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The Word that gives life

Luke 8:4-15

Pastor David Ernst

Epiphany Lutheran Mission of La Caramuca  
Barinas, Venezuela

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Sun, Feb 7, 2021 

Grace and peace in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Rain, seed, sword. These are the symbols for the Word of God in our readings. The rain brings new life. “So shall my word be that comes out of my mouth; It will not return to me empty, but rather it will do what I want, and it will prosper in what I sent it to. For with joy you will go out, and with peace you will be returned; the mountains and hills will lift up song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands. Instead of the bush the cypress will grow, and instead of the nettle the myrtle will grow: and it will be to the Lord by name, as an eternal sign that will never be blighted. " (Isaiah 55: 10-13)

Many times, we think of the sword as an instrument of death. But, in Hebrews 4: 9-13, the Word of God is like a sword in its sharpness; it goes through the shell to the living nucleus. “Because the word of God is alive and effective, and more penetrating than any two-edged sword: and it reaches even to split the soul, and even the spirit, and the joints and marrow, and discerns the thoughts and intentions of the heart. "

"It will not return to me empty, before it will do what I want" and "it is alive and effective." Also, as a seed it sprouts, grows and bears fruit. If the message of salvation were a dead, ineffective sound, an unbeliever might have the excuse that he had gotten no value from hearing the Word. However, the Word is the Holy Scriptures inspired by the Holy Spirit. The text of the Bible was written by men in various times and places, but guided by the Spirit. So, the text of the Bible is without error in everything they affirm. We can believe the testimony of the prophets and apostles with confidence. We can believe the words of the forgiveness of our sins. We can believe in the promise of eternal life.

The Bible is clear in its message, the message of new life in Jesus Christ, and it is enough. We don't need any more revelations because in Christ we have everything. The Scriptures are the only source of infallible doctrine. Therefore, a motto of the 16th century Reformation was "Scripture alone" because the church of Rome had introduced new doctrines. But, the Holy Spirit not only did the writing of these sacred books, the Spirit is also active today in the preaching, that is, the proclamation of the gospel to all nations.

However, to preachers and believers it often seems that preaching has no impact. Why doesn't everyone respond to the proclamation with the same fruits of faith? Jesus uses an agrarian metaphor to explain how the gospel ministry works and why it is sometimes spoiled. There is resistance to the proclamation of the gospel by the devil, the world, and our sinful nature.

The walkers between towns in the land of Palestine followed the shortest and easiest path, regardless of the grain fields. The result was that the travelers using the road stepped on the seed to pieces, and the birds came and devoured it. Other grains fell onto the rock, onto rocky ground, where the bedrock reached a few inches from the surface. Here was the humidity and heat, the best conditions for rapid germination, but there was not enough moisture and soil to support a growing plant. The stone below trapped heat from the sun, causing all the moisture in that spot to evaporate. Other seeds fell amid the thorns, where land preparation failed to pull out the roots of the weeds. When the seed, therefore, sprouted and the leaves grew, the sturdiest spines absorbed both the sun and the air and suffocated the tender plants. Only the seed that fell on good soil filled the farmer's hopes.

In the first instance, the sowing of the Word does not bear fruit because of the devil's lies. In the garden of Eden, the devil tempted Eve with the words, "So God has told you not to eat from any garden tree?" and then, "God knows that the day you eat from it, your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." The devil began by doubting the Word of God, went to rejection and offers Eve her power to establish her own criteria of good and evil, and to define the truth for herself. Also, in the temptation of Jesus in the desert, Satan says to Jesus, "If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread." The devil intended to make Jesus prove what the Father had just declared at his baptism, "This is my beloved Son." Jesus replied, "It is written: Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God." So the devil changed his tactic and quoted Psalm 91: “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down; because it is written: He will send his angels around you ”. However, Jesus told him that the Scriptures must be interpreted in their entirety, not by just one verse or another verse and no one should doubt his message in its entirety, that there is forgiveness and eternal life in the Son of God.

Where the seed falls on the rock, faith has no roots to support the world's persecution. In this context, the world does not mean creation or all humanity, but those human and spiritual beings who are in rebellion against God. Christians testify against the evil works of this world and those of this world consider Christians traitors because they do not participate with them in their rebellion against God. This world has a form of religion, but it is a false spirituality, based on human works, not saving faith.

Finally, thorns are the cares and riches and pleasures of this life. We are holy through the blood of Christ, but we are sinners also to the point of physical death. Sinful deeds are the fruit of bad desires and thoughts within us. However, the Word is also like a sword in our hands against the external attacks of the devil and the world, also like a torch to illuminate the darkness of our hearts and guide us to repentance and the right path. Because this parable of the sower does not make a distinction between the most worthy of salvation and the others. We are all each type of soil at one time or another. But he is not talking about the struggle of everyday life, but about the harvest. Those who stay in the Word bear fruit, much more than we can anticipate at this time. With the help of the Holy Spirit, who is active in preaching the Word and the sacraments, we can grow in faith and bear fruit. This is God's promise and in it we have the peace that passes all understanding. Amen.

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