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Sunday, September 16, 2012

Sermon 09162012 15th Sunday After Trinity

May the words of my mouth and the meditations of our hearts be pleasing in Your sight, O Lord, our Rock and our Redeemer.  AMEN.

Let us pray!  O Lord, we beseech Thee, let Thy continual pity cleanse and defend Thy Church; and because it cannot continue in safety without Thy succor, preserve it evermore by Thy help and goodness, through Thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost world without end.  AMEN.

If someone were to ask you, what are you doing on Sunday morning at 9AM?  You easily and rightly would say, since you are here this morning, I am attending church.  Another way to say the same thing, but with a whole different meaning is that “I am attending church services”.  This one word, ‘service’ has a most profound meaning.  Used in both the Old Testament and New Testament as a verb, a noun and a participle it takes on many different meanings.  From action, to descriptive to station, each use of ‘service’ is unique in its own way in the Old and New Testament, but has application for us today.

This morning, in our Gospel, Jesus is very clear.  No one can serve two masters”.  Clearly, Jesus is trying to get his disciples and us to look at ‘service’ differently and in essence ask, “Who do you serve?”  In speaking to the disciples, Jesus knows what is in the heart of man when he says, “for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other.  Since man is conceived in sin, is sinful in thought word and deed, cannot by our own reason or effort do good, since we ‘all fall short of the glory of God’, we are sinful creatures that look only for what is in and to our own benefit, even if it means someone else may potentially be hurt by our sinful greed.  Realize, this is not slamming good business practices, but acting with our desire and greed for more or the ‘best’ at the expense of what is fair and not exercising our muscle of faith.  Whether it be buying a new tractor for the farm, a new truck, or even negotiating a contract with our landlords.  We want the best deal and to get the most out for our input, without sacrificing or being fair to the other.  This is the sinner part of what Martin Luther called our simul ustis et pecator, simultaneously sinner and saint all at the same time.  Hence we cannot divide our loyalties.  We cannot serve two masters.  As Jesus said, “You cannot serve God and wealth.  We cannot and are unable to be fair.

That is the sickness, the sin in our lives that pervades us and surrounds us.  This is the wretchedness that we each have and live in daily.  It is the sinfulness that connects us to Adam and Eve.  It is the sinfulness that the law shows us on a daily basis.  In the Bible and the Catechism, it is clear, if we break one law, we are guilty of all.  We cannot piece meal or pick and choose which laws apply to us and which do not.  We are guilty of all sins and all laws.

So what can we do?  Nothing.  We are incapable of saving ourselves.  Martin Luther in writing the 95 Theses and nailing them on the door at Wittenberg saw our lost nature and how no matter the service we offer to God, whether penance, ushering, reading, acolyting, serving on council or even as a pastor, nothing can or could save us.

How then can we be saved?  The question comes back to ‘who do you serve?’  If no physical labor can save us, why is this question of, ‘who do you serve’ important?  Simply it flows from Jesus continued words.  For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life”.  In essence, do not worry.  Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?  Your worry will not add a single day to your life.  Your clothing your car, your house, your farm, your harvest and your church will pass away, but your soul and your spirit is what you need to be more concerned about.

Jesus rightly said, “Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  These animals that God created while trying to find a help mate for Adam and that Adam named, God provides for their every need.  This was clearly seen this week when I was visiting one of the residents at Good Samaritan, the sparrows and the finches were in the tree’s chattering away and fluttered to the ground and partook of the feast God had provided for them.  God out of His divine generosity fed them.  So to, God out of His divine mercy gave the rain that fell on Wednesday as well as the sunshine that we enjoyed most of this summer.

And Jesus nails the point clearly upon the disciples and us today when He says.  Are you not worth much more than they?  And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?  We cannot even through our service, merit or earn by our worry a single second, minute, hour or day to our life.  For the crops that we have had to plow under this summer because of the lack of rain, to the lack of money that comes in the offering every Sunday, to the worry over our children who stay out late.  No matter the circumstance we cannot change the amount of time we will be on this earth.  All of this is in God’s plan.

Jesus continued, “Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these.  But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you?  God will provide what we need.  If we doubt God, then Jesus statement is very true.  You of little faith!  We should not be worried.  God will provide for us, we need to be more mindful of our souls.  For Jesus continued, “Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’  God wants us to concentrate on what is important, our souls and answer the question, ‘who do you serve?’ very simply.  God doesn’t want us to be like the unbelievers, for He says, “For the Gentiles [in essence unbelievers] eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.   God wants us to solely rely and believe upon Him.

God wants us to answer the question, ‘who do you serve?’ with this in mind.  Jesus says, “But seek first His [that is God’s] kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.  Choose to serve God, not because you have to, but because you want to.  Just as we have the clip boards here and ask for your service, we ask for your help and service, not for glory, honor or praise, but as a proclamation of what God has done, will do and continues to do for each of us through Jesus Christ.  For there is a blessing with the words, “and all these things will be added to you.”  God will richly bless us beyond our wildest dreams when we serve Him, in innocence, humility and humble obedience, knowing we serve not because it is in a covenant, but because we want to honor God’s gift first given to us.

For the gift first given to us, was His Son and our Savior, Jesus Christ and the free grace offered to us by His innocent death on the Cross of Calvary.  We furthermore are today offered His precious Body and Blood around the altar when we partake of His Holy Supper.  We receive life and salvation and can clearly hear Jesus words, “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own.  By receiving His gifts of grace in, through and by the Gospel of Jesus Christ in Word and Sacrament, we are empowered to answer the question, ‘who do you serve’?  We serve Jesus Christ who came to serve us and died for all of mankind, especially all of us saints gathered here at Emmanuel who gather around the table of the Lord eating the great mystery of His Body and Blood for the forgiveness of sins for all of us saints here at Emmanuel.  So, ‘who do you serve?’  AMEN.
//trial script