February 24 – Seventh Sunday After Epiphany
by Pastor Pete Scheele
Read Luke 6: 27 – 38
Grace and peace to you as you let God’s Love, mercy and grace go to work in your life, from God, our Father, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Last week in the Sermon on the Plains Jesus taught us about the Blessings of Life that we will receive as Disciple of Jesus Christ and He also taught us about the Woes that lead us away from God and into death. The Blessings that give us life in God are being poor in the Spirit, which means relying of God’s Love, Grace and Mercy instead of our own abilities for life, peace and joy. Being hungry for the Word of God so that the Holy Spirit can be working in our lives daily. Weeping about the sinfulness of our own lives and the world that we live in so that we can confess our sins and receive the absolution of God’s forgiveness, grace and mercy that comes from God’s Love, that give us true life. Hatred, for we know that the devil will be work in the world and in our lives, which means that the world and even our sinful self will hate our trust and love of God.
Jesus taught us last week through in the Sermon on the Plains about how the Devil, the world and our sinful nature will try to take away the true life that God gives to us now and forever by making us thing that we need the woes of the riches from this world instead of the Love of God in our lives. The Devil, the world and our sinful nature will strive to make us full now of our self and the woes of being self-centered will mean that God’s love and the love of others will be taken from our lives. The Devil, the World and our sinful nature will strive to get us to look for laughter now and live for only the excitement of now, giving up on the love of God that gives us true life now and forever. The devil, the World and our sinful nature will encourage us strive for being spoken well of by others over the love of God, who gave us life in this world and gives us a new life where death is not a part of the love, peace and joy that can now and forever with God.
We have learned from God’s Word given to us through His Church that the blessings of true LIFE come from God’s love for us and it is a life that is strengthened and kept alive by the Holy Spirit working through God’s Word and Sacraments in our lives. We have also learned from God’s Word given to us through His Church that the woes of this life and death come from us and the world around us because we have fallen into the sins that leads us away from the love, peace and joy of God.
Today Jesus goes on to tell us about how His love, peace and joy in our lives will cause us to respond in actions that is quite different from the ways of the Devil, the world and our sinful nature. As we grow in God’s Love working in our lives we will grow in these responses because they are not a part of our sinful nature but God’s love working in our live as we respond with that love to the world around us. Jesus says to us, “But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. 29 To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either. 30 Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back.” (Lk 6:27-30)
What are the responses that will grow to be more and more a part of our lives as we let the Love of God and His Word be more and more a part of our lives instead of the woes of the devil, the world and our sinful nature? We will learn from Jesus how to love all people not just the people who give us love first. We will learn from Jesus how to do good to all people not just those who have been good to us. We will learn from Jesus how to bless all people in our lives not just those who have earned our blessings. We will learn from Jesus how to pray for all people not just those who have done something in our live to earn our prayers for them. We will learn from Jesus how to offer ourselves to all people not just those who have treated us with respect. We will learn from Jesus how to not withhold the things of this world that have been taken from us but to give more to all people than what they have tried to take from us. We will learn from Jesus how to be givers of the things of this world to all people, not just those we have come to know and love. We will learn from Jesus how to not demand what has been ours to be given back, but instead to look for ways of giving more to all people than what they have demanded from us.
Now I want you to look at the responses that Jesus is talking to us about today and hopefully you will notice that these are not our normal responses. We by our sinful nature don’t love, do good, bless, pray, offer ourselves, do not withhold, give or do not demand what is ours from all people around us, but instead we only do these responses to others when they have first done them for us many times. These responses are not our normal response to the people of this sin filled world because we are filled with sin also, but when we let God’s Love take our sins away we discover God’s love, peace and joy and we learn from God’s Word how to respond in Love even to those who don’t love us. For God’s love in our lives enables us to do good to those who are not good to us. God’s love in our lives enables us to bless those who have not blessed us. God’s love in our lives enables us to pray for those who are not concerned about us. God’s love in our lives enables us to offer ourselves to others even though they have hurt us. God’s love in our lives enables us to give to others even though they have not given anything to us. God’s love in our lives enables us not to prevent others from taking the things of this world from us but instead to give them more than what they wanted to take. God’s love in our lives enables us not to demand back what was ours, but to give more than what they have demanded from us.
It’s not part of our sinful nature and the world to respond in this way but it is a response that comes from God’s love being in our lives, as we allowing God’s love, peace and joy to become a bigger and bigger part of our lives, which enables us to respond in this way instead of the way that the sin filled world and our sin filled normal response. As we grow in God’s love for us we learn how to respond to others as we wish they would do for us or as Jesus says to us, “And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.” (Lk. 6:31)
As we listen to Jesus’ words and let His Word, love and actions become a part of our lives we strive to Love All people, to Do Good to all people, to Lend ourselves and the possessions of this world to all people and to Not Expect anything in return from anyone. Why would we respond this way to a world and people who are sinful and not deserving of this response from us? Because we have been washed of all our sins in our baptism, become we are a part of the family of God and have been given God’s Mercy in our lives even though we have done nothing to deserve it. As God has done these things for us in the new live given to us, Jesus says us, “Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.” (Lk. 6:36)
Yes, life is quite different as we let the love, peace and joy of God become a part of our life, because we strive to what Jesus teaches as He tell us, “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; 38 give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.” (Lk. 6:37 – 38)
Now here is something we are going to have to rely on Jesus’ Words, love and actions to help us strive to not judging others because our nature is to make judgments against other instead of striving to help others to know the love, peace and joy of God that has been given to us by the Life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. We will need to rely on Jesus’ Words, love and actions in our lives to be able to strive to not condemn others because our nature is to look for what is wrong with others so that we can make ourselves look better in the eyes of the world, instead of helping other to know the love, peace and joy that has been given to us by the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. Yes, we will need to rely on Jesus’ Words, love and actions in our lives to be able to strive to be forgivers in this world, because our nature is to look for ways of getting even instead of helping other to know the love, peace and joy that has been given to us by the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. Yes, we will need to rely on Jesus’ Words, love and actions in our lives to be able to strive to be givers in this world, because the world all around us is encouraging us to get all that we want and more, not worry about the needs of others, God though through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ gave us all that we need in this life so that we can have life, peace and joy with Him now and forever, that’s why Jesus says to us, “For with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.” (Lk. 6:38) God measured each of us with His loving arms stretched out on the cross of Calvary for us, taking all our sin with Him so that He could make the full and final payment for each and every sin we have or ever will committed so that we can have His righteousness and life instead of death.
So, what can we learn from the Words, love and actions that Jesus, the Son of God, has done for us today? Well my hope for all of us today is that we might have a new way of answering this question. What do You Measure the world with? My hope is that we have all learned from listening to God’s Words about Jesus Christ that we need to measure the world that we live in by God’s Love for You and Me! Let God’s love go to work in your life and share it with the world you live in, for that will change your life and the world forever. Amen.