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Chicago IL 60634
In a litigious country like-America frivolous law-suits are quite common, so you can find all kinds all kinds of silly warnings on various products in the US, such as:
A hair dryer that comes with the warning "Do not use while sleeping on while taking a shower".
"Do not drive with sunshield in place" on a cardboard sunshield that keeps the sun off the windshield of your car.
"Do not eat toner" on a toner cartridge for a laser printer.
"Please keep out of children" on a kitchen knife.
"Do not iron clothes while wearing them" on an iron.
"Warning: this product my contain nuts" on a bag of peanuts, etc.
And if you pay attention to some of the drug ads, you'll even hear mentioned among the side effects: "may cause death". Talking about the cure being worse than the disease!
And in a similar sense, our sinful nature may have a tendency to look upon the warnings God speaks to us in His Word as silly and frivolous, only to ignore them at our own risk and experience not only the temporary consequences, but if we continue in our stubborn ways the eternal consequences where there will no chance to repent.
In the parable of the tenants found in Luke 20:9-18, we are told that the owner of the vineyard sent servant after servant so that might give him some of the fruit of the vineyard. But they responded by beating and wounding them and sending them away.
And similarly, God sends Moses and the prophets and the evangelists and the apostles to speaks to us today. For even though they are longer on this earth, they continue to speak to us through the words the Holy Spirit inspired them to write in our Bibles.
But just as the majority of the people mistreated them when they were alive, people mistreat them today by despising the messages they bring to us and ignoring them as if they were dead. Even though as 2 Timothy 3:16 tells us that "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness."
For when it comes right down to it, the greatest battle the Church is facing today is not the breaking of the 4th commandment, where regular church attendance is at all time low, nor is it the breaking sixth commandment and the influence and acceptance of the LGBTQ agenda, nor is it the breaking of the 5th commandment, with the push towards the legalization of infanticide in this country, or the breaking of the rest of the commandments, or the increase of the false religions and cults, and other threats against the Christian faith.
These are all symptoms. The main battle is whether or not people really believe God's Word says what it is, God's Word! And whether we're going conform to the sinful patterns of this world or be transformed by the renewing of our minds through God's Word. Along with how we will respond to the devil's age old question, "Did God really say that?" in doubt and unbelief or by boldly declaring, "It is written!"
Now, granted, we also have to be discerning whenever we hear teachers supposedly teaching God's Word that they are really teaching God's Word or else the doctrines of man. For there are many false teachers out there that the devil would like to use to shipwreck our faith.
As I John 4:1 tells us, "Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world".
And so we are to imitate the Christians in Berea when they listened to Paul teach. As Acts 17:11 describes, "Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.
The story is told of a church that was split down the middle. And half the church insisted that God was telling them to do things their way. While the other half of the church was insistent, that God was telling them to do the opposite. But there was one man who hadn't decided which side to vote with and he held the deciding vote. A man named Elmer who was a little on the slow side.
And everyone was anxious to hear how Elmer would vote. And the Chairman of the congregation said to Elmer, well Elmer what do you say. And Elmer replied, "I think we should pray for God!" To which the chairman responded, "Elmer, we pray to God not for God!" "Well", Elmer responded, "in this case, I think we should pray for God to make up his mind!"
Well of course we don't need to pray for God to make up His mind. God is pretty clear about things in His Word – as Mark Twain is reported as saying, "Some people are troubled by the things in the Bible they can't understand. The things that trouble me are the things I can understand."
When we reject God's messengers and the messages they were inspired by the Holy Spirit to write in the Bible, ultimately, as our text implies, we are rejecting the God's greatest messenger of all, Jesus Christ, who is the Word made flesh.
Yet, Jesus loves us so much that He willingly suffered and died on the cross that we might be forgiven of all the times we have failed to heed the messengers of His Word that He has sent to us. He takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked but that they would turn from their wicked ways and live.
And so, He continues to speak to us today through His inspired word, and is warning us, "Don't reject me and the words I'm speaking to you!" For when you reject Jesus and His Words of life as the cornerstone of your life, you are entering the wide gate that leads to destruction. As He warns us in Luke 20:18, "Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces, but he on who it falls will be crushed".
Friends in Christ, there are basically three main categories God uses when He's speaks to us through His Word.1)
To repent of any sins in your life and turn to Jesus for forgiveness.2) 3)
To continue to be faithful in keeping His word, such as being in regular worship and hearing His word proclaimed and receiving the Lord's Supper.4) 5)
Add to your life things from His Word that are missing in your walk with the Lord, such as carving out time for daily devotions and following Mary in doing the one thing needful of sitting at the feet of Jesus and hearing Him speak to you through His Word especially in a world where you can easily find yourself like Martha being distracted by so many other things.6)
And so, I ask you, how has God been speaking to you through Word, lately? And how will you respond to what He is saying to you? For today is mercy is calling you!
These are not frivolous warnings to ignore. For God doesn't want you to be spiritually crushed and broken to pieces! Instead, He wants to lead you in paths of righteousness for His name's sake. As Jeremiah 29:11 tells us, "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future".
In the words of Kenyon hymn "Listen God is Calling" found in Hymn 833 of the Lutheran Service Book:
"Listen, listen, God is calling through the Word inviting, offering forgiveness, comfort and joy. (repeat) Jesus gave his mandate; share the good news that he came to save us and set us free (Refrain). Let none be forgotten throughout the world. In the triune name of God go and baptize (Refrain). Help us to be faithful, standing steadfast, walking in your precepts, led by your Word.
Just as Jesus spoke to the woman caught in adultery, He says to you today, I condemn you no longer for your past refusal to listen to my Words of Life, now go and sin no more!
"From now on, listen to me as I speak to you through my Word! For I am your Good Shepherd, I have called you by name in order that you might hear my voice and follow it, and not be misled by the devil who comes only to steal, kill and destroy. But instead experience life to the full and thus become a living testimony of the words found in Psalm 23:6, "Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever".
In conclusion, I invite you to pray the following prayer written by Martin Luther for the reception of God's Holy Word:
Eternal God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, grant us Your Holy Spirit who writes the preached word into our hearts so that we may receive and believe it, and be gladdened and comforted by it in eternity. Glorify Your Word in our hearts. Make it so bright and warm that we may find pleasure in it, and through Your inspiration think what is right. By Your power fulfill your word in our lives, for the sake of Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord. Amen!
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