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.
"And [Herein]lies the importance of our Gospel lesson today. All of [these blessings of GOd's creation] are--[or at leastwere] meant to be a part of the heavenly banquet—our life with God in the kingdom of heaven.
"But anyone who does not like the Gospel and the kingdom of heaven as it is for what it is, that is their choice and they will get to live with it—forever. But God will not be there; they will not be part of the heavenly wedding party; and even these things will be taken away from them. It really is just that simple."
To hear the entire sermon preached for the Second Sunday after Trinity at Trinity, Layton, "That My House May Be Filled"--beginning with the Old Testamnent Reading; followed by the Prayer of the Church; and concluding with the closing hymn, LSB #716, "I Walk in Danger All the Way": go to the MP3 audio link provided above.
A servant of the Word and His folk,
If you would rather just read the sermon, or read along as you listen, the preaching manuscript follows below. However, please understand some transitions are filled in and explanations fleshed out from the pulpit that are not included in the ms.
"That My House May Be Filled"
TEXT: 15When one of those who reclined at table with [Jesus] heard these things, he said to him, "Blessed is everyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God!" 16But he said to him, "A man once gave a great banquet and invited many. 17And at the time for the banquet he sent his servant to say to those who had been invited, 'Come, for everything is now ready.' 18But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said to him, 'I have bought a field, and I must go out and see it. Please have me excused.' 19And another said, 'I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to examine them. Please have me excused.' 20And another said, 'I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.' 21So the servant came and reported these things to his master. Then the master of the house became angry and said to his servant, 'Go out quickly to the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in the poor and crippled and blind and lame.' 22And the servant said, 'Sir, what you commanded has been done, and still there is room.' 23And the master said to the servant, 'Go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled. 24For I tell you, none of those men who were invited shall taste my banquet.' Luke 14:15-24
Dear people of God,
What's your excuse? We all have one. Work. Play. Family.
The first said to him, 'I have bought a field, and I must go out and see it. Please have me excused.'
Where is that field going to be, what is going to happen to it on the Last Day?
What about your fields, your property, the places you go to play, the things you have spent all your hard earned cash on? Let alone whatever momentos and benefits you may have derived from you time spent in them.
19And another said, 'I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to examine them. Please have me excused.'
Where are those oxen going to be, what is going to happen to them on the Last Day?
What about your fields, the places you go to work, your property and capital investments?
20And another said, 'I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.'
Where is that wife going to be, what is going to happen to her on the Last Day if she, like her husband has no time or use for what her Lord has to give her? What about your family, your friends and loved ones with whom you most enjoy spending your time?
None of these things are evil or wrong to have or use or enjoy—even on a regular basis. They are gifts of God for which we are even invited to pray, "Give us this day our daily bread." They are even included according to God's first command to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth.
And God blessed them. Ad God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth." 29 And God said, "Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. 30 And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food." And it was so. 31 And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. Genesis 1:28-31
Yes all these things come from the will of God for man.
The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. Genesis 2:15
But none of these things can take the place of God. They are not to become hiding places from Him.
And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. Genesis 3:8
Yes we need them and God wants for us to have them otherwise He would not have created them. But without Him they become a curse rather than a blessing, for they stand in the way of life
For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Matthew 6:32-33
And therein lies the importance of our Gospel lesson today. All of these things are meant to be a part of the heavenly banquet—our life with God in the kingdom of heaven.
But anyone who does not like the Gospel and the kingdom of heaven as it is for what it is, that is their choice and they will get to live with it—forever. But God will not be there; they will not be part of the heavenly wedding party; and even these things will be taken away from them. It really is just that simple.
As we see in his Preface to the Small Catechism, Luther called for the discipline of those who did not receive the Lord's Supper (that is, come to church) at least 4 times a year for fear that they were not a Christian at all—indeed are hiding from God just as did Adam and Eve in the Garden. Not that he was claiming to be able to read anyone's heart, but that their behavior was indicative of not keeping God's gift of the Sabbath day, that is they be guilty of despising preaching and the God's Word as per the Third Commandment—and thus depriving themselves of the life that only proceeds from God and His Word.
Now you must remember the time and conditions in which Luther lived as well. Getting to church was a much more difficult and time consuming proposition than it is today when just about anyone can hop into a car or make use of some other transportation and find themselves at a place where the Divine Service is being offered according to God's Word within a couple of hours at most. Not many of us these days even have the excuse of having to tend to the daily needs of livestock, as the oxen master of our parable. It is without doubt or argument far less burdensome and time consuming for us to keep Sabbath Day holy in 21st Century America--even given our high fuel prices--than ever before. How many of us could really in all honesty and good conscience argue that we could not reasonably be expected to attend church once a month, let alone 4 times a year?
But that is to talk and think according to the Law.
Luther realized, as do I and all of God's servants of the Word that God created you both to work and keep and enjoy the earth and all the things in it He also created for you. But most of all He created us to be in communion with Him and bear His image as we do these things. And for this we need to hear and be sustained by His holy Word that makes and keeps us holy.
The truth of the matter--or as Jesus would say--"Verily, I tell you the truth," according to our parable, the wedding banquet of the Sabbath Day's Divine Service is a gift of God, not of works lest any man should boast. We have received the call and invitation of the Holy Gospel. We have been given the wedding clothes of Holy Baptism. We have been gathered in God's holy congregation of people at Trinity Layton (or whatever faithful congregation gathered around God's pure and holy Word and Sacrament to which you may be blessed to be a member). And we have set before us on a weekly basis the wedding banquet wherein we sup in the very presence of God, indeed are given to eat of His very body and blood at the holy table of His altar. All compliments of our heavenly Host --God the Father, in honor of His Son Jesus Christ the bridegroom of the Church, through the work of His Holy Spirit the helper of baptized sinners like you and me.
Thinking of it in those terms—feasting in the very bodily presence of the Lord our God at His heavenly table—and truly believing it to be so according to God's holy promise and good and gracious will for us, what in the world could be more important, more appealing, more beneficial? If you really believe what our Lord God promises and gives us in His holy Word, that is. And talk about bang for your buck, there is no admission fee, hidden tax, or baggage charge. Our Lord Jesus Christ has bought it all for you with His holy precious blood and with His innocent suffering and death, that you may be His own and live under Him in His kingdom and serve Him in everlasting righteousness, innocence, and blessedness just as He is risen from the dead, lives and reigns to all eternity.
Truly God is seeing to it that His house will be filled. And this He accomplishes by bringing people from the highways and hedges of this world into His Churches where He feeds us the Bread of Life.
And you and I, dear people, are the ones given to go out from here back onto those highways and into those hedges of the world to extend His invitation to come that His house may be filled and even that they may be filled with life.
So welcome to the table of the Lord, where God forgives you all of your sins and gives you a seat at the heavenly wedding banquet here today; every Lord's Day and other holy days until the Last Day; and even forevermore.
Oh, and by the way, why not send out a few invitations to family and friends so that His house might be filled and they too might taste His banquet? It is the friendly and familial thing to do--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.
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