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7-7-19 Sermon

July 7, 2019     Luke 10:1-20 

 

Let us pray: Dear Heavenly Father, You sent Your Son among us to reveal Your grace, to proclaim Your forgiveness, that we might have eternal life in Your heavenly kingdom. Please empower and inspire us to serve as messengers—ambassadors--disciples of Your kingdom. Through the power of Your Holy Spirit, please strengthen us for service and witness, that we might reveal Your redeeming grace to others. This we ask in Jesus holy name. Amen.

 

Last week we heard how Jesus turned His face to go to Jerusalem. But along the way, the Samaritans rejected Him, so James and John asked Jesus: “LORD, do You want fire to come down from heaven and consume them?”

 

At first we might think that’s quite harsh. But in all honesty such a response has crossed our minds in regards to a few choice people in this world, too!

 

But Jesus didn’t like that idea, so He rebukes them. In fact the wrath of God coming down from heaven would be directed toward Jesus. Jesus was going to Jerusalem--to go to the cross, taking the sin of the entire world upon himself.

So instead of fire, today we hear that Jesus sends His disciples out 2-by-2--to go into every town and place where He Himself was about to go. Their one and only purpose was to bring peace in the name of Jesus.

People, in every time and every place, have been burned by their own sins, and by the sins of others, sometimes even by friends. They already knew the fires of pain and grief and troubles. What they needed was peace, forgiveness, a new way to live life. They just didn’t know where to get it. So they needed someone to tell them.

That’s the very reason Jesus sends out pairs of disciples to proclaim the very One who had come to make peace between God and man by way of the cross. But, Jesus says, it won’t be easy. It will be like lambs in the midst of wolves.

 

Sin broke this peace and satan wants it to stay broken. He wants to make our lives miserable. Without Jesus, the wolves always devour the lambs, it is not so with God. With God, the Lamb wins.

 

Followers of Jesus are to go and proclaim peace. When Jesus was born, the angels proclaimed: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace goodwill toward man”. We have been blessed to know the peacemaker Jesus. And our purpose is to share the good news of peace, and forgiveness in the name of Jesus. Jesus doesn’t want anyone to perish. God’s Word calls us to repentance, calls us to faith, calls us to forgiveness and life.

The kingdom of God has come near us, because we have heard and accepted Jesus as the way the truth and the life. That’s good news!

 

So can you see yourself as one of the 72 that Jesus sent out? Or are you one of those who have rejected the Word? Rejecting the parts you don’t like, ignoring the parts that are inconvenient, skipping the parts that aren’t popular or politically correct. or maybe the parts that condemn what you like to do?

 

What do you think would happen if 72 of us went out from St. Luke’s—going door to door in Garfield sharing the good news of Jesus and blessing those who listen? Restoring those living in sin with a spirit of gentleness. Bearing one another’s burdens? Boasting only in the cross of Christ. These things don’t ignore sin or approve of sin or pretend there is no sin, but recognize the reality of sin and point to the solution: repentance. Any time the Gospel is shared satan is knocked down!

 

Scripture tells us 72 returned with joy at the peace that came through them. I see that joy in many of you. The very word of God is still working and the Spirit still active. The harvest is still growing. Satan’s lies can only be silenced by God’s truth. His accusations and deception silenced by the Spirit’s wisdom when the love of God is shared.

 

The wolf’s teeth are no match for the Lamb’s blood.

The wolf’s hate no match for the Lamb’s love.

The wolf’s appetite no match for the Lamb’s forgiveness.

It may not always look like Christianity is making any progress -- our world is filled with so many problems--so many sins legalized, sins flaunted, sins demanded to be regarded as normal; good is called bad and what’s bad is good. So it comes down to this: who you gonna believe?

 

Your sinful weak self?

 

A proud, fallen world?

 

Or the Lamb of God risen from the dead and ascended to the right hand of the Father?

 

Folks, the team—the body of Christ needs all of its players. When only a few choose to be in the game, the church Body is being deprived and Jesus is marginalized and disobeyed. The victory of Jesus and His kingdom has come near to everyone of us. The peace is given to all who hear His Word and receive it.