Wisdom of the Faithful
Vicar Brad Akey


Last week, the sermon on Luke 16 brought to attention the lack of faith of the rich man, who was dependent upon money over and above God. The fact of the matter was he cared more for the material aspects of his life, breaking the First Commandment. See in today’s Gospel, how this is a problem of not only money, but of all earthly things idolized to be above God. Fellow Christians, money is not the only material thing which can distract and pull believers away from God. Satan uses anything he can to confuse our hearts on what truly matters. We must have a proper understanding of where our priorities lie and know true Wisdom, lest we face the same punishment as the men who ignored the invitation.


The master of the house has sent out His Word. Come, for everything is now ready. No longer shall humanity wait for the promises to be fulfilled. They are being fulfilled, an ongoing action. “Gather together that we may enjoy fellowship with one another.” But they all alike began to make excuses. Notice how each invited guest is occupied with something else dearer to him. I have bought a field, and I must go out and see it… I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to examine them… I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come. This was not concerning responsibilities or obligations, but rather excuses of disdain. No one would buy a field in that land without first examining it. No one would buy even one yoke of oxen – that would be completely unheard of. While a wedding day might preclude other priorities – the one who voices that excuse simply offers being married as a reason to reject the master’s invitation. The gracious invitation of the master is valued so little that these pseudo-reasons to refuse it are raised in great abundance.

SERMON FOR THE 2ND SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY, 6-5-2016
Wisdom of the Faithful
Vicar Brad Akey


Last week, the sermon on Luke 16 brought to attention the lack of faith of the rich man, who was dependent upon money over and above God. The fact of the matter was he cared more for the material aspects of his life, breaking the First Commandment. See in today’s Gospel, how this is a problem of not only money, but of all earthly things idolized to be above God. Fellow Christians, money is not the only material thing which can distract and pull believers away from God. Satan uses anything he can to confuse our hearts on what truly matters. We must have a proper understanding of where our priorities lie and know true Wisdom, lest we face the same punishment as the men who ignored the invitation.


The master of the house has sent out His Word. Come, for everything is now ready. No longer shall humanity wait for the promises to be fulfilled. They are being fulfilled, an ongoing action. “Gather together that we may enjoy fellowship with one another.” But they all alike began to make excuses. Notice how each invited guest is occupied with something else dearer to him. I have bought a field, and I must go out and see it… I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to examine them… I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come. This was not concerning responsibilities or obligations, but rather excuses of disdain. No one would buy a field in that land without first examining it. No one would buy even one yoke of oxen – that would be completely unheard of. While a wedding day might preclude other priorities – the one who voices that excuse simply offers being married as a reason to reject the master’s invitation. The gracious invitation of the master is valued so little that these pseudo-reasons to refuse it are raised in great abundance.


In our culture, we can see this same disdain of the invitation that God has sent forth. We look out into the world and there are a plethora of ways in which humanity disdains God and His plans: Macro-Evolution, replacing God as the author of life, Naturalistic Secularism, placing man as the supreme deity, or Satanism, where one literally acts in accordance with the enemy of God. These examples and many others reject God’s Word. Chosen ones of God, we are also tempted to reject the invitation. Satan makes what is common seem more valuable that God’s presence with us – sporting events, video games, sleep. Instead of obeying God’s Will, we are constantly tempted to justify our sinful lifestyle. Instead of putting Him first, by nature we put ourselves first.


Then the master of the house became angry. He who has sacrificed much for the sake of His guests has now been rejected by those same guests. These guests have a free pass to the banquet, there is no price-tag, no catch, or hidden agenda. Rather the master of the house is, out of His own good and gracious will providing for others with no thought to Himself. And yet is spurned. “They feel too good for this invitation? Fine. I shall bless the broken with this precious gift!” He said to his servant Go out quickly to the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in the poor and crippled and blind and lame. Not only that but also, Go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled.


As His servants say, still there is room. Dear Christian brothers and sisters, God has opened up His doors to all people! He has invited you to learn of Wisdom and enjoy His promises! We are the broken ones whom Christ seeks. To him who lacks sense [Wisdom] says, “Come, eat of my bread and drink of the wine I have mixed. We are those who lack sense, for we do not do what we want, but we do the very thing we hate (Rom 7:15). Yet Christ has mercy on us, forgiving us when we have not earned it and loving us when we do not deserve it.


Christ then denounces and reproves the rude, atrocious callousness of those who spurn his gracious and sumptuous meal which would satisfy their hunger forever; but their attachment is to the earthly kingdom and in the process they forfeit the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, none of those men who were invited shall taste my banquet. Notice how this warning takes on qualities of both the story and of those present. Christ uses the plural “you,” bringing this to the Pharisees and the ruler of the Pharisees, whose house they were at, equating them to the men of the story. They shall not be as Christ says: Blessed is everyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God!


Instead, they shall be as Luther says: “They will burn forever in the fire of hell. They will neither be comforted nor strengthened; for there is no comfort, joy, life, salvation, righteousness, save alone in Christ.” It is for that reason the love of Christ compelled Him to suffer your punishment – all the burning wrath of God on the cross. It is for that reason that Christ’s gracious invitation has drawn you to Himself at the font – baptizing you into His death.


For the invitation of faith is both inclusive and exclusive. The invitation, the love, and the sacrifice has been made for all people. Yet sinners have the authority to exclude themselves from that banquet – the invited guests, the Pharisees, and many today do so to spurn God. But to those who rejoice in the invitation He says Blessed is everyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God! Whoever tastes of this bread and believes in Christ, has the promise that they will not die, but through faith in Christ will inherit life everlasting and, through Christ, conquer death.


Dear chosen ones of Christ, this is not far off! This is an ongoing action! Jesus is the Wisdom spoken of in Proverbs. Jesus is the one who has slaughtered her beasts; the one who has mixed her wine; the one who has set her table. This banquet is not just of the future heavenly banquet that we will one day, bodily, enjoy, but the present heavenly banquet which we currently enjoy!


He has set the table where you are in fellowship with all the saints, those here beside you, those across the lands, and those who have gone before us. A multitude comes from the east and the west to sit at the feast of salvation with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the blest, obeying the Lord’s invitation, words we just sang in our hymn. By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us and fed us with His very body and blood in order that we may be forgiven of our sins and may put on Christ. This is the banquet of the master of the house, a banquet of sacrifice for us that we might live everlasting! 


All of this is received in faith. Faith worked within us for us. Faith which the world hates. It is for this very reason John tells us in his Epistle, Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you. They have rejected the gracious invitation, and want you to as well. But you know of God and His love. You know of true Wisdom and the blessings that accompany Her! For, as we sang, it is God who brought us out into a broad place; he rescued us, because He delighted in us. 


This is all due to His gracious love, which abounds no less today. The master wants his house full. The master wants you there. God is still sending His servants out into the highways and hedges – even to the streets and lanes of this city. He commands them to bring the poor in spirit – the crippled in deed – the lame in love – real sinners like you – rebels tempted to make excuses like you. By the proclamation of God’s love – love that gave Himself into death – love that is stronger than death – love that compels you to receive in faith the forgiveness food He offers at His table – His house is being filled. 


We have no need to fear the lack of the invitation, for the invitation has already been given to us! God’s Word, telling us of His promises, Christ’s body and blood, renewing us, God’s love, ever providing for us. Dear Christians, this is not a God far off, but a God of ongoing action. Loving action present to you here and now, healing action serving you with His gracious gifts, forgiving action like no other. In the name of Jesus. Amen.

Luther Memorial Chapel & University Student Center | 3833 N Maryland Ave | Shorewood, WI  53211
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Divine Service: Sundays - 9:00a Mondays - 7:00p Bible Study & Sunday School: Sundays - 10:45a