God’s Thoughts & God’s Ways
Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost Trinity Lutheran Church
21 September 2014 Murdock, NE
+ Jesu Juva +
“My thoughts are not your thoughts. My ways are not your ways.” That’s quite a sermon right there. Should I stop now? I could but you’d probably dock my paycheck. Or maybe you’d give me a raise. I’m going to chance it. I will dare to say more. So back to the Lord’s words: “My thoughts are not your thoughts. My ways are not your ways.”
Especially when He does a kingdom of heaven thing! “My thoughts are not your thoughts. My ways are not your ways.”
What’s on God’s mind regarding the kingdom of heaven will completely blow your mind! His thoughts are not your thoughts. So get ready to have the circuits of your mind blown. Totally.
Minds blown so that you will forsake your wicked ways and evil thoughts. So that you will seek the Lord, call on the Lord, turn to the Lord while He can be found – while He is still near in the Good Friday mercy and forgiveness.
“Mercy” and “forgiveness.” Those words go with what kind of people? Sinners. In order to qualify for divine mercy and forgiveness, you have to be a … SINNER!
Sinner. Yes, I said “sinner.” What’s on God’s mind comes out of His mouth. He has something to say. And it’s this: you folks are sinners. People of unclean hearts and lips. You know, the idolatrous and unbelieving kind of sinners. Hard core transgressors.
God would never say that to you, would He? Call you a sinner? An impure, unclean, hellacious sinner? Yes, He would. And He does! Boldly! Categorically! I know you beg to differ. But He ignores all your protests. Blows off your dissent. Pays no heed to your opposition. Totally opposes your thoughts and ways.
God tells the truth. He exposes you! He outs you! You are a sinner – truly you are – and you deserve God’s temporal and eternal punishment. What you have earned is a forever and ever hell. But you believe the lie and it goes like this: “Oh, I’m not perfect but I’m really not that bad. God will take all my good into consideration. All my good outweighs all my bad.” No wonder God thunders: “My thoughts are not your thoughts; your ways are not my ways.”
That’s precisely why God unleashes the Holy Spirit through His word of this text to not only CAT Scan or X-ray you – show you your sin and reveal that you are a sinner — but to attack you. To crush and demolish you. To convict you. To kill your “wicked” old Adam. To put you, that is, your sinful nature to death!
God would do that? Yes. He does. He does what it takes. Even though you and many others call it absolutely unthinkable, outrageous, scandalous, and downright immoral. “My thoughts are not your thoughts; your ways are not my ways.”
How goes your thinking now? Well, if you thought all of the above was mind blowing, you haven’t heard anything yet! Get a load of what God does with you His sinners. He kills you in order to make you alive! He gospels you! Lasters become firsters! Doing what it takes to save you. To raise you from the dead.
He doesn’t give you sinners what you deserve. He doesn’t give you hell. He gives you heaven. He doesn’t count your sins against you. He takes on flesh and blood, enters our entire mess, covers and cleanses your sin with His divine blood. He has mercy. He forgives. Freely. Abundantly. Plentifully. Copiously. Richly.
Because Jesus God’s Son did a Good Friday death for all! For you too! He didn’t leave you or anybody’s sin out of His sacrifice. Jesus took what you deserved on the cross. He was made to be a curse. Damned with all your sin and the world’s sin borne in His crucified body. That’s how God so loved the world. And you!
Yes, I know, there are those that call such thoughts and ways reckless and unfair. Don’t you dare go there! At the end of the day Jesus doles out His Good Friday mercy and forgiveness – His Good Friday salvation – completely and totally for all. You only get left out and get hell if you bullishly and foolishly insist on begrudging His royal and divine generosity. You’ll only get what you deserve over Jesus’ generously given-into-death-for-your-salvation-dead-on-the-cross-divine-body!
So, here we are. Even today the Lord Jesus does a kingdom of heaven thing again. Where, “my thoughts are not your thoughts; your ways are not my ways.” Good thing! Really it is! After all, your salvation depends on God’s thoughts and God’s ways! And to you, His sinners, He invites you to “seek” Him “while he may be found.” “Call on Him while he is near.” “Turn to him” for even more flood-like mercy and forgiveness that comes from His Good Friday death.
Where’s that? It’s the Sacrament of the Altar. Find Him there. Call upon Him there. In this sacrament He is very near you. To be FOR YOU! GOD FOR YOU! Dishing out heaping portions of salvation from His Table. Handing out all the benefits of His last will and testament. Today, yes, today, He takes bread and wine and with the bread and wine He gives you His Good Friday Body and Blood to eat and drink with the most magnificent of all divine promises: “given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.”
Who would ever think like that? The Lord Jesus! And for whom He would do that? For me? For you? Absolutely! He gave His Body and Blood into death on the cross to win your salvation. Now He sees to it that you receive it in the Sacrament! Doesn’t that just blow your mind and melt your heart?
“My thoughts are not your thoughts; your ways are not my ways.” Indeed!
In the Name of Jesus.