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Trust Only in Jesus! That’s A Salty Disciple!

September 4, 2016




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Pentecost 16                                   Trinity Lutheran Church

4 September 2016                          Murdock, NE


+ Jesu Juva +


St. Luke 14:25-35


He didn’t say it, did He? He did! Categorically! Definitively! Emphatically! I saw the young mothers putting their hands over their children’s ears. The thuds I heard were your chins hitting the floor. Most of you are starting to have your doubts about a preacher that sounds so … so … tyrannical, despotic and authoritarian. After all, He threw the “h” bomb!   “Hate!”   “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters – yes, even his own life – he cannot be my disciple.”


Jesus finally has your undivided. Aren’t you supposed to love your parents? Wife? Children? Siblings? Of course you are. God has established the family for much good in this world. God creates life through Dad and Mom. God sustains and protects life through Dad and Mom. God uses parents to bring you to Baptism. Teach you the faith. God does a heck of a lot of good through the family.


Well, then, why in the world does Jesus sound like an unhinged presidential nominee by using the dreaded “h” word regarding parents, spouse, and siblings? It’s simple. Jesus is talking about His being God. Being God FOR YOU! GOD FOR YOU IN THE WAY OF HIS GOOD FRIDAY AND EASTER SUNDAY! That’s how He acts and is God FOR YOU. For your salvation!


Through another preacher Moses, God pulled no punches with Old Testament Israel. He gave His promise to be God for Israel. He wanted, in response, the highest of worship. And that’s faith or trust in Him. “See, I set before you today,” He told Israel, “life and prosperity, death and destruction.” Did you catch that? Life or death! Prosperity or destruction! Faith and life go together. Unbelief or mistrust and destruction go together. “For I command you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the LORD your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess.”   Again, those are God’s words to faith. His words to unbelief are: “But if your heart turns away and you are not obedient, and if you are drawn away to bow down to other gods and worship them, I declare to you this day that you will not live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess.” Then comes the clincher: “This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curses. Now choose life so that you and your children may live and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice and hold fast to him. For the LORD is your life.”


Now LORD God Jesus speaks to His New Testament Israel. So, when it comes to being a disciple of the LORD God Jesus – following Him for eternal life – hanging on to Him for forgiveness of sins, then He alone is the Savior. That’s why in Matthew’s parallel account Jesus puts it this way: “Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.” (Mt 10:37).


No one but Jesus is the Savior. Only He saves. He alone delivers from sin, death and hell. He alone is the Light in the darkness. You either trust only in Him for salvation or you’re not saved. There cannot be a divided loyalty between Jesus or anyone else. To love father, mother, spouse, kids siblings or even your self more than Jesus – over and above Jesus – makes that person into an idol. Idols always crumble under the pressure of being false gods.


Parents are to be parents. Spouses spouses. Siblings siblings. But not saviors! When you make yourself or people that you know to be a savior, they will disappoint. They will fail. No one is God FOR YOU – Savior FOR YOU – except Jesus! He hung on the cross FOR YOU! He bore all your sin in His body FOR YOU. He endured the curse of the law AND God’s wrath FOR YOU. By His Good Friday death you have life – ETERNAL LIFE!


Jesus isn’t done with His sermon. There’s more. “Anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.”


Everything you are and everything you have is to be nailed to the cross. When it comes to salvation you are nothing and Jesus is everything. You must learn to daily die to sin – repent of it – turn from it and let Jesus have it in His nail-scarred hands. In His Good Friday crucified Body! In His purifying, cleansing and life-giving Blood.


As a builder estimates costs or as a king evaluates his military strength, so a salty Jesus-disciple counts the cost. You need to know up front that being a salt-that-is-good-disciple of Jesus means that that you are to lose, as Jesus categorically states: “everything he has.” In other words, when it comes to salvation, you can’t trust in any possessions. Possessions and cash don’t save. They are not saviors. Only Jesus is. Good Friday Jesus is God FOR YOU! He acts as God FOR YOU as He gives His very self and all that He has FOR YOU in the crucified Jesus!


So, a salty disciple is a faith-in-Jesus-alone-for-salvation-disciple! That is “good” salt. If you don’t trust in Jesus only for heaven, then you’re like salt that has lost its saltiness. And like salt-less salt you’re “fit neither for the soil nor for the manure pile.” The only thing you can do with salt that has lost its saltiness is to throw it out.


So Jesus gives it to you straight up today. Pulls no punches. He alone is the Savior. No one else is. Trust only in Him. Live in and from your Baptism by daily repenting of your sin and turning to Jesus for forgiveness. Eat and drink His Body and Blood in the Supper today, believing that His Words “GIVEN AND SHED FOR YOU FOR THE FORGIVENESS OF YOUR SINS” is absolutely true. That’s a salty, briny disciple!


In the Name of Jesus.

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