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I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God

October 27, 2015

Reformation Sundayrosa de Lutero

“So do not be afraid of them, for there is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known.  What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs.  Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.  Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.  And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.  So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

“Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven.  But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven.

Matthew 10:26-33

One of many things Martin Luther said:
“You are not only responsible for what you say, but also for what you do not say.”

In our culture today there are many who hide their faith. Or rather we can say that we are living in a society that claims to be modern and educated and that we try to respect everyone’s opinions and beliefs the same. Respect for others is fine; it arises from the love taught by Christ. Nowadays, many promote respect for others, non-discrimination and equal treatment no knowing it is based on the premise of neighbourly love. Our question today is: Where does this movement of neighbourly love come from?

Today there are many societies, especially in the Western and ‘civilized’ world, who forget that our current culture, —and this was obvious just a few decades ago—, is steeped in Christian culture, the culture of Christ’s gospel. Many of the constitutions of Europe and the countries of America, many more than two hundred years old, are based on the revolutionary and always modern message found in the gospel of Christ.

Today there are many who reject the church or Christ, and this has been the case in all ages since Christ’s resurrection. There were ups and downs, where the Spirit of God was rejected more or less by society. But many who reject this do not realize that everything they ratify as good, modern and civilized has no other source than the teachings of Christ.

In the church we know well: we must respect and love everyone as this is one of Christ’s commandments: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’. (Mt 22: 37-40) and “But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.”(Matthew 5:44). Or the golden rule: “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” (Mt 7:12)
So when we decide to not keep silent as Christians, as the Gospel reading tells us today:
“Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven.”, then we’re not trying to discriminate against anyone, nor impose anything other than that which has already been embodied in this society in which we live. For our culture, although many today strive to not call it Christian, because they want to make society more inclusive to other religions too, it is definitely Christian in its base.

We cannot deny what we already are. If we deny our root, we will be a backward culture that is susceptible to the whims and interests of an individualistic and materialistic culture that, perhaps without realizing it, is moving away from God’s blessing.
“The Lord says: “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is based on merely human rules they have been taught.”(Isaiah 29:13) and also we read in the psalm:
“The Lord foils the plans of the nations; he thwarts the purposes of the peoples. But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations. Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people he chose for his inheritance”. (Ps 33: 10-12)

This happens when we give more importance to the word of man than to the word of God. We don’t want this to happen, that’s why we always want every day to have Martin Luther’s courage to put the word of God first above our human interests. He was a Christian committed to God, to His Word, to the church and found himself in a place from which there could be an important and fundamental element for major changes in the running of the church. Every one of us doesn’t need to be like Luther, we don’t all need to make large and visible changes in history, but we are all called on by the gospel to have courage, as Luther did, to be faithful to the word of God, to be brave Christians and to not remain silent when people or society wants us to be silent about the word of God.

Churches exist for Christians to come together week after week to hear the word and be strengthened by the Holy Spirit. But the mission is essentially outside. The best missionaries are those of us who call ourselves Christians, and when we have to bear witness of our faith before the unbelieving, there we have to have the courage to show our faith in God.
Many times God cannot bless us as he would like because we are not sufficiently faithful to Him. Nor can He bless our churches because we are not brave enough to show our Christianity before those who are not Christian. The mission is not a task for one person, in our case, the pastor. The mission is for every one of us who call themselves Christian. You cannot pretend that one single person can grow an entire church. Growing churches are the missionary churches, churches in which each member knows very well that he or she must be a witness outside the church when the opportunity arises.
“So do not be afraid of them, for there is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs”

Luther brings us his testimony today. A Christian committed to God, the word of God, wanted to obey God rather than adhere to the opinion of the people that, more than anything, were not in God.
Many times we are in the same situation as Luther, when we have to decide what to say and what to do. Do I talk about my faith? —If this truly is it— Or do I talk about what the others would like to hear from me to look good and sound nice and respectful?

And the training camp for Christians is not necessarily in China or in exotic and distant countries. The mission field of every Christian is in the place where they spend most of their time: their house, their family, their work and their friendships. Would we be able to give our witness as Christians in this area? Actually, that is what God is waiting for from us. We have to choose who we want to please: “Whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven”

Being a missionary in distant countries is not for everyone. But being Christian is also not for everyone, it requires love and devotion to the Lord, Jesus Christ. But He rewards faithful children with blessings in this life and salvation beyond this life on earth. Remember this beautiful promise from the Gospel that, for sure, Luther should also be enjoying somewhere near to God: “Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven”.

Let us pray: Holy Spirit of God, let us confess our faith in the way you like. Give us the strength to be faithful. Awaken our senses to be wise. Fill this church with your presence and let us be faithful in the way you like. Defend, and spread out and take care of your church and protect every believing family. Amen.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. margkahl permalink
    October 28, 2015 10:16 am

    Thank you. Margaret

    >

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