Eternal Savior Lutheran Church

A member of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod

2688 North Park Drive
Lafayette, CO 80026
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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:

  • Poor Ezekiel! But at least God informed him as to what he would experience in his ministry of God’s Word to His people.  He describes Ezekiel’s audience as “REBELLIOUS, SINFUL, IMPUDENT, AND STUBBORN.” 
  • This is really not a very good thing. Imagine if God were to have to call us the same thing!  And who would really want to have to speak to an audience like this? 
  • In this Old Testament Lesson we also see that while “God wills all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth,” even if people refuse to hear they will at least know “that a prophet has been among them.”
  • This is the same thing that we see in our text, in Jesus’ instruction to the twelve. “If they will not listen to you, when you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them.”
  • It is such a sad and sorry reality that God loves us so much and seeks to give us so much, but man’s sinful nature is strongly opposed to God. And so we must remember that:


I.  All People Are This Way By Nature – Rebellious, Sinful, Impudent, And Stubborn, And Also All Descendants – So We Must Beware 


Text:  “On the Sabbath [Jesus] began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard Him were astonished, saying, ‘Where did this man get these things?  What is the wisdom given to Him?  How are such mighty works done by His hands?  Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon?  And are not His sisters here with us?’  And they took offense at Him.”


Statement:  Isn’t it interesting that rather than rejoicing in His astonishing teaching and His mighty works the people of His hometown were “offended” at Him, and rejected Him!  But you see, Jesus’ hearers were the descendants of the people God described to Ezekiel!  It is fascinating that even having experienced “miraculous” signs and wonders done by Jesus, they rather interpreted things differently and rejected Jesus!


Application:  We also are descendants – of people who were likewise sinful, and also rebellious, impudent, and stubborn at times.  So it should not surprise us that we find the same kind of negativity toward Jesus in our own hearts and minds.  We can say that we wouldn’t have reacted this way to Jesus if we had met Him face to face, and actually heard His preaching and observed His miracles.  But our interface with Jesus today is with His church – with those who are preachers and teachers of His Word, with those who are our fellow believers, and with the mission of the church.  If we are bored with church, tired of working on things at church, perhaps irritated at other people at church, or just lazy and lethargic in our commitment to Jesus’ church – well, this is our response to Jesus, who calls us to love one another and to make disciples of all nations. 


Transition:  And all of this is also very sad and counterproductive, for Jesus shows us that:


II.  Such Rebellion, Sin, Impudence, And Stubbornness Negates God’s Ability To Bless Us


Text:  “Jesus said to them, ‘A prophet is not without honor, except in his hometown and among his relatives and in his own household.’  And He could do no mighty work there, except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them.  And He marveled because of their unbelief.”


Statement:  This is generally true, and I suppose is something akin to the observation that “familiarity breeds contempt.”  I’m sure there are a number of sinful dynamics in all of this.  But the bottom line is that if the people rejected Ezekiel, and if they reject Jesus, this is also a rejection of God.


Application:  Perhaps this is why it is at times easy to grow complacent and almost cynical about the life and fellowship of the church.  We get so accustomed to it, familiar with it, that we become somewhat contemptuous of it.  But obviously, this is precisely what God meant when He described the children of Israel as “REBELLIOUS, SINFUL, IMPUDENT, AND STUBBORN.”   So we are warned to beware of this, and to repent, and to return to Jesus for forgiveness and cleansing and renewal. 


Transition:  And this is what God expects His servants, those who speak His Word, to do!  For:


III.  In Spite Of This Sinful Rebellion, God Continues To Send His Servants To Us


Text:  “He called the twelve and began to send them out two by two.”


A.  They Are Sent To Preach The Good News, Just As Jesus Did


Mark 1:14,15  “Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’”


B.  They Were To Provide Other Blessings To God’s People


Text:  “He gave them authority over evil spirits . . . And they cast out many demons and anointed with oil many who were sick and healed them.


C.  And They Were Also, Like Ezekiel, To Convict Of Sin And Unbelief


Text:  “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.  So they went out and proclaimed that people should repent.” 


Statement:  The work of God’s servants is much the same today.  While there is much less cause for exorcisms today, and we have modern medicine, nonetheless we still pray for healing, and we certainly still make encroachments on the devil’s territory as we preach and teach the Word of God, the good news of the Gospel!  And it is also true that our very activity and presence convicts and demonstrates that God’s ministry is still present.   It is as Paul wrote to the Ephesians [4:11,12]  “And Christ gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ.”


Application:  So let us take heed to the call to repentance, and to humble faith in Jesus, so that we may live in His love, receive His blessings, and devote ourselves to His church.  And let us take care to protect against cynicism and apathy toward the church, lest we become “REBELLIOUS, SINFUL, IMPUDENT, AND STUBBORN.”  For as we see in our Epistle Lesson:


IV.  The Antidote To Boasting And Rebelliousness Is God’s Discipline


Epistle:  “So to keep me from being too elated by the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from being too elated.”


Statement:  While such “thorns” and discipline from God is good, it is as Scripture states:  “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful.” [Heb. 12:11]  It would be better not to need it! 


Application:  This we can do if we allow God’s Word to humble us in repentance, and if we dwell in His gracious love.  Then Jesus can accomplish great things for us, and through us.  This is far preferable!


Conclusion:  So let us remember that we too have this same rebellious and impudent sinful nature.  But it is certain that God has been in our midst, calling us to repentance and faith in His gracious love.


May we rejoice to give Jesus proper honor and deference, that He continue to do His mighty works of blessing us here!  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.