Trinity 6 (2013)
Delivered By
Pr. Mark D. Lovett
Delivered On
July 7, 2013
Central Passage
Matthew 5:20-26

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

It is good to be here with you, the saints of God, the Body of Christ. It is good to gather with you and rejoice with over our common salvation. It is good to be here to have respite and relief from the world. Because this week has been full of sin.

I have sinned against my children and my wife. I have failed to do my duty as your pastor and brother in Christ. I have sinned against friend and foe. And I have been angry. Here is what our Lord says about our anger: you are liable to judgment. Here’s what He says when you insult others: whether to their faces or, as many of us like to do, to the man in the mirror or to our friends, we are liable to the council, which is God’s. When you call someone a “fool” or “jerk” or something even worse, whether it’s the guy that cut you off in traffic or your husband that won’t listen to you or your wife who won’t love you, or whether it’s simply the guy that made your Quarter Pounder wrong and inconvenienced you a little bit, well for that we are liable to the fires of hell.

And how angry we get. Angry because I did not get my way. Angry because you had to put up with someone else’s stupidity and selfishness; someone else’s life. Inconvenienced because someone else’s schedule interrupted what you wanted to do. Someone else’s poverty kept you from spending your money on you. Someone else’s children caused you to hate your own. And how clever and crafty we become in our self-justifying monologues and speeches given in the privacy of our bathroom in front of the mirror, always imagining that true justice would see us vindicated and established. Because even when we know that we were in the wrong, and the trouble is somewhat our fault, our well crafted monologues always spin it so that we couldn’t help it. “IF they had not done what they did, I would not have gotten angry and done what I did.” But in truth, true justice would land us in hell.

That’s what we deserve for our anger. That’s what we deserve for the countless thousands we have murdered in our hearts with our anger and hatred. We have hated our neighbors, we have hated strangers. We have hated our wives and our husbands and our children. We have hated our brothers and sisters in Christ. As a matter of fact, because not one of us can do the simple command to love our neighbor as our self, there is not a single soul we have not hated. Because if we don’t love them as ourselves, then we have hated them. We are self absorbed. And the only difference between us and our children that through temper tantrums in church or at Wal-Mart is that we have learn – at least most of the time – to wait until we get to the care or in the privacy of our homes when we think no one is watching. Yet our Lord says that what is done in secret will be made known.

Our hands are stained red with the blood of those we’ve murdered; as red as Cain’s whose hands were stained with the blood of his brother, Abel. But there is a blood that is better than Abel’s; a blood that does not cry out for vengeance as Abel’s blood cries out, how long O Lord? But a blood that does not condemn but forgives.

Repent, fill your eyes with Jesus, whose blood does not condemn you for your hatred but whose blood washes your anger and your hatred away; who reconciles you to God and to your neighbor and brother. For Jesus is neighbor and brother to all men. He reconciles us to God because He is the Son of God. And He reconciles us to man because He is the Son of Man. In the flesh of Christ we find the dividing wall of hostility torn down, who is the everlasting Man. In Christ we are reconciled to both God and humanity. And when we come and receive the Lord’s Supper, the body and blood of Christ, we are confessing that by His blood Jesus has reconciled us to God who no longer holds our anger and sin against us. In Christ He holds nothing against us. That is how we enter the holy of holies. And we are also confessing that He has reconciled us one to another. So that when we drink from the same cup and eat of the same loaf we are one. And no one has anything to hold against us and we have nothing to hold against anyone else.

For the blood of Christ is the reconciling flood that washes the world clean of sin. The blood of Christ is the salvation of mankind, saving us from sin, death, and hell. By partaking of Christ you are partaking of Christ and of one another.

And the gift you have to offer is your life. Here you lay your gifts aside, dying to self to be reconciled to your brother. Here you lay your life aside to be reconciled to God and to your neighbor, dying to sin and living to God for one another. And so you fulfill the law of Christ. You lay aside your life and take up Christ’s gift, His life for you. Now when you go out and engage one another and the world, you no longer have sin and anger between you. But now you have Jesus between you. And Jesus overcomes all sin and all anger. He overcomes the gates of hell itself. The life you take up is Christ’s. And from His heart of hearts Christ does not hate you. From His heart of hearts He calls you His friend; reconciling you one to another and the whole world to His Father so that we would call the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Our Father.

+ In Nomine Iesu +