Sunday, February 9, 2020

Epiphany 6 Series A

Epiphany 6 - Series A 

Deuteronomy 30:15–20
1 Corinthians 3:1–9
Matthew 5:21–37

Christ Sets Life before Us so that We Can Walk in His Ways

O Lord, graciously hear the prayers of Your people, that we who justly suffer the consequences of our sin ay be mercifully delivered by Your goodness to the glory of Your name; through Jesus Christ Your Son, our lord...

The God who reveals Himself in His incarnate Son promises life and blessing to all who obey His commandments “by loving the Lord your God, by walking in his ways, and by keeping his commandments and his statutes and his rules” (Deuteronomy 30:16). However, we are “people of the flesh” and “infants in Christ” (1 Corinthians 3:1) among whom “there is jealousy and strife” (1 Corinthians 3:3). Jesus must instruct us against the human ways of anger, adultery, divorce and false witness (Matthew 5:21–37), because all who live in these ways “shall surely perish” (Deuteronomy 30:18). On the cross He died to forgive our sins and free us from the ways of curse and death. Since Jesus Christ is our “life and length of days” (Deuteronomy 30:20), we can be reconciled to our brother, live in chastity and marital faithfulness, and speak with honesty. He who serves from His cross also offers His gift of reconciliation at His altar, and we can be at peace with our brothers and sisters in Christ who are “God’s field, God’s building” (1 Corinthians 3:9).

Gilligan's Island - a commentary on the 7 deadly sins

The island is a direct representation of HELL. Nobody on the island wants to be there, yet none are able to leave. Each one of the characters represents one of the 7 deadly sins: 

Gilligan - SATAN - Gilligan is the person who put them there. He prevents them from leaving by foiling all of their escape plots. Also, it is HIS Island. He always wears red.

The Skipper, Jonas Grumby - captain of the SS Minnow - ANGER, GLUTTONY - The Skipper represents two sins: GLUTTONY - no explanation needed; and ANGER - he violently hits Gilligan on each show. 

The Professor - Roy Hinkley PhD -PRIDE - The Professor represents PRIDE - he is an annoying know-it-all. He can make a radio out of a cocoanut but can't repair the SS Minnow.

Mr. Thurston Howell III - GREED - He takes a suitcase full of money on a three hour tour.

Mrs. Eunice Lovelle Wentworth Howell - SLOTH - Mrs. Howell represents SLOTH - she has never lifted a finger to help on any of their escape plans. 

Ginger Grant - The movie star - LUST Ginger represents LUST - she wears skimpy outfits, is obsessed with her looks. 

Mary Ann Summers - ENVY - she is forever jealous of Ginger's beauty.

Sinful Desire
Rev. Dr. Daniel J. Brege
The Sixth Sunday after the Epiphany,
February 16, 2020 (Matthew 5:21-37)

Man’s fallenness began with and now continues with sinful desire.  Even before they grabbed the forbidden fruit Adam and Eve sinned with their desire to have it.  Such sinful desire is often called coveting, which can be defined as a longing for something that over-rides the longing for God and His ways.  Such desire then displaces God, and is the very foundation of sin.  No wonder the Rabbis of Jesus’ day equated coveting with idolatry. St. Paul thus wrote:  Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead…to covetousness, which amounts to idolatry (Col. 3:5). The self-righteous Pharisee named Saul thus came to realize his sinfulness by recognizing his covetous heart (Rom. 7:7).

In Sunday’s Gospel the designer of the world warned:…everyone who looks on a woman to lust for her has committed adultery with her already in his heart (v. 28).  Sexual coveting is sin. Fighting this warning people are prone to ask, “What is so wrong with lusting after a woman (or man)?”  Or they might ask, “Why is adultery so bad?” Simply put, the world’s designer wants to protect families.  He wants to uniquely protect children. He wants to protect the holy institution of marriage, partly because it is a constant biblical illustration of His relationship to His people. God wants to protect what even pagan Greek philosophers realized, that faithful marriage between a man and a woman is foundational to culture and government.

There are other reasons why sexual coveting is clearly wrong and hurtful, but one reason it is wrong is that it harms the person doing such lusting. It is likely that our Lord’s warning about sexual coveting hits the majority of adults with the guilt caused by the law.  However, as is the case with most every sin, sexual coveting can become addictive. And those Christians caught in such addiction bear an extreme weight of guilt. This heavy weight is common in our current society.

Such lust often finds expression in today’s addiction to pornography.  Many, certainly some who are baptized children of God, are caught in this web of pornography.  The following web-related statistics are from Dr. Thad Polk who has studied the horrible results of addiction—uniquely pornography—on the human brain. (Dr. Polk is an LCMS Christian, professor at U of M):  70% of all pay-per-view expenditure on the internet is for pornography; 13% of web searches are for erotic content.  Other statistics show that today’s pornographic addiction extends into members of Christian churches.  Dr. Polk has shown that this addiction actually “restructures” the brain and has many negative effects on the porn addict, such as dissatisfaction with one’s sexual life, movement toward divorce, a negative view toward God’s institution of marriage and towards one’s wife, a perception that a woman is an object to be used, and a preoccupation with pornography that consumes his relationships, his money, his work and other important parts of his life. [Information is from Dr. Polk’s presentation to the COP, 2/2020]

Because some in the secular world recognize the harm done by pornography, they have developed various methods for reversing such addiction.  These methods can be employed effectively. We as the Christian Church however have the ultimate means for dealing with addiction to pornography.  Our means is drawn from the cross of Jesus.  Such sinners (including the majority of people who are not addicts but are yet convicted by the law) are privileged to confess their sin and receive absolution,  that is forgiveness. This forgiveness is given by a specific public or private absolution, but it is also given in the reception of the body and blood of Jesus in the Supper. In this powerful forgiveness of Christ—necessarily applied again and again to a recovering addict—the Christian is able to begin anew and be strengthened to struggle against this evil.  I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Anger - Matthew 5:21-26

Matthew 5:21 
Ἠκούσατε ὅτι ἐρρέθη τοῖς ἀρχαίοις• Οὐ φονεύσεις• ὃς δ’ ἂν φονεύσῃ, ἔνοχος ἔσται τῇ κρίσει.
You have heard that it was said to those of old, 'You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.'

Matthew 5:22 
ἐγὼ δὲ λέγω ὑμῖν ὅτι πᾶς ὁ ὀργιζόμενος τῷ ἀδελφῷ [d]αὐτοῦ ἔνοχος ἔσται τῇ κρίσει• ὃς δ’ ἂν εἴπῃ τῷ ἀδελφῷ αὐτοῦ• Ῥακά, ἔνοχος ἔσται τῷ συνεδρίῳ• ὃς δ’ ἂν εἴπῃ• Μωρέ, ἔνοχος ἔσται εἰς τὴν γέενναν τοῦ πυρός.
But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, 'You fool!' will be liable to the hell of fire.

Matthew 5:23
ἐὰν οὖν προσφέρῃς τὸ δῶρόν σου ἐπὶ τὸ θυσιαστήριον κἀκεῖ μνησθῇς ὅτι ὁ ἀδελφός σου ἔχει τι κατὰ σοῦ
So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you,

Matthew 5:24 
ἄφες ἐκεῖ τὸ δῶρόν σου ἔμπροσθεν τοῦ θυσιαστηρίου καὶ ὕπαγε πρῶτον διαλλάγηθι τῷ ἀδελφῷ σου, καὶ τότε ἐλθὼν πρόσφερε τὸ δῶρόν σου.
leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.

Matthew 5:25
ἴσθι εὐνοῶν τῷ ἀντιδίκῳ σου ταχὺ ἕως ὅτου εἶ [e]μετ’ αὐτοῦ ἐν τῇ ὁδῷ, μήποτέ σε παραδῷ ὁ ἀντίδικος τῷ κριτῇ, καὶ ὁ [f]κριτὴς τῷ ὑπηρέτῃ, καὶ εἰς φυλακὴν βληθήσῃ• 
Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison.

Matthew 5:26
ἀμὴν λέγω σοι, οὐ μὴ ἐξέλθῃς ἐκεῖθεν ἕως ἂν ἀποδῷς τὸν ἔσχατον κοδράντην
Truly, I say to you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny. 

Lust   - Matthew 5:27-30

Matthew 5:27
Ἠκούσατε ὅτι ἐρρέθη• Οὐ μοιχεύσεις
You have heard that it was said, 'You shall not commit adultery.'

Matthew 5:28
ἐγὼ δὲ λέγω ὑμῖν ὅτι πᾶς ὁ βλέπων γυναῖκα πρὸς τὸ ἐπιθυμῆσαι αὐτὴν ἤδη ἐμοίχευσεν αὐτὴν ἐν τῇ καρδίᾳ αὐτοῦ
But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

Matthew 5:29
εἰ δὲ ὁ ὀφθαλμός σου ὁ δεξιὸς σκανδαλίζει σε, ἔξελε αὐτὸν καὶ βάλε ἀπὸ σοῦ, συμφέρει γάρ σοι ἵνα ἀπόληται ἓν τῶν μελῶν σου καὶ μὴ ὅλον τὸ σῶμά σου βληθῇ εἰς γέενναν
If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell.

Matthew 5:30
καὶ εἰ ἡ δεξιά σου χεὶρ σκανδαλίζει σε, ἔκκοψον αὐτὴν καὶ βάλε ἀπὸ σοῦ, συμφέρει γάρ σοι ἵνα ἀπόληται ἓν τῶν μελῶν σου καὶ μὴ ὅλον τὸ σῶμά σου [g]εἰς γέενναν ἀπέλθῃ
And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.

Divorce - Matthew 5:31-32

Matthew 5:31
 Ἐρρέθη [h]δέ• Ὃς ἂν ἀπολύσῃ τὴν γυναῖκα αὐτοῦ, δότω αὐτῇ ἀποστάσιον.  
It was also said, 'Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.'

Matthew 5:32
ἐγὼ δὲ λέγω ὑμῖν ὅτι [i]πᾶς ὁ ἀπολύων τὴν γυναῖκα αὐτοῦ παρεκτὸς λόγου πορνείας ποιεῖ αὐτὴν [j]μοιχευθῆναι, καὶ ὃς ἐὰν ἀπολελυμένην γαμήσῃ μοιχᾶται
But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery. 

Oaths - Matthew 5:33-37

Matthew 5:33
Πάλιν ἠκούσατε ὅτι ἐρρέθη τοῖς ἀρχαίοις• Οὐκ ἐπιορκήσεις, ἀποδώσεις δὲ τῷ κυρίῳ τοὺς ὅρκους σου.  
Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, 'You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform to the Lord what you have sworn.'

Matthew 5:34
ἐγὼ δὲ λέγω ὑμῖν μὴ ὀμόσαι ὅλως• μήτε ἐν τῷ οὐρανῷ, ὅτι θρόνος ἐστὶν τοῦ θεοῦ• 
But I say to you, Do not take an oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God,

Matthew 5:35
μήτε ἐν τῇ γῇ, ὅτι ὑποπόδιόν ἐστιν τῶν ποδῶν αὐτοῦ• μήτε εἰς Ἱεροσόλυμα, ὅτι πόλις ἐστὶν τοῦ μεγάλου βασιλέως• 
or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King.

Matthew 5:36 
μήτε ἐν τῇ κεφαλῇ σου ὀμόσῃς, ὅτι οὐ δύνασαι μίαν τρίχα λευκὴν [k]ποιῆσαι ἢ μέλαιναν.
And do not take an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black.

Matthew 5:37
 ἔστω δὲ ὁ λόγος ὑμῶν ναὶ ναί, οὒ οὔ• τὸ δὲ περισσὸν τούτων ἐκ τοῦ πονηροῦ ἐστιν
Let what you say be simply 'Yes' or 'No'; anything more than this comes from evil. -

The Greek New Testament: SBL Edition. Copyright © 2010 by Society of Biblical Literature and Logos Bible Software
Schnorr Von Carolsfeld woodcuts, ‘The Sermon on the Mount’ © WELS permission granted for personal and congregational use
LCMS Lectionary Summary © 2016
Lutheran Service Book © 2008 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis

No comments: