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

06 October 2013

Sermon: Proper 22C (OT)

6 October AD 2013
Pentecost 20

Title: Vision Verified (MP3 Audio)

How Long? Summary: Habakkuk looked around and saw the wickedness surrounding him. Assyria’s evil had been visited on neighboring nations, including the Northern Kingdom. Israel was reduced to Judah, some of Levi and Benjamin, and a smattering of the other tribes.

Everywhere he turned, the prophet saw the bad guys winning and he wanted to know when the Lord was going to come down and set things right. When would He stop using pagan nations to visit His wrath on sinners? When would righteousness be its own reward?

Instead, the Lord sent a vision promising that another pagan nation, the Chaldeans, would be His next instrument of judgment. They would destroy Assyria’s might but they would also reach out against Judah, for that nation continued to sin against its God.

There was nothing anyone could do to save himself for there was no one who could make himself right before the Lord. However, the Lord promised that the “righteous shall live by his faith.”

This wasn’t some generic belief in a god or even general assent with the will of the true God — we must remember that faith saves only when it has our saving God as its object. During Old Testament times, this included trust in His promises of coming rescue. During the New Testament and beyond, it specifically and solely came to mean belief in Jesus Christ, “who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification. (Romans 4:25)”

Christ Crucified Finally, Jesus would be the One to bear the full brunt of the Father’s wrath at sin and sinners. The judgment of both God’s own chosen yet wayward people and the pagan nation of Rome fell on Him.

He accepted His Father’s unrestrained anger in order to forgive us. He saved us by His works done for us, by dying to pay for our unrighteous works, and by working faith in us by the power of the Holy Spirit.

How long will it be? God says, “‘In a favorable time I listened to you, and in a day of salvation I have helped you.’ Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” Now you are baptized. Now you are forgiven. Now you are righteous and living by faith.

Text: The oracle that Habakkuk the prophet saw.

O Lord, how long shall I cry for help, and you will not hear? Or cry to you “Violence!” and you will not save? Why do you make me see iniquity, and why do you idly look at wrong? Destruction and violence are before me; strife and contention arise. So the law is paralyzed, and justice never goes forth. For the wicked surround the righteous; so justice goes forth perverted....

I will take my stand at my watchpost and station myself on the tower, and look out to see what he will say to me, and what I will answer concerning my complaint.

And the Lord answered me: “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it. For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end — it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay.

“Behold, [the wicked man’s] soul is puffed up; it is not upright within him, but the righteous shall live by his faith.” Habakkuk 1:1-4; 2:1-4

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 Vision Verified, preached to the saints at Trinity Lutheran Church, Kearney, 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 62; 2 Timothy 1:1-14; Luke 17:1-10

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