Wednesday, November 16, 2011

“It is NEEDED!?” (Matthew 10:34-35)

S-1260 2SAP/3A 06/26/11, (O) #354; (S) #763 LSB; L.S.; #313; #376; #457; (C) #261

Text: Jeremiah 28:5-9; Romans 7:1-13; Matthew 10:34-42

Theme: “It is NEEDED!?” (Matthew 10:34-35)

Question: “What Are You Longing For?”


Faithful followers of the Savior, Christ is Risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia! The text for 2nd Sunday after Pentecost is the Gospel lesson: “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law” (Matthew 10:34-35).

In Nomini Iesu,

Beloved in the Lord Jesus Christ, there is not a president, primer-minister, politician, pastor or people who have not longed for peace. Countries and nations have spent billions of dollars in the pursuit of peace. Just think what it has cost the United States to secure peace since 9-11. I can’t fathom the billions of dollars spent and the blood of our young men and women to give us peace.

Throughout the whole wide world there is the overwhelming concern for peace—and our clear failure to obtain it. Many families long to have it. Companies desire to obtain it. Churches pray to practice it. Sadly, in our search for peace, we seem as Paul so aptly said, always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth” (2 Tim. 3:7).

During the First World War, the word was that “this war is being fought to end all wars.” It is intended to “make the world safe for democracy”. During the Second World War, the word was “this war was to preserve the cause of liberty and freedom.” And shortly after the 9-11, President George W. Bush said “We will not waver; we will not tire; we will not falter; and we will not fail, peace and freedom will prevail.”

Why is it, then, that history all the way up to our generation, with all its vaunted learning, has failed so miserably in its pursuit of peace? We want peace on our own terms—a peace that will serve our benefits, a peace that suits us better than our enemies.

The world is full of that sort of mentality. That is why there is no a peace between the Palestinians and the Jews. That is why there is no peace between the US and Iran. That is why there is no peace between Christians and Muslims. That is why there is no peace between families, friends and foes.

But how do we define “Peace”? Peace has been variously defined in many ways. But, we might define it as “harmony within one’s self, and with God and man.” PAUSE.

In our text this morning, the Lord by His lips tells us that He came not to bring the kind of peace the world desires. His coming will rile up a husband against his wife, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law, a son against his father, and a brother against a brother.

That is the way of the world. The world and us-sinful and selfish people live for our own benefit. Think of what has been happening in the Middle East as of late—In Egypt, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Bahrain, Tunisia, Jordan and others—they have no peace. The people who had to evacuate due to flooding in ND, SD, NE, IA, MO., have no peace. How many homes of this congregation are torn up because husbands and wives don’t get along with each other? Children can’t stand their parents. Parents are fighting with their children.

Yes, we all long for that which is needed—peace. But there is none. Why? Because our ways is not the right way. Only the way of the Lord, Jesus Christ can bring peace and harmony to our hearts. Soon we will be singing one of the hymns that is a favorite to many “What A Friend We have in Jesus.” Listen to the first stanza, better yet, follow along: “What a friend we have in Jesus, All our sins and griefs to bear! What a privilege to carry Everything to God in prayer! Oh, what peace we often forfeit, Oh, what needless pain we bear, All because we do not carry Everything to God in prayer!” LSB #770

Yes, you and I often forfeit this peace, because we don’t come to Him with our pain and sorrow. We don’t confess our sins. We even make light of sin as if it has no consequence. God in the Garden of Eden said: “And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, ‘You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely DIE’” (Gen. 2:16-17). And the great theologian Paul, declared, For THE WAGES OF SIN IS DEATH (Rom. 6:23a). Sin brings about death and destruction but not peace.

We don’t think of sin and its consequences. We think how can I get the most out of life and people. How can I get peace my own way? Some people try to find peace with job security or bank accounts. Others try to find it in a bottle, magazine or a joint. Still others try to find peace in practice and philosophy. But these don’t work. If they did, people would not be pushing and shoving others to get to the top.

Now during the economic foes when everything is stripped from us, we realize that our positions, possession and power don’t give us peace. When we are stripped completely of everything that we depend on, we realize these things are nothing but things. And our needs are not being met.

You have seen the images of people losing it all. Tornadoes come and all your life’s work is wiped out before your very own eyes. Flooding rages and homes and their contents are swallowed up. Cancer or other disease claims us. And our needs are not being met.

Yes, it is needed! What is needed? The sword—the sword that cuts through everything that is not the cross. War is where we live, not merely with each other but with God Himself. Peace comes ONLY through the greatest act of violence brought against the sinless Son of God. Only His mercy, grace, peace won in forgiveness through the Cross - yes, it is needed!

The one thing needful: Christ - to fulfill the law

Ø to suffer in our stead to take on our cross

Ø our nails, pounded into His flesh

Ø our scorn and derision heaped upon Him

Ø our crown of thorns thrust deeply into His temples and brow

We are in true need. Sin is that deep, its gouge that sharp and defacing. All other attempts to cover up sin’s destructive force are like holding back a raging and swelling river with a roll of toilet tissue. The one thing needful is Christ.

But not Christ as our good example, and not as our “good buddy” - but as the ONLY One who could and did walk up Golgotha’s spiteful, frightful heights - alone! He had to do the one thing needful, for us, yet without our help - or else its perfect love and perfect gift would be marred with our fingerprints. He had to go alone, for in love He took our place - removing us from the righteous wrath of His Father, now become “Our Father, who art in heaven.” Suffering in our stead means going to the cross that was yours - making the full payment. How deep is your sin? You do not want to acknowledge it. Neither do I! Yet if my sin was as small as a sniffle, maybe, just maybe some spray of spiritual Nasonex in the nose would fix it. But there is no easy, quick, partial fix. There is only one gift, one answer, one Christ, who can, who has, who has from before the world’s foundation, sought you and me and the whole world. He wears the scars of the Cross, from the nail marks in His hands and feet, the spear gash in His side, the thorns in His brow and temples, the flesh torn from His frame by the whip and chord. YOU, dear Child of the Heavenly Father - you stand with none of these marrings and scarrings - for He has born the lash of the whip and the lash of the tongue of men, born the lash of the false accuser’s lies, and born the righteous wrath of His Father - and all for you. The one thing needful is Christ so guilty, so scarred, so heavily afflicted. It is needful for you.

Ah, and dear Christian brother or sister, here’s the best part: It was needful for Jesus. He who is Love, needed to love you and me and the whole world so much. He needed to love you. He needs to love you - and He does. What this means is simple and sweet. This love draws broken and hurting hearts home. The prodigal son was drawn home by his father’s rich heart. Focus this morning beloved on the rich heart of Jesus - the one thing needful - here you who are grieved by sin - here in the wounds of Christ - and only in these wounds you find rest for your souls and PEACE for Your hearts. Amen.

Now the peace of God…

Soli Deo Gloria!

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