Doxology Rockford Tuesday Matins Homily And Audio_1-17-2012

https://docs.google.com/open?id=0B4Y5PChPpE7QMjU3MTk4Y2UtYjc1OS00Y2FkLWE5NWUtZWQ3MTc4YzA4ZTky

In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  AMEN.

When our Lord does His ministry, He never does it halfway.

The “devil’s hermeneutic” aims ultimately at rejection of Christ.  More often than any of us probably care to admit, that rejection begins by getting well-meaning Christians to imagine a God who meets us halfway.  A God who did His thing, many centuries ago, and now beckons us to do our thing.  Once that fruit is consumed, rejection is never very far away.

One might be tempted to look at Saul’s journey to Damascus this way.  Christ had died and risen and had even met Saul somewhere on the way to Damascus.  The mistake is in thinking that, after striking Saul blind, it was now somehow up to Saul.  By extension, the devil’s hermeneutic likes to suggest that somewhere on the way to heaven, Christ meets us.  After that meeting, it’s all up to us.

When our Lord does His ministry, He never does it halfway.  That’s because when our Lord does His salvation, He never does that halfway either.  There’s nothing halfway about seeing, being blinded, and then seeing again.  There’s nothing halfway about dead in trespasses and being raised to new life either.  You and I were not asked to meet Christ halfway on these things.  Indeed, you cannot meet Him halfway on these things.  The language of our text, indeed, the language of all of Holy Scripture, puts to death such notions.  You were blind.  You were dead.  You were an enemy of God.  Christ did not come into the world to enable you.  He came, rather, to kill you.  When David prays in the Psalms for vindication against His enemies, is that not a marvelous illustration of the justice of God which kills in order to raise to new life?  There’s nothing halfway about any of it.

So Saul thought he was on his way to Damascus to “get the saved.”  He had no idea that he was actually traveling there to “get saved.”  That was Christ’s business, carrying out his justice on murderous Saul.  The risen Christ came to kill.  He didn’t kill Saul’s body.  He killed only one part of it.  But a life without eyes is a very difficult life indeed.  Dependent on his traveling companions, dependent ultimately on Christ; this is Saul’s condition.  All he could see now was what the Risen Christ was showing him.

I suspect that if you and I were ever struck blind, even temporarily, the only thing we would think about is what it was we saw last and what exactly that must mean.  Blind Saul had seen the Risen Christ…and that surely must have caused a lot of thought in the midst of his fasting and prayer.  I wouldn’t go very mathematical here, but if you can imagine the arrow symbol, which is used in mathematics for production:  A Risen Christ points to Christ is the Son of God points to the Son of God died.  The Son of God died in order to rise again…and everything is set in reverse.  He came to be killed and rise again.  He came to Saul to kill Saul and raise Him up.  In Saul’s physical blindness, Christ made one thing perfectly clear.  This is all about Christ.  There was nothing more to do than to pray and fast.  Then to rise and receive the gifts.  The new life is all the gifts.

When our Lord does his ministry, He never does it halfway.  The pastor is purely the instrument through which Christ works.  Saul would become Paul and Christ would work wonders through that instrument.  All glory and praise be to God.  Christ comes to you today and kills you.  The new man He raises to life in the forgiveness of sins is His possession, called to His service, bringing all glory and honor to Him.

Paul wrote to another pastor these words, 15 The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. 16 But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. 17 To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.  When our Lord does His salvation, He never does it halfway.  When our Lord does His ministry, He never does it halfway.  To the king of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever.  AMEN.

In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  AMEN.

 

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