Trinity 10
Delivered By
Pr. Mark D. Lovett
Delivered On
July 31, 2016
Central Passage
Luke 19:4-48

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

God’s ways are not like our ways and His thoughts are not like our thoughts. And His anger is not like our anger. When the Lord gets angry He doesn’t then participate in the lust of revenge or the lust of hatred. His wrath is never of self-pity or self-righteousness. His wrath is driven by mercy.

Our anger is not driven by mercy but by self-pity and self-righteousness. Our anger is driven by self-worship rather than for the salvation of others. That’s why we use that godless saying, “I can forgive but I can’t forget.” Our anger doesn’t let us forget. Our self-pity or self-righteousness will always remember the wrongs against ourselves, even giving way to thoughts of revenge and destruction of those who have hurt us. We allow our daydreams to take us away like a raging river, an out-of-control rush of anger and hatred. We don’t even want to forget. Our anger really does become for us a security blanket. We wrap ourselves in it to show how much we’ve been hurt, how much we have suffered, and how much other people owe us. In our daydreams our enemies cower before us or we destroy them completely. Not so that they would become our brothers and sisters, which would be merciful, but so that they would be put to shame or destroyed, or even that they would look up to us. Our anger removes God from the throne and tries to put us on the throne.

Repent. The Lord’s anger is not because we have hurt Him but because men reject His mercy. Therefore it is a holy, righteous anger. Not a self-righteous anger like ours, but an anger directed toward unbelief. The reason we don’t need to be afraid of the Lord’s anger is because we believe. But the reason we need to fear the Lord and work out our salvation with fear and trembling is because we also disbelieve.

The holy faith is not like knowing the answer to a 10 question quiz or like knowing how to solve a riddle. The holy faith is the holy life lived by the Word of God, which is not a dead letter but the living Word of God who is risen from the dead. Our disbelief is not proved by our rejection of the truths of Christianity but by our rejection of the life of Christ lived in and through us as His holy people. It is baby’s milk to repeat the Creed and say the Our Father and to know the events of the life of Christ. It is solid food to let the Creed control your life and to let the Our Father guide your living and the events of life of Christ to saturate your living.

Which also means becoming angry at unbelief. Such anger doesn’t chase down restoration of the self but chases down men in mercy. Such anger does not seek revenge or restitution but seeks to drive out unbelief. Righteous anger isn’t the agent of the self but is the servant of the Lord for the good of men and not for their harm. The Lord’s wrath drives from us the snares of the devil because His wrath always comes to promote and proclaim His visitation.

It is common these days to say that the Lord is not angry, that disaster doesn’t come upon us because He is angry but because of the fallenness of the world and because of sin. And that’s partly true. Sin, unbelief, does cause chaos. And this fallen, sinful world attacks itself and tries to destroy itself. But the Bible makes it clear that such things also are the purview of God. He controls the ragging of the seas and the tumult of the oceans. He controls the hail and the lightening. And He uses the unbeliever to punish wickedness, not immorality but unbelief. Because the world doesn’t know the Day of His visitation, which is Today, as long as it is called Today.

The world is not here, clamoring to be near the Lord or to taste and see that He is good. The world is out there, filling its time with worldly things. But the Lord is merciful; slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. The world and those who belong to it, pity themselves thinking that the Lord has brought all this calamity upon them when in true it is their unbelief that has brought destruction upon themselves.

But you are here. And here the Lord is visiting His people. Here the Lord is reminding you of His promises, mercy, and grace for you and for your children. And this causes you to rejoice and to give thanks. And it causes you to pray. Pray for the peace of Jerusalem; not the city on earth but the heavenly city, the Holy Church. Pray for your brothers and sisters and for those who have given way to fear and anger and unbelief. Pray for the nations of the world for the House of God is the house of prayer.

And pray most of all for the Lord to come again, whether at the end of the age or simply tomorrow when it is called Today, so that we would never be without the visitation of the Lord. This prayer is in keeping with His promise: I will never leave you nor forsake you; behold, I am with you always, even unto the end of the age.

+ In Nomine Iesu +