Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Sermon July 2-3, 2016

Title: Christ is heard through the word!
Text: Luke 10:1-20

16 “The one who hears you hears me, and the one who rejects you rejects me, and the one who rejects me rejects him who sent me.”

French writer Alexis de Tocqueville, after visiting America in 1831, said:

"I [looked] for the greatness of the United States in her [spacious] harbors, her ample rivers, her fertile fields, and boundless forests--and it was not there. I sought for it in her rich mines, her vast world commerce, her public school system, and in her institutions of higher learning--and it was not there. I looked for it in her democratic Congress and her matchless Constitution--and it was not there. Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits flame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power. America is great because America is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great!"

Alexis de Tocqueville.

The truths of these words are self evident to we who have spent many years enjoying the fruits of a free country and a freedom of religion protected in the constitution. Let us pray that as we celebrate our freedoms this Independence Day we pray that God opens the eyes of those who have fallen away and that they too will repent and turn in faith back to the Lord of life who give what we could never earn as a free gift through those sent to proclaim this Good News!

In the Gospel lesson today our Lord appoints a large number … 72 as our text reads to go in pairs, telling them:

“The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few.” Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”

As we learned last week in the Gospel lesson, Jesus was resolute as He set His face towards Jerusalem. His time on earth was moving towards the cross and his atoning and vicarious death for you. This sending of workers into the mission field would be no easy task as Jesus Himself says when He says, I am sending you out as lambs in the midst of wolves. This calling and sending, for those 72, would bring the same anger and rebuke that was leveled at Jesus. Many who serve the proclamation of the Gospel today see and feel this as well.

The provisions for these who are sent fall to those who welcome them into their homes and this is where the Lord’s peace rests and remains. And this also should be the earnest prayer of all Christians, that the Father of all grace and mercy would send forth laborers into His harvest field, making many young men willing to heed His call into ministry … and those who are served by these men would willingly take upon themselves the joy and privilege of supplying their needs while attending to these duties.

Kretzmann Commentary NT Vol. 1 Pg321

16 “The one who hears you hears me, and the one who rejects you rejects me, and the one who rejects me rejects him who sent me.”

These messengers were sent to bring peace and healing to a dying world. They were sent with the good news that the Kingdom of God was at hand. The Kingdom of God was embodied in the incarnate God/man Jesus Christ and some would reject this good news … sending the dust of their town off the sandals of those sent in condemnation for their rejection. Though at times the comfort and peace of Christ is rejected … service to the Lord remains joyful and:

Christ is heard through the word of the Gospel!

Peace and healing. Two wonderful and good things; but in our day to day not always appreciated or received. At times when we have peace we push others to the brink of anger, instead of taming our own tongue and keeping things peaceable. At times we break friendships and even sever families requiring God through repentance, to bring forgiveness and healing to those in need.

Christ’s rebuke though, to those who rejected His messengers in Chorizin and Bethsaida which were, almost side by side, on the shores of Lake, Gennesaret – the sea of Galilee - though great miracles had been done in their midst, the words of eternal life and love out of the mouth of Jesus had made no impression upon them.

Even Capernaum, the Lord’s headquarters during His Galilean ministry, would receive the full measure of His wrath on the last day and be forcefully thrust down to hell.

It’s pretty sobering … and a word of warning here for us all …

Though Christ has called us to faith by word and sacrament and has been in our midst for years, decades, and even generations, in both the written and

spoken Word of the Gospel; how often, is He (Jesus) neglected and overlooked in the homes of his children? No Scripture, or family devotion; and no regular church attendance for some; -- how might Christ’s rebuke to these cities reach into your home and mine as the dust of His judgment is kicked off His feet and settles at the feet of those who have turned from His loving call?

Kretzmann Commentary NT Vol. 1 Pg322

If you reject His love you receive his wrath. But even in the Lord’s rebuke there is hope.

Tyre and Sidon, heathen cities whom the Jews despised for their idolatrous practices and beliefs, Jesus said, would long since have repented, covered with sack-cloth, and ashes.


Spending time in the hospital with some and in home visits with others recently, the truth of God’s abiding peace and comfort becomes evident. Families at these difficult times are brought back to the reality of life and death issues. Even in dire situations the Lord works on the hearts of those He loves.

As I visited with a family at the hospital I was asked how I went from working in the piano business to being the pastor here at Peace. I related the story of my mom’s dying from cancer in 1988 at 57 years of age and how the Lord used this time in my life to call me back into relationship with Him. I told the story of not knowing what to pray for and calling out in my grief, finding comfort in the Lord’s Prayer. I told the story of the Lord leading me through a strange path and a few churches to this place that I am at and serve. I was able to sing the good news that has been given me in Christ, to a family and house that is hurting as death nears and the peace of our Lord and savior Jesus is resting upon them and His healing touch is there to comfort and bind up the broken hearted.

Friends, the good news is really good news as the 72 returned rejoicing!

“Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!”

But Jesus though he reminds them of the great power that they have in His name also cautions them …
20 … do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”

Christ is heard through the word and in Christ we have peace!

Martin Luther had this to say in his Lectures on Galatians:

Christ says, (Luke 10:20): “Rejoice that your names are written in Heaven.” When this is a joy of the Spirit and not of the flesh, the heart rejoices inwardly through faith in Christ; because it knows for a certainty that He is our savior and High Priest and outwardly we demonstrate this joy in our words and actions. The faithful rejoice also when the Gospel is proclaimed, and when many come to faith and thus the kingdom is increased.

Luther’s works Vol. 27 Pg.93-94

Christ’s joy is to bring peace to your house in Him. In Christ you receive the comfort of eternal life because His promise is to never leave you nor forsake you. (Heb 13:5)

Christ’s call is to:

6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time He may exalt you, as you 7 cast all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. And we are told to 8 be watchful, because the devil, your adversary, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:6-8

Though the devil prowls … in Christ you have eternal security and Lord’s promise that your name is written in heaven.

Christ is heard through the word!
While it is not important for us to know the names of the 72 or those whom the Lord uses to bring His Gospel message to the lost. It is important to know that Jesus knows you … and that your name is written in the Lamb’s book of life.

God’s peace and healing comfort to you in the blessed name of Jesus!

In the name of the Father and of the Son + and of the Holy Spirit.