Friday, June 19, 2009

“Only God Can Do…” (Ezekiel 17:24)

S-1125 6/14/09 2SAP/3B Hymns: (O) #32; (S)#320; L.S. #324; #311; #307 (C) #49

Texts Ezekiel 17:22-24; 2 Corinthians 5:1-10; Mark 4:26-34

Theme: “Only God Can Do…” (Ezekiel 17:24)

Question: “How Often Do You Play God?”


Faithful followers of the Savior, Christ is Risen! He is Risen! Indeed! Alleluia! The text for our meditation this morning is from the O.T. lesson: “And all the trees of the field shall know that I Am the LORD; I bring low the high tree, and make high the low tree, dry up the green tree, and make the dry tree flourish. I Am the LORD; I have spoken, and I will do it(Ezekiel 17:24).

Saints in Christ, many of us think that we are gods. So much so, that I am my own god. I determine what is right and what is wrong. I determine what truth is and what is false. We often play god even when we don’t think we are. Many of us become judge and jury and come to the conclusion that we are right in our decision regardless of what others think. Consider with me how often people play god.

All of the stories I share with you happened last week. Last Sunday in Wichita, Kansas, Late-term abortionist George Tiller, was shot and killed by Scott Roeder while serving as an usher @ Reformation Lutheran Church. Roeder killed him because he didn’t see eye to eye with what Dr. Tiller was doing. He was playing god. Ironically, Dr. Tiller was playing god determining that unborn babies need not be born. Last Monday, in Little Rock Arkansas, Abdul Hakim Mujahid Muhammad a recent convert to the “Religion of Peace”, killed Private William Andy Long because he believed that Private Long was an infidel. Abdul Hakim was playing god. On Wednesday in Washington, DC James W. Von Brunn, an 88-year-old white supremacist from Maryland shot and killed Stephen Tyrone Johns, a security guard for the Holocaust Museum. James Brunn was playing god. On Friday, in New Jersey a 17-year-old girl beat another with a bat and then ran over her 16-year-old friend with an SUV. The 17-year-old girl was playing god.

These are but some examples in our nation’s news. But these people are not the only ones who play god. We do the same. How often do we say something like this? It’s my body I can do what I want with it. We are playing god. Many deny the inerrancy of God’s Word and find much that offends them and do NOT believe it. They are playing god. Some say, being part of the family of God is not important or necessary and neither is church or being in the Word. They are playing god. Others say there is no hell or heaven; no sin or afterlife. They are playing god. We build our own golden calf to worship and adore. We are playing god. A man marrying another man is not sinful or wrong. They are playing god. Many have children out of wedlock and say there is nothing wrong with it. They are playing god. Some people live together before marriage which is contrary to God’s Word and say, it is not sinful. They are playing god. A husband leaves his wife and children for another. He is playing god. We condemn people to hell and call them sinful because we don’t agree with their political agenda. We are playing god.

We are all guilty of being gods in our own image. We determine what is right and what is wrong. We are the judge and jury all at the same time and no one, and I mean no one dare say anything to us about our life-style. It is no one’s business but my own.

It may not be my business, but it is God’s business, for He is the author of life. He alone is God. And He can do what He said He would. Listen to the words of the Apostle Paul in his letter to the Romans. “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For His invisible attributes, namely, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks to Him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen” (Romans 1:18-25).

People of every age and us at times play god because we want to be in control of the situation. But today, God says to us be still and hear what I profess and declare: I Am the LORD; I have spoken, and I will do it What is God declaring? That He alone is God. That He alone is to be worshiped and praised. That He alone can lift the lowly and bring down the proud. That He alone can save from death and hell and sin. That He alone can do what He has promised and He fulfilled every promise He has made in His son, Jesus Christ.

Only God can do what He said He would. He can execute judgment against us. Again, Paul said, “The wages of sin is death” Only God can condemn us to death and only God deliver us from death.

In the words of Ezekiel we see this clearly stated. We see it as God takes the branch from the top of the Cedar and plant it on the height of the mountain and makes it a fruitful tree. This tree will become the largest tree that brings life and shade to many. And this tree is none other than the tree of the Messiah promised of God. He will be taken from among His people Israel and planted on Calvary’s mountain. The Tree of the cross is the most important tree in all of history. It is the tallest tree in the whole world. The only tree that brings about shade and comfort; and by its leaves nations are healed. And beneath it, the birds of the air find refuge and a home.

Jesus in our Gospel reading today, compares the kingdom of God like a mustered seed. Though it is the smallest of all seeds, but when it grows up it will become larger than all of the garden plants and the birds of the air will build their nests in it and live under its shades.

Jesus was speaking of Himself in this reading. He is the tree that has been plucked from among the people of Israel. He was taken from the heights of heaven and brought low to earth. But His Kingdom grew and grew that now after 2000 years of history; it has become the largest tree in the world where over 1.5 billion followers admit that He is the ONLY TRUE GOD THAT SAVES AND DELIVERS.

Indeed ONLY God can do what we can’t do. We can’t save ourselves even if we try. We can’t be gods, even if we think we are or attempt to play god. We can’t erase sin’s stench and the sentence of death. We can’t prolong life, even though we spare no efforts doing so. ONLY GOD CAN.

God does what He said He would do. God does and did deliver us. On Calvary Jesus’ blood was strong enough to cut sin’s filth and get rid of sin’s foul. Only God can do what He said He would—He has brought me to faith through Baptism or the working of His Word and cleansed my heart from the stench of sin. Only God can do what He said He would—He has delivered me by taking me from the lowly places of the world and raised me up to be His son and daughter. Only God can do what He said He would—sin no longer has any hold on me, the devil no longer can accuse me, and death no longer can keep me in the grave. Only God can do what He said He would—save, deliver, forgive, cleanse, redeem and restore me to Him, so that I may live with Him in His kingdom and praise Him forevermore.

You and I at times play god. We should ask for forgiveness for the many times we have done so. But at the same time we can thank God that He doesn’t play the game, but rather that He is God who can do what He said He would do. And the good news He has. Amen.

Now the peace…

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