Sunday, October 09, 2016

Sermon for 10/9/16: Twentieth Sunday After Trinity

Sorry about the sniffle sounds on the audio recording. My allergies have been very nasty this weekend.

RIGHT-CLICK HERE to save the audio recording.

Heeding the King

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

There’s something that people always seem to get wrong about parables. The Kingdom of Heaven is not like a wedding banquet. It is like a King who gave a wedding banquet. It is like a Man who owns a vineyard and goes to hire laborers, a Man who sows good seed, or a King who wished to settle accounts. The Kingdom of Heaven is not found in abstract notions. It is found in a Man: our Lord Jesus Christ. That is why St. John the Baptist cried: “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand” when Jesus appeared. He was saying: “Repent. Jesus is here.”
Few would refuse an invitation from the President of the United States, whether or not you like him or voted for him. He is the President. If he summons, you go. You do that even though his term and power are limited. You show your respect for the Office of the President. You don’t ignore him, and you certainly don’t ignore his invitation.
But that is how men treat God. They spit on His invitation. They do not believe that Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, is the King. They don’t believe He has power. Satan deceives them by the humility of the invitation. They think God can't see them in the dark. They think they can lie to Him as easily as they lie to men. They'll make amends later, when it is more convenient. And God is so gentle in His invitation, so meek, that they think He can be ignored and mocked. He is so gracious that they think they can they treat His servants shamefully without consequence. Repent.
Do not think this door will always remain open. Do not think you can ignore the invitation without a cost. Do not think the Word of God belongs to you and will always be here. Ignore it, abuse it, neglect it, and it can be taken away. Look to modern day Europe and Israel. Let them be signs to you. Once they were nations teeming with the Word. Now they are nearly godless. The Good News of Jesus Christ is rarely heard and nearly forgotten. The Christians remaining in those countries suffer in ways we have so far been spared. Be warned. The King in the parable sent His army to those who refused Him. He destroyed them and burned their cities. Repent.
The King is still inviting. Your pastor has been sent here on His behalf: Come to the Wedding Feast of the Son! He wants you. It does not matter how bad you have been, what you have done, what you have said, who you have hurt, or how many times you have spat on this invitation in the past. Now is the hour of salvation. He loves you. He wants you. Rich or poor, smart or dumb, young or old: it doesn't matter. He will fill the banquet hall, and He wants you there. Everything is ready. There is nothing for you to do. Come, eat and drink a food better than that of the kings: the body and blood of Christ, laid before you in the humble means of bread and wine, hidden from those will not believe, but given and shed for you to unite you to Him and forgive all your sins. Come, eat and drink, without money and without price.
Do not worry about what to wear. Christ provides His own righteousness for you. He covers all your iniquities, all your shame and guilt. You are immaculate, without blemish, spot, or stain. His name rests upon you. You have been washed and clothed with Him. He has shown His love for you in the cross. He has taken up your flesh and made a Sacrifice of Himself to buy you back out of Hell. He has shut the devil's mouth, and there is no one left to accuse you.
Such love exists only in one place: in Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, for He is love. God has loved you since the beginning of time. He has called you by name. He is worthy. His invitation awaits you. Christ can do what He wants, and what He wants is to have you with Him as a His Holy Bride. The marks of His love are still upon His hands, feet, and side. He is the Lamb who was slain but who lives. He is the Voice from the burning bush who led His people out of slavery. He is still leading out of slavery and into freedom. Come, eat and drink. Be free. Be forgiven, renewed, strengthened.
The Kingdom of Heaven is like a King, a Man. The Kingdom of Heaven is Jesus. And the Kingdom of Heaven is within you. 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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