Redeemer Lutheran Church Blog

Trinity XVII, September 23, 2018 - St. Luke 14:1-11

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Posted: Wednesday, September 26th, 2018 by Pastor Westgate

It’s one of the greatest miracles in the Bible and we don’t realize it. Jesus. He’s that miracle. I don’t mean that God became man. That is a miracle, and many wonder why He would do that. But that’s not the real miracle. The miracle is that God did it and didn’t enslave anybody, didn’t rule over anybody, didn’t immediately take over the world. No, God humbled Himself.

Humility. That’s one of the Bible’s themes. God loves the humble. He does not love the proud. Mary sings that He scatters the proud in the imagination of their hearts, He puts down the mighty from their seats and exalts them of low degree, He fills the hungry with good things and the rich He has sent empty away. She concludes that He has helped His servant Israel in remembrance of His mercy, as He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed forever.

The Gospels don’t forget this theme. Our Lord begins His Sermon on the Mount by blessing the poor in spirit, those who mourn, the meek, those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, the merciful, the poor in heart, the peacemakers, and those persecuted for His sake. These are the faithful, who recognize they cannot save themselves with anything they do or give God; they mourn their sins and desire peace with both God and their fellow man.

This isn’t just a minor theme. This is the theme of the life of Christ. Where was He born? Not in Jerusalem’s palace! In a stable! What happened within 2 years? He had to flee for His life to Egypt! Was He a cult hero? No, His people mostly rejected Him. Did He die a glorious death in battle as a victorious King? No, He was punished like a criminal on The Cross. There was no glory in His life. Just humiliation.

Did He care? Was He upset He didn’t get to wear kingly clothes? Was He upset He didn’t get to rule all the world from Jerusalem? No. What was He doing? He preached. He did miracles. What kind of miracles? He helped people. He fed thousands with little on hand. He raised the dead. He healed the sick. He even told them not to blab about it. He didn’t do it to glorify Himself. He did do it to reveal His identity. But He also did it to serve mankind, His beloved creation.

That’s what God is all about. He is not a cruel dictator – that’s the devil. He’s not a faraway boss you have hardly any contact with. He’s a dear father. That makes you His child. And not just any child, but His beloved little child. That means He needs to do stuff for you. He wants to do stuff for you. He takes care of you. He provides you with all you need for this body and life. Does He need to do it? No, absolutely not. Do you deserve it? Your sins answer: “Not one bit.” He does it anyway because He loves you. He cares for you.

This informs the Christian’s life of sanctification. We are freed from the Law. Its threats no longer apply to us. We believe our sins are forgiven for Jesus’ sake. The Law can’t pursue us for our sins. It can’t condemn us. We are free. We are free to live our lives without guilt or fear of hell, death, and Satan. We are no slaves. We are God’s children, and that makes us heaven’s kings and queens.

So how should we react? Popular people tell us Jesus’ followers ought to be rich. They ought to have it all. They ought to never get sick, or if they do, get healed in short order. Your life ought to be getting better all the time. If none of these things are true, you better wonder if God really does love you, if you’ve done enough to please Him, if your salvation is assured.

Do not listen to them. You are united to Christ. You are His disciples. Do not expect your life to be any different than His was. Don’t expect glory in this life. Do expect sorrow and misery. Do expect the devil to attack you. Don’t be surprised that you still sin, that your life seems to be getting worse at times. His life was full of suffering. So your life may have suffering too.

So do not exalt yourself. Do not expect from God riches and promotions and healings He has not promised. Do not bind Him to your wants and desires. For when you do, you will be disappointed. For you will have created your own god to serve, not the true God, but a figment of your imagination made in your own image.

So do not expect others to serve you. Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought. Instead pattern yourself after Jesus Christ, your Brother dear; He gave you an example by washing His disciples’ feet. He did not do this in order to make you wash the feet of the person sitting next to you today. He did it to give you an example of what Christian love looks like. The Christian loves his neighbor, everyone around him. He cares for them. So you might wash your loved one as a baby or as they lay dying. But you may choose to serve anyone in many ways, both through what you do and what you give, in both alms and actions.

So being holy, being sanctified is not all about you. Then again, Christianity is not all about you either. Christianity is about what Jesus has done for you. God doesn’t need your sanctification. Your neighbor does. It won’t injure God’s glory if you do something bad. Something bad can hurt your loved one. Something good can help them. Good works serve your neighbor and supply the proof that faith is living.

It is unbelief that does not help others. There is no choice for a Christian just to be totally focused on self and pay no attention to those around him. He cannot go into seclusion and say he doesn’t need anyone and doesn’t need to do anything for anyone. God has made us for each other. He has made us to serve one another, just as He in Christ has served and still serves you.

For that is what He did when He died for you. He took all your sins on Himself. He took on the eternal prison sentence you deserved. You ought to have been knocked down to the lowest seat, right out of the dining hall, at God’s eternal supper. Instead He brings you up to Himself. He died and rose and then went to work to bring His salvation to you. He has called you to His feast through His Word. He has ushered you into His wedding hall by baptizing you. Through His Word and Supper He is preparing you to enter the eternal supper of The Lamb. He does it all. He does the work. You receive it all.

You are free from sin, death, and Satan. You are free from their curse, free to serve not yourself but God Himself and your neighbor. So pray God your heavenly Father to give you grace that you may always follow Him, the only God, with a pure heart and mind and that you would withstand the temptations of the devil. Pray Him to not allow the devil to take your freedom away. Pray that you not be bound by His enticements to sin and death again. Pray that you would walk in His Law, humble before both God and man, helping, serving, loving your neighbor as Christ has loved you. Yes, pray that you in true faith would reflect His mercy to others.

Categories: Pastor Westgate's Sermons

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