Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Trinity 18 October 6-7, 2012 Sermon

Trinity 18        Matthew 22:34-36      October 6-7, 2012

In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Seeking to trap Him, they ask a Law question, and so their answer is of the Law: "What is the greatest commandment? Love God and man perfectly, without fail, without lapse, without exception." If someone says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.

They sought to trap Him in the Law and wound up trapped themselves. Hatefully seeking to bind Him, they were bound by their own pettiness and philosophical games, by their hate. They were guilty. In the greatest to the least of the commandments they had failed, for they had not acted in love. They envied His glory. They had paraded themselves. They were puffed up, behaved rudely, sought their own, thought evil. For as nice as the concept of love is, as noble and high and lofty, as obviously good and decent - despite the fact that no one can be against it, that everyone acknowledges, "Yes, love is good. That is the right way." Nonetheless, love is an impossible command and standard. We cannot satisfy or keep it. We have not loved perfectly, but have behaved selfishly - again and again and again. We know love is right. But that doesn't save us. It can only We say damn us.

But Christ, Our Lord offers an escape to those who are caught by the Law's unbending and unrelenting, impossible demands. He asks: "What do you think of the Christ? Whose Son is He?" "David's Son," they say. Indeed, David's Son, a man like us, but more: David's Son, our neighbor, AND David's Lord, our Creator, a Priest forever in the order of Melchizadek, the first and the last, the Redeemer-Kinsman come to save us. The two things that the Law demand we love, God and neighbor, are embodied in Him who has loved us. In this the Love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is Love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. . . . God is Love.

Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends

For his friends. Greater love has no God, no Baal, no Allah, no Buddha, no Great Spirit in the sky, than this: that He lay down His Son's life for His enemies, for His enemies! That He lay down His Son's life for His enemies, that He forsake His Son, disown Him, damn Him, visit His wrath upon Him that He might shower His love upon those murderers whom He adopts as new sons! Greater and more perfect love hath no one than He is who is Love.

Our Lord Jesus Christ is the Ram caught in the thicket, our scapegoat who takes our sins off into the wilderness, our sacrificial lamb who dies in our place. He is the fulfillment of the Law, perfect Love in the Flesh. He has done what we could and would not, and that for us. He has loved us perfectly without fail, without lapse, without exception. His enemies, those incarnations of hate, the devil, death, and Hell have been conquered by the Heel they bruised. They are under the Foot that crushed them. They are held fast so that there is no one to accuse you, no prison to hold you, no threat or punishment left. You are free, forgiven, clean, pure, righteous, perfect, for you are loved in, and by, Him.

This Christ, David's Son and David's Lord, is a Priest forever in the Order of Melchizadek, that King of Righteousness from the City of Peace. That great and holy Priest, whose Body pierced and enlivened once again is the very Temple that He rebuilt so that it is the House of Prayer for all people by Grace, whose reign never ends, that great and holy Priest has offered up Himself as the Sacrifice that makes us lovable, and makes us His. The Law has no more to ask, no more to demand. It has been satisfied, fulfilled, completed. Love, Our Lord, Jesus Christ, never fails. The Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, (is the Christ), God abides in him, and he in God. And we have known and believed the Love that God has for us. God is Love, and he who abides in Love abides in God, and God in him. Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world.

Love in the Flesh, a priestly food, a heavenly banquet, is offered to you this very day: His Body and Blood, the new Temple that cannot be destroyed. Eat of Him. Be loved. Live. Have Him placed inside of you that you would be a Temple of His Holy Spirit, that He would abide in you and you in Him, that you would be as He is, so that you would have boldness in the day of judgment for you are His, so that His love is completed and perfected in you, His beloved. David's Son is your Lord, your Christ. Thanks be to God!

In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

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