Monday, October 21, 2013

Sermon for 10/20/13--Trinity 21



The Word Speaks

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

When the Lord says something, His Word does what it says. If the Lord thunders and judges, His words bring despair and death. If the Lord speaks forgiveness and peace, then sins are actually forgiven and sinners are comforted. The Lord doesn't keep His Word to Himself. He send it out; He gives His Word to us. He gives us His Word as a gift which saves us. He gives us His Word as a weapon that defends and protects us and drives away the Evil One, to drive away all fear and doubt and despair and sin. God's Word is your Word, given to you as your life, your defense, your hope, your joy, your treasure, your sword, your salvation.

From nothing at all, our Lord speaks and all things are made. When the Lord says, "Let there be..." it happens. Light, sky, dry land, grass and trees, sun and moon, fish and birds, animals: the Lord speaks, and His will is done. The Lord's Word goes forth and it creates. It brings something out of nothing. It gives life. All things exist because God said so. Even after the Fall, the Word of God is the big deal. When Adam and Eve sinned, the Lord promises He would send a Savior. Later on, the Savior came, born of Mary. Throughout the Old Testament, the Lord promised Abraham and his descendants that they would become a great nation. And they did. He said He would set them free from slavery in Egypt. He did. He said He would give them a land flowing with milk and honey. They got it. He said he would punish them if they worshiped other gods. They were punished. Over and over, God speaks, and His Word does what it says it will.

But more important than even that, we must learn that when He speaks, it's for our good: for our salvation, for forgiveness and life. Just look what happens when Jesus speaks. He doesn't even have to be where the man's sick son was. He just spoke His word and it was done. Notice how John tells us that the man went home and figured out from his servants that the boy had gotten better at just the time that Jesus had said he was healed. That's the power of Jesus' word. When the Lord says, "Your sins are forgiven," then what happens? Your sins are forgiven!

But here's the Grand Prize: Jesus IS the Word of God. What He says and does, God Himself is saying and doing. Where He goes and what happens to Him is the Word of God doing its thing. When the Word-made-flesh hangs on the cross for sinners, that is God's Word at work. The Word goes forth in the flesh, and your sins are forgiven. Nothing stands against you; God's judgment is over. When our Lord, who is the Word of God in the flesh, gives His life into death for our sins, then our sins are gone! Just as He tells the thief on the cross that he would be with Jesus in Paradise that very day, so when our Lord rises from the dead, then the ruler of this world has been cast down. The last enemy has been defeated! The Lord's Word does what it says. It says your sins have been taken away.

So then St. Paul tells you to get all dressed up in the armor of God and to arm yourself with the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. That means that the Word which the Lord speaks is your weapon against sin and death. How do you use it? You have the Word of your Baptism. The Word declares that you are God's child, just as Juliana has become His child this very day. You have the Word of Absolution which declares that your sins are forgiven. You have the Word in flesh, the Body and Blood of Jesus for life and salvation. Against all sin and death and despair, you have the preaching of your pastor and the Holy Scriptures to fill your ears with the Good News that your sins are forgiven. God speaks His Word to save you. There can be no uncertainty here! If the Lord's Word says you are His baptized and absolved child, fed with His body and blood, then that's what you are. Use that Word to drive away all fear and doubt! Use that Word to battle the devil and your burdened conscience. Speak that Word daily! Let it be upon your lips and in your ears. Let it drive away the thoughts of despair and sadness. Come and hear it preached every week! Come and read it in Sunday School and hear it in Bible Study. Every day, open and read your Bible so that your ears and heart and mind would be filled with these holy promises of God which rescue you from sin and death.

My brothers and sisters in Christ, the Word of God is your treasure, given as a gift. The Word instructs you. It gives you wisdom. It blesses you. It corrects you and rebukes you and calls you to repentance. But most of all, the Word of God saves you. It delivers Jesus. It forgives your sins. It calls you God's child. Just as the Word created all things, so it has made you a new creation. The Word made flesh brought back to life a dead boy, and that same Word has given you life and rescued you from sin and death by His death and resurrection. Just as the Word spoken by Jesus sent the Devil running away, so now the Sword of the Spirit, Christ's Word, drives away your enemies. And it must be true, for Jesus Himself says so! 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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