Sunday, February 08, 2015

Sermon for 2/8/15--Sexagesima



Sown Seed

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

Not all end up in heaven. It’s the sad truth. The desire of the Father is that all would come to the knowledge of the truth and be saved. Jesus died for the sins of the whole world. What is more basic to our Christian faith than this? The Son of God did not come into this world to condemn the world; He came so that all who believe in Him would be spared the Father’s righteous wrath which has been spent on Him.
That being the case, the Sower sows. He sows with reckless abandon. He sows with generosity, casting that life-giving seed into the most unlikely and unreceptive of places. That is the call of the Gospel; it is available for everyone. He scatters this life-changing seed, His holy Word, without regard for where it lands. He knows that it is needed by all, even those who will refuse Him. Because of this, it may seem as though much is wasted. In truth, there is no soil worthy of this seed, no heart truly worthy to receive it. Still, He sows. The seed is His to do with as He pleases. And it pleases Him to offer up His life for hateful, rebellious men who will reject Him. He who sets men free sows the seed of His forgiving Word. It pleases Him to offer salvation to all men without cost, that all men might be saved.
That is the call of the Gospel. But still, few are chosen. The Word goes out, and for the most part it is ignored, hated, and even mocked. But where and when it pleases God, the old sinful man is drowned, and the demons are driven away, and the new man, a Christian, is born where no birth seemed possible, in a heart of corruption, now alive out of death, light in the darkness. This seed, God’s Word, reveals to men His heart of mercy. It accomplishes the impossible.
This is a mystery. The kingdom of heaven does not follow the rules of men. It is a mystery, incomprehensible to our feeble minds and a stumbling block to our foolish ideas about how things should work. It is a mystery that God loves those who treat Him as the enemy, those whom He has every right to hate. He sows His seed. He offers forgiveness and life. He dies and rises in our place, simply because that is how He is. We have not deserved it or earned it. There is nothing in us. It all comes from Him.
And that is why we are neither alarmed nor troubled by the great many times the Word is rejected and mocked. It is what we have been told to expect. We rejoice and find comfort in those moments of miraculous intervention, when His Word moves among us and does what it says: when, at the Baptismal font, God makes alive an infant dead in sin; when He enters our sanctuary, crucified and raised from the dead, now borne on lowly bread and wine for us to eat and drink; when His Word goes out and, by its own power and strength, creates and sustains faith in those whom He chooses. And those whom He prunes in suffering and affliction, those who bear the fruit of patience and confession, are those whom He loves.   
Without the world noticing or even caring, the Word, the good seed, has been cast. It has, by the grace of God, made a home for itself in our unworthy hearts. It has intervened. It has borne the fruit of faith. It has provided bread for the believer. In us, who have no merit or worthiness in which to boast, who were the worst soil imaginable—sought out by treading feet, snatching birds, and worldly weeds—in us sinners whom He came to seek and to save, whom He chose to love, the Lord of the harvest has caused a miracle to occur! He has created faith. He has comforted and consoled, redeemed and restored, forgiven and forgotten our sins. He has fulfilled His promise. His Word has not failed. It never does. It never will. 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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