Sermon From June 16th 2013 / “Our Father Who Art in Heaven.”
Mount Olive Lutheran Church / Rev. Ted A. Giese / Sunday June 16th 2013: Season of Pentecost. 2 Samuel 11:26-12:10, 13-14 (ESV)
When the wife of Uriah heard that Uriah her husband was dead, she lamented over her husband. And when the mourning was over, David sent and brought her to his house, and she became his wife and bore him a son. But the thing that David had done displeased the LORD.
And the LORD sent Nathan to David. He came to him and said to him, “There were two men in a certain city, the one rich and the other poor. The rich man had very many flocks and herds, but the poor man had nothing but one little ewe lamb, which he had bought. And he brought it up, and it grew up with him and with his children. It used to eat of his morsel and drink from his cup and lie in his arms, and it was like a daughter to him. Now there came a traveler to the rich man, and he was unwilling to take one of his own flock or herd to prepare for the guest who had come to him, but he took the poor man's lamb and prepared it for the man who had come to him.” Then David's anger was greatly kindled against the man, and he said to Nathan, “As the LORD lives, the man who has done this deserves to die, and he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity.”
Nathan said to David, “You are the man! Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, ‘I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you out of the hand of Saul. And I gave you your master's house and your master's wives into your arms and gave you the house of Israel and of Judah. And if this were too little, I would add to you as much more. Why have you despised the word of the LORD, to do what is evil in his sight? You have struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and have taken his wife to be your wife and have killed him with the sword of the Ammonites. Now therefore the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised me and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.’... David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the LORD.” And Nathan said to David, “The LORD also has put away your sin; you shall not die. Nevertheless, because by this deed you have utterly scorned the LORD, the child who is born to you shall die.”
Let us pray: May the words of my mouth and the meditations of all our hearts be acceptable in your sight O Lord. Amen.
Now David was a man after God’s own heart and because of this he was repentant when confronted with his sin and was able to confess “I have sinned against the LORD.” To which Nathan the prophet provided forgiveness saying to David, “The LORD also has put away your sin; you shall not die. Nevertheless, because by this deed you have utterly scorned the LORD, the child who is born to you shall die.” This is the unsettling part, as a father the Christian man freely seeks forgiveness and receives it yet there may be consequences for the sin, and the Christian father may still bear these consequences in his daily life. Take note, this child died according to God’s will and not by the hand of David or Bathsheba, or any other man or woman. Regardless of the circumstances surrounding this child’s birth he was, and is, very much in God’s Hands just as we all are.
Today is Father’s Day, it’s not technically a church holiday but it’s worth contemplating in relation to our Old Testament readings this morning. Now King David is an example of fatherhood but he isn’t our only example. Earlier we sang “Praise, My Soul, the King of Heaven” verse three says this about God, “Father-like He tends and spares us; Well our feeble frame He knows; In His hand He gently bears us, Rescues us from all our foes. Alleluia, alleluia! Widely yet His mercy flows.” When His disciples ask Him how to pray to God Jesus teaches them to start their prayer by praying “Our Father Who Art in Heaven.” In the Catechism we learn what this means: “With these words God tenderly invites us to believe that He is our true Father and that we are His true children, so that with all boldness and confidence we may ask Him as dear children ask their dear father.” Ask Him for what? For anything and everything: For guidance, support, strength, forgiveness, patience! As our Heavenly Father, God promises to hear our prayer, He in fact commands us to pray to Him: In Psalm 50 God says “Call upon Me in the day of trouble and I will deliver you.” For this reason be encouraged, let your hearts be kindled with a burning desire to receive the good gifts your Heavenly Father has in store for you, for He is your true Father. Now, what does this mean for you?
As a child growing up Luther’s parents beat him harshly, His father physically beat him so hard once that young Martin Luther ran away from home and as a result of that beating Luther said of his father, “I hated him until he finally managed to win me back." Winning Luther back took a long time. Hans Luther wanted the best for his son and sent him to good schools, as Luther was poised to become a lawyer the unthinkable happened, Luther left school to join the Augustinian Order to live in a monastery. His parents were beside themselves and greatly displeased. It wasn’t until the reformation had begun and Luther had become an infamous character on the world stage that things improved between Luther and his father. It happened in the most unlikely of situations, but when you stop to think about it, it does make good sense. Luther and his father were significantly reconciled to each other on the day of Luther’s wedding to Katharina von Bora when Hans Luther provided beer for the reception after the wedding ceremony.
Hans and Martin Luther were Christian men, father and son; they had a hard relationship for many years but in Christ Jesus reconciliation and forgiveness were possible. If you have a hard relationship with your father or with your son remember in Jesus you can have this relationship restored, might there still be lasting consequences for the sins made against each other? Yes, but “love covers a multitude of sins.”
What is this love that covers over a multitude of sins? It is the love that is at the very heart of God the Father’s love for you in Christ Jesus; this covering of sins is the robe of righteousness worn by King David which covers his adultery, his coveting and his murderous act against Uriah; it is the robe of righteousness you received in your baptism which covers all of your sin. This is what justifies you before God the Father, it doesn’t excuse the sinfulness of your sin but rather in the blood of Christ Jesus shed upon the cross it covers over and forgives your sin, makes you God’s child by adoption and guarantees your relationship with Jesus, it makes Jesus your older Brother, both now and forever: it makes God the Father your Father, both now and forever.
Many fathers seek improvement in life; better wage, better home, better health; why are all of these things desired? To better serve the needs of their children and the mother of their children? This is the second table of the law. This is, “loving your neighbour as yourself.” This is commandments four (Honour Your Father and Mother) straight through to commandment ten (You shall not covet your neighbour wife, or his [employees and workers], his [equipment or vehicles], or anything that belongs to your neighbour). Doing this requires virtue; a man must be honourable, kind, faithful, a defender of other people’s property, truthful, content with life. Added to this the Christian father must have no other God’s but the Triune God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit – Three persons in One God, now and forever), they must defend God’s name and use it well, they must honor the Sabbath day, come to God’s house to receive God the Father’s gifts and they must teach the faith to their children and guild them along life’s way.
Does such a list trouble you? “Love covers a multitude of sins.” Are you left desiring to improve? This is a good desire, but to what end? Is the desire to impress your own father? Is it to impress and commend yourself to God the Father in hopes of His favour? Your personal perseverance is not counted towards your salvation; your salvation is yours in Christ Jesus alone. Your dedication, your perseverance, your passion for your improvement in body and in soul most certainly has the true benefit of improving the lives of your children, your wife, your co-workers and all the people around you. It is for them, it is for others, it isn’t for your personal eternal benefit. As Lutheran Christians “we teach that men cannot be justified before God by their own strength, merits, or works, but are freely justified for Christ's sake, through faith, when they believe that they are received into favor, and that their sins are forgiven for Christ's sake, who, by His death, has made satisfaction for our sins. This faith God imputes for righteousness in His sight.” “Love covers a multitude of sins.”
Children, encourage your father to greatness and pray for him every day; Wives build your husband up in his vocation of father, pray for him daily; Father’s forgive others as God the Father forgives you. Love your children as God loves you. “Love covers a multitude of sins.” In all of this remember you are loved by God the Father.
The failures of this life, the hardships and struggles, the pain and trouble of this life will be removed as far as the east is from the west, and all that will remain will be the joy and happiness, the goodness and the love. What ended in heartbreak for David because of his sin, in Christ Jesus, will being again anew on the last day, only it will be made perfect as the heavenly Father is perfect, for “Love covers a multitude of sins.” In God the Father’s grace you are covered over in His love. The LORD has put away your sin; you shall not die. You are promised life. You shall not die eternal death. Jesus is your robe of righteousness, today, tomorrow and forever. This promise is yours in Christ Jesus, it is for you and it is for your children. Amen.
Let us pray:
Lord have mercy on us, Christ have mercy on us, Lord have mercy on us, “take our minds and think through them, take our lips and speak through them, take our hearts and set them on fire; for the sake of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Amen.
 2 Samuel 3:2-5; 2 Samuel 5:14-16 and 1 Chronicles 3:1-8
 Lutheran Service Book, Concordia Publishing House, 2006. # 793 “Praise, My Soul, the King of Heaven.” Verse 3.
 Matthew 6:9
 Luther’s Small Catechism with Explanation, Concordia Publishing House 2005, pg 19.
 Psalm 50:15
 Concordia: The Lutheran Confessions, Large Catechism, Concordia Publishing House, 2005, Part III The Lord’s Prayer, pg. 582.
 1 Peter 4:8
2 Samuel 12:15-23 “The LORD afflicted the child that Uriah's wife bore to David, and he became sick. David therefore sought God on behalf of the child. And David fasted and went in and lay all night on the ground. And the elders of his house stood beside him, to raise him from the ground, but he would not, nor did he eat food with them. On the seventh day the child died. And the servants of David were afraid to tell him that the child was dead, for they said, “Behold, while the child was yet alive, we spoke to him, and he did not listen to us. How then can we say to him the child is dead? He may do himself some harm.” But when David saw that his servants were whispering together, David understood that the child was dead. And David said to his servants, “Is the child dead?” They said, “He is dead.” Then David arose from the earth and washed and anointed himself and changed his clothes. And he went into the house of the LORD and worshiped. He then went to his own house. And when he asked, they set food before him, and he ate. Then his servants said to him, “What is this thing that you have done? You fasted and wept for the child while he was alive; but when the child died, you arose and ate food.” He said, “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept, for I said, ‘Who knows whether the LORD will be gracious to me, that the child may live?’ But now he is dead. Why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he will not return to me.”
 John 3:16
 John 11:25-26
 Luke 15:22-24