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Thanksgiving Eve

1 Timothy 2:1-8

Rev. Andrew Eckert

Wednesday after the Last Sunday in the Church Year
St. Paul's Lutheran Church  
Wellston, Oklahoma

Wed, Nov 24, 2010 

This month we have seen elections of men to public office.  Perhaps some men were chosen that we did not vote for.  For that matter, perhaps we do not think that the man in the White House is the right man for the job.

But Saint Paul gives a most difficult challenge.  We are to pray for government and pray for presidents and pray for senators and so forth.  Even if you are not in favor of the person who was elected, you must also be ready to pray, even for him.

Paul writes that you should pray for "all those in authority."  If you pray only for those whom you like, what reward is there in that?  Anyone can pray for someone they like.  But if you want to pray as God intends, pray also for those you dislike.

Remember that Paul wrote at the time that Roman Emperors ruled the world, under whose reign Christ had been crucified, and at whose orders Christians could be tortured and murdered in the most grotesque and heinous ways possible.  Yet under these Emperors, Paul writes, "Pray...for all in authority."

Nor should you stop at presidents and senators.  Governors, policemen, sheriffs, and especially parents should be in your prayers.  Pastors, also, as spiritual fathers, should receive the support of prayer.  I know that I need that support.

All authority is established by God, even those that we think cannot be from Him.  The devil wants to infect every authority with his corrupting influence, in order to persecute the Church of God.  Yet the government still is from God.

Therefore pray that satan may be restrained, and the Church may continue in peace.

All governing authorities, from parents to presidents, are set in place for the rewarding of good and the punishment of evil.  No government is perfect in this regard, since criminals sometimes walk free, and the innocent are wrongfully punished.

Therefore, pray that the government may wisely and accurately execute justice.

In spite of the good purpose of government, immorality in this nation increases.  The murder of babies is legalized, and homosexuality is condoned.

Therefore, pray that our rulers may be enlightened by truth and morality.

When authorities act poorly, the people suffer.  No government is perfect, yet some are vastly superior to others.  What is the Christian Church to do when it chafes under the harsh yoke of an evil or corrupt government?  All God's saints should pray that He would remove what is evil.  But so often, He allows corruption to remain.  What should you say then?  That God is evil?  Certainly not!

May the Spirit lead you instead to the truth: Any evil in this world, including evil government, is well deserved because of the sin within our human flesh.  Do we not deserve far worse, even the tyranny of satan and the flames of hell?

Yet God is merciful, and allows evil to afflict you only so that you may turn all the more towards Him in repentance and faith.

After all, the peace that Christ brought to earth is not a visible peace, as the peace between governments.  Instead, you have peace, true peace, in Jesus Christ your Lord.

He is the one Mediator between God and Man, who alone could secure peace where no earthly ambassador could.  Treaties are broken and peace talks fail.  But your Mediator has made perfect peace, because He gave His life as the peace offering for all the world.  He gave the ransom price that bought you away from the clutches of God's enemy.  The price was the Son of God, surrendering Himself upon the Cross of Calvary.  Your sinfulness and the sinfulness of all men demanded a response of war from God.  But He turned His warfare only upon the flesh of His dearly beloved Son.

Now many heralds go forth into the world, proclaiming the good news that God has made His peace through the flesh of the Prince of Peace.  Instead of death, the heralds proclaim eternal life through the Resurrection of Christ.

This is the government of God - that He has established His Kingdom among men, built upon the Chief Cornerstone, Jesus Christ, who rules His Church through Word and Sacrament.  Wherever the Gospel is, there is a peculiar nation among men, established not by borders and armies, but by rebirth and the remission of sins.

This alone is perfect government.  Only God can establish perfect peace.  Look for no perfection from any politician, for they will surely fall short.  Only Christ, your King and your God, is perfect.  All is made right in Him.

Listen to the campaign promises Jesus made: "Behold, a Virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His Name Immanuel, 'God with us.'" This promise He kept at His Incarnation and Nativity.

Again, He promised, "Destroy this Temple, and I will rebuild it in three days."  He kept this promise on Good Friday and Easter.

Again, He said, "This is My Body, and this is My Blood of the New Testament."  He keeps that promise at every Lord's Supper.

He also said, "Whoever's sins you forgive, they are forgiven."  That one He fulfills at every public and private Absolution.

These and many more are the promises of your Mediator, Jesus Christ, both God and Man, who always keeps His Word.

The kingdoms of earth are feeble and frail, because they are made up of sinners such as you and I.  But the Kingdom of God is built upon Christ and built upon justified saints such as you and I.  We need not wait for some millennium to see the rule of Christ on earth.  He is ruling here and now in His Church.  Here is the millennium on earth, because here the mighty Word of God establishes and maintains the Kingdom of heaven.

So pray for the earthly government.  Pray for presidents and all others in authority.  These things serve a God-pleasing purpose.

Yet pray all the more that the Kingdom of God may come among us, not only by extending His Church by bringing in more wayward sheep into His fold, but also by revealing the Kingdom of Glory at His return in triumph on the Last Day.

And God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, preserve you in the one true faith until that wonderful Day.  Amen.

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