09152019 14th Sunday After Pent 13AT Emmanuel Lutheran Export PA

“God's Joy in one's repentance!”

09152019 14th Sunday After Pent 13AT Emmanuel Lutheran Export PA
September 15, 2019
“God's Joy in one's repentance!”
Sermon Audio

As I read this morning’s lessons, I looked with eyes that couldn’t plainly see.  Yes, the words were clear on the page, the celebration was bountiful because the lost sheep and coin were found.  And at the feast, the saints and angels all gathered together to celebrate. Yet, the celebration fell flat. It lacked a depth that at first, I couldn’t connect with only in the Gospel lesson.  And then like a lightning bolt that jolts the earth, cracks because of the speed and breaking the sound barrier with its flash and boom, I found what I had been missing. In this Gospel passage that Jesus speaks to break man’s self-righteousness, Jesus as the fulfillment of the Old Testament speaks and connects clearly about “God’s joy in one’s repentance”!

When Jesus tells these two parables it is to complete the circle of prophecy that was spoken of from our Old Testament lesson.  Ezekiel had begun nearly 600 years earlier and told of the coming of the Shepherd that would ‘seek the lost, bind up the wounds of the afflicted and return and celebrate with those who are the children of God’.  Ezekiel promises his hearers that one is coming Who will bring back the strayed.  And included in this group of those who are found are we God’s children who gather here today.

Ezekiel connects King David, Solomon and all of the Old Testament to Jesus coming as the Messiah that is fulfilled in the beginning of the Gospels.  When Jesus came down to earth in His birth, He would set things right and would fulfill for us and for all of mankind the plan of salvation. Jesus would not sin, He would be the perfect Son and be the sacrificial lamb for all of mankind.  In Jesus coming He would not only connect to Old Testament prophecy, Jesus Christ would fulfill it with and by His Word, Work and Blood of salvation offered for us and all of mankind. Jesus following John the Baptist called for man’s repentance.  And when one does repent and seek forgiveness with God and one another there is cause for celebration because of “God’s joy in one’s repentance!”

What is clear with “God’s joy in one’s repentance” is that this is a shift of both the mind and heart.  It is not to convince or show or measure whether one has changed, because our perceptions are suspect to our own bias and personal experience.  God is calling us to commend one another to God and allow God to do the heavy lifting and massive changing of and in man’s heart and mind. When we release ourselves from judging, God will bless us by changing us and our perspective and enable us to accept people for how He individually has made us, continues to change us and how God will ultimately use us for His Glory.  And God will have great joy and wants to celebrate with us when we trust Him.

Ezekiel knew what it meant to hear and heed this advice.  As he spoke of King David he had heard many times the stories of the rise and fall of David.  He knew of David’s abilities to lead in battle, kill Goliath, and how David demonstrated his trust in God.  And sadly how David had sinned. But David was not only the poster child for faith in God, he was also the perfect example for Ezekiel and then for Jesus in our Gospel.  When David was confronted by Nathan for his sin, David felt how he had fallen from grace and turned away from God. David deserved death according to the law. Yet, when David, the model of a shepherd repented God changed David’s perspective and reality and what came was “God’s joy in one’s repentance”!

This didn’t change the fact of David’s sin, nor should it change that we sin today as well.  What God revealed and celebrates in was David’s acknowledgement of his actions and God forgave him for what he had done.  God later blessed David with Solomon and Ezekiel in pointing to David insures we do not forget, but feel the embrace ourselves that David felt when we repent and celebrate knowing of “God’s joy in one’s repentance”!

May this not only be our prayer, but may God enable each of us to repent and trust in Jesus Christ, to see with God’s eternal eyes and desire that is for us to seek out the lost, celebrate with our brothers and sisters in Christ when those that were lost are found.  And when we repent and turn back to God, find those who are lost and truly changed by His grace, mercy and love, bask together in “God’s joy in one’s repentance!”  AMEN!