O give thanks unto the Lord for He is good, His mercy endures forever (1 Chr 16:34). Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church - Winnipeg, MB
The Word of Our God Will Stand Forever
The Word of Our God Will Stand Forever
Based on Isaiah 11:1-11
Preached on December 06, 2014
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Fellow baptized saints, His Word is never broken. Grace to you and peace, from God our Father and from the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
What an exciting evening, isn't it? What a wonderful opportunity to gather together as God's people. For our God is going to act. Tonight, the Lord sends His Church another preacher. He has called another Isaiah, tasked another herald, cried in another voice, prepared another John the Baptizer to speak tenderly to His people here in Winnipeg, to cry to you Beautiful Savior, that your warfare is ended, that your iniquity is covered. Tonight, our Lord appoints one to speak His comfort and tenderness.
You know, this passage from Isaiah makes me think of my Commanding Officer in the Navy. It takes to where my head would be if I were called to the Commanding Officer's cabin. Oh, oh, what did I do wrong? Is there still time to make a break for it? I mean, does he know I'm here tonight? Well, I guess its time to pull myself up by my bootstraps and get ready for a tongue lashing. Here it comes.
Because tenderness, tenderness isn't exactly what we expect to receive from the God we have offended, is it? Tenderness is usually reserved for those we are close with, certainly not the One we have warred against. We should get harshness and anger for our sin. In fact, we should expect to be cast away and left forever for our seemingly constant rebellion, yet it is with winsome words that our Lord pleads us to come. It is with good news that He sends His herald to preach. It is with tender words that we hear the voice of one crying:
"In the wilderness, prepare the way of the LORD; make straight in the desert a highway for our God." The LORD Himself is coming. He is coming here - through the wilderness of our sin, through the spiritual desert of our faithlessness - He is coming, and He sends His preacher ahead to signal that He is near. He is on the highway of salvation and everything must get out of His way. Nothing will stop Him from saving His people. No obstacle shall stand in His way. Not even your sin. For that is why He comes. To fill the valley of your neglect and flatten the mountain of your wrongdoing. To do the good you haven't done, and suffer for the evil you have. To level your heart with His Word and make it a place where He can stand. Prepare the way of the LORD. You are about to see His glory.
This is one of the mysterious ways God works, isn't it? Calling men to speak in His place? It certainly isn't the way we would do it. We would use miraculous displays of our Almighty power, not a simple voice crying in the wilderness. Yet even tonight, as it is penned in our text, a voice says "Cry!" God Himself calls this man to preach at Beautiful Savior. And anew, this pastor asks, "What shall I cry?" The answer is eternal: "All flesh is grass, and all its beauty is like the flower of the field. The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever." The flesh of men will come and the flesh of men will go, but the Office of the Holy Ministry will stand forever. The Office of Preaching the Word of God will last to the end, for it belongs to Christ, and this is the way He has chosen to tend you, His flock. The King is coming, and if these were silent, the very stones would cry out. Because all flesh is grass, but the Word of our God will stand forever.
So this evening is exciting, very exciting, but not chiefly because we're dealing with the President of Synod, or that we've amassed all these pastors (though these are exciting) - but because the Word of our God will be spoken upon this man and proclaim that Christ Himself will speak through Him here in our midst. This evening is exciting because our King is coming and He is going to act.
So - now that you've heard this, now that the uneven ground of your heart have been levelled out, and you know this is true, are you going to be faithful in hearing this Word? Are you going to listen to every word that comes from your new pastor's mouth when he stands in this pulpit, absorb it, treasure it, meditate on it and drive yourself to live by it every day? No, you're not. At least not on your own, but like God's people of old, you need your Lord to come in spite of yourself. You need Him to come even though you may not want Him to. You need Him to come even though you are not ready for Him. But here's the thing about your King. He knows this, and He still comes. He knows you, and this is why He comes. He comes for you. He wants to save you, and not even you can stand in His way.
No, we all need this One who comes, which is what makes this message He sends through His crier so compelling. Tell my people that all the glory of man will pass away, but my Word will never pass away. Tell them I will get them through this wilderness. Remind them how I've already done this for my people - and I promise I am doing it again. Remind them that My Word endures beyond their immediate lives, that I have spoken it over them, filled them with it, and I intend to make them stand before Me on the Last Day by the power of that same Word.
So get you up to a high mountain, O Zion, herald of good news; lift up your voice with strength, O Jerusalem, herald of good news; lift it up, fear not; Announce that the Lord is nigh - say to the cities of Judah, "Behold your God!" Look at Jesus - your Savior - your Shepherd. He has tended His flock, spread His arms on the cross that He might gather His lambs. He will carry them through cross and grave to resurrection and life. This is the Word of our God - and it will stand forever!
Yes, we have been called to look forward to the end, to our deliverance, when He will take us out of this wilderness, when He will raise our withered, faded, flesh from the grave by His powerful Word. The same Word which became flesh, withered, faded and died our death, only to rise and stand before God forever as our atoning witness. Repent and believe the good news.
Tonight is a night of joy and thanksgiving. It is an evening of excitement, because the Word of our God will stand forever. The LORD is faithful, and He is coming to take us to the land He has promised us. Prepare the way of the LORD. For you are about to see His glory. In Jesus' name, Amen.
Rev. Cameron Schnarr