July 30, 2017: 8th Sunday after Pentecost

Let us pray: Dear Savior, thank You for giving us Your Word of truth. Thank You for giving us the Gospel whereby our hearts are transformed and our souls saved. And thank You for giving us the comfort of knowing that when we use Your Word of forgiveness You stand behind everything we say with Your almighty power thereby transforming the lives of those we love and care for. Amen


TEXT: Isaiah 55: 10,11

Dearly Beloved By Christ:

Language originated with God. We know that to be the case from Scripture. Before the world was even created, before any human being existed, God used language, words. He said: “Let there be.” And then after each day, something came into reality. So, language originated with God. Likewise, the 3 persons of the Trinity talked among themselves when it came time for the creation of human beings. We’re told they said: “Let us make man in our image.” And then they did exactly that. God the Father molded us from the carbon atoms of the earth, God the Son added His insight into all this, and God the Holy Ghost breathed into us the “breath of life” and we became living creatures with eternal souls.

What language did God speak to accomplish our creation? We really don’t know. There is an old joke about a staunch German Lutheran who insisted it was the German tongue. After all, his German Bible said: “Adam, wo bist du?” Or, “Adam, where are you?” when God was looking for our forebears after their Fall into sin. But, of course, that was simply a translation of the ancient Hebrew text. Some might say, “God spoke Hebrew” because of all this. Again, that’s probably not the case. For language, tongues, were all confused after the Tower of Babel incident. So, as to what language did God originally speak, we don’t really know.


What we DO know is that words are powerful. They convey thoughts and feelings and put them into motion. Words make truths about our existence real. Now, human language is intriguing to ponder. From birth babies try to communicate. They hear words, try to form words, and try to get their viewpoint on things across through words. Words also create sounds which were not present before they are said. Those sounds have vibrational frequency and ripple across space thereby impacting whatever they strike. So, when a word is uttered, it affects everything around it even if we cannot discern exactly how.

Since God is a spirit Being we like to think that He doesn’t use words to communicate because He doesn’t have to do so. From the biblical perspective, that is faulty. Think about God being present at the baptism of His Son, Jesus Christ. We’re told He stated: “This is my beloved Son, with Him I am well pleased!” We’re also told that the disciples distinctly heard those words, yet various others present thought it was the sound of distant thunder! Yes, God’s mighty voice resonates with His creation and sometimes even human ears can hear it!


The passage before us is one of the most comforting texts in the Bible for the believer. Lutherans especially love this lesson. In fact, Lutherans are the only Christian denomination that emphasizes and teaches the truth of this text. That is, God’s Word is powerful and effective. The Holy Spirit stands behind every vowel and consonant with His creating force. So, when we utter the truths of the Bible in human language using human words, the operative force of God gushes behind those simple words with the same force God employed when He first said: “Let there be! And there was.”

Today we have a double baptism in our midst. We know baptizing souls is God’s Will. After all, God commanded baptism when He said: “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” Likewise, Jesus, God’s Son, says: “He that believes and is baptized, shall be saved.” So, today, we have followed God’s command and baptized these two children into His Holy Name, the Name of the blessed Trinity, the only God Who exists. The vibrational frequency of God’s complete title, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, has resonated across creation and into the souls of these two. They are assured of being God’s children through faith because faith has been implanted and strengthened in them via those words connected with water. God’s command has been kept and even the angel’s voices now resonate with joyous praise as a result!


Remember when Jesus died on the cross? It was Good Friday, or God’s Friday. Darkness had fallen over the known world—for 3 full hours! So, this wasn’t like any old eclipse of the sun which lasts only a few minutes. No, this was God’s way of telling the world that Jesus was paying the penalty for the darkness of sin and evil which had corrupted the human heart. It lasted three hours. Three reminds us the Trinity. And after Jesus breathed His last breath and gave up His soul to God the Father in heaven, a mighty earthquake shook the ground, the temple curtain was torn in half, and long dead people came out of their graves and apparently spoke to the living! I wonder what words God uttered in heaven which caused all this to occur?

My point in laying all these things before you is: when God’s Word is spoken or used according to His commands things happen! God’s Word is effective. It’s not passive, but very, very active! That’s why baptism is so important and so vital for possessing eternal life. It’s why you speaking the simple Gospel message to another of how Jesus came to save us with His life and death and subsequent resurrection is so life giving. It’s why Christ is actually present in the Lord’s Supper with His true body and blood, hidden under simple bread and wine for the forgiveness of sins. When God’s Word is spoken mighty acts of grace and blessing ensue. After all, God has spoken! St. Augustine said it well: “When the words are added to the elements (of communion) it becomes a sacrament.” This creative force of God’s Word has always been so since the first day of creation and it must remain so until the end of time and even beyond!

All these truths are laid out very simply for us in our lesson where God tells the prophet Isaiah: “As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”


Most people today think that the words of the Bible, God’s Word of truth, is just a lot of facts and stories that they can take or leave as they see fit. Since human “talk is cheap” they also think that talk about God stuff is cheap, too. Because of this, even sincere believers often think that telling others about Christ and proclaiming eternal forgiveness and eternal life through faith in Him is all about human decision making and human acceptance of such concepts. In doing so, these people forget our text. They forget that when God speaks—even through the voice of a little child—the Spirit’s power lies behind those words striking the very soul of the hearer. And since God cannot be mocked, good things, saving grace, will result.

I’ve told you before that I would never get into this pulpit and preach if what I had to say was totally dependent on me and on how well I strung my words together to impact you. That’s because my words in and of themselves are never perfect. I don’t want God to demand from me a penalty over the loss of your souls someday because I botched something up! No, the only reason I preach anything is because of our text. In it, God promises that His saving power, the power of the Spirit to change hearts, is imbedded in the truth of the gospel. So, even if it comes out of my mouth a bit rough around the edges, that’s o.k. It still contains His truth and His power to save!

Yes, I know what you’re thinking. “Pastor, people often don’t listen and don’t want to hear God’s truth. They reject Christ and His message and are lost.” Ah, that is unfortunately true in many cases. Sinful humans have the power to tune God out and they do! But that doesn’t mean God is impotent. It doesn’t mean His Word is worthless. It doesn’t mean something good cannot and does not come out of it. If one soul rejects, another might well listen, recall it later on, and be saved. Right here God promises us that such wonderful blessings will happen! And it all goes back to the power of His Word. It all goes back to the truth that Christ, the Word made flesh, is strong enough and smart enough to find a way to reach lost souls and save them. And if you doubt that, just look at yourself! Amen