15th Sunday after Trinity. “He is our true Father and we are His true children.”
St. Peter Lutheran Church
St. Matthew 6:24-34
September 15, 2012
“He is our true Father and we are His true children”
Brothers and sisters in Christ:
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
I. Intro: “These words God tenderly invites us to believe that we are His true children and He is our true Father.”
A. Why we memorize the catechism: to continually learn and be comforted in trial that God is our Father.
B. (Therefore we remain with Luther like little children who are students of the catechism.)
C. Theme: God is our true father and we are His true children
i. How is he our Father?
ii. How do we live as His children?
- D. Since God is our true father and we are His true children, why are we so anxious? Jesus comforts His disciples.
II. How is God our true Father?
- A. We are anxious as we serve Mammon.
- i. Mammon is the pursuit of wealth and other earthly things as a way of trying to make our lives secure.
- ii. We serve Mammon, seeking wealth or power or friends or what have you so that we won’t have to worry about the future.
- iii. But mammon doesn’t make anyone secure. More wealth or success means more worries.
- iv. If it does make someone secure, this is even worse because it cannot deliver us from death and God’s judgment.
- B. Where does our anxiety come from?
- i. From our alienation from God.
a. The Father shows love to a thousand generations of those who love Him and keep His commandments (Small Catechism, close of the commandments)
b. He punishes the children for the sins of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate Him.
c. The Introit said, “Give ear, O Lord, to my prayer, listen to my plea for grace,” but the Lord does not listen to those who do not love Him and keep His commandments.
d. Yet we know that we break the Lord’s commandments, so how can He hear us? So we know from the Law, whether written on our hearts or learned from the 10 commandments, that we have no claim on God for Him to give us food or clothing, or keep us alive, or declare us righteous on the day of judgment.
- ii. Only the Gospel can assure us that we have a gracious God.
a. Only in the Gospel, where God has promised the free forgiveness of sins; and He has proclaimed this Gospel since the first man and woman fell into sin.
b. Yet original sin—the guilt in which we were born and the unrighteousness that has completely corrupted the nature we have from the time of conception, makes us unable to recognize the seriousness of God’s wrath against sin, and unable to believe the promise of the forgiveness of sins only on account of Christ.
c. We by nature think that we can please God by our own strength, by the exercise of our free will.
- 1. But we never know we have in fact pleased God
- 2. So with this uncertainty, we serve mammon, thinking, “This is the only way I can be sure I’ll be taken care of.”
d. So we remain anxious, always trying to make sure we’ll be able to take care of ourselves, never willingly admitting that we cannot secure our own lives but only make ourselves worse and add sin to sin, rebellion to rebellion.
- C. The cure for anxiety—the Gospel.
- i. Our anxiety is not supposed to be cured either by doing good works or by serving mammon to make sure that we have enough to take care of ourselves.
- ii. Instead, our anxiety can only be cured by finding refuge in God’s grace, apart from our works.
a. That is, by believing His promise to be a gracious God to us;
b. His promise that He is our Father and is well-pleased with us through the obedience and death of His only-begotten Son
c. As a result He remembers our sins no more, but promises in the Gospel that He has given the righteousness and death of His Son to us as a gift, and now He reckons us to be perfectly obedient in Christ.
- iii. You have a gracious God. That is the good news for you.
a. Not by anything you have done
b. But by the doing of God’s well-pleasing Son.
- 1. He became a man
- 2. Kept God’s commandments
- 3. Died and received the penalty of God for Your sins
- 4. Rose from the dead and lives to pray to His Father constantly on Your behalf
- 5. Rules His kingdom to give You this good news and to capture Your heart so that You believe that God is totally pleased with you for the sake of His Son’s obedience to the law for you and His death for your sins.
c. He pledges this to you in Baptism.
- 1. God is Your true Father.
- a. He certified that Jesus was His well-beloved, well-pleasing Son when He was baptized and received your sins.
- b. In Your Baptism into Christ, the Father pledges and certifies that you are His true Son, because you have been born again into Christ.
- 2. Jesus’ righteousness covers your sin which provoked God’s anger and which you cannot get rid of yourself.
- 3. This is how you find the assurance that You have a gracious God.
- D. Since God is our true Father, why do we worry when things in our lives look as though God has forgotten us and is going to let us starve?
- i. Would He do that to someone who is always pleasing to Him? If so, then He is a liar. He promises to do good to the righteous, and He made a promise that you are righteous through Christ alone.
- ii. Does this mean that we are really unbelievers, since we so often act as if God is not our true Father and will not take care of us the way that any halfway decent father would on earth, or when we run around seeking what the unbelievers seek, as though God were not gracious?
- iii. Jesus does not say that. He says that we have “little faith.”
a. Usually if we have no anxiety about anything, that is not a sign of faith but of hardness of heart, of not feeling our sins.
b. Christians are more likely to experience anxiety about their earthly life than nonbelievers, because Christians face constant opposition from the devil, their sinful flesh, and the world.
- 1. The flesh constantly insists that God in untrustworthy and gives lousy gifts.
- 2. The devil constantly works to drive us to despair
- 3. The world hates Christians and frequently fights against them
c. So Christians will have more temptation to be anxious about their earthly lives.
d. But Jesus does not want us to remain small in faith, even though He does not cast us out for our little faith.
- 1. So he allows us to be tested so that we don’t know how we will make it and are forced to look to Him and depend on our heavenly Father to provide for us.
- 2. Remember how Jesus dealt with His disciples who He here calls “Ye of little faith”
- a. The storm on the sea
- b. Peter walking on the water
- c. The feeding of the 5000
- d. Finally His own passion and burial, where they thought themselves and Him cast away by God.
- e. All these things were to teach the disciples to trust that God was their true Father and they were His true children
- f. Even though they were seeing the opposite, Jesus taught them through suffering and deliverance that they had to depend on Christ’s word of promise and not their reason and senses.
- g. That is what He is also teaching us through our suffering.
- h. Faith has to become strong, because one day we will die, and on that day we must be able to look at death and judgment approaching and not be torn from the assurance that God is our true Father, even though our hearts are terrified.
- i. That is only possible when the Holy Spirit has taught us to believe God’s Word in spite of what we feel, or see, or think
- E. Jesus’ encouragement: The Father’s grace to those less valuable than us.
- i. Jesus encourages us here, and also mildly rebukes us.
- ii. Look at how God feeds the birds and clothes the grass
- iii. Are you worth less than the birds and grass?
a. Every human being is worth more—even those who will be lost—because Jesus joined the same human nature which we share to Himself.
b. You are certainly worth more than the grass and the birds unless Jesus Himself is not worth more to the Father
- 1. Because the Father paid for your redemption with His Son’s suffering and death.
- 2. And you stand before the Father as Jesus’ twin, because Jesus’ righteousness has been given as your royal robe, like the coat of many colors that Jacob put on his favorite son Joseph.
- 3. It was put on you when you were baptized into Christ.
c. So how much more will the Father take care of your needs of the body—food, and drink, clothing and shoes, house and home, wife and children (Small Catechism, Apostles’ Creed, 1st article).
- 1. He gives those already to the heathen who are not clothed in the righteousness of Jesus and who do not believe the Gospel
- 2. Because He is gracious
- iv. How and why the Father feeds the birds and clothes the grass
a. Is it because of their hard work?
- 1. Is it because the birds worry, and wrinkle their foreheads, and try to scrape together enough to carry them through the winter?
- 2. Is it because the grass slaves away and spins cotton into thread and buys silk and makes its own lilies?
b. The birds receive food and the grass splendid clothes without doing anything.
- 1. They can’t do anything but receive.
- 2. Like little children, whom Jesus says the Kingdom of God belongs to.
- 3. The animals and plants God cares for physically, but God gives us what we need for our bodies, and the kingdom of heaven, without our work.
- 4. Because He is gracious and loves His whole creation.
c. How much more will your Father in heaven provide what we need for our bodies and lives when He covers and clothes the shame of our sins?
- 1. He does this without our making it happen for ourselves
- 2. He gives His only begotten Son.
- 3. How can He then not give you what you need for this life?
- 4. What kind of father on earth doesn’t provide anything for His children and makes them go do it themselves?
- a. Fathers make their kids work, if they understand their office as a father.
- b. But they don’t feed and clothe and educate and give gifts to their kids because the kid has earned it
- c. Both the command for the child to work around the house and the food and shelter and gifts come from the father’s love, which has nothing to do with deserving anything.
To seek the Kingdom of God first is to pray to God that He gives us His Holy Spirit; without the Holy Spirit we cannot believe in Christ or do a single good work.
That is why Jesus teaches us to pray continually for the gift of the Holy Spirit.
We pray, “hallowed be Thy name,” and “Thy Kingdom come” before we pray “give us this day our daily bread.” “Thy kingdom come”: is when “our heavenly Father gives us His Holy Spirit, so that by His grace we believe His Holy Word and lead godly lives here in time and there in eternity.”
Don’t run after what the unbelievers do, as though you had no God! The Father tenderly invites us to believe “that He is our true Father and we are His true children, so that with all boldness and confidence we may ask of Him as dear children ask their dear Father.”
What God ordains is always good: He is my friend and Father
He suffers naught to do me harm Though many storms may gather.
Now I may know, both joy and woe;
Some day I shall see clearly
That He has loved me dearly. (LSB 760 –hymn of the day—stanza 4)
The peace of God, which surpasses understanding, keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
- Prayer on the Fifteenth Sunday after Trinity (deprofundisclamaviadtedomine.wordpress.com)
- Beggars Don’t Make Deals. Trinity 14 Sermon. (deprofundisclamaviadtedomine.wordpress.com)
- The Stranger who saves you – Trinity 13 sermon (deprofundisclamaviadtedomine.wordpress.com)
- Trinity 11 “God’s anger against you, and how it is turned away” (deprofundisclamaviadtedomine.wordpress.com)