St Luke 6:36-42 – Trinity 4 (2006)
St. Mark Lutheran Church, Conroe, TX
In the name of Jesus. Amen. There are two sounds in our Lord’s church that fill the Father with great joy. Two sounds that fill Him with smiles.
The first was hinted about in the Collect. “Grant, O Lord, we beseech Thee, that the course of this world may be so peaceably ordered by Thy governance that Thy Church may joyfully serve Thee in all godly quietness;”
What’s the first sound that the Father can’t get enough of? Just listen……………………. Do you hear that? Quiet joyfully service. He loves it. Jesus serving us His gifts – His Word, His washing, His Body and Blood. Then, we, having been forgiven, serving one another. Me serving you, you serving me…
That’s the service that the Lord did for you – as a sheep before it’s shearers is silent, so He opened not His mouth. They accused Him, beat Him, scourged Him, mocked Him, and He did not fire back anything. He took it and by His silence – by His horrific death on the Cross, you and I have peace with God and therefore also peace with one another.
That’s the opposite of what sort of sound we are good at. It sounds like this:
“That person, you know what’s going on with them, don’t you? They did this… they did that. I just don’t how he lives with himself after doing that…
Little things, big things. That doesn’t look right. That person gained weight. Someone didn’t do what they said they’d do as fast as they were supposed to. Once, they were having a bad day and they took it out on me. This isn’t what I was expecting. You don’t show me the proper respect.
Grumble. Gripe. Grumble. Negative and always finding fault.
Why? Is it your birthright to point out the faults of others? Do you think you are without fault?
“Well, I might be wrong sometimes… I am not perfect, I’m a sinner. But I’m not like you know who.…
No peace there. No quietness. In our Church, in our workplace, in our families… Tearing down, not building up. Always finding fault – all the time.
Let me just get that little splinter out of your eye. Let me just, I got it. I’ll help you with it.
The Lord’s Question is: How can you see with that giant plank in your own eye? How can you tend to and remove the little splinter in your neighbor’s eye with that giant log in your own?
Last week, we learned that sin was missing the mark. It was missing the target. This week we learn that one of our sins is to find missing marks in others. It’s not just you – it’s me too. I do it. You do it. We look for faults in others.
Then, what do we do? We do the very things we condemn others for. Or worse, we condemn them for the very same things we have done in the past. As if there isn’t a God to judge us. Do you actually think that you can avoid the condemnation and judgment of God?
Yes, you will. But not because of you. No, you will escape because He didn’t escape the judgment of God. He took upon Himself the judgment you deserve. He paid the penalty for all your picking apart of each other. He redeemed you from the condemnation of God that you deserve for all the times you think badly about someone else for doing the same things you just did and have done in the past.
Although He had not even a splinter of sin in his eyes, He was nailed to planks of the Cross for our splinters, logs, and planks. He who knew no sin, who had no splinters, became sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.
He removes our sins – planks and all with His gifts. He takes his forgiveness and makes it ours in the Word, in Holy Baptism, and in His Body and Blood.
Take and eat the sinless Body of Christ given for you. Take and drink the sinless Blood of Christ shed for you for the remission of sins. Come and eat eternal life and leave without planks and without the need to ever find faults in someone else again.
Which is the other sound that just gives the Father great joy. It’s this sound: “I forgive you all your sins.” The sound of the delivery of the mercy of your Heavenly Father– from Christ to you and then from you to one another.
He has washed you. He has redeemed you. He has bought you back. He has rescued from the religion of having to move up on the God’s ladder ahead or on top of other people. There’s no line and no pushing and shoving each other forward to catch God’s attention any more.
Jesus is at the top of the ladder. In Him, you are already there. So there is no reason to find faults in the next person ever again.
Instead, you are free to build one another up. To forgive one another. To speak the Gospel into one another. To help, support, and speak well of the next poor sinner. To be merciful, even when you think you don’t have to. To put the best construction on everything we say, even when we are tempted to tell people what we think they really need to hear.
And when something isn’t right around here at Church – you be the one that fixes it, who greets, who introduces yourself to someone you don’t know.
All this, not because you need to gain favor with God. No, you’ve been set free from that. Now, the favor and mercy of God rests upon you. He is merciful to you. He forgives you. He can’t get enough of you in Christ.
This is called being in Christ – where the words “I forgive you” ring out. Where mercy runs over – like a cup that over flows and overflows. Jesus to us, we to one another.
What good news – there is no judgment and no condemnation for you in Christ. There is only forgiveness and mercy.
“Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.”
What wonderful sounds fill our church this Sunday – the quietness of peace with God and the wonderful sound of God’s people forgiving and loving one another. In the name of Jesus. Amen.