09292019 16th Sunday After Pent 15AT Emmanuel Lutheran Export PA

“God’s Logic!”

09292019 16th Sunday After Pent 15AT Emmanuel Lutheran Export PA
September 29, 2019
“God’s Logic!”
Sermon Audio

Have you ever pondered ‘God’s Logic’?  There are multitudes of units or even whole courses from elementary, middle, high school to colleges and universities that teach the subject of “Logic”.  Even the ancient philosophers employed logic to explain what was not easily understandable. This includes, gravity, explaining the difference between the states of matter of solid, liquid and gas and even young people’s big questions, like how can I ask someone out on a date?  Logic allows anyone to explain the world in a way that for some provides a concreteness that doesn’t seem to exist without employing logic. Yet, notice that most of the societal and educational uses of logic, do not allow nor at times want any explanation to begin with God. For me as a trained scientist, but also a disciple of Jesus Christ and minister of Word and Sacrament this is sad.

Then we have today’s reading from the Gospel of St. Luke and the first thing I think of is that Jesus Christ with this parable and likely a true story of the Rich Man and Lazarus taught His disciples about “God’s Logic”.  Let’s get a 30,000 ft view.  Jesus had just spoken about the Cost of Discipleship and told the parables of the Lost Sheep, Lost Coin, Prodigal Son and the dishonest manager.  From a teaching point, Jesus was laying the foundation of the relationship and the cost of not fulfilling the calling upon followers of Jesus Christ of discipleship.  Jesus then in one verse lays open the societal lapse in judgement against God’s intent for the permanency of marriage. This clearly lays a foundation that is extremely hard to humanly rectify without understanding the ‘flow’ or the ‘Logic’ that Jesus is using as a basis.

So Jesus begins with the parable of the rich man and Lazarus.  Jesus skillfully as the Son of God Who with the Father and Holy Spirit was at the creation of the world paints a clear picture of these two individuals, a rich man who is unnamed and poor Lazarus.  With every word, Jesus paints the picture of one who spared no expense for himself or his friends and the other who couldn’t even keep the dogs from licking his wounds. Jesus then tells of the turning of the page to the eternal, when both enter into eternity.  The rich man is tormented in Hades and Lazarus like the flip side of a coin is whisked to the side of Abraham or literally he is placed in the ‘bosom of Abraham’. There is no way one could not understand the outcome for both individuals, the rich man who had plenty and wouldn’t be bothered to share, now lacks even a drop of water to sooth the agony and Lazarus, who was unable to care for himself is cared for by Abraham and the crowd of angels.  And what happens, but the rich man fully understands his eternal situation. The chasm that separates, as well as how his life choices have impacted eternally his final destination and what he is enduring.

Notice then, when the rich man finally accepts his eternal consequences, he then begins to look out for others, specifically his brothers.  And Jesus states, “They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.”  But the rich man states what is now a realization about his own life and maybe a hope for an impact that is different for his brothers and could have eternal options for a change of his brother’s destination.  “No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.”  This is the genius of God’s Logic found in the Words of Jesus Christ.  For here in the first of two “If/Then” statements, Jesus reveals the impact of “God’s logic”.  The rich man believes that his brothers will repent when they see and hear from someone who was dead that they had seen.  And yes, it is God’s sincere desire for the repentance of all so that we can be with Him in His kingdom. So, the rich man believes, if Lazarus would go, the rich man’s five brothers would be convinced.  Yet, like some programs written in computer languages that have ‘failures’ or ‘bugs’, Jesus clearly points out the failure of the rich man’s logic and why they will not repent.

Jesus says, “If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.”  The Gospel ends here in order for the full weight of the parable and God’s logic to take effect upon the Pharisees and by extension each and everyone of us gathered here today.

Jesus last logic argument is not only an allusion or prophecy to Lazarus being raised from the dead by Jesus as recorded in John, but it is because Jesus speaks artfully and carefully pointing out the failure of man’s logic.  Since man has free will, man at times does not listen to God’s Word at all, willfully despises God’s Word in not listening to it and hardening man’s heart and thus preventing the Work of the Holy Spirit in and on our hearts. Jesus points clearly to our human condition when we refuse to believe the prayer Jesus taught His disciples of “forgive us our tresspasses as we forgive those who trespass against us”.  In hardening our hearts, we who believe we are Christians block God’s blessings that He wants to give us and to others through us and the ministry God has in store for us that deals with the proclamation of the Gospel. We like the rich man who had opportunity refuse God’s logic and its outcome.

Some would ask given God’s logic that is ironclad and has no bugs.  What then can we do? In and of ourselves we do and will fail in our attempts.  We will harden our hearts to one another and the blessings that God desires to bestow upon us, our church, community and our world.  But the story is far from being over or complete.

Jesus final words in this parable gives us the keys to eternal life.  We who gather here have heard Moses and the prophets. We believe that Jesus Christ rose from the dead.  And what God offers us in His Word, His Sacraments and His unequaled logic is the truth and gateway to eternal life with Him.  God’s logic reveals to us the opportunity to repent, receive and share the forgiveness of sins, life and salvation and the gift of grace, mercy and love from Him of eternal life.  Forgiveness is not a formality or a box we check when others have hurt us or not done what we expected or feel is in the job description or character of Christians or others. God’s desire is for each and every one of us to look at ourselves honestly, confess our own sin and daily be changed, our perceptions and the reality we live in by what we have heard and believed of Jesus Christ rising from the dead and offering us eternal life.

We have the opportunity to make a choice, like the rich man did when he was still alive.  We can either believe that God’s logic is not only sound, but it points us to His Son and our Savior Jesus Christ.  And Jesus Christ in being proclaimed from Moses and the prophets, rising from the dead, offering us His Body and Blood around the altar of our Lord and fulfilling the law for us, offers us and all of mankind eternal life.  

We can choose to accept and share God’s grace and having heard and seen our Lord be welcomed in the loving arms of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Man’s logic will be seen as failure and God’s Logic that seeks our repentance and points to eternal life with Jesus Christ will welcome us and all of mankind, including Lazarus and all of us who believe in the forgiveness of sins and eternal life.  This is our choice, either rely upon the logic of man that fails to give eternal life, or fully rely upon God and His offer and gift of grace, mercy and love that demonstrates that God’s Logic that is found in His Son and our Savior, Jesus Christ.  Let’s believe in, share with the lost and especially one another the forgiveness of sins and live God’s Logic in our repentance and being with God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit in eternal life.  AMEN.