Division, Fire, Truth and Peace / Luke 12:49-56 / Pr. Lucas Andre Albrecht/Pastor Ted Giese / Sunday August 14th, 2022 / Season of Pentecost / Rev. Ted Giese’s 15th Ordination Anniversary
Sermon – August 14th, 2022 – Rev. Ted Giese’s 15th Ordination Anniversary
Mount Olive Lutheran Church, Regina, SK
Text: Luke 12:49-53
Theme: Division, Fire, Truth and Peace
Intr – Grace peace and mercy to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Good Christian Friends.
We all like the Bible when it says what we want to hear. We all like Jesus when He says what we want to hear. When what is being said is not all that difficult, when what is said is acceptable in the society and amongst mixed company, when family and friends of all sorts can get behind the Christian faith even when they themselves don't share that faith. But what happens when what the Bible says goes against the grain, when what Jesus says is hard and difficult? What happens when people are divided over Jesus and what He says?
What is Jesus talking about when He says, “I came to cast fire on the earth, and would that it were already kindled! I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how great is my distress until it is accomplished!" This is the reason for the divisions, but what is this fire? By this point Jesus was already baptised in the river Jordan by John the Baptizer, so what is this baptism? and why is Jesus distressed?
The fire Jesus came to cast upon the earth is His crucifixion. His death upon the cross, that baptism, in His very own blood for the forgiveness of your sins, is the love of God for you. It is also the wildfire that burns bright in the darkness of the world. Every Christian baptised into Jesus is baptized into His crucifixion and resurrection.
Speaking to His disciples, the brothers James and John, after they asked to sit next to Him in His glory, Jesus speaks of His crucifixion as a baptism when Jesus says to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?” And they said to Him, “We are able.” And Jesus said to them, “The cup that I drink you will drink, and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized, but to sit at My right hand or at My left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared.” The two that sat there, the one on His left and the one on His right were both publicly convicted sinners. You know them as the thief on the left and the thief on the right. These two men were divided, Jesus hung between them nailed to the cross, the sinner who had faith and the sinner who rejected Jesus, both sinners, Jesus hanging between them, His blood being shed for the sins of both yet they were divided. The fire of the cross refining the one who sat a Jesus' right hand side, the fire of the cross enraging the other against Jesus. The one a sinner and a forgiven saint, the other a sinner who had no desire for forgiveness from Jesus.
From the kindled fire of the cross to the waters of your baptism the Light sent by the Father comes to you, Jesus comes to you, He is your Light and your life. In Baptism His light burns in you. Fire produces light in the darkness and as Christians “You are the light of the world." For this reason the Christian that lights up the darkness with the Light of Christ Jesus, will suffer for it, for the world rails against Jesus and His cross and passion.
When Jesus says to His disciples in our Gospel, "Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division." You can start to see what Jesus is talking about. Jesus says "I am the Truth," and that puts Him in opposition to everything that is false, all lies, and all who bear falsehoods, everything that is not true. This is division. Everything cannot be true, everything in the world cannot be good. In the fallen nature of The World there is evil, and there are false teachings, false teachers, false doctrines, and sometimes these are held by people who are well meaning; but their feelings, or their "well-meaning-ness," doesn't make what they confess to be true to in fact be true. False doctrine, false teaching deprives people of Jesus who is the Truth, and as Jesus said, He being the Truth, His very presence in this fallen world causes division because some will confess the Truth and some will not, As Jesus says, "For from now on in one house there will be five divided, three against two and two against three. They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.” The source of this division is falsehood in the face of Truth.
And here we are. We all like the Bible when it says what we want to hear. We all like Jesus when He says what we want to hear. But what happens when what the Bible says goes against the grain, when what Jesus says is hard and difficult, and people become divided over what Jesus says? This is the place where shining the light of the fire Jesus came to cast upon the earth is so important, because the cross of Christ will, in its shining, be either a stumbling block, foolishness, or it will plainly be "the power of God." When that light shines in you some will want to remove you, seeing you as a stumbling block, they may even kill you to remove you; others will see you as a fool and pity you as feeble minded; yet other will not be divided against you as the two sinners crucified with Christ were divided; no, not all will be divided against you, in Christ you will have a family, they will become your brother, your sister, your mother in the faith, your father in the faith. Because you are divided with some people in your life does not mean you will be left without family, in Christ.
Because Jesus displayed true trust, and total faith, because He was willing and able to endure the fire of that coming cross, you can seek forgiveness in Him for the times you have lacked trust, for the times you have abused the gift of faith that you've been given, for all the times your thoughts, words and deeds have failed to proclaim the Light of Christ Jesus in you. Take heart, you are not the one who lights your own fire, the Holy Spirit does this; You are not the one who adds yourself to the company of the saints in light, Jesus does this at His crucifixion; and despite what the world thinks you are not the one who joins the family of Christians in a Church, God the Father is the one who makes you an heir to the Kingdome of God with Christ Jesus and calls you His Children in Christ Jesus.
Outside of Christ there is no peace in this World. And in the body of Christ it is still important to be faithful and true to what Scripture teaches about Jesus.
But how do I know what is true and what is false? Trust what you've been taught - Scripture is true. The Word of God is true and if someone is contradicting it or trying to twist it to serve their selfish desires then beware. If your feelings contradict Scripture don't be apprehensive about Scripture be wary of your feelings. God knows the heart, Jesus knows the heart - He knows your heart and the sin that is in it, this is why we sing with King David the words, "create in me a clean heart of God and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from Thy presence and take not Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation and uphold me with Thy free spirit." This is a prayer of repentance, an acknowledgment of the personal sin that flows from false desires that are in opposition to Jesus and the Truth of the Word of God. Instead of "This above all: to thine own self be true!" As Christians we are called to say, "This above all: to Christ alone be true!" Hold fast to Jesus.
Sometimes it is scary to walk away from your feelings and to trust Jesus and the Word of God; Sometimes it is painful to deny what we want to be true for what is True; Sometimes, when a lot is on the line, it is painful to trust God above all things; When what the World says is happiness is on the line it is painful to walk away from the desires of our hearts in order "to be conformed to the image of [God's] Son," conformed to Jesus who is the truth. In his letter to the Roman Christians St. Paul says, "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect."
This, dear Christian, is the abundant life; that you and I are counted with those who are united in Christ, that you and I are counted with Abraham and Isaac, with Jacob and Joseph, with Moses and Rahab the prostitute with all these sinners forgiven by Jesus, with all the forgiven sinners who are "so great a cloud of witnesses." Surrounded by these saints, united in Jesus, you are now free to, "lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely," so that you can "run with endurance the race that is set before [you]" regardless of the obstacles before you, knowing that Christ has run it, that He is the Light before you as you run, and the Light in you as you run. That His light is the cross on Calvary and that no matter how divided the world may be against you and against the Word of God in Christ Jesus, in Him you are united, the Body of Christ in the face of persecution, in the face of martyrdom, in the face of death and darkness. All creation may seem divided against us, yet remember, nothing not trouble, not persecution, not torture, or pain, or sickness or illness of any kind "will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord."
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.
 Today’s sermon is a blend of sermons by Pastor Ted A. Giese. Sources:
“Division and Fire.” https://lutheran-church-regina.com/blogs/post/sermon-from-august-18th-2013-division-and-fire
“Does Jesus divide?” https://lutheran-church-regina.com/blogs/post/sermon-pr-ted-giese-sunday-august-14th-2016-luke-1249-56-does-jesus-divide
 Do we turn away, saying, 'O Jesus, that's a hard saying who can follow it?' or do we trust, do we keep the faith, do we stand in the midst of the fire that falls around us. Do you take the heat of unpopularity, or heaven forbid do you accept the reality that conforming to the Word of God and standing on the name of Jesus may cause personal hardship, persecution or in some cases may even result in the death of your body on the altar of public opinion or at the very real tip of the sword of your enemies.
 The Psalmist says "Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of His saints." Jesus says to the repentant sinner, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”
 St. Paul warns the young pastor Timothy in Paul's first letter to Timothy saying, "If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions, and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth."
 We look forward to The Last Day of division when on That Day the wicked and the redeemed will be divided once for all eternity, when you and all those who the Holy Spirit has called, gathered, enlightened, sanctified and kept with Jesus Christ in the one true faith will enter into eternal peace. On That Day there will be complete harmony between God and His Children, between all of His Children, all conflict gone. Until That Day we live in The World, a World brimming with falsehoods.
 Who will save me from myself? Who will save me from by broken conscious? From my sinful desires and my failure to be wary of my own heart and it's sin? Jesus, who is the Truth, now and ever shall be the source of your forgiveness. He trusted the Word of God perfectly where we fall to temptation. When tempted by Satan in the wilderness Jesus spurned the devils temptations not with feelings, or desires, or with the wants of the heart, but with the Word.