The Cult Leader Who Did Not Change With the Times and Went out of Business. Quinquagesima 2013 Sermon.
St. Peter Lutheran Church
St. Luke 18:31-43
February 10, 2013
“The Cult Leader Who Did Not Change With the Times and Went out of Business”
Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
“the people in …charge of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod hate gays way more than they love the schoolchildren of Sandy Hook.”
“It kind of makes me want to send all the LCMS ministers who believe this [excrement] to Missouri. Give them a county to live in, but don’t allow them to spread their narrow-minded church outside it.”
“I am a Missouri Synod Lutheran who is saddened and discouraged by the reprimand of Pastor Morris. The thought process behind the rebuke is medieval. …LCMS needs to get over this foolish, provincial approach to faith and community. You are driving people away from God.”
“…I’m convinced the Missouri Synod is more of a cult than an actual denomination; at best, it won’t change with the times. I hope this event sends a message to the Missouri Synod leadership to change with the times–or go out of business.”
“Christ the King Lutheran Church is a Hate group “
“Why does this group get tax privilage and minister allowances, they are not contributing to a stronger America, only a stronger control of the group with spiritual blackmail.”
During the past week or so the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod made the news over an incident that happened in the wake of the killings in Newtown, Connecticut. You may not have heard about it. I only accidentally stumbled on it on Friday.
Basically what happened is this: after the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School, a number of religious leaders gathered to offer prayers and consolation to the grieving community. Various Christian clergy were present along with Jewish, Islamic, and Bahai religious leaders. A young pastor from the local Missouri Synod Lutheran congregation was also present to offer a prayer or blessing.
But his presence caused some controversy in our synod….
[Prayer with those who deny that Jesus is “very God of very God” is participation in idolatry and denial of Christ.
Joint preaching/worship/Holy Communion with other pastors who confess false doctrine is to confirm people in error and to become guilty of profaning God’s name
Closed communion (or “close” communion, if one prefers) is a way that orthodox congregations confess God’s Word. In doing it we are not saying, “We are better than you,” or “You are not Christians,” but instead saying, “In spite of our many sins and our great sadness over the outward divisions in Christendom, we believe that the doctrine of our Church is Christ’s teaching, His pure Word, drawn from the Holy Scriptures. Because we are certain that our church’s confession and teaching is the teaching of Christ in the Holy Scriptures, we do not have fellowship with those who publicly profess error—either by teaching it, or by holding membership in a fellowship that holds erroneous doctrines.”]
Needless to say, this teaching is unpopular. It’s unpopular among many of our own members. It’s not accepted by all Missouri Synod pastors. And if it’s like that in our own house, what will it be like outside of the Church?
It’s time to wise up, to stop being blind. It’s delusional to think that if we just say and do everything right, no one will be offended by God’s Word. We live in a time when people want to believe that all religions lead to God and salvation, that people are basically good, that in the Christian Church we shouldn’t waste much energy worrying about teaching and doctrine, or that it’s rude to point out false doctrine. We should not be surprised if people don’t like it and leave. What we should be surprised about is the way God not by human power but by His Spirit keeps bringing people to St. Peter who believe this doctrine that gets us scorn and hatred from the world. God keeps doing this even though the congregation itself is divided about it, even though there are those in the congregation who reject and oppose it.
As time goes by no one should be surprised if people leave more frequently, because people are likely to be faced not only with the offense of the Word of God but also with the pain of hostility and persecution from the world. Are you ready to be called a member of a “hate group”? It seems like those days are approaching very quickly.
This is what Jesus tried to tell His disciples on three occasions before His arrival in Jerusalem. In the Gospel for today we hear His third and final prediction of His passion in the Gospel according to St. Luke.
“Taking aside the twelve disciples, Jesus said: Look—we’re going up to Jerusalem, and everything that was written by the prophets about the Son of Man will happen.
He will be betrayed to the Gentiles, and ridiculed, and put to shame, and spit on.
They will beat Him to a pulp with whips. Then they will kill Him. And the third day, He will rise.” But the disciples understood nothing of what He said. The saying was hidden from them, and they didn’t know what He was talking about.”
+The disciples didn’t understand because our sinful flesh cannot accept that the whole Scripture is about Jesus’ death for our sins on the cross. The Scripture is not about your accomplishments, suffering, or works. It is about Jesus’ death on the cross for our sins.
- Luther wrote in a sermon for this Sunday: ”But the disciples understood none of these things,” says Christ, ”And this saying was hid from them.” That is as much as to say: Reason, flesh and blood, cannot understand it nor grasp that the Scriptures should say how the Son of man must be crucified; much less does reason understand that this is Christ’s will and he does it cheerfully; for it does not believe it is necessary for him to suffer for us, it wants to deal directly with God through its own good works. … even those to whom the Spirit reveals it in their hearts believe it with difficulty and must struggle with it. Such a great and wonderful thing it is that the Son of man died the death of the cross willingly and cheerfully to fulfil the Scriptures, that is, for our welfare; it is a mystery and it remains a mystery.
-Our sinful flesh can’t accept that Jesus’ death on the cross is the fulfillment of the whole Bible.
,Our flesh does not look at Jesus in faith, but instead pays attention to self. So
we do one of two things:
. We try to avoid suffering for Christ’s sake.
. When we do suffer for Christ’s sake, we think that we have done
something great, and we stop looking at Jesus but brag about our suffering or get angry at other Christians who are busy trying to avoid the cross.
, all this is spiritual blindness; the blindness that enabled people to spit on the son of God; flog Him, put Him to death. They were saying, “We don’t need you.”
. When we run away from necessary suffering and cross we are trying to get to heaven without Jesus
. When we brag about our suffering or complain about those who run away from the cross, we are acting as if our suffering merited something; we are trying to get to heaven without Jesus on the basis of our own suffering.
. Spiritual sight looks at Jesus; His suffering for us willingly, out of love, for our salvation.
+Jesus willingly suffered. Not our suffering but His takes away our sins.
-We will suffer as Christians.
-Our suffering is the greatest work we do. Luther:
the Scriptures are [only] fulfilled by Christ’s sufferings… the Scriptures speak of no other theme than of Christ, and they treat only of Christ, who must fulfil the Scriptures by his death.
But if his death must [fulfill the Scriptures], then our death will add nothing to that end; for our death is a sinful and a cursed death. However, if our death be sin and cursed, which is the highest and severest suffering and misfortune, what can our suffering and death merit? And since our sufferings are nothing and are lost, what can our good works do, in view of the fact that suffering is always nobler and better than doing good works? Christ alone must be supreme here and faith must firmly lay hold of him.
, suffering, submitting to God’s will, is greater than our good works
, But our suffering is nothing. Only Jesus’ suffering takes away our sins. And this He did willingly.
-The critics outside the LCMS say: “You are self-righteous.” They are not always wrong.
,When we are afraid, angry, or complain about persecution or rejection of God’s Word, this comes out of unbelief and spiritual blindness.
,When we bear the cross, it doesn’t merit our salvation.
, Jesus’ suffering already took away our sins, and He did it willingly. Our crosses don’t merit anything. Jesus’ suffering merited everything.
, We simply bear suffering as a gift. Forgiveness of sins through Jesus’ suffering is a gift. After that, everything else must be a gift too. If God freely gave His Son for us, it’s impossible that He would then turn around and deal with us in a way that is less than gracious. Even our sufferings have to be gracious gifts of God. And they are. This is why Paul says, “we also rejoice in our sufferings, for we know that suffering produces perseverance, and perseverance, character, and character, hope. And hope maketh not ashamed, for the love of God has been shed abroad in our hearts…” Romans 5
, So we should gladly bear what Christ allows to come to us.
.We should not stop seeking the good of those who attack us in order to complain against them or have a self-pity party, but only look to Jesus who willingly suffered for our sakes, and see the certain forgiveness of sins He gives us in His wounds and shame, and also the great love that caused Him to endure this shame and suffering willingly.
. Our suffering includes the suffering that comes for rebuking our neighbor (out of love)—when instead of saying nothing and being on people’s good side, we love them enough (in Christ) to go to them (protected from fear by faith in Christ) and call them to repentance
+How Jesus deals with the blind beggar
-The man finds out that Jesus is on parade to Jerusalem. As far as everyone knows he is being crowned. Jesus is a VIP right now in this parade.
,That’s what the disciples think and why they don’t understand what Jesus has told them.
,This man, the blind beggar, has some boldness, some chutzpah. The boldness which pleases Jesus—of faith in Him despite awareness of our own great unworthiness.
, He hears that Jesus is on his way through to Jerusalem to be made king, and yet he starts to scream “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”
. He interrupts Jesus’ coronation parade like a guy at a stoplight near the airport who windexes your windshield in an attempt to get a dollar.
. He dares to believe that he, a poor, pitiful, blind beggar, can get Jesus’ attention: Jesus will stop the parade to deal with his problem.
-But he has spiritual sight. He understands why Jesus has come—not to be great, but to become least. Not to be served, but to serve. Not to be honored, but to suffer.
, He has come to heal all our sicknesses and wounds and sins. Spiritual blindness and physical blindness.
, Jesus stops his procession to give him sight.
, Jesus is pleased with those who are “arrogant” enough to believe that His coronation is nothing else than to serve, heal, and have mercy on those who are in the depths of helplessness, death, and sin. That is the coronation and anointing that Jesus is going to meet in Jerusalem; He is going to be put to shame, crucified, and bear the wrath of God for spiritual blind men and beggars: ie us.
, Therefore we have assurance of salvation—not because we are able to see spiritually—we are always blind in ourselves, in the flesh.
, We only see correctly when we see Jesus
. when we believe in Jesus as the one who has come and had mercy on us, who willingly came to suffer for us.
. when we see in His humiliation, shame, suffering, and death, that He willingly endured this in our place—not only at the hands of men, but at the Father’s hands—for us, who really were in utter humiliation and shame and utterly under the curse of eternal suffering and death
. Believing this, seeing this, we don’t pay attention to our own suffering and try to escape it, but only see how he bore lashes and spit and ridicule and death for our sakes, and how through this ridicule and suffering all our sin and misery is taken away.
-Then we can dare to say, “Kyrie eleison” (Lord have mercy) and believe that He hears us and stops for us, not because we are good, but specifically because we are helpless, poor, blind beggars. That is why He was going to Jerusalem—to suffer humiliation and death to save and heal poor blind beggars.
, It is why He comes to visit us in this church, even though He is exalted to the right hand of the Father. He visits us in His Word and proclaims the full forgiveness of our sins through His cross.
, He visits us in the Sacrament of His Body and Blood and gives us the priceless treasure with which we were redeemed
, and the most holy medicine—His flesh and blood—which gives eternal life.
The peace of God, which passes understanding, keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.