Judica (Lent 5) 2014
Delivered By
Pr. Mark D. Lovett
Delivered On
April 6, 2014
Central Passage
John 8:46-59

In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit.

Idolatry is looking for God – even claiming to have found God – where God has not promised that you will find Him.

The atheist, the poorest of all thinkers, says that he has looked for God and has not found Him. But that is because the atheist is looking for God in all the wrong places. He looks in nature; he looks in humanity; he looks to himself, to his own reason and abilities. Everywhere he searches for God and cannot find Him. That is no surprise to us, because the one place no one looks for God is on the cross. So much so that now most of our cross do not have a corpus on it; no one wants a God on the cross. But we preach Christ crucified.

The word “atheist” really means “without God”. So an atheist is one without God. Now the term can be broad, meaning one without a god; that one doesn’t believe in any sort of god. But as Christians, I think we must be much narrower in our application of the word, which, in turn broadens the category of those that fit it. First of all we should understand that there is no one that does not believe in some god. Everyone looks outside of him or herself for life and daily bread. Whatever they look to for those things is their god. So that’s the first thing: there’s no such thing as a person that does not have a god – be it a spiritual god or a god of gold, everyone has a god.

Secondly, we should consider that anyone without the one true God is truly an atheist. Those without the one true God are atheists – they are those without God. So the Muslim is an atheist. He is without God. The Mormon is an atheist. He is without God. The Buddhist, the Taoist, the Zoroastrian, the Orthodox Jew, the Jehovah Witness, the immoral and the self-worshipers, and of course all those self-proclaimed Christians who never gather to the Lord and receive His blessings and benediction, they are all without God. They are all atheists. Those that do not gather to Christ are all atheists, no matter what label they put on their manmade religion. No matter if they offer sacrifices to a god or pray to another god, because they do not have God, the true God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – they are atheists.

No longer can we afford to simply call those who say they don’t believe in the existence of God “atheists”. No, we must be much more direct than that. All who do not have and know the one true God are atheists. They are without God.

But they are not without the desire for God. That is why they build religions and temples. They have in them the need for God, the desire to know God and be known by Him. All people do. It’s in our DNA. Science even bowed the knee to this years ago when they wondered if humanity had the so-called “God-gene”. Of course, there is no “God-gene” but science can’t deny that humanity is predisposed to need and want and even to find God.

So why haven’t they found Him? Why are there atheists if everyone, Christian and pagan, need, want, and even desire to have God? It is because they are looking for Him in the wrong places. Which is what it means to have an idol: to look for God where He has not promised to be.

And where is God? He has hidden Himself from the teaming masses. He has hidden Himself so that those who do not hear His word cannot find Him. He has hidden Himself in His word. So that many call upon God, but since they do not hear the Word of the Son of God they do not call rightly upon God. Since they do not hear the word of Jesus they cannot know or worship the Father.

Those who do not hear cannot know. Those that refuse to hear cannot know. Therefore the word is everything. It is how God reveals Himself to us and to our children. It is how God makes His will known. It is how God brings us to salvation and comforts us in our affliction: the word of God.

And this word is specific. It is concrete. This word is the good news – the gospel – that the eternal God from whom and through whom and for whom all things were made came down from heaven and was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary; that He suffered and died on the cross for the forgiveness of sin, and that He is risen from the dead; risen to bring life and immortality to all men.

This is the true God; the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; the God of Noah and Samuel and King David. This is the God of the martyrs. This is the God who does not hide Himself from those that call upon Him, but makes Himself known in the breaking of the bread. This is the God who promises you life and resurrection, for you share in His Spirit, the Lord and Giver of life. This is the God who calls you by name and welcomes you into His Father’s kingdom; who keeps faith forever.

Behold, O man, your God; who is Christ Jesus, crucified and risen and now before you in His mysteries by His word.

+ In Nomine Iesu +