Immanuel Lutheran Church

Sermon

Pentecost 2

"Confessing the Lord Boldly"

Matthew 10:32-33

June 25, 2017

The church trivia question for today is: what happened on June 25? Why is today an important day in the history of the church? Although we don't usually pay much attention to our heritage, June 25 is an important anniversary. It was on June 25, 1530, that the Augsburg Confession was presented to the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V. The Lutheran princes even dared to bare their necks as a sign that they were ready to die for their faith.

Confessing Christ boldly can be a very dangerous thing. Today, Lutherans and other Christians in Africa face the same threats of death. Now, it is radical Islam that threatens and carries out the death threats. Suddenly, being a confessing Christian isn't as easy and comfortable as it used to be. Militant Islamists, atheists and Marxists have become the tools of the thief who comes only to steal, kill and destroy.

Jesus warned His disciples that the world would hate them. Throughout the generations Christians have faced persecution. Sometimes when we think that life has spiraled out of control, we need to be reminded that the Lord has put us here at this place and this time for a reason. Although we are not perfect saints, we are to be His witnesses. Jesus lays it all out in the Gospel reading for today.

Read Matthew 10:32-33. Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.

Although the translation we in the Gospel reading used the word "acknowledge," the Greek word is "confess." We confess to the world that Jesus is Lord. We are part of the "communion of saints" because we confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. Since faith in Jesus Christ is a gift and work of God, it is the Lord makes us His saints.

Now, with all due respect to those who talk about being spiritual, it's one thing to be a "spiritual person" and another to confess Christ. Buddhists are considered very spiritual but they don't confess Jesus Christ as Lord. We are spiritual only because the Holy Spirit has called, gathered, enlightened and sanctified us.

In Christ, we become new creations. The Lord transforms us. He transforms us from being who we are by nature into confessing Christians. Luther gave us a wonderful sense of what he called vocation. He said that people didn't need to enter the religious life to be saints. In his time, the popular idea was that there were two classes of people. There were those who were "holy" and then there was everybody else.

In Luther's day if you were spiritually inclined, you became a monk or a nun. f you weren't piously inclined, you remained a sort of second class Christian. Luther said all that was silliness. The Lord made you who you are. He gave you various gifts, talents, skills and abilities. He intends that you should discover and develop these gifts to use in service for the work of the Gospel. Not all of us are called to become full time church workers but we are all called to confess Jesus Christ in our daily living. The Lord has put you here to do just that!

Not all of us are pious by nature or inclined toward the contemplative life. That's ok. Jesus calls us to confess the faith. How are we supposed to do that? We are all different. He makes us male and female. He makes us introverts and extroverts, bold and timid, glib and tongue-tied. He gives us all different personality and temperament. Let's face it; some of us are more saintly and pious by nature than others. God has made some of us more tuned to the things of the Spirit than others. What's the bottom line? God made us who we are with all of our traits, quirks and idiosyncrasies.

God made you who you are. The thing we have in common as Christians is that Jesus has transformed us. Once we confess to God that we have sinned in our thoughts, speech and actions, we then ask God to transform our thoughts, speech and actions to make us living witnesses of the love of Jesus Christ in our daily lives. The Lord helps and enables us to use whatever gifts He has given us to serve others in His name. Luther simply tells us to bloom where God plants us.

Today's Gospel reading tells us not to be afraid to confess Jesus is Lord. Today in the western world, Christianity is considered by many to be wimpy and effeminate. Men are alienated from this kind of religion. Jesus was hardly wimpy and effeminate. So, what happened to His church? We have failed to live up to basic teachings of the faith.

For one thing fathers need to step up spiritually. Fathers are much more important in the lives of their children than our current culture wants to admit. Studies show that if dad doesn't attend church, his kids are less likely to when they get older even if mom comes regularly. Dads who take spiritual leadership will have children who have better self-esteem and are more firmly grounded in their morals, their core values and their faith.

In this hedonistic and narcissistic age, it is a real challenge to put yourself under the discipline of Jesus Christ. What seems impossible to our human nature is possible with the help of God, who made each us has even taken inventory of the number of hairs on our heads. He knows us that well. He knows our strengths and weaknesses. He loves us not necessarily because of who we are but in spite of it.

In one of the great reversals of things spiritual, God seeks to impress us with His love. He did it by sending His Son to die on the cross for us and for our sins. In His love He trans-forms us and calls us to be His children that we may confess His forgiving love to the world.

Jeremiah writes: "Sing to the Lord! Give praise to the Lord! He rescues the life of the needy from the hands of the wicked." Jesus came into the world to rescue us. We are needy. We cannot save ourselves. We cannot by our own efforts be "good enough" for God. We would remain spiritually dead and in the clutches of the devil, if Jesus had not come to rescue us through His death for us on the cross.

Because of His great love for us, we can sing and give praise to God. The Lord who has freed us from the power of sin, death and the devil gives us a new song to sing. We are all saints of God. We may never be canonized by the church but that doesn't matter. When we confess Jesus Christ is Lord, we join with angels, archangels and all the company of heaven praising His glorious name now and forever! Amen.


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December
12/25/2016
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November
11/27/2016
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October
10/30/2016
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September
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July
07/31/2016
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June
06/26/2016
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May
05/29/2016
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April
04/17/2016
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March
03/27/2016
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03/06/2016
February
02/28/2016
02/21/2016
02/17/2016
02/14/2016
02/07/2016
January
01/31/2016
01/24/2016
01/03/2016
01/01/2016

December
12/27/2015
12/20/2015
12/13/2015
12/06/2015
November
11/22/2015
11/15/2015
11/08/2015
11/01/2015
October
10/25/2015
10/18/2015
10/11/2015
10/04/2015
September
09/27/2015
09/20/2015
09/13/2015
09/06/2015
August
08/30/2015
08/23/2015
08/16/2015
08/09/2015
08/02/2015
July
07/26/2015
07/19/2015
07/12/2015
07/05/2015
June
06/28/2015
06/21/2015
06/14/2015
06/07/2015
May
05/31/2015
05/24/2015
05/17/2015
05/10/2015
April
04/19/2015
04/12/2015
04/12/2015
04/05/2015
March
03/29/2015
03/22/2015
03/15/2015
03/08/2015
February
02/15/2015
02/15/2015
02/08/2015
02/01/2015
January
01/25/2015
01/25/2015
01/18/2015
01/11/2015
01/04/2015

December
12/28/2014
12/21/2014
12/14/2014
12/07/2014
November
11/23/2014
11/16/2014
11/09/2014
11/02/2014
October
10/12/2014
10/05/2014
September
09/28/2014
09/21/2014
09/14/2014
09/07/2014
August
08/31/2014
08/24/2014
08/17/2014
08/10/2014
08/03/2014
July
07/27/2014
07/20/2014
07/13/2014
07/06/2014
June
06/29/2014
06/22/2014
06/15/2014
06/08/2014
06/01/2014
May
05/11/2014
April
04/27/2014
04/20/2014
04/13/2014
04/06/2014
March
03/30/2014
03/23/2014
03/16/2014
03/02/2014
February
02/02/2014
January
01/26/2014
01/19/2014
01/12/2014
01/05/2014