S-1003 9/30/07 18SAP/3C Hymns: (O) #439; (S) #442; L.S. #313; #314; #315; (C) # 416
Texts: Amos 8:4-7; 1 Timothy 2:1-8; Luke 16:1-3
Theme: “Realize Your Calling” (1 Timothy 2:7)
Faithful followers of the Savior, Christ is Risen! He is Risen indeed! The text for today’s homily is a portion of the Epistle Lesson: “And for this purpose I was appointed a herald and an apostle—I am telling the truth, I am not lying—and a teacher of the true faith to the Gentiles” (1 Timothy 2:7).
Saints in Christ, the Bible is a book of stories. Some of the stories are very familiar, and others are not. Today, I share with you one of these stories that are tucked way back in the first book of the Hebrew Scripture. In Gen. 24, we are told Abraham wanted a wife for his son Isaac. He sent his servant Eliezer back to his hometown and commissioned him to get a wife from among his people. He forbade him to take a wife for Isaac from among the Canaanite women. Eliezer went. Along the way he prayed for God to bless his journey. When the Lord of heaven and earth answered his prayers by picking out Rebekah, he spoke with her family to take her with him to be the wife of his master’s son. They agreed to this offer and wanted him to let her remain with them for 10 more days to help her celebrate and prepare her going away. But he responded: “Do not detain me, now that the LORD has granted success to my journey. Send me on my way so I may go to my master” (Gen. 24:56).
The servant of Abraham didn’t forget his calling. He was called to go and get a wife for his master’s son. And he did.
Today, the Holy Spirit tells us of the calling that the Apostle Paul received from the Lord Himself. Here is how Paul speaks of his calling, “And for this purpose I was appointed a herald and an apostle—I am telling the truth, I am not lying—and a teacher of the true faith to the Gentiles” (1 Tim. 2:7).
Paul never wavered from his calling as the preacher of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Paul understood the calling he received from God. Paul carried out this calling going from one place to the next, never permitting anything or anyone to get in the way of preaching the Good News to all people. He faithfully remembered his calling until he was beheaded in a Roman prison.
In the Words that are before us today, the Apostle Paul encourages and exhorts Pastor son Timothy to remain steadfast and carry on the ministry of preaching the Word of the Living God—so that all people might know the heart of God—that He wants all people to be saved. He wants people in our day and age to come to the realization that without Jesus in their lives, there is no hope, heaven, or happiness.
In these same words, Paul clearly and concisely declares this absolute truth that has become a stumbling block to many and will remain as such a scandalous to others. “For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all men” (v 5-6).
You see saints in Christ, Paul, Timothy and all other faithful followers speak of the calling they received from God to share the love of Jesus that took Him to the cross on their behalf.
Indeed, you and I are called to be Christ’s ambassadors to speak His message of truth to the world that doesn’t believe it. In an age of political correctness we Christians are chided for saying there is no other way, but through Jesus. But whether they agree or they don’t, the truth MUST be told—there is ONLY One Mediator, the Man Christ Jesus.
Jesus is that go-between. He doesn’t only defend and speak on your behalf before the judgment seat of God, but He does it well. The Good News is His Father listens to Him because Jesus your Mediator and Savior has already paid the full amount for ALL your sins. That’s why the Son of God came to earth. He became man to offer His life as the ultimate sacrifice for all people. As the God-man, His blood was precious and His death powerful enough to cover all of mankind’s sins. When your Redeemer—the Mediator stand between us the sinners and His Holy God, we are safe. Not only safe, but forgiven and blessed beyond our wildest imagination. For by this marvelous act of Redemption, you are counted as saints in His sight, holy to spend eternity with your loving and gracious Father.
What wonderful news the Apostle Paul shares with you today. Today, by the Spirit’s power you continue to learn the truth about your Savior, Jesus Christ and what He has accomplished for you. And because He is your Savior, He calls you to be His faithful servants.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, do you realize that you are not normal people. Don’t be offended by my statement. Indeed, you are not normal people. You are a peculiar people, called out of darkness to show His marvelous light (1 Peter 2:8-9). Normal people when challenged to do something for the Church, would respond, “How much does that cost?” Peculiar people respond, “Lord, what would you have me do!” Normal people would say, “There is a need in the church and somebody should do it.” Peculiar people say, “Lord, I will do what I can with the gifts You have given me.” Normal people see the problems. Peculiar people see God’s power and providence, and what He can accomplish in spite of them. Normal people say, “It is NOT my job to do this”, peculiar people ask God to give them the privilege to honor Him with their services.
The fact that you are here on this Sunday morning shows the world that you are not NORMAL, but PECULIAR People. Yes, you are peculiar, because you come to confess your sins, receive His absolution, give your gifts so that others might know the will of the Father, and before leaving this holy house, receive the precious gift of the body and blood of the Lord to remind you that you are truly His forever.
Do you realize you calling faithful friends? Do you understand what it is that the Good and gracious God has called you to do? Our good doctor—Martin Luther in his Small Catechism addresses these issues under the heading, Table of Duties. There he speaks about what we are called to do as husbands, wives, children, parents, pastors and even to the authority and the Church.
By the grace of God we are privileged to share the blessed and beautiful news with the people of the world. Do you want to see people’s lives changed, then share the greatest story ever told. Not the story of Abraham commissioning his servant Eliezer to get a wife for his son. No, the greatest story is His Story, and not all people have heard it. And you and I are the privileged ones who are called by God in the waters of Baptism to live our lives as His spokesperson.
We would like to think that we always live our lives most of the time, as the Redeemed of God, but do we? The absolute truth is that we don’t always live like God’s people. More often than not, we live like normal people, rather than peculiar people. It is then, that we lift our eyes and hearts of faith to God and thank Him for sending His Son, Jesus Christ who never forgot His mission or His calling and the purpose to which He was sent to earth—to fulfill the Law of God perfectly in our place. In Mark 10 Jesus said: “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many” (Mk. 10:45). Again, Jesus said, “[I came]… to do the will of Him who sent Me and to finish His work” (Jh. 4:34).
Faithful friends, Jesus realized His calling. He knew His mission. And nothing would deter Him from completing the salvation of man—yours and mine. Today, we were privileged to be reminded how God’s love in Christ Jesus brings us life, salvation, the knowledge we are loved, making us also His pleasantly peculiar people. What a blessing to be known not as normal people but peculiar people sharing the Good News with all. Amen.
Now the peace God…