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Pentecost 10 2019, Proper 15
Immanuel Lutheran Church, Hamilton, Ohio
Pastor Kevin Jud
August 18, 2019
Jeremiah 23:16-29, Hebrews 11:17-31, 12:1-3, Luke 12:49-53

Sermons online: 
Text and Audio:         immanuelhamiltonchurch.com   click “sermons”
Text:                            pastorjud.org  
Audio:                         pastorjud.podbean.com 
itunes:                         bit.ly/pastorjud
Full Service Audio:    bit.ly/ImmanuelWorship

This past week was the 50th anniversary of the Woodstock music festival.  Three days of Peace and Music at Max Yasgur’s dairy farm in Bethel, New York.  The Vietnam War was raging and the younger generation was rebelling against the social norms.  The hope was to have three days of peace and music in the country.

We really like peace.  Peace is good.  Peace is easy.  Peace feels right.

Who enjoys hearing their children fight?  Who enjoys fighting with their spouse?  Conflict is unpleasant.  We strive for peace in our families.  We strive for peace in the church.  And it is an ongoing struggle because the devil wants nothing more than to be able to tear families apart and tear churches apart over silly conflicts.  We must battle against foolish conflict because peace is good.  But peace is not always good.  Sometimes peace is dangerous.

You can make peace with your sin.

You can make peace with your laziness.  You can decide that you do not need to work hard in this life; you don’t need to do what you are supposed to do.

You can make peace with your anger.  You can say, “This is just who I am.  People need to accept it.”

You can make peace with your sexual immorality.  You can make peace with all sorts of intimacy outside the lifelong marriage union of a man and a woman.  You can convince yourself that pornography is not a problem; fornication is not a problem; adultery is not a problem.  You can make peace and say it is all okay.

You can make peace with your greed.  You can nurture your love of money and excuse it as just the way of the world.

You can make peace with your selfishness and tell yourself it is just human nature.

You can make peace with your separation from the Word of God.  You can say you don’t have time to read the Bible or get to worship.

You can make peace with sin in your life.

Peace can be good, but there is dangerous peace.  You can make peace with false teachers and false teachings about God.  Jesus warns about this in Matthew 7:15 (ESV) 15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.[1]  Paul teaches that folks will seek something else other than Jesus on the cross for you.  He writes in 1 Corinthians 1:22-24 (ESV) 22 For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.[2]

You life is an ongoing struggle to remain steadfast in Christ’s Church and the truth of Jesus.  You struggle to resist all the false teachings that surround you and appeal to your sinful, selfish human nature.

Peace can be good, but there is dangerous peace.  You can make peace with false religions.  There are those within churches today who desperately want to believe that there is no hell and that all people will be saved regardless of whether they have faith in Christ or not.

Many of you came to us from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the ELCA, and many of us have relatives who are still members.  The ELCA just held their national convention in Milwaukee August 5-10.  At their convention they passed a resolution that basically states that they do not know what God thinks about other religions that deny Jesus is the Savior.  A concerned delegate proposed to add language that indeed we do know what God thinks because Jesus is God and He told us, in John 14:6 (ESV) 6 … “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.[3]  A pastor from California spoke against this proposed amendment worried about offending the non-Christian religious leaders present saying, “Frankly I am embarrassed that we are having this conversation right now in front of all of our inter-faith guests.”  Debate was quickly cut off and the amendment was defeated with over 97% of the delegates voting against it.  The ELCA in convention voted that they do not know God’s position on other religions that deny Jesus.  They are making peace with false teachings and this is dangerous.

Martin Luther was sentenced to death by the Holy Roman Emperor because he refused to make peace with the Pope and his false teachings.  Luther is said to have declared, “Here I stand.”

There is a great temptation to make peace with falsehood and sin.  This is a dangerous peace.  And this is a deceitful peace because as soon as you make peace with your sin or with false teaching the goalposts will be moved and you will need to make peace with more sin and worse false teaching.  It is a dangerous peace.

Peace can be good and you should seek peace when it is proper.  You should never seek conflict for the sake of conflict.  Do not engage in conflict over unimportant issues.  Some people, it seems, seek out conflict and think that being in constant conflict is a sure sign of being faithful.  I know people like that on Facebook.  I may, at times, be that person on Facebook.  Being in constant conflict may not be sign of faithfulness, but instead it may just be a sign of being a jerk.  We should always seek for peace when possible, but we should never make peace with false teaching.  We should never make peace with false teachers.

Martin Luther was sentenced to death by the Holy Roman Emperor because he refused to make peace with the Pope and his false teachings.  Luther is said to have declared, “Here I stand.”

Each day you are called to take a stand against false teachers and false teaching.  Each day you are called to take a stand against sin in your own life.  You are called to not make peace with sin, but to be divided from sin.  Jesus comes to divide you from your sin.  He takes your sin to the cross and divides you from that sin as far as the East is from the West.  Jesus divides you from your sin and calls you to struggle each day to divide yourself from sin and false teaching.

Jesus is the Prince of Peace.  Jesus’ first words to His disciples after His resurrection is, “Peace to you.”  Jesus brings peace.  He brings forgiveness of sin.  He makes you right with God.  He gives you eternal life in the Kingdom of Heaven.

In our Gospel reading today Jesus says, Luke 12:51 (ESV) 51 Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division.[4]  Jesus brings peace between you and God, but He brings division between you and others.  Jesus brings division because He is exclusive.  There is only one way to the Father and that is through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth; God in flesh; God with us.  You know this is true through faith which is the gift of the Holy Spirit.  You have peace with God but this brings you into conflict.

Your trust in Jesus divides you from the devil because in baptism, you have renounced the devil and all his works and all his ways.

Your faith in Jesus divides you from the world because Jesus is not of the world.

Having Jesus as your Lord means that you are no longer a slave to the sinful desires of your own flesh.

You are a stranger in the world, but as a baptized child of God you are marked as a citizen of the Kingdom of Heaven.  You have been washed clean by Jesus’ blood shed for you on the cross at Calvary.  You have died with Christ and you have been raised with Christ.  Jesus has set you apart from the world so you are not at peace with the world, but you are at peace with God and that is a peace that is beyond understanding.

Amen.


[1]  The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. Wheaton : Standard Bible Society, 2001

[2]  The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. Wheaton : Standard Bible Society, 2001

[3]  The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. Wheaton : Standard Bible Society, 2001

[4]  The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. Wheaton : Standard Bible Society, 2001

 

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