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Tenth Sunday after Pentecost

August 18, 2019 Speaker: Murray Keith Series: Pentecost

Passage: Luke 12:49–12:53

†††In the Name of Jesus†††
Pastor Murray Keith
Text: Luke 12:49-53
Date: August 18, 2019; Pentecost 10; Series C 
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
  • One of the main themes in the Gospel of St. Luke is peace.
  • Upon Jesus’ birth, we hear of the angel and multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” (Luke 2:14).   
  • After Simeon saw God’s promise of salvation fulfilled in the infant Jesus at the temple, he departed in peace (Luke 2:29).  
  • Jesus instructed his disciples when he sent them out, “Whatever house you enter, first say, Peace be to this house!” (Luke 10:5).
  • Jesus healed people and then often dismissed them with the words, “Go in peace (Luke 8:48).
  • Peace is a main theme in the Gospel of St. Luke and is an important part of Jesus’ message.  
  • That’s why our Gospel reading for this morning is so surprising.
  • Jesus said, “Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division.” 
  • He then described the depth of the division that he brings, “For from now on in one house there will be five divided, three against two and two against three.  They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.” 
  • The prophet Isaiah called Jesus the “Prince of Peace”.
  • How can it be, then, that the Prince of Peace has come to bring division? 
  • Well, consider our society today.  Our culture of tolerance and acceptance.
  • We are told to accept and tolerate all behaviours, all views, all beliefs.
  • Everyone is right, there is no wrong.   
  • Don’t you dare challenge my views or behaviour!  Don’t you dare have a strong stance!  That’s offensive!
  • In our culture of tolerance and acceptance you can believe and do whatever you want - well, with the exception of standing up for what is true and right.  
  • Then you're just being hateful and divisive.  
  • And being divisive is one of the few things that our society won’t tolerate and accept.
  • And so, it’s very difficult and uncomfortable to hear Jesus say that he has come to give - not peace - but division.  Even division among households and families.
  • To get a better understanding of this, it’s helpful to remind ourselves of who Jesus is.
  • We read in 1 John, “We know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life” (1 John 5:20).  
  • Jesus says in the Gospel of St. John, “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).
  • The Bible reveals to us that Jesus is God in the flesh, he is the life, and he is the truth.  
  • We also learn from 1 John that God is love (1 John 4:8).  
  • But, it’s important to remember that God’s love does not mean the same thing as God’s acceptance.
  • It’s a misunderstanding to think that you can believe anything you want and do anything you want - and God accepts it all because he loves you. 
  • This isn’t what we find in the Bible.   
  • Jesus didn’t accept false teaching.  He called false teachers a “brood of vipers” (Matthew 12:34).  
  • He didn’t accept all behaviour.  He flipped the tables of money changers who had turned his Father’s Temple into a shopping mall (Matthew 21:12).  
  • Our Lord was never afraid to stand up for the truth or for what is right or wrong. 
  • Even when it meant that he would suffer and be nailed to a cross as a result.
  • Our Christian faith is going to result in division - probably among our friends and even members of our family.  
  • To confess Christ is to confess the truth. 
  • Confessing the truth means that you are also at the same time confessing that some things are wrong and false.
  • This might lead to division.  This probably will lead to division.
  • But although the One who is the Way, and the Truth, and the Life leads to division - it is important to know that Jesus is not the source or cause of division.  
  • Our sin is to blame for that.
  • Ever since the fall into sin, there has been division in this world.  
  • Because of their sin, Adam and Eve were divided from God and from each other - and that division continues in our lives today because of our sin. 
  • True unity can only be found in Christ.  
  • He is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world - who takes away the division of the world. 
  • So really, it is those who reject God, those who reject truth, who are the cause of division.
  • And it’s interesting to note that our society is trying to bring about peace by tolerating and accepting everything while denying that truth even exists.
  • But there can be no real peace without truth.
  • Jesus said, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:31). 
  • Our sinful nature despises the truth because the truth is we can’t do whatever we want, whenever we want.  
  • The truth is we are sinners. 
  • The truth is we deserve God’s wrath and eternal death.  
  • The truth is there is nothing we can do on our own to save ourselves from our sin and death.   
  • The truth is terrifying and we would rather deny it.
  • But, ignoring the truth does not make it go away.  
  • Ignoring the truth is the most dangerous thing we can do.   
  • You see, when we ignore the truth of our sin - we also ignore the truth of the Gospel.  
  • The truth of the Gospel is that God has saved you from sin and death.
  • Jesus, God in the flesh, lived the perfect sinless life for you.  
  • He offered himself as the perfect sacrifice for you so that you will not suffer the punishment that your sin deserves.
  • Jesus died on the cross - but the truth is that he did not remain dead.
  • When his friends went to the tomb to finish burying him properly, his body was not there.  
  • Then, for forty days he showed himself to hundreds of people who touched him, spoke with him, ate with him, and witnessed his miracles.
  • Jesus has earned for you the forgiveness of all your sins and he has promised you victory over death.  He has promised you eternal life. 
  • This is the Gospel truth. 
  • God has brought you to faith in this truth.  Jesus is the founder and perfecter of your faith.
  • Some will label you as divisive, narrow-minded, and maybe even hateful for believing and confessing the truth of Christ.  
  • Jesus warns us that unity with God will cause division with the world.
  • This is part of running with endurance the race that is set before us.
  • The time is coming soon when there will be one last great division - on Judgment Day, Jesus will divide the sheep from the goats: believers on his right; unbelievers on the left. 
  • Then those who have courageously confessed the faith - will be confessed by Jesus to his Father.
  • For he has promised, “Everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 10:32). 
  • And take heart - in heaven there will be no more divisions - but only perfect peace and unity for eternity.  Amen. 

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