Third Sunday in Lent, March 15th
Oh come, let us sing to the Lord;
let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!
Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!
For the Lord is a great God,
and a great King above all gods.
Good morning and welcome to our worship.
The apostle Paul says that the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing. How can it be folly? It is the greatest word of all. It is the word of eternal life. However, Paul says that it is folly to those who are perishing. For us who are being saved it is the power of God. Paul speaks of two groups of people: Those who hear the word and call it foolish and those who hear the word and call it the power of God. Paul is speaking of an antithesis; a great gulf between the thinking of this world and the thinking of the covenant believer. Apart from the work of the Spirit, when an unbeliever hears the word of God preached or the sacraments administered, they think it is foolish. Why would we want to listen to such non-sense? Why would we want to drink a cup of wine and eat a piece of bread? It is all foolish, the unbeliever says. The covenant member hears the word and rejoices in God’s revelation; the covenant member eats bread and drinks wine and responds with grateful hearts to the goodness of God. There is a great gulf fixed between the believer and unbeliever. If this is what Paul says, then why do Christians not live in light of this antithesis? Why do we compromise our ideas with the ideas of the world? Paul says that we cannot compromise our message. Our duty is to live out this Christian message. Our duty is to be committed to the message of the cross; our duty is to teach our children the message of the cross without compromise. Out duty is to believe in the Christ of the cross no matter what they may say. The church will only reclaim her rightful place of honor in this world, when generations of fathers and mothers and children and their children’s children learn that the word of the cross is the power of God unto salvation.
Let us pray.
Almighty God, deliver us from the compromise that has led so many to an abyss. Restore our joy and commitment to the power of your righteous Word. May we bring our thoughts captive to your Lordship and live in light of your revelation. May we breathe the words of life and may we speak the words of life for the glory of our Lord who suffered on the cruel tree to give us life everlasting.