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Pentecost 3, 2020
Immanuel Lutheran Church, Hamilton, Ohio
Pastor Kevin Jud
June 21, 2020
Jeremiah 20:7-13, Romans 6:12-23, Matthew 10:5a-21-33

 

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

 

What is truth? This is what Pontius Pilate asks Jesus when Jesus says to him, John 18:37-38 (ESV) …“You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world— to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.”38   Everyone who is of the truth listens to Jesus’ voice.

What is truth?  The truth is that you live in strange times of evolving cultural truth.  What was true for society yesterday is no longer true today; fundamental definitions change rapidly.  What is marriage?  What is a man?  What is a woman?  What is right?  What is wrong?

The truth is that you cannot rely on culture to show you the truth.  The truth is that Jesus is the truth.  The truth is that Jesus declared, John 14:6 (ESV) 6 … “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.[1] The truth is that Jesus is the truth.  The truth is that you are a baptized follower of Jesus.

The truth is that even though you are a baptized follower of Jesus you still have ongoing sinful desires.  The truth is that you want to do things that you should not do.  The truth is that devil wants you to obey your sinful desires.  The truth is that the world wants you to obey your sinful desires.  The truth is that your own sinful flesh wants you to obey your sinful desires.  The truth is that there is abundant pressure to obey your sinful desires.  The truth is that it is way too easy and way too tempting to give in to your sinful desires and become obedient to sin; to become a slave to sin; to become a slave to unrighteousness.

But you do not belong to sin.  You belong to Jesus.  You are not unrighteous; you have been made righteous.  You have been set free from sin.  You are of the Truth.  You are called to obey Jesus.  You are called to use your body as an instrument of righteousness.  Romans 6:13 (ESV) 13 Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness.[2]

The truth is that you will obey someone.  You will obey sin, or you will obey God.  As a baptized child of God you are called to listen to Jesus and obey. Jesus paid the price for your sin. Jesus took your sin upon Himself and suffered and died on the cross for you.  He took you out of the Kingdom of Darkness into the Kingdom of light. He took you from eternal death to eternal life.  He took you from impurity to righteousness.  He took you from lawlessness to sanctification.  God loves you so much He sent His son to suffer and die for you.  God knows you.  God loves you so much that He knows more about you than you know about yourself.

How many hairs do you have on your head?  You don’t know.  It might seem that Mr. Schlade would know.  It looks like he doesn’t have any hair, but that because he keeps what’s there trimmed down.  How many hairs are growing on his head?  He doesn’t know, but God knows, because God cares that much about Mr. Schlade.

God cares about the sparrows at my birdfeeder.  God cares deeply for little birds and God cares so much more deeply for you.  Jesus shed His blood and died for you.

The truth is that you belong to Jesus.  And the truth is that this can bring you trouble.  Matthew 10:24-25 (ESV) 24 “A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. 25 It is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household. [3]

The people around Jesus call him Beelzebul; the devil. They think Jesus is a devil and you are not above your teacher, Jesus.  There are many people today who firmly believe that anyone who is a follower of the truth of Jesus is also a devil.  If you believe that Jesus is the only way of salvation, they will hate you. If you believe that marriage is the lifelong union of a man and a woman you will be shunned as a hateful bigot. If you believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died for the sins of the world, you will be considered to be an ignorant, dangerous fool.

The truth is that being a follower of Jesus will put you out of step with mainstream society in our nation.  Listening to Jesus and obeying Him will put you outside the inner circles of the cultural elite.  The truth is that being a Christian who believes the Bible is true can get you fired because some companies believe they cannot employ someone who is so backwards in their thinking.  Even if you show up and do your job well, that won’t be enough; you can be fired for not thinking the right things; and the right things to think change day by day.

Being a Christian can bring trouble.  Being a Christians can put you in difficult situations, but this is exactly what Jesus is warning us about today in our Gospel reading.  Matthew 10:28 (ESV) 28 …do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.[4]

The truth is that is easy to be afraid of the cultural vigilantes who attempt to silence and marginalize anyone who disagrees with their ever-evolving truth.  The truth of Jesus is something they want silenced. They have great influence in our country, but it is worse elsewhere.  In some countries Christians are beaten, imprisoned or killed for proclaiming the truth of Jesus.  These forces of evil can kill the body, but they cannot kill the soul.  Pray for the persecuted Church throughout the world.

In this country there is tremendous pressure on individuals and organizations to adapt to the ever-changing societal truth.  The truth is that there are church bodies that have given in to the pressure and instead of being transformed by the Truth of Jesus they conform to the ever-evolving truth of the world.  In an attempt to be nice, and get along, they give up Jesus.  They are embarrassed by Jesus saying He is the way, the truth and the life and no one comes to the Father except through Him.  In order to not offend those of other religions they give up the Truth of Jesus.  They stop confessing Jesus.  This is eternally perilous.  Matthew 10:32-33 (ESV) 32 So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, 33 but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven. [5]

The truth is that true joy is found in Jesus. People without Jesus chase happiness and joy in their passions and in the accumulation of wealth and belongings, but true joy and true peace is found in the Truth of Jesus.

The truth is that Jesus is the Truth and He knows you better than you know yourself.  So listen to Jesus.  Obey Jesus. He freed you from slavery to sin. You belong to Him, and He loves you, and cares for you.  By your sin you earned death, but Jesus gives you the gift of eternal life.  What is truth?  Jesus is Truth.  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

 

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

 

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