Preached by Eliezer Mendoza, pastor of Cristo es Amor Lutheran Church, Barquisimeto, Venezuela.
We read in the Old Testament lesson of the sending of the prophets. God again and again sent His prophets. Why did He send the prophets? To call His people to repentance. Again and again hHe called them to repentance through the prophets, to turn to the Word, to remain in the Word. Thus Moses wrote in the Old Testament reading last week (Deuteronomy 10: 12-21):
“Now, then, Israel, what does Jehovah your God ask of you, but fear the Lord your God, that you walk in all his ways, and that you love him, and serve Jehovah your God with all your heart, and with all your soul; may you keep the commandments of Jehovah and his statutes, which I prescribe today for your good? ”
Again and again God proclaimed His Word in the midst of the people, but the people walked away from God's Word and worshiped other gods and fell into vices. All humans have walked away from the Word of God. Paul says in Romans 3: 10-12, “As it is written: There is no righteous, not even one. There is no one who understands, there is no one who seeks God. Everyone deviated from the path, they became useless; there is no one who does good, there is not even one. ”
The deep corruption of human nature extended to the people of God. The Jews did not recognize the Word of God, even in Jesus Christ, the incarnate Word, and in the end they killed him because they trust in their own works and their own righteousness.
Brothers, how many times has God called us to remain in the Word? We, too, are certainly slaves to sin. We too have fallen. We share the same corruption.
"They answered him: We are Abraham's seed, and we were never slaves of anyone." God's promise to Abraham that they had as inheritance, they became proud and killed the Son of God. At the time of Luter, the church relied on its own power and its own works, contrary to the Word of God. It demanded sacrifices from the people, including sacrifices for the deceased. God raised Martin Luther to call the church to return to the true Word: The gospel of salvation by the grace of Christ, not by our own merits.
Dear brothers, good works do not save you. We confess in the liturgy that we have not loved God as He deserves, or our neighbor as ourselves. Sunday after Sunday, we confess that if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves. We cannot save ourselves.
Jesus said to them, "If you remain in my word, you will truly be my disciples; and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." In which Word should we remain? Not in the Word of the Law, but in the Gospel, the good news of Jesus Christ.
Jesus remained in the Word. When he was tempted in the desert, three times he says, "It is written." When he died on the cross, he said to his Father, "Into Your hands I entrusts my spirit." Jesus fulfilled the Word in our places. Jesus is the Word, the Gospel. Amen.
Dear baptized, baptism is a gift of water lives. In baptism, God frees us from slavery. But, in baptism we are called to remain in faith. Dear confirmed, first communion is not a rite of graduation. Through this sacrament, God helps us to remain in the faith. We are called to hear the Word Sunday after Sunday, and Sunday after Sunday we receive the body and blood of Jesus Christ. By these means, we remain in faith until eternal life. Amen.
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