Bringing Peace Through Division

The Gospel text for today is Luke 12:49-56. My focus is on verse 51 where Jesus says that he did not come to bring peace but division. Actually, Jesus came to bring peace through division. More can be heard on our congregation’s website after the video of the sermon is posted.

So with that I wrote the following Holy Communion liturgy with the Gospel text in mind. To God be the glory. Amen.

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It is indeed right and salutary that we should at all times and in all places give thanks and praise to you, oh God. Through Jesus Christ You give us peace with You. Through the working of Your Holy Spirit we are being remade. Your Word is life. Your Word is truth. Your Word pierces our soul and will one day divide us from this world as we stand before you purified and holy. Oh God, may we not be seduced by the allure of worldly peace. May it’s beckoning song be ignored. May its deceptive appearance be uncovered. Oh God, we give you thanks that Jesus was born to die that we could have hope and one day live peacefully with You without interruption. And so, we join with the Church on earth and the hosts of heaven in singing Your unending praise…

Peace and Division

Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. [Luke 12:51 ESV]

Seems like a strange thing for Jesus to say. After all, isn’t he the Prince of Peace? Doesn’t he give peace that surpasses all understanding? When the disciples see him after his resurrection Jesus says, “Peace be with you“. So why would Jesus say something like this? Well, look carefully at what he says, Do you think that I have come to give peace ON EARTH? That’s the distinction. Here on earth, there will be division on account of the Gospel. Jesus didn’t come with the intent to divide people but rather knowing that the Gospel would do just that because people are sinners. In John 15, Jesus warned his disciples that if the world hates him they will hate them. And isn’t that the truth. Yet, many people are so afraid of division. Can’t we all just get along? I am all for getting along with people, but when it comes to the Gospel, we must stand firm. We must respect people. We must love people. We must listen to people. But when it comes to the Gospel, if division occurs, then so be it. It is better to be at odds with the world than with God. Amen? The Gospel will produce division. That we have seen, but don’t mistake what Jesus says. He IS still the Prince of Peace and he DOES give a peace that surpasses all understanding. Standing firm on God’s Word in Jesus name, you can have peace in the midst of division. May your witness then, bring peace to people who are at odds with the Gospel. Amen!

Good Pleasure

The text for preaching this morning is Luke 12:32 where Jesus says that it is the Father’s good pleasure to give us the kingdom. It is a rich and Gospel-packed verse and I can hardly wait to preach it this morning. The following is part of the Holy Communion liturgy I wrote with the Gospel text in mind. May it bring glory to God.

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It is indeed right and salutary that we should at all times and in all places give thanks and praise to you, oh God, our Shepherd and Father; for it is Your good pleasure to give us Your kingdom. Through Jesus Christ our Lord, You have saved us from our sins and redeemed us from the clutches of the Evil One. You have placed us in the vault of Your fortress and carved, in granite, our names in the Book of Life. You are the hope in a violent and hate-filled world. You are the Light in the stormy waters. You are the Truth as the Deceiver works overtime to lead Your flock astray. Nothing and no one can stake their claim on Your children. For these reasons, and many more, we join with the Church on earth and the hosts of heaven in singing Your unending praise…

Shamelessly Persistent

The following is the opening prayer for the sermon I am preaching on Sunday, July 28. The text is Luke 11:1-13; Jesus teaching the Lord’s Prayer and the story of the persistent friend. To God be the glory. Let us pray…

Good things. That’s what we want, oh God, is good things. But too often those good things that we desire are only for our comfort and peace; for self-glorification. We want healing. We want stuff. We want notoriety. We ask and ask and ask some more. Maybe we even recruit others to ask on our behalf, because, after all, the more who are praying the better our chances. But that’s not how it works. Convict our hearts of this error, oh God. Give us understanding. Give us intimacy. Give us Your good gifts. We ask but we are too short-sighted. We long for something and become idolatrous. Forgive us, oh God, through Christ Jesus our Lord. Give us your good gifts. Through faith in Jesus Christ, may we long for the gift that only You can give. And thus, may we be shamelessly persistent in our prayer for the good gift of You. Now may the words of my mouth and the meditation of our hearts be acceptable in Your sight, oh God, our rock and Redeemer. Amen.

Undistracted

I wrote this piece for the Holy Communion liturgy with the Gospel text in mind, Luke 10:38-42, the text on which I am preaching today.

It is indeed right and salutary that we should at all times and in all places give thanks and praise to you, oh God, Creator, Father and King. For what can we say, You have given us all that we need, Your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Yet, we search and search for a shelter and refuge that will protect. We scavenger for that which will sustain and keep us. Oh Lord, all our efforts will fall short for no one and nothing is like You. Oh God, You are a God of grace and mercy. You are our portion, our heritage and our inheritance. You are our everything; our life. May we live undistracted lives, keeping our eyes firmly fixed on the author and perfecter of our faith, Jesus Christ. Oh God, You and You alone are worthy and so with the Church on earth and the hosts of heaven we join in singing Your unending praise…

One Thing

[Inspired by Luke 10:38-42]

One thing and one thing only,
that is all that’s required,
for with Jesus the Savior,
You will never be lonely.

You don’t need to add to this.
No works, no deeds, no actions.
Jesus is all that you need,
To enjoy eternal bliss.

For God’s grace is sufficient.
There’s nothing else that’s needed.
Attempts to self-justify,
will always be deficient.

So focus your attention,
and away from your attempts.
Jesus has finished the work,
to release all your tension.

Overflow

This is part of the Holy Communion liturgy that I wrote based on the preaching text, Luke 10:25-37, the Parable of the Good Samaritan…

It is indeed right and salutary that we should at all times and in all places give thanks and praise to you, oh God through Christ Jesus our Lord. For through Jesus’ death and resurrection, You have shown mercy and compassion to an unclean, sinful and lost people. You did not pass us by, but You have bandaged our wounds of sin and have brought healing to our souls. You have given us a home for which we long. You have given us hope. May our hearts be filled with Your love, so much so, that it overflows into acts of compassion and mercy to our neighbor; as we walk humbly with You. And so, with the Church on earth and the hosts of heaven we join in singing Your unending praise…