Pastor Weise’s Sermon – God’s Word is Enough

Pastor Weie's Sermon - God Still Performs Miracles

God’s Word is Enough

II Kings 5-15 a/St. Matthew 8.1-13

Epiphany III/January 27, 2019

Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd/Good Shepherd Community Chapel, Sauk Rapids, MN

Rev. Keith R. Weise, pastor/chaplain

LISTEN TO SERMON

Text    II Kings 5.1-15a

1 Now Naaman, commander of the army of the king of Syria, was a great and honorable man in the eyes of his master because by him the Lord had given victory to Syria. He was also a mighty man of valor, but a leper. And the Syrians had gone out on raids and had brought back captive a young girl from the land of Israel. She waited on Naaman’s wife. Then she said to her mistress, “If only my master were with the prophet who is in Samaria! For he would heal him of his leprosy.” And Naaman went in and told his master, saying, “Thus and thus said the girl who is from the land of Israel.”

Then the king of Syria said, “Go now, and I will send a letter to the king of Israel.”

So he departed and took with him ten talents of silver, six thousand shekels of gold, and ten changes of clothing. Then he brought the letter to the king of Israel, which said,

Now be advised, when this letter comes to you, that I have sent Naaman my servant to you, that you may heal him of his leprosy.

And it happened, when the king of Israel read the letter, that he tore his clothes and said, “Am I God, to kill and make alive, that this man sends a man to me to heal him of his leprosy? Therefore please consider, and see how he seeks a quarrel with me.”

So it was when Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Israel had torn his clothes, that he sent to the king, saying, “Why have you torn your clothes? Please let him come to me, and he shall know that there is a prophet in Israel.”

Then Naaman went with his horses and chariot, and he stood at the door of Elisha’s house. 10 And Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, “Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored to you, and you shall be clean.” 11 But Naaman became furious, and went away and said, “Indeed, I said to myself, ‘He will surely come out to me, and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, and wave his hand over the place, and heal leprosy.’ 12 Are not the Abanah and the Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them and be clean?” So he turned and went away in a rage. 13 And his servants came near and spoke to him, and said, “My father, if the prophet had told you to do something great, would you not have done it? How much more then, when he says to you, ‘Wash and be clean’?” 14 So he went down and dipped seven times in the Jordan, according to the saying of the man of God; and his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.

15 And he returned to the man of God, he and all his aides, and came and stood before him; and he said, “Indeed, now I know that there is no God in all the earth, except in Israel.

 

                St. Matthew 8.1-13

1 When He had come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed Him. And behold, a leper came and worshiped Him, saying, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.”

Then Jesus put out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.” Immediately his leprosy was cleansed.

And Jesus said to him, “See that you tell no one; but go your way, show yourself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.”

Now when Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, pleading with Him, saying, “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, dreadfully tormented.”

And Jesus said to him, “I will come and heal him.”

The centurion answered and said, “Lord, I am not worthy that You should come under my roof. But only speak a word, and my servant will be healed. For I also am a man under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”

10 When Jesus heard it, He marveled, and said to those who followed, “Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel! 11 And I say to you that many will come from east and west, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. 12 But the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” 13 Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go your way; and as you have believed, so let it be done for you.” And his servant was healed that same hour.

________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________

 

 

Invocation    In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

 

Prayer

Let us pray—

Blessed Lord, who hast caused all Holy Scriptures to be written for our learning, grant that we may in such wise hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that by patience and comfort of Thy Holy Word we may embrace, and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which Thou hast given us in our Savior Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

 

I          That prayer says a lot

about our relationship with the Word of God.

 

As Christians

we cherish the Word.

 

We hold it sacred

and gladly hear and learn it

and strive to inwardly digest it.

 

We study it—

we meditate on it—

we memorize it—

and try to live by what it says.

 

We are devoted to the Word—

the Word of God written for us in the Scriptures—

and

the Word made flesh—

Jesus Christ our Lord.

 

We even have prayers for the Word to work in our lives—

just like we prayed moments ago.

 

We Christians rightly cherish the Word of God—

because by his grace

God makes us people of the Word.

 

II         In our Scripture readings for today

we see three Biblical people

who are people of the Word.

 

First, there’s Naaman.

It takes some convincing—

but finally he

goes and washes in the river Jordan as God tells him to do—

and when he is cleansed—

he confesses his faith in the Word which he received—

Indeed, now I know that there is no God in all the earth, except in Israel, he says.              (II Kings 5.15)

 

The leper in the gospel

worships Jesus even before he is healed—

and as soon as Jesus says—

I am willing, be cleansed,

                                                            immediately his leprosy was cleansed                   (St. Matthew 8.3)

and Jesus sent him to the priests to

offer sacrifice and verify his cleansing

by the Word.

 

And then there’s the centurion.

His faith in the Word

is perhaps the most obvious.

 

Jesus offers to go to his house

and heal his servant—

but then the centurion says his famous words—

Lord, I am not worthy that you should come under my roof.  But ONLY SPEAK A WORD, and my servant will be healed. 

(St. Matthew 8.8)

 

III       Naaman—

The leper—

The centurion—

They all believe the Word of God—

and they all believe IN the Word of God.

 

They believe in the Word of God

for the very same reason we do—

because

the Word of God DOES what God SAYS it will DO.

 

IV        When God spoke through Elisha

and told Naaman how he would be healed—

Naaman was healed.

 

When Christ said he was willing to cleanse the leper—

the leper was cleansed.

 

When Christ said he would heal the centurion’s servant—

the servant was healed.

 

And when God speaks to YOU—

He will DO—exactly what he SAYS!

 

V         Through the prophet Isaiah—

God says—

For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven,

                                    And do not return there,

                                    But water the earth,

                                    And make it bring forth and bud,

                                    That it may give seed to the sower

                                    And bread to the eater,

                                    So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth;

                                    It shall not return to Me void,

                                    But it shall accomplish what I please,

                                    And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.                (Isaiah 55.10-11)

 

In Hebrews, we read

The word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.                    (Hebrews 4.12)

 

            And Jesus himself says

If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.                                                        (St. John 15.7)

 

VI        What is God trying to tell us with all of this?

 

He’s telling us

that THE WORD IS ENOUGH.

 

The Word was enough to heal Naaman.

The Word was enough to heal the leper.

The Word was enough to heal the centurion’s servant—

and the WORD IS ENOUGH FOR YOU.

 

VII      What God said to Naaman—

he says to you in your baptism—

Wash, and you will be clean.

 

            What Christ said to the leper—

he says to you in his compassion—

I am willing.  Be cleansed.

 

            What Christ said to the centurion—

he says to you in his desire for your good—

I will come and heal you.

 

Every one of those promises is certain—

Because God always does what he says he will do.

THE WORD IS ENOUGH.

________________________________________________________________

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

VIII    The devil doesn’t want you to believe that, though.

 

Every time Christ speaks his promises to you—

the devil does to you

what he did to Adam and Eve—

He slithers up beside you and he says—

Did God really say that?                                                   (Genesis 3.1)

 

                                    Did God really say

he would wash you clean in your baptism?

Did Jesus really say

he was willing to make you clean?

Did Jesus really say

he would come and heal you?

Are you sure that’s what he really means?

 

The devil wants you to doubt God’s Word.

He wants you to doubt the words that come out of Jesus’ mouth—

because he knows that on the Last Day—

one little word of Christ—

will send him packing back to hell.

 

We know that too—

but too often—

WAY to often—

when the devil comes up and says, Did God really say?

we do what Adam and Eve did—

we try to force God’s hand

and make things happen ourselves—

or

we seek some secret hidden meaning in the word God

speaks—

or

worse—

we try to take things under our own control—

like God needs our help fulfilling his Word.

 

Sure I’m baptized—

but maybe I need to do something else to really be cleansed before God.

 

Sure—God will heal me on the last day—

but none of my doctors seem to be able to do anything for me right now!

 

Sure—Jesus is coming—

but what can I do to make him come more quickly?

________________________________________________________________

 

IX       God doesn’t need your help.   /////

Jesus doesn’t need your assistance.  /////

and

The Word of God doesn’t need you

to uncover hidden meanings

or

move it along its way.

 

What God needs

is for you to believe his Word!

 

All those other things

minimize the Word of God.

 

They reveal a

lack of belief in its truthfulness

and they reveal

a lack of trust in its power.

 

All those things

reveal that in YOUR heart—

you do not believe in the Word of God.

 

When we commit those sins—

we say to God—

YOUR WORD IS NOT ENOUGH!

 

That is a dangerous sin.

 

It’s a sin that says

I know better than God.

                                    Satan is the one whose word really counts.

                                    and

Together—

Satan’s word and my work

are

better

and

stronger

and

more reliable

than the Word of God.

 

X         If that’s your sin—

today the Holy Spirit calls on you to repent.

 

He calls you to quit listening to Satan.

Satan is your Accuser—

he is not your cheerleader.

Satan is your Deceiver—

he does not get to decide if God means what he says.

 

Satan would love to be your Destroyer.

He’s not trying to help you—

He’s trying to KILL YOU.

St. Peter says

. . . your adversary, the devil, walks about like a roaring lion,

seeking whom he may devour                                                     (I Peter 5.8)

and he will lie to you every minute of every day

if he thinks that will help lead you into hell.

So right now—the Holy Spirit calls you

to quit listening to Satan.

 

AND (!)

He

calls you to quit listening

to your own thoughts

and

your own desires

when they go against the Word of God.

 

Today the Holy Spirit calls you

to tell the devil

to take a hike

and

He calls on you

to return to your baptism

and drown your Old Adam in that water until he is dead as dead can be—

and God will raise you up—

new and holy—

with an unshakable faith in his Word.

 

Once God has done that—

The Holy Spirit calls you START doing stuff.

He calls us all

to start listening to Jesus.

to start heeding his Word given to us in the Scriptures.

to start to read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest his word—

and then— /////

come to the cross

and there see the Word of God

doing the greatest thing it’s ever done—

DYING FOR US—

TO GIVE US LIFE.

 

XI       Speaking of his crucifixion—

Jesus says—

God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.  For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.                                                          (St. John 3.16-17)

 

            By his sacrifice on the cross—

The Word—

The Word Made Flesh—

Jesus Christ—the Very Son of God—

accomplishes the highest purpose of the Word of God.

He saves your body and soul

from sin/death/the devil/and hell.

 

His blood—

poured out from the cross—

gives

his Word its power

and

his promises their pre-eminence.

 

XII      Christ on the cross

                        is God’s seal on his promise

to save you

BY HIS WORD.

to restore you to perfection

                                                            BY HIS WORD.

to make you whole again

                                                            BY HIS WORD.

                                                to make you new

                                                            BY HIS WORD.

 

Christ’s sacrifice on the cross

is God’s guarantee

that he has

forgiven your sins

renewed your life

and

filled your soul with his good gifts—

and he has done it all—by his Word—

by the word of Holy Scripture

and

by Jesus Christ—the WORD MADE FLESH.

So today

with Naaman

with the leper

with the centurion

and

with the whole Church of every time and every place—

we say and we profess—

GOD’S WORD IS ENOUGH.

IT IS—ENOUGH—FOR ME.

Praise God.  Amen.

 

Invocation    In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Hymn of Response:   Create in Me

Leave a Reply