Saturday, August 20, 2016

Pentecost 14 - Proper 16

Proper 16
21 August 2016
Luke 13:22–30

The Cross of Christ Is the Way into the Kingdom of God

Almighty God, You gave Your only-begotten Son to take our nature upon Himself. Grant that we, Your adopted children by grace, may be renewed by Your Holy Spirit; through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

The words of Jesus. Are not always puppy dogs and rainbows. The words of Jesus are often serious, severe, dangerous, and life threatening. Mark them well.  “Then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in your presence, and you taught in our streets.’ “But he will say, ‘I tell you, I do not know you…I do not know where you come from. Depart from me, all you workers of evil!’ Vv.26-27

The devil knows your name. But calls you by your sin. Christ knows your sin. But calls you by your name.[1] In baptism, you were buried with Christ into His death. He raises you up. By His glorious resurrection. To live a new life. It’s not all about you. Christ proves this point by His words this day.

The faith is more than a simple expression of approval of Jesus. The articulation of a true faith is more than saying, “Jesus, he's my friend.” The confession of a true faith is more than, “Jesus is just alright with me.”[2] Today we need to consider the words of Jesus carefully.   

People from every nation enter through the narrow door of righteousness. Every person would like to know if he is going to make it to heaven. “Heaven” is the same as being “saved,” as being “right with God.” Jesus makes it clear that not all who think they are going will get there. We need to know where we stand and know of the necessity of being in a right standing with Jesus Christ. On this subject, we must be clear.

Who then shall be saved?

1. Not necessarily one nation or race – v. 29 “People will come from east and west and north and south, and will take their places at the feast in the kingdom of God.”

A. The Father is no respecter of persons. Scripture is so clear on this matter. “Whoever calls on the Name of the Lord shall be saved”. {Acts 2:21} “For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.” {Romans 10:13}

B. It’s a matter of faith.  “He who believes and is baptized shall be saved.” {Mark 16: 16} “He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” {John 3:18} “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him." {John 3:36} “They said, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” {Acts 16:31}
Transition: Who then shall be saved? Not necessarily one particular nation or race. Nor those who claim church membership.

2. Not necessarily church people – Vv.26-27 ‘Then you will say, 'We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.' "But he will reply, 'I don't know you or where you come from. Away from me, all you evildoers!'

A. Your pious deeds. As good as they appear before your neighbor. Can’t cut it. The Lord is seeking a people with contrite hearts living in repentance. "Therefore bear fruits in keeping with repentance, and do not begin to say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham for our father,' for I say to you that from these stones God is able to raise up children to Abraham.” {Luke 3:8} Then the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, "Who is this man who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, but God alone?" {Luke 5:21}

B. But to those who seek Him. He is more then able to absolve and heal. The prayer of confession needs to be ours prayer daily. Almighty God, our maker and redeemer, we poor sinners confess unto You that we are by nature sinful and unclean and that we have sinned against You by thought, word and deed. We flee for refuge to Your infinite mercy, seeking and imploring Your grace for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ.[3]

Transition: Who then shall be saved? Not necessarily one particular nation or race. Nor those who claim church membership. It belongs to those who walk by faith.

3. But they who walk through the narrow door of obedience – Vv. 24-25 Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to. Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and pleading, 'Sir, open the door for us.' "But he will answer, 'I don't know you or where you come from.'

A. The word “strive” in the Greek (“agonizomai,”) is from whence our word “agonize” comes. Think how many who were very confident that they should be saved because they placed their confidence in themselves. They had faith in their faith!  Can they stand in the day of trial? Their confidences will deceive them. Do you agonize over your salvation or your neighbor’s? Do you agonize over the prevailing attitude of this world; which responds, with a shrug, and says, “Whatever!”?

B. Our Savior came to guide men's consciences. Not to gratify their curiosity. Ask not, how many shall be saved? But, Shall I be one of them? Ask not, what shall become of such and such person? Rather, what shall I do? And what will become of you? Strive to enter in at the strait gate. These words are directed to each of us. All that will be saved, must enter in at the strait gate. That gate, that narrow door, that entrance, is none other than the person and work of Jesus Christ.  

You are redeemed, rescued and delivered from sin, death, and Satan’s power by grace through faith - not by good deeds, healthy habits, and life-style choices. The test of true faith is centered in Jesus Christ.

Passive Sentences -11%
Reading Ease –83.6%
Reading Level – 4.4

[1] Quote attributed to Ricardo Sanchez
[2] “Jesus is just alright with me.” The Art Reynolds Singers, from their 1966 album, "Tellin' It Like It Is."
[3] Words of Confession Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis

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