Sermon for the Sixth Sunday after Pentecost July 12, 2020
Text: Matthew 10:34-42 CW Three-Year Series A 20:2203
Theme: When the Heat’s On, Relief Is Found in Christ.
Have you seen the weather forecast for this coming week? 100 degrees! We are in for a hot time in Missouri, as though it hasn’t been hot enough so far. But I don’t mind it one bit.
Yes, I know, some of you may be thinking, “Well, Pastor, that’s crazy. You don’t mind the heat at all?” Well, maybe a little bit.
I used to have an awful time with hot temperatures. I was raised in Wisconsin. We wouldn’t get that kind of heat up there. Oh, we could have some very uncomfortable days, especially with the humidity. But those hot days did not last very long so I never had to get used to heat.
Then the Lord took me to Texas after graduating from the Seminary. There you can count on it. Starting with the middle of June, sometimes earlier, running through August and into September, it would be around 100 degrees almost every day. For a guy who grew up in milder weather, that was hard to take at first. But in time I got accustomed to it, to the point of liking it. Today I’ll go into Walmart and get so cold with the air conditioning that I can’t wait to get out into the heat again. I think it’s a whole lot better to live with temperatures in the 90s than to freeze at 10 below zero. That’s what I think.
Still, high heat can get to anyone and cause problems. It’s not only uncomfortable, it’s dangerous.
What do you do when the heat’s on? You seek relief, right? Get in the shade, get in a pool, turn down the air conditioner, maybe even leave and go on vacation to a place where the weather is less hostile.
Let’s compare the harshness of heat to that which Jesus is talking about here. It’s not heat outside your house; it’s heat inside your home. It’s not air temperature; it’s the temperature of relationships in the family when the Savior is around. Not everybody likes Him or what He says or what He does or what He expects of us. So they get angry. And then “the heat’s on.” What do you do when the heat’s on at home?
I. You lose your life in Christ.
You lose your life in Christ? That sounds like an odd remedy for cooling the hot temperatures that arise in relationships over religion. Lose your life in Christ and you find relief from the heat. How does that work?
Jesus began to explain by telling His disciples the reality of their life of faith in Him: “Do not think that I came to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.”
Instead of heat, Jesus used the figure of a sword to represent the troubles in life that faith in Him may bring. A sword causes hurt and pain. For thousands of years it was a chief weapon used in warfare – to kill! “I did not come to bring peace to the earth but a sword.” What did He mean by that? And, doesn’t there seem to be a contradiction here?
Do you remember what the angels sang when Jesus was born? “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill to men.” It was also prophesied in the O.T. that when the Savior came, He would be called “the Prince of Peace.” But here He says that He did not come to bring peace to the earth. What does it all mean?
Jesus is the bearer of peace. But the peace that He brings is not an earthly peace which never lasts. It is heavenly peace between God and man as Jesus takes away our sin and reconciles us to God. He won our peace in heaven before the holy God. And it is meant for all people.
Oddly enough, many people don’t want God’s gift of peace. They want to set up peace with God on their terms, not His, and they resent it when anyone tells them that it can’t and it won’t happen that way.
Only God’s Son could win the peace with God that we need. If people refuse to accept that or they don’t want peace the way Jesus provides it, then there’s a conflict. That’s where “the sword” comes in. Some people think of that sword as the words and promises of God (Ep.6;17; Hb.4:10). And of all things, people reject it! They reject it because they want to do things on their own terms not God’s. That’s when the temperature in relationships can rise and the heat is on. It can arise in one of the most unexpected and difficult places – the family.
Jesus said, “For I came to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. A man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.”
How sad is that! Friction in the home! And God’s intent is to bless us! Sad, yet reality. It’s what sin’s curse can bring – strife in the home.
It already happened in the beginning. Right after the fall into sin, we read the account of Cain and Abel. Both brothers brought offerings to the Lord. In love Abel brought God the best lamb from his flock. Cain didn’t care, so he brought some of his crops that he grew, but he left his heart behind. He cared more for himself than he cared for God.
When Cain realized that God happily received Abel’s sacrifice and was displeased with his, the heat of anger against God and his brother rose within him. One day when he was alone with his brother Abel, Cain attacked and killed him. There was division in that home, hostility because of one’s relationship with God. The sword came between the brothers. The heat was on.
Such division is hard to deal with. It makes us sad, embarrassed, afraid, and is difficult to live through. What should we do when friction arises in our closest of relationships because of faith?
Well, what do you do when the outside temperature rises? You seek relief, right! You jump in a pool; you get an ice-cold drink; you turn down the air-conditioner. But what can you do for relief when the heat is on over matters of faith and Christ? Jesus’ answer is, “Lose your life in Me.” He said, “Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”
In the context, “finding your life” in this world would mean giving up on Christ because He causes too many problems for you. You give Him up so that you can have outward peace in the family. But in doing that, you forfeit heavenly peace. Likewise, “losing your life” would be drawing closer to Him in faith and hope and trust, even though it comes at the expense of human relationships. That’s hard. But keep this in mind.
A few verses before this in last Sunday’s lesson, Jesus encouraged, “Do not be afraid. Are not two sparrows sold for a small coin (we’d probably say, they are a dime-a-dozen)? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground without the knowledge and consent of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”
If a common sparrow is worth that much to Him, you are worth even more. In love He died for you, not sparrows. He won’t let you down; He won’t abandon you; He will give you the strength you need to beat the heat and get through it. When the heat is on, for whatever reason, find your relief in the Savior. And He will bless you as…
II. …you will be refreshed in His rewards of grace.
He said, “Whoever receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward. Whoever receives a righteous man because he is a righteous man will receive a righteous man’s reward. Whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water to drink because he is my disciple – Amen, I tell you, he will never lose his reward.”
What does he mean by this talk of “rewards?” Well, he says these things in order to lift your spirits in the heat of battle for His name. He says them to encourage you to carry on and not give up on Him. Think of it this way. If you have to work outside in high heat, pretty soon you get tired and dirty and so hot that you want to quit. But if you know there will be a “reward” for you at the end of your work – an ice cream cone, a swim in the lake – it helps you stick it out and keep going.
The Lord also has rewards in store for His people at the end of the heat of the day when opposition arises. It’s not a reward that you deserve or earned. Rather, it’s a reward of grace – something that He in His redeeming love wants to give you.
It’s somewhat like finding and returning a purse or wallet. There may be a reward for returning something so valuable. But you don’t do it to get a reward. Yet, when it’s offered, you happily receive it.
The rewards of grace that come from our Lord are somewhat the same. They are gladly received, though not earned, and they refresh us.
The rewards of God’s grace are the sweet assurance of forgiveness, peace with God, joy in life – even when the heat’s on, hope for eternity, comfort in life’s trials, strength when weak, help in temptation, the promise of His care that’s even greater than His care for the sparrows, and finally heaven. To receive them we listen to His Word, take up our crosses when need be, and gratefully live as His redeemed people, loving and helping others as He has helped us. Thus you find relief when the heat is on. You find it in Christ and He refreshes you in the rewards of His grace. God grant it in our lives of faith 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: email@example.com
The Sixth Sunday after Pentecost July 12, 2020
“Whoever finds his life will lose it; whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” Mt. 10:39
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
“I will sing of the LORD’s great love forever. O LORD God Almighty, who is like You? Your faithfulness surrounds You. Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim You. They exult in Your righteousness.” (Psalm 89).
W h a t T h i s S u n d a y i s A b o u t
Finding Your Life in Christ. If a person’s life seems boring or wrapped up in trivial matters, people might tell him, “Get a life!” Jesus says a similar thing, but then adds, “…in me!”
The life that Jesus offers is different from that which others offer. It’s a life that is dominated with the peace in God that Jesus won for us on the cross. He wants us to have it so much that He encourages us to follow Him wholeheartedly so that we do not lose out.
The life that Christ offers may bring hardship and pain. Still, it is dominated with the peace of God that surpasses understanding. Such a life begins in this world, is lived to His glory, and ends in the eternal happiness of heaven. What a blessing when a person finds such a life in Christ. It changes everything for him in the present and the future.
To that end we pray: O God, You have prepared joys beyond understanding for those who love You. Pour into our hearts such love for You that, loving You above all things, we may obtain Your promises which exceed all that we can desire; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
– T h e W o r d o f G o d f o r T o d a y –
Old Testament Lesson: Jeremiah 28:5-9
The prophet Hananiah proclaimed a popular message about Israel that everyone wanted to hear. He was an example of what Paul later called preaching to “itching ears.” Jeremiah wished the peace that Hananiah proclaimed would come true. It would if he truly represented God. But he didn’t. He was a false prophet who did not find his life in the LORD.
Epistle Lesson: Romans 6:1-11
Through faith in Christ’s death and resurrection and by means of Holy Baptism, the Christian is connected to the Savior and made alive in Him. Sin no longer dominates the believer. Daily we strive to leave sin behind and lead a godly life here on earth until we reach eternal life above.
Today’s Sermon Text: Matthew 10:34-42
Through faith in Christ the believer lives at peace with God. Sadly, such faith also makes him at odds with the world which rejects the Savior. Nevertheless, as he faithfully proclaims and lives God’s Word, he will find the rewards of God’s grace waiting for him in heaven.
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Today’s Organist: Jane Rips
Today’s Preacher: Pastor Edwin Lehmann
Point to Point: “If family and God come into conflict, we must say: ‘Dear Parents, I am bound to hold you in honor. But if you intend to exalt yourselves above God and oppose Him, I cannot.’ Or, to put it another way, ‘Mom and Dad, I do not intend to see through your eyes any longer, but only through Christ’s.’ Here we have to be guided by the principle that one must obey God rather than all men, whether they be parents, government, preachers, yes, even the whole church – if it were possible for it to oppose Christ.”
– adapted from Martin Luther’s Be Firm in Christ
Outline of Our Worship
Lord, Hear Us
Opening Thoughts on the Service
Entrance Hymn: #236
Order of Worship: Hymnal page 38, “Service of the Word”
Lord, Feed Us
Psalm of the Day: #89
Hymn Response: #294
Sermon Hymn: #465
Sermon Text: Matthew 10:34-42
When the Heat Is On, Find Relief in Christ
Lord, Accept Our Response
Apostles’ Creed: pg.41
Prayers & The Lord’s Prayer. pg.43
Lord, Bless Us
Closing Prayer & Blessing:
Hymnal pages 43-44
WELS Connection Video
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
| Some weekly activities are still curtailed.
Monthly Church Council Meeting
Midweek Bible Class
Divine Worship Service
on line – Facebook
Holy Communion afterwards
(Possible Voters Meeting)
A Brief Bible Study on God’s Word for Today
Being a Christian is painful. Being a Christian means that there will be crosses to bear. St. Peter once wrote that Christians are called to suffering, “because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in His steps” (1 Pe 2:21). Jesus clearly states in the Gospel that anyone who is not willing to take up their cross and follow Him cannot be His disciple. Are you ready to be His disciple? If you are, recognize that our life of discipleship depends on carrying crosses.
The Gospel Lesson: Matthew 10:34-42 (answers are found on the back side)
- What does Jesus mean: He came to bring a sword?
- Why does Jesus speak such thorny words in these verses?
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, at home; Laurie Moon’s father, out of the rehab hospital; Greg Miller; Casey Milam & family, Jodie’s son, under quarantine; the Breidel family and the Lisenby family at the passing of loved ones.
Daily Devotions If you would like a hard copy of pastor’s daily devotions for the week past, you will find a few on the credenza in the narthex. If you would like to receive them through text on your cell phone or by email, let him know.
With cases of the Covid Virus on the rise and Springfield/Greene County talking about mandatory face masks next week, please, watch your physical distancing in the service today, not only side to side but also front to back! If you prefer wearing a face mask during the service, that is totally acceptable. You will find face masks and hand sanitizer in the narthex and in the fellowship hall. At this point we are not passing the offering plate during the service, but it will be found at the door upon leaving.
The Week in Review
Last Sunday’s Worship Attendance: 17; Adult Bible Class & Sunday School: no classes at this time; The Gardens Bible Class: no class; Midweek Bible Class: 5; Offering: $1045
Next Sunday’s Lessons:
Pentecost 7– Series A: Exodus 33:121-23; Romans 7:15-25; Matthew 11:25-30
Answers to Today’s Gospel Lesson Brief Study:
- Jesus wants us to realize that He is a divisive figure. People argue about who Jesus is and what He came to do. While many people in this world suggest that there is more than one way to God, Jesus is unequivocal: “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except by me” (Jn 14:6). As a result, one can either be for Jesus or against Him. There is no middle ground.
- He wants us to realize the cost of discipleship and to make an informed decision before we become one of His disciples. The life of discipleship is not an easy one. There are crosses are to bear.
This week I am praying for……
The Sixth Sunday after Pentecost – Series A
Old Testament: Jeremiah 28:5-9 – Hananiah, the False Prophet
5Then the prophet Jeremiah replied to the prophet Hananiah in the presence of the priests and all the people who were standing in the house of the Lord. 6He said, “Amen! May the Lord do so! May the Lord fulfill the words you have prophesied and bring back the vessels of the Lord’s house, and may he bring back all the exiles from Babylon to this place. 7Nevertheless, listen now to what I have to say in your hearing and in the hearing of all the people. 8The prophets from ancient times who came before you and me prophesied war, famine, and plague against many countries and great kingdoms. 9As for the prophet who prophesies peace, only when the word of that prophet actually happens will that prophet become known as someone whom the Lord has truly sent.”
Epistle Lesson: Romans 6:1-11 – Dead to Sin, Alive to God
1 Shall we keep on sinning so that grace may increase? 2Absolutely not! We died to sin. How can we go on living in it any longer? 3Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4We were therefore buried with him by this baptism into his death, so that just as he was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too would also walk in a new life.
5For if we have been united with him in the likeness of his death, we will certainly also be united with him in the likeness of his resurrection.
6We know that our old self was crucified with him, to make our sinful body powerless, so that we would not continue to serve sin. 7For the person who has died has been declared free from sin. 8And since we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9We know that since Christ has been raised from the dead, he will never die again. Death no longer has control over him. 10For the death he died, he died to sin once and for all, but the life he lives, he lives to God. 11In the same way also consider yourselves dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.
Gospel Lesson: Matthews 10:34-42 – Not Peace but a Sword
34“Do not think that I came to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35For I came to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. 36A man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.
37“Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38Whoever does not take up his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
40“Whoever receives you receives me, and whoever receives me receives him who sent me. 41Whoever receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward. Whoever receives a righteous man because he is a righteous man will receive a righteous man’s reward. 42Whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water to drink because he is my disciple—Amen I tell you—he will never lose his reward.” The Holy Bible, Evangelical Heritage Version® (EHV®) copyright © 2017 The Wartburg Project.