Sermons by Pastor Walter Snyder plus announcements, articles, videos, and anything else that doesn’t fit Ask the Pastor or the Luther Library.

09 September 2012

Sermon: Proper 18B (OT)

9 September AD 2012 (Pentecost 15)

Theme: Anxious Hearts

Isaiah 35:4
Summary: American humorist Finley Peter Dunne once said that, among other things, a newspaper “comforts th’ afflicted [and] afflicts th’ comfortable.” The expression has been taken and altered to fit other media and circumstances, including the Word of God and Christian preaching.

God’s holy Law certainly afflicts the comfortable as it accuses secure and hardened sinners of their lack of standing and certainty of judgment before the Lord. Therefore, if people lack anxious hearts, the pastor must proclaim the Law in its full severity so that the Holy Spirit might afflict the hearers and create a dread that only the forgiveness of sins can heal.

For those already beaten down and hurting, the proclamation of the Law might be lessened but cannot be ignored, since even the anxious might turn to the wrong cure if they don’t know the ultimate source (sin) of their anxieties. But the full forgiveness and healing of the Gospel must be proclaimed to these anxious hearts so they do not fall into despair and begin to doubt God’s love for them.

The physical healing prophesied through Isaiah saw its fulfillment in Jesus’ ministry. Yet this healing was only a token or sign of the deeper healing He brought as He cleansed sin and guilt from afflicted mankind. This cleansing is ours through Word and Sacrament as forgiveness is announced, proclaimed, and granted by preaching, Baptism, Absolution, and Holy Communion.

Today’s sermon was preached as Faith Lutheran celebrated its freedom from debt after almost thirty years of carrying a mortgage on the property. Therefore, part of the affliction dealt to the comfortable was a reminder here and in the Bible study that it was not their work that built the church, nor did it belong to them once the bank had been paid off. Instead, the Architect, the Builder, and the Owner remain God alone.

Text: Say to those who have an anxious heart, “Be strong; fear not! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God. He will come and save you.”

Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; then shall the lame man leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute sing for joy.

For waters break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert; the burning sand shall become a pool, and the thirsty ground springs of water; in the haunt of jackals, where they lie down, the grass shall become reeds and rushes. Isaiah 35:4-7

Scripture quoted from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Audio: Click to hear the MP3 of Anxious Hearts, preached to the saints of God at Faith Lutheran Church, Knob Noster, Missouri.

NB: For some reason, a few people have had problems trying to play the inline audio if Windows Media is their default MP3 player. If this occurs, you can either change to QuickTime or another default browser player, copy and paste the link directly into a selected player, or download it to your computer, where it seems to work regardless of which player. Several folks have suggested VLC Player from VideoLAN.

Other Readings: Psalm 146; James 2:1-10, 14-18; Mark 7:(24-30) 31-37

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