Trinity 4
Audio
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Delivered By
Pr. Mark D. Lovett
Delivered On
June 28, 2015
Central Passage
Luke 6:36-42
Description

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

Be merciful as your Father in heaven is merciful. How is our Father merciful? By sending His only-begotten Son to be born of woman, to become the curse of sin, to take our sins and our judgment, to die for us, and to rise for us, to ascend for us and to reign in mercy for us.

Jesus is our Teacher. He teaches us how to show mercy, how to be merciful. Read in the gospels, you will not see Jesus condemning anyone for their sins. You will not see Him refusing to receive the vilest of offenders, even Barabbas, a murderer and insurrectionist. Jesus received him, too, by taking his place on the cross. So, too, Peter, when he denied the Lord, still the Lord had mercy on him and invited Peter to eat with Him and restored Him to peace. Jesus didn’t come into the world to condemn the world but to save the world.

So, too, then His Church. We are not in the world to condemn the world but that the world would be saved through us. Yes, through us. How so? Because we preach Christ and Him crucified, and faith comes by hearing this gospel. We preach it from our lives. For as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so Christ was silent before those who accused Him, so we are silent before our accusers. That is, we don’t resist the sinner because he is a sinner. Our blood saves no one. Our merits save no one. Neither our strength nor our fortitude saves anyone. But our preaching does. Our teaching does. Why? Because we preach and teach Christ. And that is merciful.

If ever we stop preaching and teaching Christ as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, then we cease to be the Church and we cease to bring people to Christ. We cease to be merciful. The greatest mercy we can give is not merely feeding hungry people or clothing naked people, but the greatest mercy is to forgive sins and receive sinners. Then we will all the more happily and gladly feed, clothe, and forgive them, for they are one of us and we are one of them. Mercy treats the sins of others as our own sin even as our Lord treated our sin as His sin.

This means that if you judge others by their sins you will be judged by yours. If you condemn others because they sin then you will be condemned because you sin. If you do not forgive you will not be forgiven. If you do not give to others it will not be given to you.

Showing mercy is uncomfortable and will draw the wrath of the world. The Scriptures teach this when they say, “Reprove a wise man and he will be wiser; but correcting a fool will draw his wrath.” The Church doesn’t correct people by teaching them morality, by teaching them the Ten Commandments. The Church corrects people by living the gospel. And the gospel judges no one, condemns no one, and forgives everyone and receives everyone, even the vilest among us.

Therefore our Lord says, “Judge not and you will not be judged; condemn not and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you.”

But let us make a distinction that our Lord makes as well. For He also says, “Whoever rejects me rejects Him who sent me,” and also, “Whoever does not believe will be condemned.” Here is the distinction: the Lord judges and condemns no one because they are a sinner but rather makes it plain that those who refuse Him refuse His mercy and love and will not enter the kingdom of heaven.

This is nothing more than saying that there is no other name by which we must be saved. The Church – you – cannot let others believe that God will save them because they mean well or because their pretty nice folks. You can’t let others believe that because they are middle-class folks that vote republican than God will then not bother with whether or not they participate in Christ through His mysteries by faith. We can’t let others believe that because they’re American or rich or well-liked by others or because they’ve read the Bible or because they belong to some Bible study or because they use to come to church of anything else except the blood and merit of Christ Jesus, that they will be welcomed into the kingdom of heaven.

Unless a person cling to Christ and look to Him for His righteousness they will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Now this sounds judgmental, but it’s not judging them based on their sins but on their confession, on their rejection of Christ. Then we must judge as Christ says, “Let no one lead you astray” and “No one comes to the Father but through me.”

Jesus says, “A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher.” The kingdom of heaven does not come because of our morality or because of our purity. It comes when the Father sends the Holy Spirit so that by His grace we believe His holy word and lead godly lives – that is, lives of faith – according to it. This means that we receive sinners even as we are received, for there are no worse sinners that us. But it also means that we accurately and clearly preach the way of salvation through participation in Christ by faith through His mysteries.

You are not the teacher. Jesus is. It is enough to become like Him; to forgive as He forgives; to love as He has loved; to be merciful as He has been merciful. Also to trust in our heavenly Father as He trusted in Him, for all things. For the Lord is merciful and kind, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. He forgives you all your sins and reconciles you to the Father by His blood. He does not condemn or judge you but receives you.

+ In Nomine Iesu +