Sermon for the Second Sunday after Pentecost June 14, 2020
Text: Matthew 7:15-29 CW 3 Year – Series A 20:2199
Theme: Only God Will See This
In a corner of Dover Air Force Base stands a building called Port Mortuary. On it the mission of those within states: “To return America’s fallen heroes with dignity, honor, and respect.” It takes a special person to work there, because through its doors are carried all of our country’s military personnel who have been killed in action. The team prepares the body to be sent home with an Honor Guard. Many times the casket contains only pieces.
One day the Commanding Officer was watching how things were going. He observed the team spending a great amount of time on one casualty. Coming closer, he saw that the bottom half of the soldier was gone. The team was working on the jacket.
The nametag was causing them problems. They couldn’t get it straight. One team member gave up in frustration and asked another to try. That one also failed. A third tried. Still no success! Finally, they discovered the problem. The problem wasn’t the nametag. The pocket had been sewn onto the jacket wrong! If the nametag lined up with the pocket, it looked crooked on the jacket. If it was lined up on the jacket, it looked crooked with the pocket. It would never look right! So they took off the jacket, found another the same size, replaced all the ribbons, and re-pinned the nametag. It took a while. Meanwhile, more work was waiting.
When they were done, the Commander encouraged the team: “I know that you went through a lot of trouble. The family will never know this. But some mother is going to be grateful when this casket is opened in the hometown.”
One of the team members replied: “Sir, this casket is slated for cremation. Only God will see this.”
If in gratitude to God they were willing to devote such time and energy to respect the memory of a fallen warrior, shouldn’t we who gain the benefits of the freedom they died for do the same for all who protect us? And most importantly, isn’t it right that we devote all our efforts to things that only God may see us do?
(I. Only God Will See as we do the will of the heavenly Father.)
That begs the question: “What does God want to see us do?” Jesus answered that when He said, “The one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” God wants to see us do His will. So, what is the will of the heavenly Father?
One of the best summaries of His will is found in the Ten Commandments. We call it God’s eternal, unchangeable, holy will for us. All of it is important and frequently only God can see when we are carrying it out. But in this text Jesus especially zeroes in on the Second Commandment. Do you remember it?
You older ones learned it as: “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.” Younger people may learn it as, “Do not misuse the name of the Lord your God.” In either case the meaning comes out the same. Luther explained its meaning this way: “We should fear and love God that we do not curse, swear, practice witchcraft (or superstition), lie, or deceive by His name. But call upon it in every trouble, pray, praise, and give thanks.”
Now, which of those ways of misusing God’s name in vain is Jesus’ talking about here? Listen to the beginning again: “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing (outwardly they appear gentle and non-threatening), but inwardly they are ravenous wolves (they will tear you apart)….Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’”
Those are some scary words. Not all who use the name of the Lord Jesus enter the kingdom of heaven. Not all who claim to be prophets of the Lord, speak His truth. Not all who loudly profess Christianity are actually Christian. “They lie and deceive by His name.” To them God will close heaven. Why? Because God sees that they aren’t doing the will of the heavenly Father.
But aren’t they doing the will of God when they seem to be working so hard? They pray, they preach, they teach; some are faith healers, do miracles, and drive out demons. People admire them, read their books, and eagerly listen to them. “Such good Christians!” people say. But God says, “I never knew you. You are evil. Go.” That’s scary! That means, “Go away from me into hell.”
You know, a person can pull the wool over our eyes and fool us.
Sometimes only God will see what someone truly stands for, like the Bible says, “God cannot be mocked” (Ga.6:7). He isn’t fooled; He can’t be fooled; and He won’t brush it off if a person doesn’t do His will by taking His name in vain. That one will be judged for it.
So again, for our eternal welfare we’ve got to ask: “What is God’s will?” Later Jesus responds so clearly (Jn.6:40): “My Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in Him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.”
God’s will is not so much that you do something with your hands, but that you believe something in your heart and declare it rightly. It is the simple, God-given truth that you can’t save yourself. Like Paul said in the Epistle Lesson today, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” We all deserve hell because of our sin. Thank goodness for the Gospel of Christ Jesus who died for it! Through Him comes, “a righteousness from God… to all who believe.” Those who trust in the Savior and His works, not their own, enter the kingdom of heaven.
Heaven through His grace, not through your activity. Heaven by listening to His Word, not human opinion. It is the heavenly Father’s will that you believe and proclaim it.
To the end that you might do this, God gave you His Holy Spirit to guide you into the truth (1Co.2:10f). Only He can as He “works in you to will and to act according to God’s good purpose” (Phlp.2:13). Only God May See It, for only He can look upon the heart. But isn’t that enough? It doesn’t matter what others see or don’t see. It’s important what God sees. And a heart that trusts the Savior shall be saved. That is the Father’s will.
(II. Only God Will See as we build on Christ alone.)
To accomplish that, you have to know and build on the right things. That’s why Jesus warned, “Watch out for false prophets.” Stay away from them. But you may ask, “How will I know them?” It’s really quite easy. You can actually “see” it. If God says “this,” and they say “that,” they are false teachers. It’s not hard to see.
Some say that the Bible is not completely God’s Word, but is full of human opinions. Some say God is not the creating force, evolution is. Some say that Jesus isn’t God, that he was just a man. Some teach that you aren’t a full-fledged Christian unless you speak in tongues or do miracles. Some say that babies shouldn’t be baptized. Some say that the bread and the wine in Communion aren’t really Jesus’ body and blood. Some say that any religion will do, as long as you are sincere about it. Some say that believing in Jesus isn’t enough to be saved; you have to do things, too. All of that is false. Listening to it is dangerous. If you adhere to them, they will eat up your soul. Jesus also says that you can see them as easily as seeing fruit on a tree. If it’s rotten fruit, I’m not going to pick and eat it. Not only God sees it, but you can see it, too, if you build your faith only on the foundation of His Word that He gives.
So, save yourselves a lot of grief and don’t endanger your soul. Don’t listen to them, watch them on TV, or read their books.
But sometimes Christians will say, “Oh, just a little of it won’t hurt you.” There is no such thing as a little false doctrine. Wrong teaching affects everything. Paul compares it to yeast in a batch of dough. Yeast works its way through the whole thing. On the Last Day the Lord will cut them down and throw them into the fire for the rotten trees that they are. And you don’t want to go with them.
God’s will is that you hear only the words of Christ. He’s the sure foundation on which to build your faith. When you build on Him alone, the rains of adversity, the streams of troubles, and the winds of false teaching will not sweep you away, for then you have built your faith on the only foundation that stands because it’s God’s foundation. And He sees it.
Build our faith on Christ alone. Then let the devil blow all he wants. He cannot move you, for you are set on the Rock “against which the gates of hell cannot prevail.” Maybe only God will see it. But that is enough! God grant it to us for Jesus’ sake. Amen.
Zion Lutheran Church of Springfield
(A member congregation of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod)
4717 S Farm Rd 135 (Golden Avenue)
Church phone: 417.887.0886 Pastor’s cell phone: 417.693.3244
www.zionluthchurch.com email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Second Sunday after Pentecost W June 14, 2020
“Everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.” Matthew 7:24
F o r O u r V i s i t o r s
The family of Zion welcomes you as we worship the Lord today. We encourage children to worship with us. However, if you need to leave with your child, there is a nursery room to the right as you exit the sanctuary. The rest rooms are located in the hallway between the sanctuary and the fellowship hall. Visitors, please sign our guest book to the right, just outside the sanctuary. We’re glad that you are here and pray that through our worship the Lord grants you peace.
U p o n E n t e r i n g G o d’ s H o u s e
“O my people, hear my teaching; listen to the words of my mouth. I will utter things from of old. What our fathers have told us, we will tell the next generation, the praiseworthy deed of the LORD. Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget His deeds” (Psalm 78).
W h a t T h i s S u n d a y i s A b o u t
Build on the Firm Foundation. Faith is only as strong as the truth on which it rests. Many build their faith on that which is false. In the end their faith cannot prosper, for it is built on that which doesn’t exist. Like a rotten foundation, it will cause the collapse of the whole structure.
Saving faith is built on divine truth. It is built on Christ Jesus and His gospel. Accept no substitutes for that which He has given us, even if it should be “disguised” in Jesus’ name. If it is not the truth, it will harm your soul. Therefore, Jesus encourages us to build our faith on the firm foundation that only He can give. To know it, we must listen to Him.
To that end we pray: O God, You rule over all things in wisdom and kindness. Take away everything that may be harmful and give us only whatever is good. Help us to hear Your words of truth which alone can save us; in Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
– T h e W o r d o f G o d f o r T o d a y –
Old Testament Lesson: Deuteronomy 11:18-28
The Word of the Lord is essential if God’s people are to stand firm. Thus, Moses encouraged Israel to keep God’s Word before them as they entered the Promised Land. If they listened and followed, they would enjoy His blessings. If they turned away, His curse would fall on them.
The Epistle Lesson: Romans 3:21-28
God reveals in His Word the righteousness that sinners need. It comes only through Christ and by faith in Him. Without God revealing it, we could not know it. His Word is priceless. Pray God that we never take it for granted.
Today’s Gospel Lesson: Matthew 7:15-29
Jesus warns against false teachers who destroy faith. You can identify them by what they say. Believers should build only on the firm foundation of Christ and His Word.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Today’s Organist: Jane Rips
Today’s Preacher: Pastor Edwin Lehmann
Point to Point to Ponder: “In the mid-1800s, engineers knew that building a bridge across the Mississippi River would be difficult due to the unstable riverbed. James B. Eads overcame this problem when he sank granite piers all the way to the bedrock, as far as 90 feet down. Eads Bridge is still in use.
Faith in Christ can be compared to a bridge in that it would be very unstable if built on the shifting sand of human opinion. No one realized that more than the apostle Paul for at his conversion he came to realize that Jesus Christ was the only solid rock on which to build the Church. The other apostles taught the same.
Holy Scriptures bear witness to the certainty of faith when Christ Jesus alone is its sure foundation. The certainty rests in His redeeming sacrifice and resurrection from the dead. The bridge to God is secure because it rests not on the shifting sand of a riverbed, but on the solid rock of God’s own promises in Christ. We can trust in Him as the only bridge to the Father.” — Rudolph Norden on Christ, the Bedrock of Faith
Outline of Our Worship
Lord, Hear Us
Opening Thoughts on the Service
Entrance Hymn: #382
Order of Worship:
Hymnal page 38, “Service of the Word”
Lord, Feed Us
Psalm of the Day: #78
Hymnal page 95
Hymn Response: #376 st.1-4
Sermon Hymn: #536
Sermon Text: Matthew 7:15-29 Only God Will See This
Lord, Accept Our Response
Apostles’ Creed: pg.41
Prayers & The Lord’s Prayer. pg.43
Hymn: insert #752
Lord, Bless Us
Closing Prayer & Blessing:
Hymnal pages 43-44
WELS Connection Video
The Second Sunday after Pentecost – Series A
First Lesson: Deuteronomy 11:18-28 – Keep God’s Word in front of You
18Put these words of mine in your hearts and in your soul and tie them on your wrists as signs and as symbols on your forehead. 19Teach them to your children by talking about them when you sit in your house and when you travel on the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 20Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates, 21so that your days and the days of your children may be many on the land that the Lord promises to your fathers with an oath, as many as the days that the heavens remain over the earth. 26You see, I am placing before you today a blessing and a curse: 27the blessing, if you listen to the commandments of the Lord your God that I am giving you today, 28or the curse, if you do not listen to the commandments of the Lord your God and you turn away from the path that I am commanding you today by walking after other gods whom you did not know.
Epistle Lesson: Romans 3:21-28 – Righteousness Apart from the Law by Faith 21But now, completely apart from the law, a righteousness from God has been made known. The Law and the Prophets testify to it. 22This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all and over all who believe. In fact, there is no difference, 23because all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God 24and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25whom God publicly displayed as the atonement seat through faith in his blood.
27What happens to boasting then? It has been eliminated. By what principle—by the principle of works? No, but by the principle of faith. 28For we conclude that a person is justified by faith without the works of the law.
Gospel Lesson: Matthew 7:15-29 – Watch Out for False Prophets; Build Wisely
15“Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. 16By their fruit you will recognize them. You do not gather grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles, do you? 17So then, every good tree produces good fruit, but a bad tree produces bad fruit. 18A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot produce good fruit. 19Every tree that does not produce good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20So then, by their fruit you will recognize them. 21Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. 22Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and drive out demons in your name and perform many miracles in your name?’ 23Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Depart from me, you evildoers.’
24“Everyone who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on bedrock. 25The rain came down, the rivers rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house. But it did not fall, because it was founded on bedrock. 26Everyone who hears these words of mine but does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27The rain came down, the rivers rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell—it was completely destroyed.”
28When Jesus finished speaking these words, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, 29because he taught them as one who had authority, and not like their experts in the law.
The Holy Bible, Evangelical Heritage Version® (EHV®) copyright © 2017 The Wartburg Project.
C a l e n d a r & A n n o u n c e m e n t s f o r Z i o n L u t h e r a n C h u r c h
Divine Worship Service on line – Facebook
Fellowship & Bible Study
| Some weekly activities are still curtailed.
In place of District Convention Virtual Voting to fulfill District Officers’ positions
Midweek Bible Class has resumed.
Divine Worship Service on line – Facebook
Fellowship & Bible study
A Brief Bible Study on God’s Word for Today
How do things in this world grow? Usually they don’t grow overnight; it takes lots of patience. We water, fertilize and cultivate. Then we wait. That’s true of growth that takes place in our Christian lives, too. It doesn’t happen overnight. But God waters and fertilizes us through His Word. Slowly but surely through the gospel the Spirit brings forth growth and eventually fruits of faith. The encouragement of the Lessons today is: Stay connected to God’s Word. The fruits of our faith depend on it!
The Gospel Lesson: Matthew 7:15-29 (answers are found on the back side)
- How will be able to recognize false prophets?
- True or false: Everyone who says, “Lord, Lord,” on the Day of Judgment will enter into heaven?
- Why were the people amazed at Jesus’ teaching?
Those We Remember In Our Prayers: Dea Windsor; Barbara Long; Clyde & Sharon Johnson; Angela Meek; Roger & Liz Lisenby’s brother & sister-in-law and granddaughter Jackie; Dave Ballou, recovering at home; Laurie Moon’s father under rehab care; Greg Miller, recovering from eye surgery; Casey Milam & family, Jodie’s son, who have contracted the Corona Virus and are under quarantine.
Gathering Guidelines As of last week we are allowed gatherings of 25% of capacity of the building. We still must practice distancing in a gathering. For those attending, please watch your distancing. We will continue live-streaming our service for the immediate future.
Daily Devotions During the last 2 months, pastor has been writing brief daily devotions and sending by text, email, and surface mail. If you have not received them and would like to receive them, please let him know. Also, if you would prefer to not receive them for a time, let him know that too. He knows that many things come to you daily by text or email and understands if you would prefer to not receive anything more at this time.
Meditations’ present series of devotions and copies of June’s Forward in Christ may be found in the narthex. Northwestern Publishing House is still offering Forward in Christ on-line for the month of June. After that, the online issue will not be continued. There are many materials they suggest at this time. You can see them all at: www.nph.net.
The Week in Review
Last Sunday’s Worship Attendance: 24; Adult Bible Class & Sunday School: no classes at this time; The Gardens Bible Class: no class; Midweek Bible Class: 6; Offering: $1,645.
Check the weekly calendar for restarting some activities like Bible study. Plans have not yet been made for future events.
Next Sunday’s Lessons:
Pentecost 3 – Series A: Hosea 5:15-6:6; Romans 4:18-25; Matthew 9:9-13
Answers to Today’s Old Testament Lesson Brief Study:
- Jesus says that we can recognize them by their fruits.
- False. Jesus is interested in more than mere words. He is looking for the natural fruits of faith that the Holy Spirit works in our lives through the gospel.
- He taught with authority. He didn’t base His teachings on what someone else had said (like the teachers of the law). Instead, Jesus would say things like: “Truly, truly I say to you…” Jesus can do this because He is God.
This week I am praying for……