Sunday, October 25, 2009

“The Son of Honor!” (Mark 10:46-47).

S-1144 10/25/09 21SAP/3B Reformation Day Hymns: (O) #10; (S) #376; (C) #437

Texts: Revelation 14:6-7; Romans 3:19-28; John 8:31-32-31

Theme: “The Son of Honor!” (Mark 10:46-47).

Question: “Have you been honored lately?” SOLI DEO GLORIA, Armour, SD

Faithful followers of the Savior, Christ is Risen! He is Risen! Indeed! Alleluia! The text for our Reformation celebration is from the Gospel of Mark: “Then they came to Jericho. As Jesus and His disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus (that is, the Son of Timaeus), was sitting by the roadside begging. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, ‘Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!’” (Mark 10:46-47).


Saints in Christ, on August 31, 1972, I was about to embark on the long journey from Israel to the United States. As I was saying goodbye to my family, my father took me in his arms, looked me in the eyes and gave me two pieces of advice: 1). “Son, remember your family name. Always bare that name with honor and don’t make it mud.” 2). “Stretch your feet as long as your mattress is.” Those tid-bits of my father have been guiding my steps ever since I came to this country.

In 1501 another young man from a different country, was leaving his family to head to the University to study. Martin grew up as a son of miner. His father Hans wanted him to become a lawyer. To honor his father, the dutiful Martin went to the University of Erfurt and began studying law as his father desired. But something happened that changed the life of this young man and the world as we know it today. Luther loved his father Hans very much and wanted to honor him, but He had a greater love for His heavenly Father and wanted to honor Him even more.

Luther became a monk because he wanted to please and honor his heavenly Father. While studying the Scripture, he came to know the truth that set him free from the tyranny of the law, its requirements and the fear of being punished by the wrathful God and filled his heart with the sweet message of the Gospel of the crucified and risen Christ.

As we observe the Reformation today, we remember that Luther stood against papacy, princes, and powerful men of the Church. In 521, when Luther was commanded to recant his teachings uttered these words, “Here I stand, I can do no other, may God help me!” His conscience was held captive by the Word of God. This was the fulfilment of Psalm 119:46, I will also speak of your testimonies before kings and shall not be put to shame. The glory and the power for the confession made by Luther then, and you and me this Afternon is found in the nail marks, the scourged body, the thorn encrusted brow, the spear-pierced side of Him who set the heavens in their places, who breathed the breath of life into Adam: Only Christ! Luther is the first to tell us that the power and the honor and the glory are God’s ALONE. Soli Deo Gloria.

In our Gospel reading today, we hear of another strong confession made by a blind beggar, from Jericho. We know him as Blind Bartimaeus, but that name simply means “Son of Timaeus,” or “Son of Honor.” It would be like calling me “Son of Subhi!” This blind beggar’s name is not important. What God wrought in and through his life is what matters. What God brings to be in and through your life is the matter of Reformation. Only Christ can transform a mighty historical movement from Germany almost 500 years ago – to bring glory and honor to His holy name. Today, our loving and gracious God in Christ continues to speak forgiveness unto renewal and reformation every day - to you - and.... through you to a lost and hurting world.

The story of the Son of Timaeus is telling. Beggars would be left in public places - sometimes near temples or storefronts, or as in the case of this blind beggar, along the main roadway by the temple in Jerusalem. His family stationed him there, day in and day out. A shawl would be wrapped around the back and shoulders of such a beggar as he sat to keep him warm and protected from wind and cold. As people went by they dropped few coins of pity into that cloak.

All these beggars had was that cloak and the few coins - these were their safety net, their livelihood. One thing this beggar-man had that worked perfectly was his hearing. He had heard of this Rabbi and His strange new teaching - or was it the faithful keeping of the Old Testament?! It was the teaching of truth, and this man’s sight being gone, well, his ears would pick up and distinguish between truth and error. He heard the joyous truth of Jesus. He cries out in faith, yes, faith and not desperation (Remember, faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God! –Romans 10:17). Timaeus’ son cries out in faith: “Jesus, son of David, have mercy on me!”

Was this man courageous? Did he have some hidden, inner strength? No, and no! Ah, but the One who is able to bear the sins of every soul in His flesh, who has the strength to be handed over to sinful men, be killed by crucifixion and three days later rise, He has this beggar, a poor man now infinitely rich! He cries out all the more, not desperately, but with faith, silencing his silencers.

Jesus’ ears also work well for He stops His march and says: “Call him!” Indeed, he has already been called... by the Gospel. He is a captive of hope and help. So, when the disciples call for him to come to Jesus, this man is not careful with his cloak nor his coins. He is blind and he may be able to find neither if the darkness of his eyes remains - he will be cold and penniless. We are told that he sprung up and threw off his cloak. Nothing else mattered besides Jesus. This is a heart that has been reformed and transformed. On this Reformation Sunday behold the cloak-less, coin-less, joy-filled son of Timaeus, son of God.

Yes, like Luther some 15+ centuries later, this blind beggar made his confession with the rest of the Church, I believe in God the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord.... Both men knew what we know, and what we need to be reminded of daily as we confess our sins and confess His faithfulness - that Jesus has come to make the lame to walk, the deaf to hear, the blind to receive their sight (Matthew 11:2-6; Isaiah 42:18). Yes, He has come to heal the broken hearted, to defend us against all our enemies (our own heart, the devil, and the world), to restore the remnant. As we make confession, it is in this place in a special, Word directed way, so that it will also be in our every-day lives.

Christ calls us - and we beggars on the journey of life, are to cast off cloak and coin, everything familiar but not Him. This is hard; it is not natural according to our fallen, sinful self. It can only be done because He calls and in that call is the means to answer. Yes, He calls us, calls us to ask Him for healing and to honor Him with our lives of service as did the Monk from Germany—Luther.

Luther left everything he had. His law books were given to others, but he took one book (lift it up high) the most important book—God’s holy Word which brought Him hope, help and heaven. This book he held near his heart and in his hand was God’s gift to man to show him the way of salvation. And through that book we too have come to know of the confession of the son of Timaeus. And the history books teach of Luther’s bold confession here I stand I can do no other.

Yes, the boldness of Luther, the boldness of the son of Timaeus, and your boldness to witness and to love and to give and to endure even as you walk through the valley of the shadow of death with no fear is because He abides with you. The son of Timaeus received back his sight - more than just what his eyeballs could perceive - he saw Jesus as Savior and Lord. Yes, it is this sight that is the joyous gift of the Reformation. Yes, it is this sight that is given and gifted to the world through your witness. Yes, He has called you today to follow Him.

When I left my country over 37 years ago, I attempted to honor my father with all of my power, but I must admit to you that I have failed many times. When Luther left Eisleben to Erfurt he too, tried to honor his father, but alas he failed too. But there is another son, who left His Father and He brought honor and glory to Him in all things.

Jesus Christ, the Son of God left the beauty and majesty of heaven and came to earth and became man. As the honored Son of God, He did honor His Father in Word and Deed. He honored Him by giving His life on the tree of the Cross for the sins of the world. And because this Son honored His Father, we are now the honored sons and daughters of the Father of all mercy and compassion.

Therefore, I say to you precious children of God, “Go your way; your faith has saved you!” This is the call and the gift of the Reformation. And as sons and daughters of Christ, you and I shall stand before kings and not be put to shame. He who promises this is faithful. Stand firm then, in His courage and confessing Him and be not afraid. Even so, Amen!

Now the peace…

Sunday, October 18, 2009

“Satisfaction Guaranteed” (Ecclesiastes 5:10, 19).

S-1143 10/18/09 20SAP/3B Hymns: (O) #10; (S) #376; (C) #437

Texts: Ecclesiastes 5:10-20; Hebrews 4:1-13; Mark 10:23-31

Theme: Satisfaction Guaranteed (Ecclesiastes 5:10, 19).

Question: “What Satisfies You?” SOLI DEO GLORIA, Armour, SD

Faithful followers of the Savior, Christ is Risen! He is Risen! Indeed! Alleluia! The text for our meditation this morning is the Old Testament lesson: “He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves wealth with his income; this also is vanity… Everyone also to whom God has given wealth and possessions and power to enjoy them, and to accept his lot and rejoice in his toil—this is the gift of God.” (Ecclesiastes 5:10, 19).


Saints in Christ, Solomon a rich-wise man who had everything at his disposal teaches us today that the love of money does not satisfy. Anytime we think that money or materials, toys or trinkets, power or possessions are going to make us happy we are mistaken. As sinful human beings we tend to think that if we have just a little bit more of this or that, our lives will be much better. How foolish we are. None of these items satisfy the soul.

The author of our text clearly states: “That the one who loves money will never be satisfied”. As a matter of fact, wealth can even harm its owner if we pursue it as the number one priority in life. The prophet Job declared when he lost everything, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD” (Job 1:21). We know that we cannot take money to the grave. Only a fool blindly pursues it. Happiness dear saints results when one enjoys such gifts of God without placing them at the center of life.

Many times as you listen to the commercials on TV or read ads in the paper we hear these words, “Satisfaction Guaranteed”. But we know from personal experience, that is not always the case. I am sure you have purchased something that stated satisfaction guaranteed. However, when you got it, it wasn’t what it clamed to be. And when you tried to return it, you got the run around because they forgot to tell you about the hidden “small print.”  But not when it comes to God’s Holy and Inspired Word. When God gives us a guarantee He has no hidden print, no hidden agenda and no tricks up His sleeves. Instead, God gives us the certainty that satisfies. The satisfaction guaranteed is “the gift of God” v.19. Study, the living Word and you will see that precious and lovely gift. The Gift of God comes to us through His Word. His Word points us to His Son, who gave us the gift of salvation on the cross by which we get the forgiveness He offers. PAUSE.

As your Pastor, I must admit to you that I can never satisfy all of your needs and all of your wants. In my 16 years of serving as God’s under-shepherd in this part of His Vineyard, I have heard all of these statements: “The sermon is too long, it is too short. You are too loud, you are too soft. You are boring, you are exciting. You are compassionate, you don’t care. You are self-centered and selfish, you are considerate.” Etc.

Beloved in the Lord, when I was installed as your pastor, I took a vow to do the best that I can in serving you. Teaching the young and old and being faithful in my ministry. But I need you to know that you are looking at a sinner—a man with clay feet. Even though I attempt to do the best that I can, it is not good enough. Often times the devil reminds us—you and me of our failings and foibles. I know that I have not satisfied you always, and will not satisfy you in the future.

Faithful followers of Christ, anytime, any human hands are laid on an item or project that claims satisfactions guaranteed, know for certain, that that item or project begins to crumble and be destroyed. Man can’t satisfy our hungry and thirsty soul. There is only one who can, that One is none other than the Lord Almighty.

Our precious heaven-sent Savior comes to us and says, “My Satisfaction is guaranteed!” My Words and actions are timely, tested and true. With Me you can be sure that satisfaction is guaranteed. I offer you peace through My death on the cross of Calvary. And by My rising from the dark and dead grave, I guarantee your resurrection from the grave. I offer you My gifts of faith, forgiveness and forever living with Me in paradise. I Am Your perfect Savior. You may have failed miserably, but My message is satisfaction guaranteed. I don’t hold anything against you. PAUSE.

You and I should know for certain that we fail to “satisfy” or be “filled as a good meal will satisfy” with anything but the true meal that our perfect Savior has prepared for us. The true satisfaction – is found in the gift of Him who was Crucified, Risen, Ascended and Returning Lord. His gift at the table satisfies us completely and joyfully.

Solomon, the wise-rich man uses a Hebrew word Yishbah. That word means being filled, content, and satisfied as with a good meal. Week after week, we as God’s sons and daughter are so privileged to gather around the Lord’s Table and His finished work in the broken bread and shed cup. Yes, we cannot satisfy one another – our sin is that deep – ah, but He and He alone satisfies. And He does so even today.

Don’t forget that you are the beloved children of God. You are baptized, forgiven, redeemed, blood-bought and heaven-bound. Remember therefore, that Christ’s mission of coming to earth was to redeem you from the unholy trinity—sin, death and the grave. Therefore, He accepted the challenge of this lot, He accepted His lot and rejoiced in His toil (Hebrews 12:1-2) as the gift from the Father – and in that – enabled the joyous response in us to also accept our lot and rejoice in our toil = that is, to stand beneath the shadow of the Almighty (Psalm 91:1) to stand beneath the shadow of the Cross (Matthew 16:24-26).

Today, in your hearing Solomon speaks. He speaks from personal experience. He states in another chapter of this same book, that all our toil is vanity (chp. 2) – but our toil as the gift of God, our wealth provided by Christ, is the toil that indeed satisfies. And what is that toil? It may be different for each one of us in its particular expression, but it is summarized in Matthew 22:37, 39, “loving the Lord Your God with all your heart, soul, and mind… loving neighbor as self”. To do this is fulfilled in Christ. Only His perfect gift on the Cross “satisfies” the Father – so only as we are found in that Grace, does our “keeping of the law” find its fulfillment, its “satisfaction.” We can indeed love God with heart, mind, strength, for this is how He has first loved us – we reflect it as we stand beneath the cross. We can love neighbor as self – under the shadow of the Almighty, in His strength alone – this is the fulfillment of Ecclesiastes 5:19. PAUSE.

So are you satisfied with what you have? What will satisfy you dear children of God? What else do you need to make your life complete? Maybe these are not the right questions maybe they are. But in order for us to know if we are truly satisfied we need to remember few things. First, remember the words of Solomon: “That the one who loves money will never be satisfied”. Second, remember the warning that Paul gives to son Timothy saying. “But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs” (1 Timothy 6:9-10).

And Third, we ought to take inventory of all of God’s gifts to us in Christ the heaven-sent Savior. How should I go about taking this inventory? Where should I start but at the cross of Jesus? How could He love me so much to die for my sins? How can He keep on forgiving me so often? Let my neighbor worry about his sins. I have plenty of my own. But for each of them I have God’s forgiveness through Jesus’ blood. My forgiving God is also my providing God. He gives me what I need for body and life. I may not always recognize the form in which His blessings come, but that doesn’t stop them from being His good GIFTS to me.

Oh, my children, today, Jesus again assures YOU that He is the ONLY One who can satisfy you. You have Jesus, you lack nothing. But if you have everything and don’t have Jesus, you really have nothing. Give thanks therefore to the God of all Grace under whose watchful eyes of mercy, He gives us more than we need to satisfy our life not only here on earth but forever in heaven. Amen.

Now the peace of God…

Sunday, October 11, 2009

“What Did You Say?” (Mark 10:17).

S-1142 10/11/09 19SAP/3B Hymns: (O) #349 v. 1-4; (S) #594 LSB; LS. #377; #336; #35; (C) #349 v. 5-7

Texts: Amos 5:6-7, 10-15; Hebrews 3:12-19; Mark 10:17-22

Theme: What Did You Say?” (Mark 10:17).

Question: “What Are You Lacking?” SOLI DEO GLORIA, Armour, SD

Faithful followers of the Savior, Christ is Risen! He is Risen! Indeed! Alleluia! The text for our meditation this morning is the Gospel lesson: “And as He [Jesus] was setting out on His journey, a man ran up and knelt before Him and asked Him, ‘Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?’” (Mark 10:17).


Saints in Christ, we have all had those moments. You are having a conversation or listening to an interview and something that is said strikes you as odd and unbelievable. What is said is so unexpected, so out of the box, so out of the ordinary that you want to make sure that you heard the conversation correctly. “What did you say?”

We saw that not too long ago when we were watching the International Olympic Committee take the vote to see who would host the 2016 Summer Olympics. All of the hype and run up to the event pointed to Chicago being the winner. After all, they had put on the full court press. The President and First Lady, along with the Chicago goddess Oprah, personally made the rounds of the voting delegations. There was going to be some competition from Rio de Jenero, but it wasn’t an insurmountable task. The hopes of a city and nation were set on high results; because the President was going to save the day and bring home the bacon.

Then it happened. The first round of voting took place. The IOC spokesman broke the news. Chicago had been eliminated on the first ballot? As the cameras zoomed on the people waiting in the streets of Chicago, their faces were awestruck in disbelief. You could hear the shock in the voices of the reporters. The tone was disbelief. “What did he say?”

The answer to the hopes of a nation and a city was totally unexpected. The reputation of the American delegation would have never permitted us to think this result would be possible. But there, amid all anticipation, the result created disbelief.

Then on Friday, the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Barrack Hussein Obama. And many were saying, “What did you say?” Unbelief! Bewilderment! Puzzlement was evident by many.

Today we have a similar setting in our Gospel reading. Jesus is approached by a young man that seemed to have his presentation and life all in order. He was young and held a position of authority and respect. He was confident in his position, finances and work-righteous. And while this man seems to have it all together, he is driven to seek out Jesus. Perhaps this was to cement his conviction of his own status. But it could also have been that there was a seed of doubt in the man. But for whatever reason, self-righteousness or self-doubt, he brings his request to Jesus.

Mark paints the picture of this man beautifully as he comes running to Jesus, kneels before Him and says: Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” What did he say? He called Jesus, “Good teacher!” And now that is a something that we can’t go over lightly. We need to look deeper to those words and understand their meaning of what this rich man was saying.

In calling Jesus “GOOD” He was acknowledging that Jesus is God. For only God is good. Even though he spoke that word, he missed the point that God was standing right before Him. For this reason, Jesus says, There is no one good except God.” So Jesus responds by asking the rich man, “What did you say?” Are you saying that I am God? Are you acknowledging Me to be the Creator of the Universe? Are you looking at Me dressed in human form, walking among you to be God in the flesh?

With these words, Jesus begins to solve the spiritual problem of the man that is kneeling before Him. Jesus slowly begins to take the dark lenses that are covering the eyes of this rich man and allows him to see that before Him stands the Almighty God. But He didn’t get it. Many people today don’t get it either.

Many people claim that Jesus is a good teacher, an excellent moral example; a wonderful man imparting moral ethics and teaching us to be good. Even Bill O’Reilly said on his Friday’s broadcast that he is not sure if Jesus is God as he visited with an atheist. But Jesus is more than that. We dare not look at Him only as a human example, or a good teacher teaching us how to be good like Him. By the Spirit’s power we look at Him as God who is good. PAUSE.

Two words that are used in our text “God” and “Good”, sound alike and even look alike. They both come from the Old English word “god.” Many people believe in God and respect Him as the Giver of all good gifts. And it is no wonder that the English word for good and beneficial is given to the One who provides us with all good things.

Those two words “God” and “Good” bear similar relation in the German language too. Martin Luther noticed that and remarked upon it. He once wrote: “We Germans from times of old also call God by the very name ‘God,’ derived from the word good, because He is an eternal foundation which gushes forth nothing but the good and from which flows all that is good.”

Today, Jesus looks at the rich man and loves him. He opens the eyes of the rich man to the simple truth that He is God. He is pointing Him to that which is important, not in the doing but in the receiving. Not in keeping the laws or decrees but in getting what is not ours; such as our inheritance.

Now you folks know that you don’t work for an inheritance that is given to you by someone who knows you. It could be your grandparents, parents or relatives. They give it to you because you are part of the family, not because you have been so good; but only out of the abundance of their hearts.

The rich man in our text couldn’t believe Jesus’ Words when He said: “You lack one thing.” And thus the rich man says, “What did you say? You want me to sell everything I have and follow You?” We know the rest of the story. The rich man’s departure from Jesus who is good, indicates that he didn’t believe that Jesus is God in the flesh. PAUSE.

Beloved in the Lord, are we willing to hear what the Savior says to us today? Are we saying to Jesus “What did You say?” Do you want me to leave everything and follow You?” And the answer is absolutely, positively yes. We who are baptized and redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, know that self-righteous and self-confidence gets us nothing but what we work for—that is death, hell and damnation. Self-righteous doesn’t give us hope or heaven, but hopelessness and hell.

Jesus on the other hand, in love, opens the door to eternal life and gives us a greater inheritance than any family member can give. For this good teacher, this One who is God Himself, has prepared for all those who are adopted into the family of grace an inheritance that is beyond anything we could ever earn! This inheritance is something that Jesus would earn for us at the cross of Calvary. There, our big brother Jesus paid the ransom price for our freedom. And it is this that we inherit from Him. And we inherit it when He dies. His death brings freedom from sin and death. And this freedom is ours. It is given freely to us. He gives it to us by virtue of our adoption in Holy Baptism a place in the family. And when you are in the family, you inherit what belongs to the family. You have a name and a place and an inheritance! That inheritance is eternal life! PAUSE.

Did you hear what Jesus said? Your sins are forgiven you. You have an eternal inheritance! You didn’t earn it. It is given to you freely. You are freed from the foolishness of thinking that you “aren’t that bad.” You are freed from the slavery of doubt. You are free to look forward to what our Good and Gracious God has in store for you. For now, and forever!

Did you hear that! For those who believe and trust in Jesus lack nothing. Eternal life is yours. It isn’t about you. It is all about Jesus! In our sinfulness that answer is unexpected and undeserved! But that is exactly what He says! AMEN!

Now the peace of God…

Sunday, October 4, 2009

“A Helper fit for the Church” (Genesis 2:18).

S-1141 10/04/09 18SAP/3B Hymns: (O) #370; #39; (S) #123 (C) #LWML Hymn

Texts: Genesis 2:18-25; Hebrews 2:1-13; Mark 10:2-16

Theme: A Helper fit for the Church (Genesis 2:18).

Question: “Have you been called upon to help someone?” SOLI DEO GLORIA, Armour, SD

Faithful followers of the Savior, Christ is Risen! He is Risen! Indeed! Alleluia! The text for our meditation this morning is the Gospel lesson: “Then the LORD God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him’” (Genesis 2:18).


Saints in Christ, throughout all of my life I needed help. When I was born, I needed help to be fed and cared for. As I grew up, I needed help to read and write. Coming to the States, I needed help in learning the English language, using the currency, and mastering living in this free society. I needed help to drive a car. When I got married, I needed help from my wife to raise our children. At the seminary, I needed help in learning Greek, writing sermons and using computer. In every stage of life, we all have a need from some help.

As we read the account of Moses today, it becomes evident that God sees the need of Adam before Adam knew he needed a helper. The need is found in the statement “It is not good for the man to be alone”. In that Creative story, we see that our God is a helping God who desires what is good and grand for Adam and all mankind.

At the risk of getting too much flack from my gender brethren, no kidding! Sure, we think that we are just fine on our own. We think that life would be grand if we didn’t have to deal with some of the issues that come with the creation of woman. But these are nothing other than foolish bravado and macho ignorance. Without that suitable helper, the world might just well have the appearance and aroma of a football locker room or a hunting lodge on the second week of deer camp! Without that helper the world would come to an end. Intellectual, emotional and spiritual honesty require us to admit that God was right, “It is not good for the man to be alone.”

And God went to work on that right away. I will make a helper suitable for him." There was no helper among the beasts of the field or the birds of the air. And lonely Adam was not going to just get any helper, any partner. The Lord God would make one perfectly fit for Him and like him. The long parade of animals to be named wasn’t a talent search for a helper for Adam. Rather it was a clear indication that not just any helper would do. There would be that special creation that would fit the bill.

And, from his own flesh and bone, the man received that special gift. In this we see that the helper is part of the man, made for the man, to be a blessing for the man. The woman was taken and formed out of the very same substance of man. She is not taken from the head, where she would rule over the man. She is not taken from the foot, so that she can be trampled upon. Nor is she simply cloned in a way to be just like the man. No, in a stroke of Divine wisdom, the woman, this helper, this gift from God is taken from his side. The woman is not a carbon copy or a master or a slave. She is a helper fit for him.

This taking and fashioning also denotes a relationship. The man’s response makes this very clear. This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called 'woman’, for she was taken out of man. The woman that the Lord had formed out of man’s very being is to be part and parcel of the man. It is out of this relationship that man’s loneliness is overcome. And it is overcome by placing a counterpart, a compliment, a completion right by his side. We call this blessed gift marriage.

As you observe and attend weddings, our Lord reminds us again that it is not good for man to be alone. So God joined, at his side a helper fit for him. Not just any helper. Not just a convenient helper. No, that helper was fit for him. Fit to stand by his side from that day forward, until death parts them.

But alas, there are those in our world who would tell you that you don’t need that helper. There will be those who tell you that you can go it alone. You do quite well on your own thank you. But the Word of God still rings true. It is not good for the man to be alone. There are also those in our world today that tell us that just any helper will do. It doesn’t have to be that specially created one. In their minds, Adam’s helper could have just as well been Steve instead of Eve. But God’s Word still rings true. “I will make a helper suitable for him.” Man and woman have been created to be complementary parts, not interchangeable parts. We have been specifically and specially designed by God Himself to fill these rolls. To think or practice otherwise is challenged not only by biology and physiology, but also by the clear Word of God! Think about this: Without that suitable helper, without that one flesh relationship, there would be no generations to follow. And without those generations to follow, there would be no Savior born to a virgin named Mary who was also a suitable helper to a man named Joseph. Without that original suitable helper, and without that One Flesh, there would be no manger, no cross, and no empty tomb. In short, there would be no salvation! PAUSE.

Man and woman have been given to one another for a purpose. That purpose is to give glory to God. A Christian man married to a Christian woman, becoming one flesh and raising Christian children is one of the greatest praises the Lord can receive. It is there that this Genesis 2 relationship is repeated. It is there that another generation is taken from their cradle, to the font, from the font to the rail, from the rail to the grave and from the grave to eternity. All of this is carried out by the Christian dad and Christian mom.

This relationship also happens in the Church. God in His Word has assigned the task of Word and Sacrament ministry to the man. For millennia, men have to one degree of faithfulness or another, proclaimed the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ. They have baptized and communed. They have ordained and organized. But God’s Word has remained true. It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.

In the Scriptures we meet faithful helpers like Mary and Martha, Priscilla and Phoebe. These faithful women have played the helper role in the progress of the message of salvation. There have been times when it was the women who carried the day for the Gospel. God’s suitable helpers have sustained the church.

On this weekend, we here in the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod pause for a moment to thank our Lord God for continuing the practice of providing helpers suitable for the Church. This weekend we thank God for the on-going ministry of the Lutheran Women’s Missionary League. The LWML is the official auxiliary organization for women in the LCMS. In a way, they are the suitable helper for our church! These women, through their faithful service to the Lord and in the gathering of their Mighty Mites, have been that helper that is suitable for the Church. There are many congregations across this Synod who at times in their existence were sustained by the ministry of these suitable helpers for the church.

And they continue to serve in this capacity even today. This past summer the LWML women in convention committed to collect some $1.8 million dollars in mites, that’s nickels, dimes, quarter and the occasional folding money, to mission projects here in this country and in distant places around the globe. Just think about that! These suitable helper, are God’s gift to the Church, and come from every walk of life, young and old, white and black, red and yellow. While not taking the Gospel directly, are making it possible for the mission of the Church to move forward. They are a perfect complimentary part to the Church. And today, we are thankful to God for them!

You see, the Church, like Adam is not alone. The Lord has created faithful helpers that are most suitable. These helpers are used by God Himself to be the ones who nurture and nourish, support and sustain, work and witness through good times and bad.

It is not good for us to be alone. This is true of Man. It is true of the Church. Man needed a helper not only to compliment his life, but to save him from his sins. And the Lord, Jesus Christ came from heaven to be the helper for mankind. The help that Jesus offered wasn’t in the creation of another being to stand by the man, but by offering His life on the wooden beam of the cross. There on that cross the greatest help that man needed was offered. Because of Christ’s death and glorious resurrection, help came to man—forgiveness of sins, peace, life, salvation, faith and the Holy Spirit. The Lord has indeed been good to both man and the Church. For faithful helpers who bring comfort and consolation and yes, even at times the cross, we hear God’s clear word. It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him. And in response, God’s people say. Thanks be to God! AMEN.

Now the peace…