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By the power of the Word

Isaiah 55:6-11

Pastor David Ernst

Epiphany Lutheran Mission of La Caramuca  
Barinas, Venezuela

Play MP3 of this sermon

Sun, May 6, 2018 

Christ is risen!

He iss risen indeed!

In our reading of the Old Testament and in the gospel for today, we have promises about words. In the book of Isaiah we have the promise of those that come from the mouth of God. In the Gospel according to St. John, a promise of those that come out of our mouths.

Isaiah 55: 10-11 says thus: For as the rain comes down from heaven, and snow, and does not return there, but waters the earth, and causes it to germinate and produce, and gives seed to the sower and bread to the one who eat, so shall my word be that goes out of my mouth; it will not return to me empty, before it will do what I want, and it will be prospered in that for which I sent it.

Through this passage we understand the ministry of the Word and the sacraments. The word that comes from the mouth of God is the plan of salvation in Jesus Christ. According to the first chapter of the Gospel of Saint John, Jesus is this word, He is the plan of salvation. This message, fully revealed in the person and work of Jesus Christ, always has an impact. The Lord himself gave the church the work of proclaiming his Word. Every Sunday when the pastor preaches this Word, the Holy Spirit is active in preaching. Therefore, the power of the Word does not depend on the person of the pastor.

There are requirements to be a pastor of the church. One must be able to teach, able to speak in public. Beyond his talents, the pastor must be an example in his personal life. However, the pastor is like a trumpet or guitar. We look for a high quality instrument to make music. But, no matter its quality of craftsmanship, the guitar can make music by itself. The musician makes the music. Also the church as a whole is like a telephone. The phone does not say anything by itself. The telephone is a platform to hear someone's words over a distance.

In this season, in many parts of the world as in Venezuela, the rain arrives for the crops. The farmers depend on the Lord to send the rain. As the Lord responds to the prayers for the rain, He also sends His Word to touch hearts and the Word always does it. This is comfort for us, because many times the impact of the Word is not evident in our eyes. The church is not crowded. It seems that many people do not listen, but we have the promise that, on the contrary, the Word always reaches their hearts.

There are two parts of the Word of God, the Law and the Gospel. The Law is God's will for us to live as his children. The summary of the 10 Commandments is that you love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your mind and all your strength; also, you love your neighbor as yourself. But none of us have fulfilled this Law perfectly because we are sinners. We have the sinful nature of the inheritance of Adam and Eve. But the second part of the Word of God is the good news of the new life in Jesus Christ. He fulfilled the Law in our places; he suffered and died in our places; and on the third day he rose again to win for us the certainty that we will be resurrected one day to live with him forever.

We preach the Law first to call people to repentance. First, they must be convicted of sin and recognize their need for a Savior. After this recognition, we preach the Gospel of salvation and eternal life in Christ. The fruits of this proclamation, by the power of the Holy Spirit is baptism and perseverance and growth in faith by the work of the Holy Spirit in the preaching and sacrament of Holy Communion.

Today we baptize Emmanuel David Sánchez Santana and for him the work of the Holy Spirit in his life begins. The Law convinces us of our sin, but without faith in Jesus Christ only condemns us. The Spirit gives the gift of faith in baptism. Also today is the first communion of Génesis Noeli Marquina Villamizar, one of the first baptized in our mission. In her the work of the Spirit continues.

We receive the gift of faith in baptism and the presence of the Spirit inside our hearts bears fruit in good works. We walk in the Lord's way with the help of the Holy Spirit, we avoid sexual immorality, drugs and all the bad things that unbelievers cheat. We enjoy, then the patience, the joy and the hope of the Lord.

Also, in our gospel (John 16: 23-30), we have the promise that God hears all the words that come out of our mouths for the name of Jesus. He ascended into heaven to be seated at the right hand of the Father to be our Advocate before the Father. He is our High Priest, that is, the only Mediator between the Father and men. There is no other name given for this purpose, nor the name of the Virgin, nor of the saints.

All that because we are children of God by adoption in baptism. We receive the name of Christ, we are Christians by baptism. That is why we can pray to God as our heavenly Father, as Jesus taught his disciples. We remain in the new life by the work of the Spirit in the Holy Supper, the communion of the body and blood of Christ in, under and with the bread and wine. This is the ministry of the Word and the sacraments. We give thanks for the baptism of Emmanuel David and the first communion of Genesis because our mission as a church is for all have the abundant life in Christ now and forever. In this is the peace that surpasses all understanding. Amen.

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