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The Joy of Our Salvation

Luke 12:49-56

Rev. Kurt Hering

Pentecost 13, Proper 15, series C
Christ Lutheran-Elkhart, and Faith Lutheran-Hugoton  
Kansas


right-click to download MP3 of this sermon

Sun, Aug 14, 2016 

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.

In becoming part of the body of Christ, we take up His cross. Bearing that cross we now will have the devil, the world and our sinful flesh, that unholy trinity, assailing us. For they have been defeated and are now in their death throes lashing out in a last desperate attempt to take as many others with them into their misery as they can.

. . . The world of unbelievers are not at peace with God, so when confronted with those who bear His name and His word they lash out and try to wound us or shame us into tolerating or even joining them in living in sin.

To hear the entire sermon as it was preached to the saints at Christ Lutheran-Elkhart, KS for the Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost, "The Joy of Our Salvation," click on the audio link provided above. The sermon begins at 12:04.

Artwork: "Jesus Bearing a Sword," Fresco in the “Visoci Decani” in Kosovo.

For those of you who prefer to read or read along while listening, the preaching manuscript the preaching manuscript follows below. .

Nota Bene: Sermons are meant to be heard. Bullet points in the manuscript are explained and filled out during the preaching, so you will need to listen to the audio file to get the full message.

TEXT: “I came to cast fire on the earth, and would that it were already kindled! I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how great is my distress until it is accomplished! Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. For from now on in one house there will be five divided, three against two and two against three. They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.” Luke 12:49-53

Dear Baptized of God,

This is the Gospel of the Lord?

You are not alone if that is what you were wondering this morning. Many a pastor has asked this very question upon reading and hearing these words of our Lord, along with this one: “Do I really have to preach this on Sunday?”

Jesus came to cast fire on the earth and cause division? This is the Gospel of the Lord?

Well, no, in the strictest, narrowest sense of the word, this is not Gospel. For the Gospel of the Lord is that all of your sins are forgiven in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. It is finished. THIS is the Gospel of the Lord.

But in another, wider sense, this IS the gospel of our Lord, for the narrow Gospel message of the forgiveness of sins is embodied in the life of our Lord Jesus Christ. So we also call those four books of the Bible that speak of the life of the incarnate Christ that present God who took on human flesh to dwell among us Gospel books.

Because these are the words of Jesus, the living Gospel, this is the Gospel of the Lord. But these words do not save do they? And you might, as many if not all Christian have at some time in their life, say, “If this is what it means to be a child of God, I would rather be an orphan. I thought Jesus came to bring peace.”

And so He did, dear baptized. And so He did.

Hear the Christmas angel with all the heavenly host praising God and saying: "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!" (Luke 2:13 14 NKJ)

Hear the resurrected Lord speaking to his terrified disciples as He Himself stood in the midst of them, ... "Peace to you." (Luke 24:36 NKJ)

Hear the Lord sending out His disciples to proclaim the Holy Gospel, "But whatever house you enter, first say, 'Peace to this house.' (Luke 10:5 NKJ)

So as we look at this difficult text, dear people of Faith & Christ, “Peace. be still.” For the Lord is here to shower His love upon you this day.

And part of His love for you is to warn you so that you will be prepared when the world doesn’t like the name and message you bear. For the Gospel that is the Good and Best of News for you who believe, is the bad and worst of news to those who do not.

“But,” you say, “pastor, my family is more important than ANYTHING. And here Jesus is saying to believe in Him I must be an enemy of my own flesh and blood. I just can’t do that pastor.”

First, remember that according to the Gospel, you have been given a new flesh and blood the flesh and blood of Christ. You are now His children.

Second, it’s not something you do have to do. God is not telling you to BE the enemy. For being an enemy is not really something that a Christian does as much as something that is done to him.

In becoming part of the body of Christ, we take up His cross. Bearing that cross we now will have the devil, the world and our sinful flesh, that unholy trinity, assailing us. For they have been defeated and are now in their death throes lashing out in a last desperate attempt to take as many others with them into their misery as they can.

In receiving peace with God in Christ, we now are at war with the world, because the world is at war with us – and that is because IT is not at peace with God. That is why we are called, as also is an entire section of hymns in Lutheran Worship, the church militant. And it is not just the world, it is also the devil and even our own sinful flesh enjoined in the battle.

The world of unbelievers are not at peace with God, so when confronted with those who bear His name and His word they lash out and try to wound us or shame us into tolerating or even joining them in living in sin.

Our sinful flesh, like the devil and the world, is waiting to be destroyed. And so at times it too will war against us too, even agreeing to tolerate and join the world in living in sin.

All of this serves to remind us of the persistent deadliness of sin. Yes, even we believers must still be reminded of this when tempted to continue living in the sin from which we have been delivered--just as Jesus used it to correct an erring Peter as he tried to prevent Jesus from bearing His cross when He said to His beloved friend, “Get behind me Satan.”

But where is the Gospel in all of this pastor? The Gospel is hidden in Christ who speaks these words and will bear in His body the very things of which He speaks—all the enmity and hostility of the world, including that of His own family. It is accomplished in His death for the forgiveness of the sins of those who are dead set against Him. 

In fact, that the Gospel was hidden in the Son of Man who was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary, is the very reason He suffered, died and was buried at the hand of sinful men. It was an offense to the unbelieving world that this man claimed to be the very Son of God. And even today, the fact that God only sends the Gospel and gives salvation only through the means of preaching and absolving by the words of Scripture, the waters of baptism, and the body and blood of our Lord’s Supper is the very reason that we believers will never have peace with the world. It is an offense to the unbelieving world that these things claim to bear the very presence of the Son of God. That the Gospel is hidden in simple words spoken by sinful men, in a splash of water upon heads of all shapes and sizes, in a little piece of bread and a tiny sip of wine is the cause of all kinds of trouble in the world.

But it is also in these things that one is saved. It was His Baptism into death and the giving of His very body and blood for the forgiveness of sins that ended the hostility of God toward sinners. And it is only these things by which the enmity of the world, including the members of Jesus’ own family and His disciples, was overcome and replaced by faith. 

As we hear in today’s reading from the Letter to the Hebrew Christians and learn from our Lutheran Confessions: “Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith,” not only “endured . . . from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted,” but He also still calls and sends ministers through and to His Church to give His people what they need for the life of faith.

1] So that we may obtain this faith, the ministry of teaching the Gospel and administering the Sacraments was instituted. 2] Through the Word and Sacraments, as through instruments, the Holy Spirit is given (John 20:22). He works faith, when and where it pleases God (John 3:8), in those who hear the good news that 3] God justifies those who believe that they are received into grace for Christ's sake. This happens not through our own merits, but for Christ’s sake.

It was His joy to endure the cross for our salvation then. And it is His joy for us to receive that salvation and bring it to the world starting with our own families now. God grant that this may ever be our joy as well. 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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