Grace, mercy and peace be unto you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. AMEN! Our text for this morning’s sermon is taken from St. Luke’s gospel account the 4th (Luke 4:31-44) chapter.
Beloved in the LORD,
A Word in the midst of Death
The love of the heart is made known by the words of one’s mouth. The power and verity of those words are confirmed by the deeds done to love’s object. Thus what the heart loves will be blessed with gracious words and kind deeds. God is love and in His great love He has sent His Son, not to the rich – lest they think they have bought and purchased it, not to the mighty – lest they think they have won it, not the to the beautiful, for they may think they have wooed God, nor to the wise – for the folly of love transcends the wisdom of men. No, dear Christians God in His great love for all has sent His Son to poor, the broken, the despised and the unlearned. In sending His Son, He sends His Word – not some sort of deedless word, or a shallow word, or a touchless word, but His Word made flesh to dwell among us, to be near us, to love us in word and deed.
Today the Word is preached and the Word is given and the Word works! He is in Capernaum and He is there to speak the Father’s heart and to flesh it out for the people. He is there in the midst of death, surrounded by the principalities and powers, and the rulers of the darkness of this age, and spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. He is where the poor, the broken, the despised and unlearned dwell. He is there to preach. And He is there to labor. He is there to offer Himself. He is the Word made flesh, the Word of the Father, the Word come to save sinners, to love and to touch and to heal, and to restore, and uplift, and strengthen, and encourage and forgive, and redeem, and regenerate, and resurrect. This is the Heart of God for fallen humanity, Jew or Greek, slave or free, male or female. For all are one in Adam’s sin be they rich or poor, mighty or broken, beautiful or despised, wise or foolish. All are one in Adam’s sin, all are in need of Jesus’ touch, Word, and Heart.
Rejecting the Obvious
Thus this Word is preached to you and me this morning. We are no different than the crowds of Capernaum so long ago. We need our Sabbath rest in Jesus because our labors have been turned inward and we hurt in the depths of our soul. We know this. We experience this. We writhe and we grumble and we become irritated with one another. We hurt and we harm one another. We abuse and take advantage of one another. We try to buy the next great help. We try to win the affection of God and others. We try to woo the praises of the world at the expense of our faithfulness to our Lord. We create and conceive philosophies, ideologies, strategies either as a people or individually which justify our circumstance, situation, and suffering. We seek to conform God and the world to us, rather than us and the world to God. WE do much, love little, listen even less and fail to repent. We see that we are surrounded by humanity’s moral poverty, impending death, physical anguish and mental distress, yet we reject its obvious source – which is the heart of man – and we ignore it’s obvious remedy – which is the heart of God.
Beloved, you need not look very far to see the true state and condition of humanity. Only look in the mirror. And if that’s not convincing enough – watch the news. Behold your neighbor. Humanity is so turned inward, so consumed with darkness, so enthralled with self that the fruits of our deeds are manifold. Thus says the Lord through the prophet Hosea, “I will return again to My place Till they acknowledge their offense. Then they will seek My face; In their affliction they will earnestly seek Me.” How dark must it get before we seek after God’s Light? How great must the earth shake before we fall to our knees in repentance. How long must we be afflicted and stubbornly bear the yoke of burden before we are humbled under the mighty Word of God? How long beloved will we ignore our condition, ignore our neighbor, ignore our God? How long?
A Healing Touch by an Incarnate Word
Today is the day of salvation. Everyday that Jesus speaks is another day of the grace and favor of God. For His Word is the voice of His heart. And His deeds are His heart in action. Behold Jesus in our text . . . See how greatly He loves the poor, the broken, the despised, and the unlearned. See how tenderly His speaks to His people and how boldly He rebukes the curse of Adam. See how gently He touches the afflicted and draws them to Himself. He is not ashamed to be near sinners. He does not scorn the affliction of man. But in Love He speaks and in Love He works, and in Love He restores. He takes the imperfect, and the impious and brings them the Father’s heart as He lays hands on them. Laying His hands on them, He takes their infirmities upon Himself. Devils, diseases, and sins and sufferings don’t just evaporate, they are exchanged. Jesus takes them to Himself. He takes them all. He takes the whole world’s, which means He takes yours.
Taking them is not enough. He must deal with them, bear them, suffer them, conquer them. He takes them and He crucifies them in His flesh. He is condemned because of them. He bleeds to cover them. He sweats to conquer them. He dies to kill them. The cross, beloved! The Cross! Look at the cross and you will find the epitome of Love! God is Love and Love speaks and Love acts. There on the cross, Love suffers, bleeds, and dies! The deeds confirm the Word – “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” The Word voices the Heart. The Father’s love for you, while you were still sinner, hangs on the cross! And there, the LORD deals with humanity’s infirmities once and for all. He dies and on the third day He rises. Everything hinges on the cross and the empty tomb. Everything hangs on Jesus, the one who takes away the sins of the world, rich and poor, mighty and weak, pretty and common, sophisticated and foolish.
Receiving the Necessary
Therefore, beloved, do not reject the obvious and ignore the necessary. Confess, repent, and believe. The deeds of Jesus confirm the Word of Jesus as He voices the Father’s heart toward you. To ignore such things is to ignore heaven itself. To receive such things is to draw near and touch the body of the LORD. Jesus is no longer in Capernaum. He is where His Word is preached and His supper administered. And He is here for you. Cease your writhing. Put aside your pride. Let go of your sophistry. Humble yourself beneath God’s Word and allow Him to speak your heart’s cleansing. Allow Him to forgive you, encourage you, uplift you, strengthen you, restore you, love you. Receive His Word with faith and cling to His flesh and blood in the supper. These give what His Word says! They give the necessary remedy for the source of humanity’s condition.
These forgive sins and restore hearts, your sins, your heart. Doing so, the Word changes you. A forgiven heart is a changed heart. A heart changed by God’s Word is heart consecrated to God, a heart that learns and wants to learn to be conformed to God’s Word and God’s Way. God is love, love speaks, love acts, love restores. We who receive God’s love through His Word, actions, and restoration are taught to be love to our neighbors, our friends, our family, strangers and enemies.
A Word People in a Depraved World
Beloved in the Lord, the love of the heart is made known by the words of one’s mouth. And so we confess, we sing, we pray the truth of His Word. We are Word washed People, a Word restored People. And the power and verity of that Word implanted in our hearts are confirmed by the deeds done to our neighbor. That’s why John admonishes us to love in both Word and Deed, not just word only. God’s Word is never alone but is confirmed with great deeds of love. So also that Word in us. It is not alone, but bears fruit. We are a Word people. We love the Word, we grow in the Word, we take the Word out of here and share the Word and we manifest the Word. We put the Word to Work as we suffer with those around us. A Word people is a compassionate people, a loving people, a forgiving people. We become to others what God has become to us. We show others What God has shown us. We love as He loves, which means we bear one another’s burdens. We suffer one another’s crosses. We move toward the poor, the weak, the despised, and the unlearned that they too may come to know Jesus and the power of His love for them. Let us not wait for the earth to shake under our feet, but let us be roused by the Word to deeds of love toward our neighbor and let us rejoice in the God of our salvation. He has given us His deeds, His Word, His Heart. He has given us Jesus. That is all we need. AMEN!
The peace of God which surpasses all understanding keep your heart and mind through faith in Christ Jesus. AMEN!