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Saturday - 4:30 pm Sunday - 8:00 am & 10:30 am Christian Education Sunday - 9:15 am


 Bear one another’s burdens,
and so fulfill the law of Christ.
Galatians 6:2
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pastor Rob Rogers was born in Seattle Washington. He has a B.A. in Communication from Concordia University, Austin, TX and a Masters of Divinity from Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, MO. READ MORE >>

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October 21, 2018
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Pentecost 21 – October 14, 2018
Text:            Mark 10:17-22  

Theme:         Feed Your Faith!

                 Jesus was on his journey in our Gospel for today.  He is on his way to the cross and very few understand what that means.  There seem to be some bandwagoners who see a popular rabbi traveling with his entourage.  The man who we see run up to him is just such a person.  He says,

        “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”  First of all, that is a question Christians never need to ask.  If we understand nothing else, we understand that salvation is a gift not a wage.  Of course Satan works tirelessly to convince us that there has to be something we have to do.  Either salvation is not as amazing as we think since it doesn’t cost anything or there’s a catch and you really do have to do something because nothing that amazing can be free!  So he works on us from every direction to try to convince us that our salvation is not secure, and that is why it is crucially important to read and hear God’s word as often as possible and to receive Jesus’ body and blood as often as possible.  The only way to combat Satan is to overwhelm him with God.  So the Church is not like an inoculation, one and done.  The Church is far more like a health and exercise routine.  How do you avoid type 2 diabetes?  There’s no pill or shot for that.  If you hope to avoid it, you eat correctly and exercise regularly.  Likewise with your spiritual health.  How do you avoid spiritual death?  A regular dose of Word and Sacrament to overwhelm Satan and drive him back to hell.

        Now the second thing that is really interesting about this text is the way the man addresses Jesus, “Good teacher.”  And Jesus asks why he calls him good.  Now our reaction to that is, “Duh, you’re the Son of God and perfect and holy, of course you’re good.”  And notice that Jesus does not reject the address, he just asks why he calls him that.  But he already knows because he’s God so he just moves on to the problem.

        The man was calling him good to get in good with him.  He was not making a confession of faith.  If he was, Jesus would not have reminded him that only God was good.  Jesus is good, the ultimate good because he is God!  But the man had missed that or if he had heard it, he didn’t believe it.  So Jesus moved on to the object lesson.  The question, “what must I do,” betrays the man’s reliance on works, so Jesus goes right for the Commandments.  You want works?  I’ll give you works.

        Notice that Jesus says “you know the commandments,” and the man jumps to “I have kept the commandments.”  Notice also that Jesus left out the first three commandments.  What’s his point in doing that?  He already knows that the man does not believe that he is God.  So Jesus focuses on loving our neighbor because that will help the man to see where he is lacking but the man opts for lying and claiming that he has kept them all.  Having shown no faith in him as God and having lied and claimed to have kept all the Commandments, Jesus went for the jugular. 

        Give all your stuff to the poor and follow me.  That was the killer.  The man could not find his way around that one.  Jesus knew what his idol was.  The man idolized wealth and could not give that up.  His final act of disbelief was walking away dejected.  He did not look to Christ for forgiveness but simply walked away because his wealth was more important to him than following Christ.

        We can’t have it both ways.  Either we believe that Jesus is God and nothing in this life surpasses him or we don’t.  You cannot create your own faith.  Only the Holy Spirit can create the faith in you to believe that Jesus is the true Son of God who died on the cross and forgave all your sins.  What you can do is let your faith die.  Most of you were brought to the Baptismal font as infants and faith was created in you at that moment.  So you are perplexed by the question and action of the young man.  But too many Christians also take that faith for granted and are slovenly when it comes to caring for it and feeding it. What’s more, many Christians have confused family tradition with feeding faith.  I have heard people say something like, “my parents thought it was really important to be at church every time the doors opened but I just don’t believe God is going to send me to Hell for not going to church.”  They are absolutely correct.  God will not send anyone to Hell for committing any particular sins. But, if you refuse to eat of the body and blood of Christ and if you refuse to hear his Word, your faith will weaken and die and if you have no faith, you cannot grasp grace and if you cannot grasp grace, you will go to Hell. 

        So the good news is that we are the heirs and we will inherit eternal life so long as our faith is strong enough to grasp that gift of grace. We have everything we need to keep our faith alive and strong until the day we cross out of this sinful world and into eternal bliss.  We would never ask the question, “What must I do to be saved?”  We all live in the reality of salvation right now.  On the day of your baptism you were killed and made alive.  You began your resurrected life.  Your faith clings to that truth and if you ever feel that grasp weakening, if you find yourself listening to the demons that roam in our world, you know how to strengthen your faith: word and sacrament.

        Yes the demons will seek you out. They will come to you through movies and TV, through societal issues and politics, through friends and even loved ones.  They will make logical arguments that seem to have such an obvious non-Biblical answer.  You will feel silly for disagreeing.  But disagree you must, because if it is against what God has said in Scripture, it against God, period.  There are no logical arguments with which to combat Satan.  Don’t try to play his game on his turf.  You will lose.  He is a brilliant tactician.  Instead, come to this place and fill yourself up with the Word of God in the readings and the preaching and the hymns.  Feast on the very body and blood of Christ and touch the waters of the baptismal font, reminding you that those very waters continue washing you clean and protecting you against every onslaught from hell.  This is how you overcome Satan and his servants.   This is how you cripple evil in this world and in your individual lives. God’s Word and Sacraments speak faith first into your life and then into the world through you driving back the darkness.