Eternal Savior Lutheran Church

A member of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod

2688 North Park Drive
Lafayette, CO 80026
303-665-6105
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July 8 – Reactions To The Preaching Of God’s Word

Introduction:  Grace be to you and peace, from God our Father, and from our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ.  Our text is the Gospel Lesson just read, from Mark 6.  We begin with prayer.

 

Dear fellow disciples of our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ:

  • It is a difficult circumstance that we find ourselves in when it comes to “hearing the Word of God.”  There are a number of factors which make this whole prospect quite difficult, and yet we know that God is, that He exists, that He has power and authority, and that He has the right of hold us accountable.  We also  know that God is love – and that His Word must be a good Word, one filled with love for us, directing us in paths that are good and blessed.
  • So, on the one hand we are intrigued to “hear” the Word of God, to know it, and understand it, and incorporate it into our lives and being.  However, there are some difficulties with this.  First, we also can be accurately described, as we heard in the OT Lesson, as “a nation of rebels,” and as “impudent and stubborn, a rebellious house.”   When we actually hear the Word of God, we may decide it is too challenging and contrary to our sinful desires, and therefore reject it. 
  • Second, God has chosen a delivery system for His Word going out into the world that we often find objectionable – people, human beings, are charged with this task.  This creates two negative dynamics in our minds – first, we don’t really want any human being to be in the place of God over us, talking His Word down to us; and second, we recognize the weaknesses and foibles of those commissioned to speak God’s Word, including the possibility that they could be misleading us [and we all know this happens frequently in the world].  So we reject God’s delivery system, those who speak His Word to us.  We see this in the first part of  the Gospel Lesson, in the reaction people had even toward Jesus.  And Jesus warns His disciples that there will be places where people will not receive His servants.
  • So we must take great care – lest we be misled by false prophets, liars, and charlatans; and lest we become so prideful and/or rebellious that we thrust the Word of God away from us and repudiate it. 
  • And in that we also have been charged with speaking the Word of God to others, and spreading the Word of God’s grace, mercy, and forgiveness into all the world, we should be understanding about what that means and how we will be received.  What is of first importance is to understand that:

 

I.  God’s Preachers Are Chosen, Appointed, And Empowered By God

 

A.  This Is Certainly True Of Those Commissioned To Preach And Speak His Word Publicly, In The Office Of The Public Ministry

 

OT LESSON [To Ezekiel]  “Son of man, I send you to the people of Israel.  . . .  I send you to them and you shall say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God.’  And whether they hear or refuse to hear [for they are a rebellious house] they will know that a prophet has been among them.”

 

EPISTLE LESSON – Paul’s revelations and visions, thorn in the flesh, command to speak and preach in spite of all weaknesses and afflictions, in the assurance of God’s blessing.

 

Text:  Jesus commissions the twelve, giving them authority over unclean spirits, and to preach and teach the message of the Kingdom, the Gospel of God’s gracious mercy and forgiveness.

 

Eph. 4:10,11  “He who descended is the same also as He who ascended up far above all heavens, that He might fill all things.   And truly He gave some to be apostles, and some to be prophets, and some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers.”

B.  All Christians Have Been Commissioned To Speak And Teach God’s Word To Others

 

1 Pet. 2:9  “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you might speak of the praises of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.”

 

 

Statement:  There is nothing we can do about the speaking of God’s Word in the world – God chooses, appoints, empowers, and sends people to do this.  And we are among them – in our own various offices and vocations that God has placed us in, whether teachers, parents, counselors, friends or elders.  This means that we must learn to both LISTEN faithfully to the Word of God, and that we also take great care to SPEAK the Word of God faithfully to others. 

 

And we recognize this to be a great blessing – for God is love, and He has provided us with a wondrous redemption and salvation in Christ Jesus, and this is the greatest and best good news that any human being can receive. 

 

Application:  But this means a bit of work for us – to study and learn the Word of God which we are to faithfully pass on the others, first, so that we may be discerning between truth and error, between the Word of God and that of the false prophets in the world.  Second, so that we pass on to others only the pure milk of the Word of God, and nothing that poisons or harms the souls of other people – especially our children.

 

Transition:  And it also means that we must understand the nature of our God-given task – and what it will mean for us in our daily lives, and in our relationships, for:

 

II.  Like Jesus, Those Who Speak And Teach God’s Word To Others Are Often Despised And Rejected

 

OT Lesson:  “Whether they hear or refuse to hear [for they are a rebellious house].”

 

Text:  “And they took offense at Him.  And Jesus said to them, ‘A prophet is not without honor, except in his hometown and among his relative and in his own household.  And He could do no mighty work there . . . and He marveled because of their unbelief.”

 

Text:  “[Of disciples]  And if any place will not receive you and they will not listen to you, when you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them.”

 

Statement:  So again, we are placed in these difficult dynamics – we certainly want to hear and receive the blessings of God’s Word, but we know there are false prophets, and we know that our own rebellious flesh rejects God’s Word.

 

Likewise, we want to speak the blessed encouragement and wisdom of God’s Word to others, but we understand that there will be a great deal of rejection and argument against us. 

 

Application:   So again, we must have certainty in these matters – that God has indeed commissioned us to speak His Word, and certainty that we are speaking His Word truthfully and faithfully – so that when others reject His Word we have no qualms about “shaking off the dust that is on our feet as a testimony against them.”

 

Transition:  And we must always have great confidence in this, knowing that:

 

III.  It Is God Who Makes His Servants Strong, And No One Prevails Against God

OT LESSON:  “And whether they hear or refuse to hear [for they are a rebellious house] they will know that a prophet has been among them.”

 

A.  So Let Us Take Care To Do As He Bids Us – Speaking And Teaching His Word Faithfully To Others, Regardless Of Whether They Reject It Or What They May Try To Do To Us

 

B.  And Let Us Not Fear But Disregard Those Who Reject His Word And Reject Us – They Will Still Have To Face God For Their Rebellion And Unbelief

 

Text:  “Shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them.”

 

Statement:  Again, the circumstances that we find ourselves in are quite difficult – but the Word of God is not all that difficult, and the main things are quite simple – God’s gracious mercy and forgiveness and love, and the principles of decency and goodness in life.   

 

Application:  Let us take care that we do not reject God’s Word for any reason whatsoever – keeping close watch over our own sinful flesh.  Let us take care that we discern and reject false prophets.  And let us take great care and concern as to what we teach to others – both in our living and in our speaking, that we may truly represent God and His Word.  This means study and learning – but it is all beneficial to us, and enjoyable in God’s love.

 

Conclusion:  There is great joy in living in the truth of God’s gracious mercy, forgiveness, and love.  And there is joy in the wisdom of knowing His good will, the difference between right and wrong, goodness and wickedness.  And there is joy in being among those who bring this blessedness to others by our speaking and teaching.  God grant such joy to each of us in abundance!  Amen.

 

Votum:  And the peace of God, which surpasses all human understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds in the true faith, which is in Christ Jesus, even unto life everlasting, Amen.