A Heavy Responsibility…for the church, for you..to love

Devotional/Discussion thought of the Day:

 8 If I announce that some wicked people are sure to die and you fail to tell them to change their ways, then they will die in their sins, and I will hold you responsible for their deathsEzekiel 33:8 (NLT)

 You have a duty to reach those around you, to shake them out of their drowsiness, to open wide new horizons for their selfish, comfortable lives, to “complicate” their lives in a holy way, to make them forget about themselves and show understanding for the problems of others. If you do not, you are not a good brother to your brothers in the human race, who need that gaudium cum pace, that joy and that peace, which maybe they do not know or have forgotten. (1)

I dealt with verse 8 above in yesterday’s sermon, but almost as an aside.  There were other things to explore, as we looked at our nature to call God out, because we don’t think the way He works is… well.. fair.  That the Lord, in showing mercy to sinners, to being merciful to wicked people, isn’t “just” or “righteous”.  We explored what it means that God doesn’t rejoice when sinners die, when they “get what’s coming for them”, but rather, He rejoices when that prodigal, that lost sheep comes home.  Powerful stuff, and we desperately need to understand God’s heart, and even more, to see it duplicated in our own lives.

That is where verse 8 comes in, and the quote from Fr. Escriva, which talks of the same thing, with a clarification that helps us comprehend our “duty” and why we would bear the guilt of others who would die, because we didn’t share the life transforming message of God’s love with them.

We need to tell them – we have an obligation to, but an obligation that is not from blind obedience, it is the obligation that is implicit in our being called to love our neighbor.

Let me give a favorite example.  Let’s say outside you favorite restaurant sits a billionaire, and he is signing 1 million dollar checks, and giving them to anyone there.   You get yours, you go to your bank – it’s legit.  Do you just go home happy your have a million dollars?  Or do you call a person or twenty or one hundred?  Do you do so out of a law driven sense of “duty”, are you obliged to?  Or are you calling people as fast as you can, demanding that they drive over as fast as possible, so they too can be blessed, because you know them, because you have a relationship with them?  If you do not call someone, why would that be?  Is it because you don’t have a relationship with them?  Or that you are so ticked off – you decide they don’t need it?

Same thing applies here – because our salvation, our being delivered by the mercy of Jesus into the Father’s presence, is priceless – even compared to a million dollars.  (we probably need to realize, to really comprehend  that as well!)

And if you are a “good brother to your brothers and sisters in the human race”, you are compelled, because of your love for them, and because of the priceless gift that is theirs, to help them see it, to bring to them the gospel and therefore the Holy Spirit who will transform them, even as He grants them repentance.  it is duty because of your love for them. It is the breaking of your heart as you see someone who lives, hounded by guilt and shame, or enslaved and tormented by their desires, that drives you to share with them the very thing that steals their hearts from that which oppresses them.  That brings them into the presence of God, and causes them to know His joy and peace!  It is phrased so delicately in the quote from Fr. Escriva – that they may not know, or have forgotten.

Calling them to repentance, calling them to be abandoned to that which has broken them… yes…that is our mission – because we love them… and can’t abide their not knowing Who we know…

God help us to do His will… and celebrate the prodigals homecoming and healing… even as we celebrate God welcoming us home.

 

 

 

(1)  Escriva, Josemaria (2011-01-31). The Forge (Kindle Locations 3183-3187). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.

About justifiedandsinner

I am a pastor of a Concordia Lutheran Church in Cerritos, California, where we rejoice in God’s saving us from our sin, and the unrighteousness of the world. It is all about His work, the gift of salvation given to all who trust in Jesus Christ, and what He has done that is revealed in Scripture. God deserves all the glory, honor and praise, for He has rescued and redeemed His people.

Posted on March 4, 2013, in Devotions and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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