Saturday, June 18, 2011

Pentecost 2 - Proper 8 Time in the Word

False prophets preach what their hearers want to hear, promising peace even when the Lord has spoken “war, famine, and pestilence” (Jer. 28:8). But if “the Lord has truly sent the prophet,” he speaks what the Lord has spoken, and “the word of that prophet comes to pass” (Jer. 28:9). The preaching of God’s Law is hard, because it confronts sin, brings it to light and makes it worse, “sinful beyond measure,” thereby “producing death” in the sinner (Rom. 7:13). But through our Baptism into Christ, “we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive” (Rom. 7:6). Now we belong “to Him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God” (Rom. 7:4). Belonging to Him puts us at odds with the world and divides us from all earthly ties, not only from our human family, but each person from his own life. For Christ does not come “to bring peace, but a sword” (Matt. 10:34). Yet, whoever takes up his cross to follow Christ, and “loses his life” for Christ’s sake, finds new life in Him (Matt. 10:38–39).

Collect for the Nativity of John the Baptist (24 June): Almighty God, through John the Baptist, the forerunner of Christ, You once proclaimed salvation. Now grant that we may know this salvation and serve You in holiness and righteousness all the days of our life; through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Collect for the Second Sunday after Pentecost: Almighty God, by the working of Your Holy Spirit, grant that we may gladly hear Your Word proclaimed among us and follow its directing; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Monday, 20 June 2011Psalm 89:15–18; Antiphon, Psalm 89:1—The portions of Psalm 89 selected for Sunday’s Introit are those portions of the psalm which proclaim the exuberance that a person has who trusts in the LORD. God is faithful to His promises: to the covenant promises He made with His people Israel in the Old Testament, to the promises He made to send a Savior to redeem us from our sin, and to His Holy Christian Church, the new Israel. For His faithfulness, we, with His people of all times and places, joyfully sing of the steadfast love of the LORD forever, and make known His faithfulness to all generations.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011Psalm 119:153–160—Despite the fact that we are surrounded by enemies of the LORD and His Word, by the grace of God, we remain faithful to Him and to His holy Word. The LORD is faithful, He fulfills all the promises He makes, the sum of His Word is truth. We can rest firm in these promises and proclaim with the psalmist: Great is your mercy, O LORD; I do not forget your law; I do not swerve from your testimonies; I love your precepts.

Wednesday, 22 June 2011Jeremiah 28:5–9—The world is full of false prophets and false teachers. Some are easy to pick out; some are not. Many claim to be Christians, but are not; Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons come immediately to mind. Others teach many parts of God’s Word aright, but teach falsely in key areas; many even in the Christian Church fall into this category. Jeremiah sets forth a test for prophets, to see if they are the LORD’s prophets: does what they prophesy come true? What test can we use to judge teachers in our day? The inscripturated Word of God. It alone is the rule and standard by which we judge all teachings and all teachers.

Thursday, 23 June 2011Romans 7:1–13—The Introit and psalm spoke of the promises of God and how He is faithful to them. The Old Testament reading spoke of discerning between true and false teachers. The epistle fits well with all these readings. It tells how we have been set free from the condemnation of the Law. How? By the atoning death and resurrection of the Son of God, our Savior Jesus Christ. This was a fulfillment of God’s promises and prophecy—the whole Old Testament, really, points to Christ. St Paul is crystal clear here: we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code. Any teacher, whether he claims to be a Christian or not, who would heap upon us more Law, who would tell us what we have to do to be saved, is a false teacher. It is as simple as that. Anything which takes away from Christ even the smallest portion of the responsibility for salvation is false doctrine. Let us cling to Christ and not to the Law!

Friday, 24 June 2011—Matthew 10:34–42—The Gospel of Christ divides. Pure biblical doctrine divides. Why? Is there some flaw in the Word of God? Certainly not! The flaw lies solely in our sinful nature that wants to have things on our terms. What is the reason for division amongst the body of Christ? Sinful false teaching. We must cling to what is true and pure, and not compromise in order to have an outward show of unity where it does not exist. This makes life in our world difficult. For instance, the scriptural practice of closed communion causes many to despise us. But the Word of God gives no place for compromising with false doctrine and false teachers. Let us cling to the pure Word of God, despite what the world—or even other Christians—may think of us.

Saturday, 25 June 2011—In the Epistle reading, St Paul tells us that we have been set free from the curse of the Law in order that we may bear fruit for God. In the Gospel reading, Jesus exhorts us to take up our cross and follow Him. Sunday’s Hymn of the Day, Let Us Ever Walk with Jesus (LSB #685), is a prayer that we may do just those things: that we may do those things which are pleasing to God, that we may suffer persecution from the enemies of God and not fall away, that we may daily die to sin, and finally, that we may live with Jesus, for He has won for us the forgiveness of sins, salvation, and eternal life.

Lectionary summary on front page from LCMS Commission on Worship
Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House

This week's Time in the Word was written by Pr. Jeffrey Keuning who serves Zion Dexter and St. John, Casey, IA of the Iowa West District, LCMS

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