Friday, December 20, 2013


I have been listening to all the banter about Phil Robertson and A & E  and the interview he gave where he was asked his thoughts and beliefs about homosexuality and marriage. I have been appalled at the response from the A&E network and from the lack of response from Hollywood, the homosexual community, and a whole host of others.

I would think that the Hollywood would be upset with A&E. I would also expect for the homosexual community to be upset with them as well. Notice I didn't say they should be upset with Phil Robertson. They might not agree with him (and I doubt that they do), but they should be upset with the intolerance, censorship and discrimination shown to Phil for his beliefs and his way of life.

If Phil can be treated this badly because of his beliefs, then would it not be safe to say that the homosexual community could be treated just as poorly for their beliefs? In there is intolerance to one person's beliefs, would it not stand that there would be intolerance to all people's beliefs? If on can be fired for accepting the Christian belief about homosexuality, could on also not be fired for accepting the liberal belief about homosexuality? Could there also be intolerance shown to the non-Bible quoting homosexual who speak against the heterosexual relationships and traditional marriage?

I know that this would never happen. We live in a time and culture that is anti-Christian, anti-Bible, anti-moral. Anything that smacks of traditional Christian beliefs will be torn apart and ridiculed and not tolerated. If it is liberal, homosexual, anti-Christian, it is accepted and encouraged.

That is so hypocritical. Often the Christian is accused of hypocrisy but the reality is, Hollywood, the media and the homosexual community is hypocritical. They claim tolerance - as long as it is their view. They claim fairness as long as it is for them and not against them. They claim love as long as you hold the same view as they do. But say or do something that goes against their view, and they will attack you and do everything in their power to destroy you.

My friends, welcome to the kingdom of this world. As Christians, we forget that we live in this world of which Satan is the prince. Do not expect tolerance to what is morally right. Do not expect fairness to what is godly. Do not expect to be treated fairly because you follow Christ Jesus in your life. Our Lord warned us that this is the way it would be. Don't be surprised. Instead, stand firm in the faith no matter what is said. Hold firm to Jesus Christ as you Lord and Savior. Proclaim the truth as given by His Word. And in the end, know that you will attacked on all sides.

Also remember that He who is in you is stronger than he would is against you. For Christ has already won the victory over sin, death and the devil in His death and resurrection. On Christ the solid rock we stand! All other ground is sinking sand.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Call of the Baptist

"Repent! for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!" That is the call of John the Baptist. This last Sunday we sang the Advent hymn "On Jordan's Bank the Baptist's Cry." He called out to the people of his day - calling them to prepare their hearts and their lives for the arrival of the kingdom of heaven. He didn't mince words. He wasn't politically correct. He didn't care if a person was "influential" or "lowly." The message was the same for all - repent, prepare, get ready.

That message is for us today as well. We are called to repent of our sins, to prepare our hearts and lives, and to get ready for the kingdom of heaven, for it is near at hand, closer today than ever. That message is for you, whoever you might think that you are - powerful, insignificant, rich, poor, or whatever. John calls to you to turn from your sin.

Do you have any sin to confess? Do you have any sin from which you must turn? Take a look at your life, a look at your words, a look at your thoughts and then answer that question. If you say, "No," beware! You have just told the Baptist, nay, not just the Baptist, you have just told Christ Himself that you have sin for which you must repent. And while Christ tells you that you are a sinful creature, sinful in thought, word and deed, you are telling Him you are not! The One who looks into your heart, has said, "You are a sinner. You sin daily in a variety of ways. I have come to save you from you from your sin," and you are telling Him that He doesn't know what He is talking about. Really? Is not pride a sin? Is not self-righteousness a sin (Jesus denounced the Pharisees for just that sin!).

Each of us, myself included, is a sinner, a person who is called by the Law of God to repent. Falling on these poor, aching knees, all I can do is cry out to the Savior, "Jesus Christ, be merciful to me, a sinner." And that good news is that He is! He is merciful to me. The very reason that we celebrate this Advent and Christmas season is that the Son of God is merciful to us. He is full of pity. He came into this world, born of a woman, born under the Law, to save those under the Law, to save me, to save you! He doesn't come to give us a nice holiday to celebrate. He comes because He is merciful. He came to be the Savior of all mankind. He came for me and for you.

Having repented of that sin, we now turn to that life of faith. John calls us to bear fruit in keeping with repentance. We are called to live today in faith, in Christ, in the wonder of all that He has done for us. that means we turn from our sinful actions and begin to live as a child of God. Are you having hateful thoughts about another person? Turn from them. Are you thinking lustful thoughts about another person? Put those thoughts from your mind. Are you doing illegal drugs? Stop. Are you worrying about what will happen tomorrow, worrying so much it has become your sin? Then give it over to God. You can't change the situation by your worry. God can! Are you drinking too much? Are you taking from work? Are you playing games on your computer instead of doing your work? Are you talking poorly about someone? Are you sharing the "truth" about someone when you should hold your tongue? Turn from that sin and do as the Lord calls you to do.  That is the message that John gives to the people and to us.

Can't do any of those things? Of course you can't. Your sinful nature makes it hard, if not impossible. That is where the Holy Spirit comes in. Through those blessed Means of Grace (Word and Sacraments), the Holy Spirit empowers you to live your life as a child of God. He does not expect you to do it on your own. If fact, He knows you cannot do it on your own. So He comes to you, He abides with you, He strengthens you, He give you the power to live as a child of God. He does that through the Word (make it a daily part of your life), through your Baptism (daily recalling and walking in the waters of your Baptism) and through the Lord's Supper (receive it often for the forgiveness of sins and the strength for daily life).

John calls. Are you listening?