Sunday, October 02, 2011

Sermon for 10/2/11: Fifteenth Sunday After Trinity (LSB 1-year)

Do Not Worry

Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” Life is certainly no bed of roses. We have plenty in our lives to cause us concern. And however long the list of worries for tomorrow may be, you don’t have to look past today for enough worry to overwhelm you if you let it. You know it very well. All it takes is one mistake to throw your life into a tailspin. You only have to get drunk and climb behind the wheel one time to wind up in jail for manslaughter. You only have to say one wrong thing at the wrong time or to the wrong person to lose your job or your best friend. One moment of wandering attention is enough to lose a child in a crowd.

But even more than the petty worries about daily life, eternal death hangs over you. Death reveals itself already in your thoughts, words, and deeds, in the things you think to do, and in the things you leave undone. Death is the curse hanging over your heads, and the sin which you know today is the lethal poison which infiltrates you and robs you of all joy, all good, all life. You already know this. You don't need me to remind you. You know your fate in life well enough. But eternal death—eternal damnation—hangs over you like a plague.

In his Large Catechism explanation of the First Commandment, Martin Luther wrote, “What is it to have a god? Or, what is one’s god? Answer: To whatever we look for any good thing and for refuge in every need, that is what is meant by ‘god’. To have a god is nothing else than to trust and believe in him from the heart. . . . To whatever you give your heart and entrust your being, that, I say, is really your God.” Through sin, we have acquired a perverse idea of God, the notion that His nature is to punish and condemn us into eternal death. Indeed, it is true that the very sin which troubles us all every day merits that very fate. But this is not the proper will of God. The proper will of God is to do as He has always done for you—to give you life, and every good thing you need! Do not mistake what I am saying. I am NOT saying that God will not consign to hell unrepentant sinners. This He most certainly does, for He is a righteous and holy God, who will by no means tolerate such corruption and evil. But having said this, the fact is that God does most fervently desire that you live now and forever in His holiness, peace, and joy.

But shouldn’t we worry? Doesn't Jesus point out the sufficiency of today's troubles which afflict your life? Indeed He does. But He also shows us that there is Another One who has not only worried about this trouble, but has actually gone to the heart of it and done something fundamental about it. Jesus points you to the love of God the Father, pointing to the birds and saying, "Your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?" God created you; His nature is to love and provide for you.

Even as the Lord your God has not only created but also sustained you in this life, so He also has in Jesus gotten to the root of today's trouble: your sin and death. So valued and treasured are you that the Father has given you His Son, who took off from Himself all His glory and humbled Himself to be born a man. Jesus has in His own body and soul gotten to the root of the very trouble which is sufficient for the day. He, the righteous One, in order to once and for all satisfy the requirement of God's holiness against sin, has taken your sin, become Sin personified for you, and suffered the full measure of wrath. Jesus Himself took upon Himself the trouble of your day into His own death on the cross; and in Christ's death you now live. In His dying the cost of your sin is fully paid, and the will of God against sinners is fully realized. You live, both now and forever.

I’m not saying that you shouldn’t be concerned about doing your job correctly or that your children are late coming home or that there’s nothing in the cupboard for dinner. God gives you responsibilities in your various vocations, and you are right to want to take care of these concerns. These are not selfish concerns; they are what Father Luther calls “concerns of love”. But even these things, they rest in the Lord’s hands. You commend them to the Lord, and He guides and sustains you.

You, in Jesus, are the Father's delight. In Holy Baptism you have been clothed in Christ’s own righteousness, which adorns you more beautifully than was King Solomon in all his splendor, even more beautifully than the flowers which adorn the field. Don't you know that, through Baptism, you are the most beautiful thing in the world to the Father? And He greatly desires you to adorn His Table, where He would feed you on the most precious Body and Blood of your Savior. This is the meal given for you, for such a feast may only be given by grace. Only your Savior Jesus could ever have earned for you such marvelous, life-giving fare.

Jesus Christ died bearing your sins to the cross, and then He rose from the dead. In Holy Baptism you died with Him and were raised with Him. That is sufficient to cover your worries for today; it is sufficient to cover your worries for tomorrow; it is sufficient to cover your worries for every day of the rest of your life; and, most importantly, it is sufficient for your eternal life. In the name of the Father and of the Son (+) and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

The peace of God which passes all understanding will keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus always. Amen.

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