Monday, July 1, 2019
On this coming Thursday, our nation will celebrate her 243rd birthday. "We hold these truths to be self evident." is one line from the Declaration of Independence.
We hold these truths to be self evident:
God the Father sent God the Son, Jesus Christ, to bring freedom to people from Satan, self, and all of our sins. God the Son sent God the Holy Spirit to power the Church through His Word to bring life and immortality to light.
And we live in a country where we can express our belief and not experience any blow back from the government. We have the freedom to walk and talk about Jesus in an environment of safety.
In our passage from God's Word from the Gospel of Luke, we see Jesus sending out 72, 36 pairs of people, into the communities.
Luke 10:1-3: After this the Lord appointed seventy two others and sent them on ahead of Him, two by two, into every town and place where He Himself was about to go. And He said to them, "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers in His harvest. Go your way; Behold I am sending you out as lambs in the midst of wolves."
We may have the freedom to walk and talk about Jesus, but it won't be easy. People will not like to hear the truth of Jesus Christ. They may slam doors in our faces. They may ignore us after we shared the message. They may even "fight back" with words that don't belong to God.
Why would they do this? In my humble opinion, they are scared that we could be right and true and that we challenge their lives. They get defensive and they get bitter. And you know what? Not everyone will receive the message with the joy that we do.
Luke 10:4-7: Jesus continues to say, "Carry no moneybag, no knapsack, no sandals, and greet no one on the road. Whatever house you enter, first say, 'Peace by to this house!' And if a son of peace is there, your peace will rest upon him. But if not, it will return to you. And remain in the same house, eating and drinking what they provide, for the laborer deserves his wages. Do not go from house to house."
And when you find someone, some household that is receptive to the message of Jesus Christ, stay put. Their home is your home. Their family is your family. It is from where you really walk and talk.
You have a "home away from home" from where you can base your service to people for God. It is Faith Lutheran Church and School. Your peace, God's peace, is found here. Your extended family is here. We eat together, we worship together, and we work together. You can hang your hat with us and you walk and talk the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Luke 10:8-11, 16: Jesus is continuing to say, "Whenever you enter a town and they receive you, eat what is set before you. Heal the sick in it and say to them, 'The Kingdom of God has come near to you.' But whenever you enter a town and they do not receive you, go into its' streets and say, 'Even the dust of your town that clings to our feet we wipe off against you. Nevertheless know this, the the Kingdom of God has come near.'" ... "The one who hears you hears me, and the one who rejects you rejects me, and the one who rejects me rejects Him who sent me."
As you make your way through this world, you will have many challenges. People will reject you as a person of Christ. They will not hear what you have to say. They will not be kind to you.
From my point of view, I never want to give up on anyone. I don't want to stop trying. At the same time, I have to begin to realize that I may be "banging my head against the wall." I will be, and have been, rejected, my words misunderstood and misinterpreted. No matter what I may do, some people will not listen. I just have to dust off my feet and move on. They are not rejecting me. They are rejecting God the Father.
And the ones who get it? What about the people who receive you and receive the Lord who sent you? Well are receiving with joy the grace and mercy of God through Jesus Christ. They too will be written in the Lamb's Book of Life.
Luke 10:17-20: The seventy two returned with joy, saying, "Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name!" And He said to them, "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that you names are written in heaven."
It is amazing when the Word of God works. It is amazing when people respond to the message that you shared with them. It is amazing that just the freedom from sin does in the lives of people. It is amazing that grace, mercy, and life overflow to people and they take hold of it.
When you take advantage of the freedom to walk and talk your life as a servant of Jesus, things in people's lives change.
At the same time, Jesus has a warning for you. "Don't get cocky. Focus your joy on the reality that YOU will be headed to heaven."
It is great that God brings people to salvation through us. And that's it. GOD works THROUGH US.
But don't stop celebrating either.
Pastor Robert Hemsath joined Faith Lutheran Church and School as the Senior Pastor in January 2017. Pastor Hemsath comes to FLC from Christ the King Lutheran Church in Waxahachie, TX. He has also served congregations in Aberdeen, ID and Pocatello, ID. He has been a Lutheran pastor for the past 20 years.