reason (for I do not trust either in the pope or in councils alone, since it is well known that they have often erred and contradicted themselves), I am bound by the Scriptures I have quoted and my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and will not recant anything, since it is neither safe nor right to go against conscience. May God help me. Amen.”
Martin Luther, Diet of Worms
April 18, 1521
We too need to take a stand in our day and time being captive to the word of God. To do so we need to know the word and be in the word. Our little book a simple explanation of Christianity can be a great help. It can make us captive to God’s word – what he demands, who he is, what he has done for us, and how we can call on him, in prayer, praise and thanksgiving as he unites, feeds and sustains us
We learn of the Father’s creative power making all things; and the redemptive power of the word made flesh, Jesus Christ, his only begotten son a who lived, died and rose again for you and me; and the sustaining power of the Holy Spirit who indwells all believers and the lives and intercedes in the lives of his children … you and me, sustaining us and keeping us in the one true faith.
In our our gospel reading for today we read:
18 At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” 2 And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them 3 and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.4 Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
In humility and love as god’s children … speak the truth. Love the Lord your God with all your heart mind soul and strength and you neighbor as yourself.
Here we stand … we can do no other … so help us God.