Listen to the Word
Tuesday of Easter 6
23 May 2017
To know the Word of God is to know God. There is no other way to know God. We are not able to climb through the windows of heaven as though breaking into the divine bedroom like a skulking burglar intent upon stealing what is not his (Jn 3:13). We may not reach into the divine treasury at will. No, if we are to know God He must make Himself known to us. He has done so in His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, in whom the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily (Col 2:9). The mystery of the incarnation of Christ of the Virgin Mary by the power of the Holy Spirit brings us a full revelation of God (Heb 1:1-2). Jesus, when confronted by Philip seeking the heavenly Father, disclosed the Father's will that whomever saw Jesus had seen the Father (Jn 14:8-9). We see God fully disclosed in the person of Christ. There is no other way to God but through Him (Jn 14:6), who is the incarnation of the Word.
 
Bound as we are to the Word of God, our heavenly Father has seen fit to bind us equally to the revelation of His gracious will in letters penned in sanguine ink. The blood seals the testament that He writes to cancel the debt that was against us in the holy law. The nails superscribe the divine will that sinners should be forgiven their trespasses. The written Word of God saves us because the incarnate Word of God gives Himself and all His benefits to us in it. Throughout Acts, the apostles exerted tremendous effort to confer the Word of God on those to whom the Lord sent them. Those who rejected the Word of God showed themselves unworthy of eternal life (Acts 13:46), demonstrating that those who received the Word received eternal life and were saved. Jesus also warns that our enemy attacks the Word of God and by stealing it from our hearts snatches salvation, " the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved" (Lk 8:12). The Word of God saves when it resides in our hearts by faith.
 
Without the Word of God we are blind and ignorant. We must always submit to the speaking of God. This speech of God is a living Word that gives life. To refuse to submit to it is to deprive ourselves of life. Nor is it ours to snatch like a thief out of the hands of God, as though we would be its master. It takes a lot of chutzpah to tell God He did not know what He was talking about in His Word. Yet this is the very thing we do when we re-image the Word to suit our own manias and post-modern presuppositions. No, we must remain servants of the Word of God. The Word of God never came into the mind of humans. Man did not invent it (2Pt 1:21). Therefore, it is not open to our manipulation and willy-nilly reinterpretation. God has spoken in Christ. We are to listen. 

Rev. Dr. Scott R. Murray
Memorial Lutheran Church

Martin Luther
 
"Anyone who wishes to know God must learn to know Him through the Word. The Corinthians do not do that, but they ignore it. They rush into the articles of faith with their reason and their own notions. They make bold to judge about God and all matters themselves. They will never meet Him there, for the proclamation of Christ and the future life has, of course, not grown in their heads. So, when they hear of the resurrection, they also judge in accordance with their own heads, saying that it is no more than rising from sin and becoming godly. God's Word says nothing about that in this article.
 
"Therefore this is but to go astray and to depart further and further from God and the knowledge of God. It is like a blind man who goes astray in broad daylight, unable to find his way back to the path. And as those who teach depart from God's Word themselves, they also lead the poor multitude after them. In this way one blind man leads the others, until nothing of God's Word is left them and they deal only with their own invented dreams. With these they mislead themselves and others. They say that it is God's decision and will that the flesh or body shall not rise, but only the spirit, or soul; yet this is not His will or meaning at all. Therefore they know nothing of Him. As St. Paul says elsewhere, they develop into people who desire 'to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions ' (1Ti 1:7). Therefore be on your guard against such teachers, he wants to say, and pay no attention to their great reputation as Christian brothers or teachers. Rather see to it that you are sure to have God's Word and cling to it. Then you will not err or stray but know and prove God's will and decisions correctly."

Martin Luther, Commentary on 1 Corinthians 15, 34
2 Peter 1:6-2:3

We did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.  For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,"  we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain.  And we have something more sure, the prophetic word, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts,  knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone's own interpretation.  For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, also lead the poor multitude after them but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.
 
But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction.  And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed.  And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep. (
ESV)
Prayer
Lord Christ, You are the Word of God incarnate. Continue to confer on us preachers who will proclaim only and always Your Word. Help us to flee those who manipulate the divine Word, bending it to their own wicked schemes. Do not deprive us of Your Word when we have paid it so little heed, instead let it grow among us once again as it did in the days of the holy apostles. Amen.
 
For all those who are suffering persecution at the hands of Islam, that they might faithfully confess the lordship of the Incarnate God, Jesus Christ, the God of all grace and mercy
 
For the pastors of the LCMS, that the Lord would lead them to be faithful to the Word of God
 
For all police, that they might provide service and bring safety to our communities and that God would watch over and protect them in their calling
Art: GRÜNEWALD, Matthias   Resurrection (c. 1515)
Memorial Lutheran Church
smurray@mlchouston.org
http://www.mlchouston.org
©  Scott Murray 2017