Sunday, July 12, 2015

“Speaking Without Fear” (Amos 7:12-15)

S-1507 7SAP/3B 7/12/2015 Hymns: (O) #4; (S) #451; L.S. #296; #307; #312 (C) #47

Texts: Amos 7:7-15; Ephesians 1:3-14; Mark 6:14-29

Theme: “Speaking Without Fear” (Amos 7:12-15)

Question: “Do you feel comfortable to speak your mind at a voter’s assembly?”


Faithful followers of the Savior, Christ is Risen! He is Risen indeed! Alleluia! The text for the 7th Sunday after Pentecost is from the O.T. reading: “And Amaziah said to Amos, ‘O seer, go, flee away to the land of Judah, and eat bread there, and prophesy there, but never again prophesy at Bethel, for it is the king’s sanctuary, and it is a temple of the kingdom.’ Then Amos answered and said to Amaziah, I was no prophet, nor a prophet’s son, but I was a herdsman and a dresser of sycamore figs. But the Lord took me from following the flock, and the Lord said to me, ‘Go, prophesy to My people Israel’” (Amos 7:12-15).


Precious children of the heavenly Father, because we live in a broken and sinful world, all of us experience fear. When we are afraid of something, our skin becomes pale, our hands begin to sweat, and our hearts begin to beat faster. Each of us are afraid of something. Some are afraid of the dark, drowning, big dogs, being alone, abandoned, snakes, going into an elevator and the like. These fears are real. One of the greatest fear people have is speaking in public.

Because we are fearful, we freeze up, we perspire, and we become dehydrated, and begin to look for a way out of the situation. The devil loves it when we are in these conditions because we are held captives.

But today, listen to the voice of Your gracious and merciful God who comforts you with His promises: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord Your God is with you wherever you go” (Josh. 1:9), “Fear not, for I Am with you; be not dismayed, for I Am Your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10), “But now thus says the Lord, He who created you, O Jacob, He who formed you, O Israel: ‘Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are Mine’” (Isaiah 43:1), Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32), Fear not, daughter of Zion; behold, your king is coming, sitting on a donkey’s colt!” (John 12:15), and “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me” (John 14:6).

These promises are the anchor for the troubled and fearful soul of the Christian man and woman. With these promises we know that God is with us and will guide us to walk in His ways without fear or trepidation. PAUSE.

That is precisely the message before us today from the prophet Amos. God had called Him to speak on His behalf. He was sent to the house of Israel to prophecy to them. This is very similar to the words of the prophet Ezekiel from last week’s O.T. Lesson: “Son of man, I send you to the people of Israel, to nations of rebels, who have rebelled against Me. They and their fathers have transgressed against Me to this very day. The descendants also are impudent and stubborn: I send you to them, and you shall say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God’” (Ezekiel 2:3-4).

The Lord in mercy sent out His prophets telling them not to be afraid to speak the truth in love in spite of what the world thinks. He who created the tongue and mouth equips us to speak on His behalf without fear. As the Lord God Almighty used the prophets and disciples of old, so He uses us to speak without fear.

I know it is a challenge for us to speak of our faith or to wear our faith on our sleeves. At times we are afraid of what other people think of our Christian belief. We don’t want to rock the boat so to speak. But speak we must. We must call sin for what it is. And by grace we also speak of the sweet Gospel that Jesus provides for us.

This past week there was a FB post from one of our saints that stated: “Today I am just feeling thankful. This weekend our family of three made memories as we were able to spend our time together alongside our extended families. We all have our own battles but did you know that our Lord can make oceans from the rain? His love is everlasting! Jim, Brody, and I are extremely blessed! Sometimes it’s just the little things. Have a blessed week everyone.”

I responded saying: “Saint Stacy, thank you for your witness to the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ in your life. You are a blessing.” And it was followed by another post from this saint: “You had a sermon one Sunday about witnessing our faith. I heard it. {Emphases mine} I am getting more confident about doing it face to face. I know not everyone may LIKE my images or my songs or just my thoughts, but maybe it helps someone, somewhere. You inspired me to be more than I was. So grateful!” PAUSE.

I am thankful to the Lord for a saint who is willing to speak up without fear of what Christ has done for them. I pray that all of us here would be that letter or post to those around us. Yes, it is fearful to stand up in public and speak about the love of Jesus Christ and the gift of Salvation He has earned for you on the cross of Calvary. Yes, it is terrifying to be told you are old fashioned we don’t want to listen to you. But by the grace of God, hear His Word and the promise “Fear NOT I Am with you wherever you go and whatever you do.”

As the Lord God almighty appointed Amos whose name means “Born of God” so too, have we been born of God. In Baptism we were born again to a new life. It is a life of speaking of the grace of God given us through His Son on the cross of Calvary. In this life we speak and we share and we tell the world what Christ endured to pay for all of their sins—yours and mine. Through the working of the Holy Spirit we are given the words to speak just at the right time.

The heaven-sent Savior taught us this blessed truth: “And I tell you, everyone who acknowledges Me before men, the Son of Man also will acknowledge before the angels of God, but the one who denies Me before men will be denied before the angels of God… And when they bring you before the synagogues and the rulers and the authorities, do not be anxious about how you should defend yourself or what you should say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say (Luke 12:8-12).

What a blessing it is to know that we are not on our own. Our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ will accompany us on this journey of life. He who went to the cross and the empty tomb is here today with us. He is here at Bethel (Hebrew) “the house of God” in His Word and Sacrament. He is here to strengthen us for the journey of confessing and speaking of His love to a loveless and empty world. But He does more. He is the One who speaks to His Father on our behalf. He is the One who says to His Father, “I have purchased this child with My own blood! I have paid the price! I have done all that is necessary to earn them a place in heaven with You loving Father! They are born into Your family and will live under Your grace forever and ever.”

My brothers and sisters in Christ, as the Lord Almighty sent out Amos, Paul, and others giving them power from on high, so He sends us out to this world filled with sin and hate and gives us the privilege of sharing the greatest story ever told—the story of our redemption, the story of our salvation and the story of our life in the palm of His hands—the palms that were pierced for our sins.

Therefore, in the name of Christ who bore you on His outstretched arms, I encourage you to do what the Lutheran Hour Speaker, the Rev. Gregory Seltz who in His sermon to the LWML in Des Moines, Iowa said: “Let Christ live in you, so they can see God in all you do. There will be people in heaven, because they got to know you.”

Saints in Christ, the prophet Amos listened to the voice of God and spoke without fear to all. May He who dwells in us and with us, use us today and always to speak of Him without fear. Amen.

Now the peace…


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