Saturday, August 14, 2010

Pentecost 12 - Proper 15

August 15, 2010
Pentecost 12 – Proper 15
Luke 12:51
The fire of God’s Word divides
Go in Peace or to Pieces

Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division. - Luke 12:51
We usually think of Jesus in terms of the Prince of Peace. Our Gospel lesson reminds us there is another side of Jesus and His effect. He can also cause trouble, controversy, disharmony, and division. Jesus will have no cheap peace. Sometimes He says, “Go in peace,” but other times people go to pieces in terms of disagreement and division. Jesus is telling us that it is not His way to have peace at any price; agreement with falsehood, compromise with evil. When Jesus enters as truth, love, and goodness people divide themselves pro and con. It is said that wherever St. Paul preacher there was either a revival or a riot. With Jesus there is no neutral ground: you are either for or against Him. The division occurs even in the close-knit family: some for, some against – Jesus.
How Jesus causes division.
1. He speaks the Truth.

A. If the Word had not been preached the world would have gone on undisturbed. But the preaching of the Word causes divisions, not because of God or because of the Word, but because of the utter sinfulness of man.

B. This is why Jesus came preaching both Law as well as Gospel. In the Gospel of John the Savior reminds us, “If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin. Now, however, they have no excuse for their sin. He who hates me hates my Father as well. If I had not done among them what no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin. But now they have seen these miracles, and yet they have hated both me and my Father. But this is to fulfill what is written in their Law: ‘They hated me without reason.” - John 15:22-25 The sin of Jesus' enemies are both deliberate and inexcusable. The miracles Jesus performed and the words He had spoken were clear. They were light and life. But they would have noting of it. They could not take Jesus’ clear word. Human nature has not changed. People will embrace Him and champion His cause or they will reject, refuse and revolt.

Transition: Jesus causes division when He speaks the truth. He causes division when He refuses to compromise.

2. He refuses to compromise principles.

A. The sinless Christ suffered at the hands of His own people. They finally brought Him to death. The fire of God is not necessarily an eternal flame. Luther “The Gospel is sometimes like a refreshing summer shower. It can go from one place to the other.” Where is the center or world Christianity today? It resides in the continent of Africa.

B. The fire of God can and sadly sometimes goes out.
1. By the water of worldliness.
2. By smothering the fire by the cares of this life.
3. By letting it burn out for lack of fuel. Sometimes it’s rust out instead of burn out.

Transition: Jesus causes division when He speaks the truth. He causes division when He refuses to compromise, and when He lives by love.

3. He lives by love.

A. The fire of God’s love can and must be used for good.
1. The fire is contagious.
2. If a Christian is on fire for God, those who come in contact are set on fire too.

B. Christians, followers of Jesus are to be spiritual arsonists. As we gossip the Gospel we want to deliberately set others on fire with the Gospel of Christ.
1. Jesus tells us “I have come to set fire to this earth
2. Where will the next fire be set? Who will set it? What will be the result riot or revival?
Christ’s suffering in the fire for us enables us to endure the heat. The writer to the Hebrews reminds us that Jesus, “endured the cross despising the shame” {Hebrews 12:2} He did all this for you. In the midst of our struggles we “consider Him who endured from sinners such hostility against Himself” so that we do not grow weary or fainthearted.” He suffered itself in your place when He was forsaken by His Father so that you will not be rejected. Your baptism into His baptism of death is the pledge that you will be with Him in Paradise. He uses the fiery trials you experience as a Christian to refine, purify and disciple you. True. The cost of discipleship is great, but He paid the ultimate price in your place and now uses even trials for your benefit.

Face of Christ

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