Sixth Sunday after Pentecost 12/07/2020

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Pentecost 6 Sermon- 7/12/20- Kaiserslautern Ev. Lutheran Church- Germany- Pastor Joe Asher, LCMS- GOD’S WORD ACCOMPLISHES ITS PURPOSE, Isaiah 55:10-13  *IN NOMINE JESU*

Isaiah 55:10-13

10 “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven
    and do not return there but water the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
    giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
11 so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
    it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
    and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.

12 “For you shall go out in joy
    and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and the hills before you
    shall break forth into singing,
    and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
13 Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress;
    instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle;
and it shall make a name for the Lord,
    an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.”

Grace, mercy, and peace be unto you from God our Father, and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Today, we will direct our attention to the great prophet Isaiah who lived around 740 BC, and at this time in history, he was a spokesman for God at a time when the people of Judah (the southern kingdom of Israel) had turned their back on the Lord and had alienated themselves from Yahweh.

Because of foreign influence and their own wicked kings, the people of Israel forgot about the true God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in order to worship the worthless idols of foreign gods.  And the chosen descendants of the patriarchs also determined to live rebellious and sinful lives without any thought to God’s Word and will.

And so for most of the first thirty-nine chapters of the Book of Isaiah, the great prophet was a powerful witness for the living God… at a time when few wanted to hear about Him or from Him.

So Isaiah keeps warning the people that without repentance and faith, God’s judgement is coming.  

But there is much more from Isaiah than just warnings and calls to repentance.  Isaiah provides the most comprehensive prophetic picture of Jesus Christ in the entire Old Testament.  The Messiah’s coming is announced in Isaiah 40:3-5.  We are also told that Jesus would be born of a virgin, Isaiah 7:14.  We are further informed that the Christ will bring the good news- Isaiah 61:1.  Also, that our Lord will submit to a sacrificial death- Isaiah 52 and 53.  In the New Testament in Matthew 20:18-19, the details are further clarified as Jesus, Himself, tells us that He will be 

“betrayed to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will turn him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified. On the third day he will be raised to life!”

This Gospel message, that Jesus came to pay for the world’s sin with His holy precious blood and innocent suffering and death, is life-changing.  Nailed to the cross, in Christ we see God’s love for

sinful humanity.  And since Jesus rescues us completely, our response must be to trust Him in faith live for Him in this world.

In today’s Isaiah 55 reading, our Lord wants us to know that we can trust His Word.   In verse 10, Yahweh compares His Word with the rain and snow which comes down from heaven.  And in this imagery, we see what God wants us to understand… that as water gives life to the earth, making plants sprout and produce, in the same way God’s Word gives life to all who receive it.

We are told in 2nd Timothy 3:16 that-

All Scripture is God-breathed…

… or, we could say, “inspired.”  And this indicates that we can locate God’s truth in the pages of the Bible.  God’s Word declares our sinfulness as wrong, and corrects us  and trains us in godly living.  We also know that the holy Word of God is a light guiding us in this dark world. (Psalm 119:105)  And so the Scriptures are relevant to every difficult problem we face, for Jesus said in John 6:63-

The words I have spoken to you are spirit, and they are life.

In the Bible we literally can hear Christ’s voice, and the truth of Holy Scripture has the power to give us peace in our Savior as well as transform our lives and produce Christian growth and fruit.  For as Romans 1:16 tells us, the Gospel is the power of God for salvation to all who believe.

So, if the Bible is vital to our Christian lives and the foundation to our knowing God, and if the Word connects us to Jesus and accomplishes God’s purpose, then why is there such Biblical illiteracy in our lives today?

I believe the answer is that we are distracted by so many things, and we don’t recognize the IMPORTANCE of God’s Word, and we simply don’t put the first thing… first.  

I love the example of Mary and Martha in Luke 10 where Martha was running around the house and trying to get something prepared, while Mary was sitting at Jesus’ feet and being taught by her Lord. Martha complained to Jesus about the fact that she was doing all the work.  Luke 10:40-42-

“Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” 41 But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, 42 but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”

Like Martha, we are also anxious and troubled and distracted with so many things, and Jesus would have us put first things first.  And when you think about it, what is absolutely essential in our lives is Jesus, Himself.

Now to the world, the Word of God, the Gospel, the good news of Jesus seems like such a weak thing.  Non-Christians laugh at the thought of Christians going as chaplains into prisons, or missionaries to Islamic countries, or evangelists into tent meetings, or even preachers like me on this internet video stream.  The world heckles and taunts the notion that the message of Jesus on the cross and His resurrection for the salvation of all believers can do anything in this conflict-filled world.  The enemies of Christ ridicule the Gospel and say it is a myth, and they scornfully conclude that in the face of COVID-19, and racial division, and political vitriol, and economic upheaval… they conclude that words from and about some dead Carpenter who lived two thousand years ago can’t possibly have any impact on our broken world, or anyone’s broken life.

But as Christians, we respond that our Carpenter/ Savior Jesus isn’t dead.  He is risen.  And in the power of the Holy Spirit, the Good News of Christ and God’s living, powerful Word can change lives today.  As Christians, we maintain that Jesus is the Answer to all the world’s problems. 

Christ is the Answer to COVID-19, for there is more to our reality than this fallen pestilential world.  According to His divine Word and will, Jesus sustains our lives on this globe, and further gives us eternal life with Him in heaven.

Christ is the Answer to racial division, because our Savior unites hearts in Him in faith and love, regardless of one’s color of skin.  Jesus bridges the gap of culture and heritage and bitterness and hatred and with His Spirit, and the Spirit gives us the power to love others in Him.  Jesus said, John 13:35-

35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Jesus is the Answer to political conflict, for His Word teaches in Ephesians 4:32- 

Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

And our Lord Jesus is also the Answer for our world’s economic woes, for we know that in every time of our lives, God and His Word sustains us in this world, and NOT our bank account.

And here is the point- while God’s Word seems weak to our world, Isaiah 55 tells us that the Word accomplishes God’s purpose, and succeeds in the things which He determines.  And ultimately, God’s purpose is to lead us to His Answer- Jesus our Savior.  Again, Isaiah 55 tells us-

11 so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
    it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
    and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.

And this is the good news!  Because God uses the weak and lowly and even foolish things (1 Corinthians 1:27-31) in the world’s eyes to accomplish His great purpose, which is saving sinners like you and me.  And not only does our Lord save us by His Gospel, He also gives us a new life in Christ which transcends our day-to-day experience and gives us an eternal perspective.

But brothers and sisters in Christ, we will never have an eternal perspective unless we look to Christ and connect with our Savior through His Word.  And that is why the simple and small thing of having daily devotions in God’s Word is so important.  For when we are in God’s Word, we put first things first.

And when we are in God’s Word we see that the central theme is God’s LOVE for us.  It comes down to the John 3:16 message that-

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

Jesus is the Answer not just for our broken world or those with broken lives, Jesus is the Answer for all of us, for we all- deep in our souls- desire a restored life in God through the Son.  

In Jesus’ name.  Amen.  

+Sola Deo Gloria+

KELC PRAYERS- Pentecost 6- 7/12/20

Gracious heavenly Father– In kindness to us, You have given us Your holy Word so that we may know Your will for our lives as well as the grace You have given to us Jesus our Savior.  By Your Holy Spirit, help us put first things first, so that we may daily spend time in Your Word and receive the great benefits it gives, chiefly life and peace in Christ our Redeemer.

Lord in Your mercy……………. Hear our prayer.

Christ our Savior, we are disturbed by the recent increase in racial tension throughout our globe.  We pray that you would unite all hearts through faith in You, and in this way bring harmony and understanding and justice to all people.  By Your Holy Spirit, teach us to love our neighbor as ourselves, regardless of racial and cultural differences.

Lord in Your mercy…………………. Hear our prayer.

Blessed Holy Spirit, teach us the way to live through the truth of Scripture, so that we may live lives which are pleasing to You.  Strengthen us against the enemy, and defeat sin in our lives, so that we may live for Christ Jesus each day.

Lord in Your mercy………………… Hear our prayer.

Finally, Lord, in our families and among our friends and co-workers there are many who are in need of Your care.  For those who are sick, hospitalized, away on duty assignments, traveling, unemployed, lonely,  and for all other needs, we name our loved ones in our hearts before you now…


Lord in Your mercy/ hear our prayer…

Into Your hands, O Lord, we commend all for whom we pray, trusting in Your mercy through Your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

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