Trinity 21 (2013)
Delivered By
Pr. Mark D. Lovett
Delivered On
October 13, 2013
Central Passage
Matthew 22:1-14

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

What do you think of when I say to you: the Word of God? What comes to mind? No doubt the Bible comes to mind. The B-I-B-L-E, yes that’s the book for me; I stand alone on the Word of God, the B-I-B-L-E. And that’s good. But if you’ve ever been to our Sunday morning adult Bible class, you’ll know that while the reason the B-I-B-L-E is the Word of God is because it’s all about Jesus. The Bible is the fulfillment of Jesus’ words in John 14, that the Holy Spirit will bear witness about Jesus. The Bible is the Spirit’s witness of the Son of God, the Christ. So St. Peter writes that holy men wrote as they were moved along by the Spirit.

The apostles and prophets wrote about Jesus according to the witness of the Spirit. That’s the Bible. So it is and is truly called the Word of God.

But it’s not alone in being the Word of God. In fact, it wasn’t the Word of God first. No, in the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. Jesus is the Word of the Father come down from heaven, as St. John’s gospel also teaches. Jesus is the Word of God. And because He is the Word of God, anything that speaks rightly of who He is and what He has done and continues to do – to redeem and save sinners from sin, death, and hell – anything that rightly preaches of and proclaims Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God, is also properly called the Word of God.

So whenever you hear the gospel – that for your sake Christ suffered and died, was buried and rose again from the dead, and that for His sake you are forgiven, reconciled, and redeemed from sin, death, and the devil – whenever you hear that, you hear the Word of God. So, too, when you hear the Ten Commandments, you hear the Word of God. One word is for life – that’s what is called the gospel – and the other word is to show and multiply the transgression – that’s what is called the Law.

But we don’t stand alone on the Law. In fact, whoever stands on the Law is damned because he trust in his own righteousness. No, we stand on the Word of God, that is, the gospel, that for Christ’s sake you are reconciled to God and your sins no longer damn you, for He is the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world. And He has redeemed you by His blood, purchased and won you from all sin, from death, and from the power of the devil. That’s the sweet, sweet Word of God come down from heaven to fill your ears and swell your heart and make you into a living being.

This Word of God is preached to you from the apostles and prophets, from the pulpits of Christ, and from His Sacraments. These all are the Word of God for they all proclaim Christ crucified for the sins of the world, and by His obedience your justification and righteousness. So rather than standing alone on the B-I-B-L-E, we stand alone on the Word of God that is spoken into our ears and fills our hearts with the beautiful, sweet truth about God in Christ reconciling us sinners to Himself.

That’s why the Bible is read at the Divine Service. This is the context of the Holy Scriptures: God gathering His people together to preach to you His word of salvation, peace, healing, and mercy – in short, to preach to you the saving Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

That is not to say the Law is not preached or heard, but the reason the Lord gathers us together out of the world and brings us to Himself where His name is proclaimed and His will is issued, is not to hammer into us the Law, which cannot save, but to rescue us from sin, death, and the devil by His blood and righteousness. It is to proclaim to us the Lord’s favor and peace. He visits His people here and now to give to them the armor of God, which is the Word of God.

So when you hear our Lord’s words: “This is my body, given for you; This is my blood, shed for you, for the forgiveness of sins” and when you hear the Lord’s word that He has saved you from the jaws of hell and from a wicked and guilty conscience, you hear Jesus. And hearing Jesus you go on your way full of confidence in Him, resting in His mercy and grace. For the Lord has spoken. You are justified by the blood of Jesus. You are forgiven you sins. You are reconciled to the Father by the Son. You have been given the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Jesus, so that you would be called sons of the Most High.

Go you way, you will live.

+ In Nomine Iesu +