Sermon / Pr. Ted Giese / Sunday Oct 25th 2015 - / Luke 10:1-4 / Received by Faith: By Faith Alone
Sermon Sunday Oct 25th 2015 - Mount Olive Lutheran Church / Rev. Ted A. Giese / Luke 10:1-4 - Received by Faith: By Faith Alone - Mark 10:46-52 Proper 25 (Oct. 23-29)
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 labourers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into His harvest. Go your way; behold, I am sending you out as lambs in the midst of wolves. Carry no moneybag, no knapsack, no sandals, and greet no one on the road."
Let us pray: May the words of my mouth and the meditations of all our hearts be acceptable in Your sight O Lord. Amen.
Grace peace and mercy to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Good Christian Friends. We are in week two of our stewardship series "The Lifestyle of Faithful Stewards" Today is the Sunday that Lutherans generally are celebrating Reformation, Reformation day is this Saturday coming at the end of our week, on Oct 31st the Eve of All Saints Day, and next Sunday, Nov. 1st we'll celebrate Reformation and All Saints Day together. However there will be a little Reformation stuff in today's Sermon too - so listen carefully and you'll hear it as it relates to the text for today's Sermon.
Today's Sermon text is short and sweet, It's from the Gospel of Saint Luke chapter 10 and it follows this little exchange at the end of Luke chapter 9, so first here's the end of Luke chapter 9 - then we'll move into the beginning of Luke 10: "As they were going along the road, someone said to [Jesus], “I will follow you wherever you go.” And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” To another [Jesus] said, “Follow Me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” And Jesus said to him, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” Yet another said, “I will follow You, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plough and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” ... here's where we shift gears into our text today, "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 [Jesus] said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into His harvest. Go your way; behold, I am sending you out as lambs in the midst of wolves. Carry no moneybag, no knapsack, no sandals, and greet no one on the road."
These Seventy-two that Jesus appointed and who followed Jesus' words to them are men who gave up the guarantee of a warm bed and roof over their head, who set aside their closest relationships and were prepared to go wherever Jesus would send them. Jesus wasn't going to appoint and send out men who had second thoughts that would torment them on their way. As He sends them Jesus tells them to pray that there will be more workers because, "The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few." Jesus also warns them that there will be wolves out there and that this will be dangerous work.
What is the nature of the work? They go out ahead of Jesus and proclaim that Jesus is coming, they are sent out "into every town and place where [Jesus] Himself was about to go." There is a name for this sort of work, they called these people Heralds, they literally heralded the eminent arrival of the King and brought word from the King, they were often charged with a message from the King and the message they brought was delivered in the stead and by the command of their Lord. Both Saint John and Saint Paul call Jesus the "King of kings and Lord of lords." These Seventy-two are sent ahead with His message, Jesus' message - and the message they would be sent out with would be this, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” This is a witness to the fact that God was working the work of saving His children, that the long expected Messiah, the Christ was in their midst. This is the Good News of the day.
Following Jesus' death and resurrection the full picture of what that means became visible and men like Saint Paul explained it like this, "the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it—the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by His grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by His blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in His divine forbearance He had passed over former sins. It was to show His righteousness at the present time, so that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus." That's from Romans chapter 3. It say to you that, apart from your perfect keeping of the law - because you are not able to keep it perfectly "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God," Jesus came to you, Jesus who did keep it perfectly and whose perfect righteousness, the righteousness of God, is now given to you as a gift paid for by His shed blood, not paid for by your shed blood or by your hard work. Here is the Gospel - in Jesus you are justified before the God who is Just and who exacts justice. In Jesus you are saved from yourself, saved from sin, from death, the devil, saved from the World.
The Seventy-two who were appointed and who were sent out, came with a message, Jesus who is saving you is coming, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” We today as we go out with a witness to who Jesus is and what Jesus has done go out to the world to say, "Jesus has come, Jesus has saved you, the time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel, Jesus is coming again." This message that "God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in [this Jesus] should not perish but have eternal life," is the most precious thing you have in your possession, it is the most valuable thing you have, it is a gift given to you by God: And more than the message, Jesus Himself, the one who the message is speaking of, has been given to you as a gift.
And here's the counterintuitive thing - the anti-wisdom - that goes against the grain of the world: When you are given a gift you're generally supposed to keep it for yourself. The Stewardship of God, The Lifestyle of Faithful Stewards says give this gift away, re-gift it, give it away to everyone you know as often as you can, because you will never run out. There is always more Jesus. Jesus supplies Himself to you in an everlasting way - He is the cup that runneth over forever, Jesus says to Saint John, in the book of Revelation, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment." From the table on Maundy Thursday, Jesus "took a cup, and when He had given thanks He gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins." From the cross of Good Friday Jesus said, "“It is finished,” and He bowed His head and gave up His spirit." On the first Easter Sunday Jesus came to the remaining disciples who were living in fear, hiding from everyone with these words - Jesus said to them, "Peace be with you!" On the day of the Ascension 40 days after Easter Jesus sends them out to baptize and tasks them with the job of following up on the baptism by "teaching [the baptized] to observe all that [He had] commanded [them]," then Jesus to promised them, promised His church, "behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Don't hide what you've been given: live, teacher, bring people here to this place. Bring them to be baptized into Jesus. Bring them to hear Jesus' word preached. Bring them to be prepared for holy communion. Give the gift you have been given, give the gift of Jesus. Support them while they are being prepared for holy Communion where they will receive Jesus' body given for them, given for you, where they will receive Jesus' blood shed for them, shed for you. Remember, at each point along the way God is giving the gift and Jesus, this precious priceless gift, is received by faith: By faith alone. This is one of the five Sola's of the Lutheran Reformation - slogans that teach the faith: 1) “Scripture alone” 2) “faith alone” 3) “grace alone” 4) “Christ alone” 5) “to the glory of God alone.”
So give the gift, re-gift the gift, in the full knowledge that you are a Harold and that it is the Holy Spirit who works faith, it is the Father who gave His only begotten Son, It is Jesus who gives Himself for heavenly food. Stewardship of the gift begins with understanding what the gift is, understanding that you can give it away without losing it for yourself, and that it is not up to you to ensure that the receiver of the gift receives it: Father, Son and Holy Spirit do that part. Be encouraged, have courage, talk about Jesus and pray for labourers in the harvest.
I leave you with today's Gospel lesson - listen to it again, haveing heard what you've heard today, listen with fresh ears, "as [Jesus] was leaving Jericho with His disciples and a great crowd, Bartimaeus, a blind beggar, the son of Timaeus, was sitting by the roadside. And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” And many rebuked [Bartimaeus], telling him to be silent. But he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” And Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” And they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take heart. Get up; He is calling you.” And throwing off his cloak, [Bartimaeus] sprang up and came to Jesus. And Jesus said to him, “What do you want Me to do for you?” And the blind man said to him, “Rabbi, let me recover my sight.” And Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your faith has made you well.” And immediately [Bartimaeus] recovered his sight and followed [Jesus] on the way.
You may not be exactly like the Seventy-two appointed by Jesus, you may not be in the category of the disciples and the Apostles - yet there are people crying out to Jesus, crying out for help, and as a Christian baptised into Jesus - Jesus says to you 'call them,' go out and say, “Take heart. Get up; He is calling you,” 'Jesus is calling you!' Bring them to Jesus and Jesus will do His work, Jesus will give them Himself and they will follow Him. 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 Saviour Jesus Christ, Amen.
 Luke 9:57-62
 Revelation 19:16, 1 Timothy 6:15
 Mark 1:15
 Romans 3:21-26
 John 3:16
 Revelation 21:6
 Matthew 26:27-28
 John 19:30
 Matthew 28:20
 Sola Scriptura “Scripture alone”
 Sola fide: “faith alone”
 Sola gratia: “grace alone”
 Solo Christo: “Christ alone”
 Soli Deo gloria: “to the glory of God alone”