Sunday, September 6, 2015

Sufficient for the Day is it's Own Evil


Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own evil. Matthew 6:34

The world is very evil, and we dare not deny it!  Elijah knew it!  If you think things are bad today in America, or in the LCMS, they were worse in Elijah’s day.  King Ahab had ascended to the throne of Israel and was more evil than all the kings before him.  Not only did he continue in the sins of his father, but he introduced new ones, darker ones and more rebellious ones, which drew the judgment of God as sin always does.  He nationalized the worship of the god Baal because he thought it would be politically expedient for Israel’s relations with her neighbors, but Jesus says,” no man can serve two masters.”  We cannot serve God and Mammon, Jesus and the many cultural idols of the day.  Ahab married Jezebel who was the daughter of the neighboring king of Sidon.  It was a match made in hell, and Jezebel did all in her power to destroy true worship and persecute the LORD’s prophets so that the true Church had to go into hiding to survive.  With Jezebel’s inspiration Ahab normalized the worship of Asherah, the near eastern fertility goddess in which sex was the chief attraction.  Under Ahab and Jezebel Israel became like the modern day Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) which we can no longer call Evangelical, Lutheran or Church.  “Sufficient for the day is it’s own evil.”

But God cannot be mocked.  In retribution He stopped up the skies so that it didn’t rain for three years, which in an agricultural economy meant death.  It would be the equivalent in our day of having no crude oil for the next three years.  Lives were lost and misery was multiplied.

“Sufficient for the day is it’s own evil.”  Elijah knew it, and so did St. Paul.  He wrote a letter to the Galatian church, amazed that she had so quickly abandoned the Gospel of “salvation by grace” for “another gospel,:  (Galatians 1:6) one which glorified men instead of Christ, one which depended on man’s performance for the forgiveness of sins instead of Christ crucified;. (Galatians 6:14) one which cut men off from Christ, and made them fall from grace.  (Galatians 5:4) We have those kinds of “gospels” today as well.  Not only in the ELCA or on television but in LCMS as well.

“Sufficient for the day is it’s own evil.”  Elijah knew it, Paul knew it, and Jesus knew it too.  He didn’t come into a pretty world to congratulate it on a job well done.  He didn’t “deliver us from the present evil age, by the will of God the Father,” (Galatians 1:4) in order to teach us how to make the world more “just.”  These are only socialist dreams which the church must regularly expose because of their strong appeal to our egos; egos which want to deny the reality of sin and its consequences, and have heaven on earth instead, but Jesus tells us that the days are filled with evil.  Elijah knew it, Paul knew it, Jesus said it and we must learn to believe it too.  We often hear the refrain today that things are getting worse.  It’s true that technology has increased our capabilities to do evil.  A single internet porn site can destroy a thousand souls.  A single college can poison the minds, and de-rail the faith of ten-thousand students.  It’s also true that the information super-highway, which delivers a steady stream of bad news to the smart phone in our pockets, could make us think that evil is more prevalent today than in former times, but things are not getting worse.  Things are as they’ve always been, and always will be, until Jesus returns to fully and finally rescue us from this present evil age.  Corrupt political, financial, and yes, ecclesiastical institutions insure it, and so does our own never-ending quest to sow to the flesh.

You can’t fix evil or legislate evil out of existence.  Those who say otherwise are con-artists, who in the name of saving us will destroy us.  Don’t believe the lies, Beloved, instead hear the Word of God and live.

Food, drink and clothing are easier to obtain than the pure Word of God, but the Gospel of salvation by faith in Christ is far from dead!  Far from lost!  Far from finished!  Jezebel couldn’t kill it and neither can the combined forces of evil today.  The Cross of Christ still towers over the wrecks of time, bears the burdens of our sins, and soothes our troubled hearts.

The good news on this 15th Sunday after Trinity is that the Word of God is more than adequate to meet our needs, absolve our transgressions, comfort us in sorrow, strengthen us when tested, and show us the vision of a perfect tomorrow worth waiting for and living for today.   We are concerned about many things, but Jesus says to us: don’t be anxious about tomorrow.  Instead seek first the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness, and all these other things will be added to you.  It’s not a command.  It’s not a positive suggestion meant to trick us into tranquility, nor is it a challenge to live a more sanctified life.  Instead it is a mighty promise of God. Whenever we hear the voice of our Shepherd we receive what can be thought of as a spiritual vaccination, a spiritual flu shot if you like, against all that might harm us, trouble us or disturb the Peace that Christ is within us.  The Word enters our ears, from there it goes into our minds, and lodges in the core of our being to make us “strong, firm and steadfast” (1 Peter 5:10) however evil the days may be.

The Word of reconciliation first came to us in baptism where we are “born again by water and the Holy Spirit.” (John 3:5) It comes to us today as modern day Elijah’s proclaim the Good News of sins forgiven for Christ’s sake.  We receive it when, after confessing our wrongs, the pastor declares:  I forgive you all your sins, go in peace.  We receive it in holy communion in the words, “given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.”  By those words, and by the Lord’s own body and blood, we are as miraculously sustained the same way that Elijah, the widow and her son were twenty eight centuries ago.  The oil and flour of God’s Word never runs out.  No amount of sin can exhaust it, and no quantity of evil can equal it.  “The blood of Jesus Christ His Son, purifies us from every sin.” (1 John 1:7)  In all these ways God’s Word, Kingdom and Righteousness come to us, and deliver us from evil, so that we never need to worry or be afraid of tomorrow.  God grant it for Jesus sake, and by His Word. Amen.

~Rev. Dean Kavouras

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