Saturday, February 16, 2019

Epiphany 6

Epiphany 6 Series C
February 17 2019
Luke 6:17-26
“Blessed are you”

Lord Jesus, bless Thy Word, that we might trust in Thee.
Sadly, in this world true happiness eludes so many. All too often, some give up. Others, despair of ever finding it. Jesus shows us a better way. As He gives us a remedy for true happiness.
O Lord, graciously hear the prayers of Your people that we who justly suffer the consequences of our sin may be mercifully delivered by Your goodness to the glory of Your name.
1.  The key to finding true happiness is to possess an honest and realistic understanding of your true self.
A.  Jesus rightly describes hypocrites and the people of this world. “But woe to you who are rich, for you have already received your comfort.” Jesus does not mean a person's financial bottom life. He observes the heart. He discloses a deeper malady. The condition of the human soul. 
1.   Jesus reminds the Pharisees, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.” –Luke 5:31-32  Trusting in themselves, they are convinced - they lack noting.
The rich young ruler responds to Jesus, “‘all these commandments I have kept…what do I still lack?’ Jesus answered, ‘IF you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow Me.’ When the young man heard this, he went away troubled, because he had great wealth.” – Matthew 19:20-22
2.  They are full of their own imagined righteousness. They consider themselves to be well spiritually. They don’t need the healing touch of the Great Physician. They cannot understand the words of the Savior when He spoke, “But go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”  - Matthew 9:13
3.  Instead of coming to Christ in humility and meekness they laugh. David reminds us in Psalm 73; “They scoff, and speak with malice; in their arrogance they threaten oppression.” (v.8)
4.  In short, the entire world speaks well of them; for the world simply loves its own.
B.  The Savior rightly describes the children of Christ’s kingdom.
1.  They are poor in spirit. David writes in Psalm 32: “Then I acknowledged my sin to You and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord and Thou forgave the iniquity of my sin.” (v. 5)
2.  They hunger after a righteousness that they do not have. The quest of Luther, to find a merciful God was a journey, which took him a lifetime. His last known written sentence was simply put, “We are mere beggars before God!” The dying thief simply cried, “Lord remember me when you come into your kingdom.” The prodigal son cried out to his father, “I am unworthy to be called your son…
3.  They weep, as did Peter, when he remembered the words Jesus had spoken, “Before the rooster crows, you will disown Me three times.” – Matthew 26:75
4.  They bear the cross patiently. Jesus rightly predicted what the 1st Century church would be up against when He said, “Therefore I am sending you prophets and wise men and teachers. Some of them you will kill and crucify, others you will flog in your synagogues and pursue from town to town.” –Matthew 23:34
And what do we find? Luke describes the persecution, which unfolds in the book of Acts. “[The Sanhedrin] had Peter and John brought before them and began to question them,By what power or what name did you do this?” (4; 7) And again, in chapter 12, “It was about this time that King Herod arrested some who belonged to the church, intending to persecute them. He had James, the brother of John, put to death with the sword.” (Vv.1-2)

Transition: The road to happiness begins with unhappiness over of waywardness and sin. The Law condemns. The Law always accuses! Each of us. In its mirror, you daily discover your sin. Then, in true repentance, you turn to God. As you come to Him with repentance and contrition, the Lord responds with grace.
If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sin, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and cleans us from all unrighteousness.” – 1 John 1:9
2.  True happiness is found when we discover the Savior’s amazing grace.
A.  Skeptics and cynics might well disparage and detract but they do not find it.  
1.  Relying on their riches, they become paupers. The rich man dies. Jesus describes his condition, “in hell where he was in torment he looked up and saw Abraham far away with Lazarus by his side.” – Luke 16:23
2.  As for the full - they end up hungry. The rich young man went away sorrowful, because of his wealth. (Matthew 16:22)
3.  Those who decline; who beg to be excused, receive what they ask for. They are denied. Jesus said, “Do no suppose that I have come to bring peace to this earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword…anyone who love any more than Me is not worthy of Me.” –Matthew 10.34

B.  Yet, children of the kingdom discover grace.
1.  These poor receive the riches of the kingdom.”Do not be afraid, little flock, for your father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.” –v.32  
2.  Christ has won righteousness for you at the cruel and bloody cross. Isaiah, the prophet of old, reminds you in chapter 53. “All we like sheep have gone astray, each of us have turned to his own way; and the lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” (v.7)
3.  Yet in exchange for your sin your heavenly Father in turn gives you Christ’s righteousness.”This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ.” –Romans 3.22
4.  Those who now weep will one-day laugh. “Those who sow in tears will reap with joy! – Psalm 126.5
5.  Those who bear the cross will be glorified. “And I in righteousness I will see Your face; when I awake, I will be satisfied with seeing your likeness.” –Psalm 71.15 The old song sings, “Soon and very soon, we are going to see the King!”  Now you hear the Savior’s voice. Soon you’ll see His face!
Paul would remind us, “Rejoice in the Lord always, and again, O say, Rejoice!” God’s grace - turns your poverty in the riches, your hunger into satisfaction, your weeping into laughter; you suffering into a crown of glory that does not fade away!
Words – 1,145
Passive Sentences -7%
Readability –78.8%
Reading Level –5.2

Schnorr Von Carolsfeld woodcuts, ‘The Sermon on the Mount’ © WELS permission granted for personal and congregational use
Lutheran Service Book © 2008 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis

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