Sunday, November 15, 2020

Sermon for 11/15/2020: Second-Last Sunday of the Church Year


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“We Will Both Do and Hear”

Matthew 25:31-46


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


The children of Israel made a solemn oath at the foot of Mount Sinai after Moses delivered God’s Ten Commandments. “Everything that God has said, we will both do and hear.” After they were rebuked for their idolatry with the golden calf, they finally understood that the Word of God is not like our words. The Word of God reshapes your life, your soul, your whole being. No longer can you do what you please apart from the Word of God. You are called to live against your base desires, against what your Old Adam wants. You are called to live the life God has given you instead of the life you choose for yourself. You are called to live this life by faith until you are welcomed into the life of the world to come.

“Everything that God has said, we will both do and hear.” We recently heard that the Law is about love: love for God and love for neighbor. The faith in God which you demonstrate with your love is most clearly shown, most plainly lived, in how you treat others. The life that is in you—the life by which you love God and your neighbor—is the life of Christ. You received it from the Father through the sacrifice of His Son in the waters of Holy Baptism, and He continues to feed that life within you through the ministry of the Holy Spirit through His Called pastors. It is a life that lives for the Father from every Word the Spirit breathes. It is a life that lives for that Word, confident that what the Lord says is for your good.

To be sure, this life in Christ is not an easy route. There are plenty of distractions, many roadblocks, numerous burdens and crosses, griefs and heartaches, trials and afflictions. And the Lord lets you face these tribulations so that you are humbled, so that you might listen better to Him, so that you would trust Him more surely, so that you keep focused on heaven and the one thing needful, so that you do not become lost along the way. To guide and lead you in this life of Christ—and to accomplish in you His salvation—our Lord uses His called and ordained servants of the Word. Through them, our heavenly Father feeds your hunger, quenches your thirst, takes you into His family, clothes your nakedness, visits you with the medicine of immortality, and comes to your rescue and aid in the prison house of sin that you've made for yourself. Our Lord blesses you by doing for you what you cannot do for yourself. Our Lord blesses you by giving you what you do not deserve from His hand, but what He desires to give you nevertheless. Most of all, our Lord blesses you by planting you in Him and by planting Himself in you so that now you get His benefits and inheritance—all because He lowered Himself to take on your nature so that He might raise up your human nature to be like His. And because He has served you in your time of need, you now serve your neighbors in their time of need.

Our constant prayer is that the Lord would continue this ministry among us—not according to the severity of His judgment, but according to His mercy. That prayer is the prayer of the whole church in heaven and on earth until the Last Day. On that day, people are divided by the Lord. He does not divide them on the basis of what He says, for what He says never changes; His mercy endures forever. Rather, our Lord separates the sheep from the goats on the basis of how they lived what they have heard through His Called servants. Through them, the Lord does His work for you. By His grace, you become partakers of the Lord's divine nature. By grace you have a portion in the kingdom of heaven. 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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