Monday, February 24, 2014

Sermon for 2/23/14--Sexagesima



Christ the Seed

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

This farmer is unlike any earthly sower. He doesn't seem to care where the seed lands. He just sows everywhere! This is how Christ showers His Word upon us: limitless and unrestricted. He sows His Word everywhere so that all may hear and believe. And He sows His Word today to warn us, to wake us up, to call us to repentance—to save us. Brothers and sisters in Christ, the Lord sows His Word, but so very little of it is received by the ground to bear fruit. Here the Lord lays bare for you your own heart and teaches you how easily and how often you despise His saving Word.

Some seed is snatched up by the devil. When we let the Word of God go in one ear and out the other without learning it, inwardly digesting it, we should know that it is the devil who is snatching the Word away! If you walk out of that door knowing the same or less of God's promises than when you walked in, or if you haven't learned anything else since the day you were confirmed and threw your catechism in the back of your closet, then know that it is the devil snatching away the Word.

Then there is the seed that falls on the rocky ground and withers because of the heat of temptation. What trials and temptations in your life tell you that God's Word is not true and is not worth listening to? We start with good intentions, of course, all excited to hear God's Word and grow in it. But then the suffering of this life withers us so God's Word takes no root. This too is the work of the devil who wants none of us to hear and believe God's Word! What then of the seed that falls among the thorns? The cares and pleasures and riches of this life come and choke off faith. What things in your life are better than the Word? What things keep you from the Divine Service? Such birds and shallow soil and thorns afflict every life.

There are those who hear the Word but don’t learn and grow in understanding. There are those who think the Word of God is worthless. There are those who think they have more important things to do than learn what the Word of God has to say. The Third Commandment condemns us, for we clearly despise preaching and God's Word; we don't hold it sacred; we don't gladly hear and learn it! Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear! If you recognize yourself in any of those bad soils, then cry out to the Father to break up your heart that you may hear and believe His Word. Listen to the preaching and teaching of your pastor so that you will be saved from being carried away by Satan and instead kept by the Spirit in the faith of Christ.

This salvation is a gift. We would never have hearts to receive God's Word if not for our Lord being Himself sown into the ground for our salvation. Jesus comes into the flesh and suffers the fate of the seed. Jesus Christ, the Son of God is Himself the Word of God. The Word, Jesus, is snatched away by the devil as He is grabbed and arrested, mocked and condemned and killed by the devil's own preachers and agents, the Word-despising Pharisees and clergy and Roman governor. Just as the seed falls on the rocky ground, so our Lord is planted in the rocky tomb, put in the earth as a sown seed for our salvation. He is choked with thorns and thistles as He wears a crown of thorns and suffers the curse of sin on the cross in our place. In all these ways, the seed, the Word, Christ Himself suffers the fate of sinners and unbelievers; He suffers and dies for us! But our Lord is the Son of God. Death cannot keep Him down! Where He is sown, there is life! Christ rises from the dead, sends out His preachers to sow the Word, to deliver the forgiveness of sins to the world, and thus produce fruit a hundredfold and more.

The Gospel of the forgiveness of sins drives the devil's birds away from the Word. The waters of Holy Baptism are the waters which wet the soil of our hearts and keep us from withering under temptations. The Body and Blood of Christ attach us to the True Vine who raises us above the thorns and thistles that would choke us off. It is the Word of God itself, brothers and sisters, which delivers the Word of God to us for our salvation. Never despair, dear Christian, of the salvation the Lord has for you. Don't despise His Word but believe it, for it is given to you so you may know it and be saved by it! 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.

No comments: