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

25 August 2013

Sermon: Proper 16C (OT)

25 August AD 2013
Pentecost 14

Title: An Offering to the Lord (MP3 Audio)

The New Israel Summary: A sense of entitlement is a gateway to entrapment. When we start assuming that we’re better than others or that God has a special love for us because there’s something special about us, we run into trouble.

Even with the destruction of the Northern Kingdom of Israel (Samaria), Judah couldn’t believe that their God would ever let anything truly bad happen to them. After all, weren’t they “the Chosen People”?

As a nation, Judah had forgotten that Abraham didn’t choose the Lord nor did the Lord choose Abraham because he was somebody special. Abraham became special because the Lord chose him and his descendants were likewise special because God had chosen them and marked them as His people.

Even this choice wasn’t made in order to establish a super-nation, an ongoing, all-conquering theocracy. God chose Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in order to establish His Son’s earthly family. He didn’t set aside the tribe of Judah or the family of Jesse, David, and Solomon because they were more worthy but because it was His plan that Eve’s seed would pass through this particular line of sinners before being born in Bethlehem as their Savior.

In this final chapter of Isaiah, the Lord recapped His judgments and His promises. Judah would fall. Babylon would keep them captive for seventy years. They would return humbled, a fragment of their former glory. Yet from this disgraced people, no longer strong enough to be an independent nation, the Lord would “send survivors to the nations.” They would go out into the world and bring back Gentiles to Zion — not the mountain in Israel but the eternal dwelling place of God and His people.

Those whom they brought back wouldn’t be disgraced prisoners to be sacrificed but would come as “brothers.” They would be a living offering, joining Israel as conquerors through the blood of Christ. They weren’t to be dragged into the New Jerusalem with hooks through their mouths or shackles on their feet. They would ride triumphantly on horses, camels, and chariots. They would be carried to their new homeland to join all of Abraham’s faithful children in new and everlasting life.

International Church Leaders at Matt Harrison Installation in 2010 We see how this began as the Apostolic word spread from Jerusalem to Judea, into Galilee and Samaria, and finally to the ends of the earth. It continued as God raised up pastors and teachers (priests and Levites) not from the descendants of Aaron but from among the Gentiles. Still the Church reaches out through formally established missions and through the relationships individual Christians have with others around them.

We in the Church take heed of the warning to Judah: We are not an exclusive club. We are not better than others. Language, skin color, national origin, sex, or age — none of these matters. The world is filled with fallen, broken sinners, people born dead in their trespasses, just as we were. Christ’s Church is filled with sinners who believe in Jesus Christ and are made saints through His sacrifice by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Text: “For I know their works and their thoughts, and the time is coming to gather all nations and tongues. And they shall come and shall see my glory, and I will set a sign among them.

“And from them I will send survivors to the nations, to Tarshish, Pul, and Lud, who draw the bow, to Tubal and Javan, to the coastlands far away, that have not heard my fame or seen my glory. And they shall declare my glory among the nations.

“And they shall bring all your brothers from all the nations as an offering to the Lord, on horses and in chariots and in litters and on mules and on dromedaries, to my holy mountain Jerusalem, says the Lord, just as the Israelites bring their grain offering in a clean vessel to the house of the Lord. And some of them also I will take for priests and for Levites, says the Lord.

“For as the new heavens and the new earth that I make shall remain before me, says the Lord, so shall your offspring and your name remain.

“From new moon to new moon, and from Sabbath to Sabbath, all flesh shall come to worship before me, declares the Lord.” Isaiah 66:18-23

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 An Offering to the Lord.

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 50:1-15; Hebrews 12:4-24 (25-29); Luke 13:22-30

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