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Zeal for His House

John 2:13-17

Rev. Kurt Hering

3rd S. in Lent
Trinity Lutheran Church  
Layton, Utah

Sun, Mar 15, 2009
3rd S. in Lent

Preaching to the saints of the Lutheran Church at Christ-Elkhart and Faith-Hugoton in Kansas since February 8, 2015. All sermons prior to that date were preached either at Trinity Lutheran Church-Layton or First Lutheran Church-Tooele, Utah.

Here is the audio file of the sermon preached at Trinity Lutheran Church in Layton, Utah for the Third SUNDAY in LENT, March 15, 2009:

Zeal For His House.WMA

The recording begins with the Hymn of the Day, "Lord Jesus Christ, the Church's Head." The sermon begins at the 3:45 mark.

Have a blessed week in the Household of God.

Pastor Hering

Here is the preaching manuscript, which as usual, leaves room for some things to be fleshed out further from the pulpit.

TEXT: 13The Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14In the temple he found those who were selling oxen and sheep and pigeons, and the money-changers sitting there. 15And making a whip of cords, he drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and oxen. And he poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables. 16And he told those who sold the pigeons, "Take these things away; do not make my Father's house a house of trade." 17His disciples remembered that it was written, "Zeal for your house will consume me."

John 2:13-17

Who is that man? Who does he think he is? Is he possessed, or what? Did you see his eyes? They were fairly ABLAZE!

And it is not just the Jews who are surprised and offended by this Jesus.

Even those who have come to terms with a suffering and crucified Jesus are confused, if not upset about this Jesus. Isn't He all about love, and grace, and forgiveness, and tolerance?

Certainly. But his love for the children of God includes righteous indignation and, yes, hatred, for anything that would separate a single child of God from the love of His Father. Such is the Son of God's zeal for His Father's house.

For what is His Father's house if not all the children He has gathered to hear His Word, to be received into His kingdom—His household?

So [Paul & Silas] said to [the jailer], "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household." Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes. And immediately he and all his family were baptized. 34 Now when he had brought them into his house, he set food before them; and he rejoiced, having believed in God with all his household. Acts 16:31-34

Grandpa Doug is like that jailer, bringing his household, exhorting his own dear daughter and son-in-law to bring little Ziva to be baptized into the household of God.

And Doug—and every one of you—can be sure that Jesus, the only begotten Son of God, is zealous for you.

You have heard it said, "hell hath no fury like a woman scorned?" Hell IS the fury of the Father scorned.

We get but a little glimpse of that fury in today's Gospel account. Why does our Lord Jesus pick this place, this time, this circumstance to give us this insight?

We are inclined to hone in on the money angle. And certainly it is obvious that our Lord is angry that His Father's servants are taking advantage of the people and cheating them out of their hard-earned money.

But exponentially more heinous, these religious leaders are cheating the children of God out of their inheritance. 

"It is impossible that no offenses should come, but woe to him through whom they do come! It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones." Luke 17:2-3

So, you see, Jesus' zeal for His Father's house, His righteous anger, is not provoked by profiteering even fractionally as much as it is by those who would separate one like little Ziva here from the love of God which is in Him.

That zeal for His Father's house continues even today. There is just such a battle going on in the temple courts of His church today. Only instead of selling sacrificial animals and profiting from the exchange of dirty money for clean, today we have religious leaders selling programs and books and lucky charms; and exchanging the means of grace for the plans of men.

Corporate religious leaders including in our own synod, some even wearing pastoral collars, dress up in expensive suits and jet around the world to show how concerned and active they are about winning souls for Christ, yet they have abandoned the very office and keys they have been given to do so. If that isn't enough, they make it difficult for those who do hold the office and seek to use the keys given by Christ.

Meanwhile, congregations and their pastors that refuse to employ such things go unpaid, are mocked and ridiculed, are closed out of corporate funding, get closed down, fired, or simply ignored.

And lest you think this is merely sour grapes on my part about our situation here, I can name you

 three pastors from Colorado that were forced out their congregations—two still are awaiting calls, one took a call in another district.

 a pastor and his faithful supporters in Arkansas who were forced out of their building, and eventually compelled to leave the synod.

 a faithful congregation in MNN who are being denied membership in Synod because they dare to use the liturgy and want to provide an alternative to the un-Lutheran things going on in the congregations of their circuit.

 a pastor in SW who is surviving on less than half the salary promised him, and a fraction of what he earned in the private sector in order to continue to minister to the faithful who remain

And that is just the tip of the iceberg. The Augustana Ministerium, of which I am a member and which has granted me a continuance of the $300/month stipend I sign over to the congregation, is made up of scores of Missouri Synod, as well as other Lutheran, pastors--many having similar stories.

As far as I know, to a man, they have done what they have done and are in the situations they are because of Christ's zeal for His Father's house. Do they err? Certainly. Is their anger perfectly righteous like that of our Lord in the temple courts? Of course not.

But they are servants of the Lord called to take care of the Father's house, the Father's children in the name and with the authority of Jesus. And they have but one mission—to make disciples of all nations baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey EVERYTHING he has commanded them—and nothing else.

These are men whom the Lord has sent out filled with the Holy Spirit to call sinners to repent for the kingdom, the household, of God is at hand.

This is the same zeal that took our Lord to Calvary, to the grave, to hell itself and back again to the right hand of the Father from whence He comes to judge the living and the dead today and everyday and at the Last Day.

Yes Doug—and every one of you—can be sure that Jesus, the only begotten Son of God, is zealous for you and all your household. You can rejoice that your Lord and Savior has zeal for His Father's house. Because you are of that house and "the LORD will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace." [Exodus 14:14] You belong to Him, and nothing "shall be able to separate [you] from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. [Romans 8:39] For you are God's beloved children, residents of His house. And Jesus the Christ, the Son of the living God has zeal for His Father's house, zeal for everyone of you who are forgiven all your sins and baptized into His household--in the name of the Father, and of the + Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

Insofar as this sermon is a true proclamation of the Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ, it belongs to Him and His Church. Therefore its use is free to all who deem it worthy and beneficial.

Send Rev. Kurt Hering an email.

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