Archive for the ‘Luke 11:1-13’ Category

“We Who Are Evil”

Sunday, July 25th, 2010

Ninth Sunday after Pentecost, July 25, 2010 “Service in the Park”
Rev. Brian Henderson—Pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church, San Diego, CA
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On the day of Martin Luther’s death, February 18, 1546, his friends found a scrap of paper on which he wrote his last thought.  “We are beggars; this is true.”  What did he mean?  Now while some of us may have been homeless before and had to beg others for gifts of love, to say that all of us are beggars seems to be a stretch.  So what did he mean? 

To understand Luther’s point we must turn to our gospel reading for an explanation.  Jesus ends His teaching this morning with these Words, “If you then who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!” [Lk. 11:13] For some here this morning, these are hard words to hear; Jesus is calling His disciples evil… He is calling you and me evil… and this is true.  We have sinned against heaven and God Himself… this is true!  But it is also true as our Old Testament reading promises to Abraham that we have been called by God.  It is God who is calling you right now, and if you will hear His voice in these Words and respond as He requests, you are also like Abraham in that you have been chosen!  But chosen for what?  Chosen to receive His forgiveness, mercy, and love!  Chosen to teach your children and your neighbor about God’s righteousness and justice; chosen to speak both His frightening Law and His comforting Gospel.  Chosen to keep the way of the Lord! [Genesis 18:18] But friends, we have a problem, we are evil and because we are evil we must depend solely of the mercy and love of God.  If you don’t believe that we are evil, let me prove it to you.

I. How does God’s love and forgiveness come to us?  Through His Word: Holy Scripture asks, “Who has believed our message?” Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.”  So I ask you: Haven’t you been hearing the Word of God? Of course you have! [Rom 10:16b-17]  God’s Word is all around you.  It was first with you in your baptism.  You hear it often in the absolution and the comforting Words of the Gospel that is preached every week to you.  It is there in the Lord’s Supper.  But who is listening and who is in amazed at this truth?  Each of us are either moved to little or not moved at all by God’s great threats or His loving promises of comfort, forgiveness and peace which He gives to us through His blessed Word and Sacraments.  Who is to be blamed?  Certainly not God because He is always calling out to you!  Who then?  We are to be blamed… we deserve all of the blame because we won’t allow ourselves to be concerned with things that that the angels stand in awe of.  Even if we suddenly were visited by a band of angels preaching in all of their heavenly glory, we would not be any more affected than we are now when we hear the pastor or ministers of God’s grace preaching to us.

Dear friends, if we could believe the amazing truth that right now we are hearing the very Word of God speak to us, we wouldn’t become bored and sleepy.  But because we think that it is only a man speaking to us and that it is only the word of men that tickles our ears we treat the holy things of God as if we are a herd of pigs tramping priceless pearls and diamonds.  So what are we to do?  We are to cry out to God with cries of grief and anguish that our sin is so great that we on our own are helpless to do anything else!  What are we to cry out for?  Forgiveness and a new heart and mind; the heart and mind of Jesus Christ!  We are beggars… we are evil; this is true.  But this morning Jesus comforts us and reminds us that because of His love for the Father and God’s love for you, you are now so much more.  Hear the gospel of our Lord.  You who are evil have a Father who doesn’t want to leave you in that evil condition.  You have a Father who can give so much more than you can give.  And He desires to give it all to you!  How does He give?  Through the Word!  And how do we receive?  By asking through prayer!

Jesus said, and when you pray, pray like this: “Father, hallowed be your name, Your kingdom come.” [vs. 2] Who is this that teaches you to pray?  It is God Himself in our own flesh; it is Jesus your Savior, your brother and friend!  If you will not hear the Word of God which brings you faith, then you will care a less if God’s kingdom comes or His name is kept holy.  But because you have been hearing His Word, and because you have been called you will pray that His name is first kept holy in your own heart and that His kingdom would come first to you and then through you to others!  You will know that you are helpless to accomplish these things on your own so you pray and ask God to do them through you and He does!

Again Jesus says, “Give us each day our daily bread”. [vs. 3]  If you are shutting out the Word of God you will care a less how you get not just your food but your nice home, car and all of your bling.  An evil person simply keeps on taking because they believe they have a right to anything their heart desires.  But if God’s Word is indeed working within you, you know that all good things come from God above, so you pray that He will continue to provide you with all that you need in this life.  And whatever He provides you are content with.

But Jesus also adds this teaching, “Forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us.” [vs. 4a]     If the Word of God is being shut out by your hard heart you will care a less whether you are forgiven, let alone forgiving others.  After all, you follow the thinking of this sinful world: “Do unto others before they do unto you!”   But when God’s Word is changing you, you will not just see the need to be forgiven by God but also the need to forgive others.  Because after all we are all just beggars, and you know that this is true!

And finally Jesus says that we must pray: “Lead us not into temptation.” [vs. 4b]  An evil heart that will not hear the Word of God could care a less about this last portion of our prayer.  Why?  Because this kind of heart sees nothing wrong with what God calls sin, as long as it isn’t illegal or if it is, as long as he doesn’t get caught.  But a heart that is being changed by the Word of God sees the evil that is within itself so it prays that God would continue to destroy its evil desires and protect it from both the presence and the temptation of the evil within it and around it!

II. Do you see friends why your Savior asks you to pray?  Prayer is simply and extension of the power and the work of His Word.  The same Holy Spirit that empowers the Word of God which speaks of God’s love and forgiveness empowers your prayers.  The same Holy Spirit of God who hears your words of prayer also molds your words of prayer so that they are requests for the very things that are guaranteed to be approved and answered by God.  This same Holy Spirit reassures your heart to be bold in prayer; to have no fear in the fact that through Jesus Christ, your heavenly Father not only hears you but always wants to hear from you.  And to illustrate this, Jesus in a series of contrasts compares you who are evil in need of rescue to a righteous and holy God who doesn’t need a thing.

“What father among you, if his son asks for a fish will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion?  If you then who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” [vs. 11-13]    Dear friends, Jesus is asking you to consider this heavenly truth: As earthly fathers prove themselves fathers by giving “good gifts” to their children, so your heavenly Father proves to you that He is, indeed, your Father, and you are indeed, His children by giving to you, in answer to your asking in your need, all things that are a benefit to you!  And what is the one thing that you are most in need of?  Forgiveness!  And what is the only way that you can receive this forgiveness?  By asking; by being bold in your asking.  By admitting to God that it is you who are in need of His care and His provisions.

III. Dear friends, Jesus’ illustration of the person who pounds on the door of his neighbor in the middle of the night isn’t telling us to be simply persistent in our begging to God; no instead He is telling us to be bold!  Ask, seek, and knock.  He is saying don’t be ashamed to ask for forgiveness because you have asked so many times.  Don’t be afraid that God has given up on you because you feel you have let Him down so many times!  Be bold and believe that you have a God who is for you and not against you.  Be bold to speak to Him as a son or daughter!  But we ask, “How can a miserable sinner like me be so bold and expectant with such a holy and righteous God?”  And to this Jesus answers because I have called you my brother and friend.  Because through my blood and righteousness, through my suffering and death you have been bought with a great price!  You are no longer the swine that tramples the pearl of great price beneath its feet; you are that pearl of great price! 

Dear friends, you are the Father’s and He is yours!  If a weary and stubborn neighbor will finally get up and help, how much more will your loving Heavenly Father (who never sleeps) meet the needs of His own child!  So keep on “asking, seeking, and knocking,” not to break down God’s door but to reveal to Him your great concern that His will be done, first in your own heart and then in the world.  And remember, the purpose of prayer is not to get man’s will done in heaven but to get God’s will done on earth.  And what is that will?  First he forgiveness of your own sins and then the sins of the world.

Yes, we are all beggars and that is true, but we are beggars with a need and a vision.  The need is forgiveness which God assure us is ours through Jesus Christ, and the vision is the restoration of relationships.  First our relationship with God and second the restoration of our families and community with the same forgiveness, so be bold dear friends and continue to live out the life of a beggar.  I pray this for you in Jesus name…. AMEN!

Spiritual Warfare Part 5-Prayer

Thursday, March 18th, 2010

Rev. Brian Henderson, Pastor-Trinity Lutheran Church-San Diego
Midweek Service in Lent, March 17, 2010
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Note: Only audio of this message is available for this message.  Please click the link above to listen to the sermon.

Luke 11:1-13 (ESV)
1 Now Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.” 2 And he said to them, “When you pray, say: “Father, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. 3 Give us each day our daily bread, 4 and forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation.” 5 And he said to them, “Which of you who has a friend will go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves, 6 for a friend of mine has arrived on a journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; 7 and he will answer from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed. I cannot get up and give you anything’? 8 I tell you, though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his impudence he will rise and give him whatever he needs. 9 And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. 11 What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; 12 or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”