Spoken Sufficient! 2 Corinthians 3:4-11

August 22, 2021
Rev. Nathan J. Rusert

Our sufficient is never of ourselves to think of anything as of being from ourselves. Salvation is found in Jesus breathing forth His forgiving life giving Word from the Cross. God the Holy Spirit makes us sufficient calling us by the Gospel and renewing us in rich daily forgiveness of sins within Christ's Church. Sermon for the Twelfth Sunday After Trinity - Text: 2 Corinthians 3:4-11. Sermon Theme: "Spoken Sufficient!" Preached 22-August-2021 at Emmanuel Lutheran Church, Tell City, Indiana by Rev. Nathan J. Rusert

Episode Notes

Twelfth Sunday After Trinity                                   22-August-2021
Sermon Text: 2 Corinthians 3:4-11
Sermon Theme: “Spoken Sufficient!” by Rev. Nathan J. Rusert

I.N.R.I. History records, “Psa 33:6 By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, And all the host of them by the breath of His mouth.” Our Creator spoke His Life giving Word and all things were created out of nothing. It is His Word spoken during the first six 24 hour days of the existence of all things less than 10,000 years ago which still upholds, sustains, and blesses His creation in which we live, and move, and have our being within.
      Satan hates the life giving Word of God. He is a liar and cannot stand to hear the absolute Truth of God’s written Word. He is a murderer and wants to tear humanity from God’s Word of Life that he may chain us in the fear of death and lead us to eternal death in hell. Satan masquerades as an “angel of light” and sends false preachers who transform themselves into ministers of righteousness to lead believers away from Christ. The white devil, spiritual devil, and his preachers pretend to be more “spiritual” than those Christians who only listen to God’s Word spoken. They offer a more lively worship than those who repeat the dusty liturgy of the Church filled with God’s Word. They claim to be filled with the “Spirit” in their worship and accuse others of being bound by the “Letter” of God’s Written Word. Led by their “spirit” they imagine that they are following “love” while they approve of life contrary to God’s Ten Commandments. Led by their “spirit” they invent new forms of worship to stir up emotions and new works by which they are certain they are earning God’s favor and punching their ticket into heaven. Following their “spirit” they are certain, like our first parents, that they have found a new spiritual pathway to God - they don’t need to gather with His Church around His Tree of Life and eat its food.
    Our Lutheran Confessions label such spiritual people “enthusiasts” and warns us that their self-chosen spirituality is of the devil. Dr. Luther wrote, Therefore we ought and must constantly maintain this point, that God does not wish to deal with us otherwise than through the spoken Word and the Sacraments. It is the devil himself whatsoever is extolled as Spirit without the Word and Sacraments. For God wished to appear even to Moses through the burning bush and spoken Word; and no prophet neither Elijah nor Elisha, received the Spirit without the Ten Commandments [or spoken Word]. (SA Pt III, Art. VII, 10,11) When you encounter someone who claims to have the “spirit” speaking for God - you have to exam what “spirit” they have. St. John warns, 1Jn 4:1-3 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. (2) By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, (3) and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.” Anyone who claims to be led by a spirit who denies that Jesus is God in our Flesh the only Redeemer and Hope of sinners is deceived by Satan and leading people to hell - no matter how sincere and loving they appear.
      In our Gospel lesson for today. Jesus, the Creator in our Flesh, takes a deaf mute man away from the crowds to restore him. Jesus speaks His Word to a deaf man - His Word awakens and restores the deaf man’s ears and loose his tongue to declare God’s praise. Like him, poor miserable sinners like us are: “Spoken Sufficient!”
    Paul’s congregation at Corinth was in turmoil. In the first letter he wrote to them he warned them of tearing themselves apart. Satan loves division and had convinced one group to claim to follow a former pastor, another the present pastor, and others a popular Christian leader. Note that Satan hasn’t changed his tactics. Congregations suffer turmoil not because of insufficient pastoral leadership, but because Satan stirs up members to cause divisions. In the first epistle we learned also that Satan under the name of “love” convinced the congregation to tolerate sexual sin among their members that made even the Greeks ashamed. Satan had also perverted the Lord’s Supper into a bacchanal - a drunken wine party for the rich - while the poor were sent home hungry. They had perverted worship to serve their own felt needs, and used their spiritual gifts to boast about themselves and not serve others. Still Paul calls them “The Church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints...” Don’t allow Satan to convince you to stay away from gathering with your local congregation because it seems to be filled with strife and sinners - it is still “the Church of God” filled with “saints” concealed in sinners.
      When Paul writes the Second Letter to the Corinthians, Satan has taken another tactic. In the first letter we saw had Satan stirs up strife, division, false love, false worship, false practice, and false stewardship from within a congregation. In the second letter we find Satan sending false teachers from without a congregation to lead the flock astray. False preachers, who looked better and sounded better than Pastor Paul - “whose appearance was weak and speech was contemptible.” False preachers not sent by God the Holy Spirit and called through the local congregation came with a new and flasher message than the Cross of Christ. They came with credentials, letters of approval from others, and boasted of all they had done for Christ and His Church.
      St. Paul writes telling them that the congregation at Corinth is his letter. Upon their hearts God the Holy Spirit wrote the Gospel of Christ - crucified for their sins and raised again to declare them forgiven. (2 Corinthians 3:4-6) Our trust isn’t found in our accomplishments, feelings, or wisdom. We are spoken sufficient through Christ toward God. Christ Jesus spoke His Word over you at the font, “I baptize you.” “I place the Name of God upon you.” “I wash you forgiven in My blood poured out for you upon the cross. “ ”I clothe you with My perfect keeping of the Ten Commandments.” “I breathe into you the Holy Spirit through My Word bringing you to new life.” “I have knit you so closely to Me that My death on Calvary is your death to sin, and My resurrection fills you with new life now as you war against sin in your own members and the promise of life to come after death and the grave do their worse.” This is the Gospel - the Gift of God saving sinners through the flesh and blood of Jesus sacrificed for all our sin once and for all sacrificed upon the cross.
      Paul didn’t trust in himself. He was zealous for God. Raised a Pharisee, he knew the Law and strove to live it perfectly. He even put to death those who claimed that Jesus of Nazareth was the promised Messiah. Our Ascended Lord and King Jesus stopped murderous Saul on the road with His Word. He called him to stop persecuting Him, then three days later raised him to new life opening his eyes through the hands and spoken Word of Pastor Ananias through holy baptism. Paul knew that his sufficiency was not of himself - it was from God alone through the Word of Christ - the life giving Word of the cross.
        Our Lord Jesus had called Paul to be a minister of the New Covenant found in Jesus’ blood poured out for the forgiveness of sins upon Calvary. The Lord Jesus talks to a deaf man in Mark’s Gospel - it seems ridiculous. A deaf man cannot hear. Then again three times in the Gospels Jesus speaks to dead people - what’s the use ? Jesus is the Creator in our skin, by Whom all things were made. His Word is filled with the Holy Spirit and Life. When He speaks Heaven and Life break forth upon this earth driving back Satan, hell, and death. The deaf hear. The dead are raised. The poor hear the good news - the Gospel and the Holy Spirit brings spiritually dead people alive to trust in Jesus as Savior.
        We don’t choose Jesus of our own free will. From the day of Adam’s rebellion all men born in a natural way have no free will in spiritual matters. Yes, we can choose to be carpenters or farmers, we can outwardly live a moral life - but we cannot by our own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ our Lord or come to Him. God the Holy Spirit uses the written life giving Words of Christ - the Good News that He has given His life and shed His blood to take away our sins once and for all. He frees us from Satan’s lies and fills us with His True Life giving Word.
    God the Holy Spirit teaches us here of the difference between the doctrine of the Law and the Gospel. The Law of God written upon the stony heart of Adam’s descendants, and the stone of Mount Sinai - bring only death. Not because the Law is evil, but because we are conceived and born sinners, captured by Satan, and enslaved by the fear of death. The Letter of God’s Law kills - it demands this do or die. The Gospel - the written Word of the Holy Spirit - gives life. It gives us the very life of Christ declaring, “All is done for you by Jesus” “Trust Him - Life is freely given you for His sake!”
      We are spoken sufficient - but we don’t see it. (2 Corinthians 3:7-8) When God descended upon Sinai with smoke, fire, and thundering the Children of Israel shuddered. They were filled with fear at God’s glory hidden in the dark cloud as they heard Him speak the Holy Ten Commandments. When God was nailed to the cross on Mount Calvary for sinners. Men mocked Him as an insufficient Savior. Creation shuddered. The sun hid its face for three hours and could not bear to see its Creator suffering for rebellious sinful mankind. Then in a voice of triumph God spoke from the cross - “It is Finished!” Our sin paid for in full - Jesus breathed out the Holy Spirit as He commended Himself into His Father’s loving hands and He laid Himself into our grave. Three days later the Father raised Jesus to life in our skin - reconciliation completed and God the Father justified us sinners and promised that we too shall rise to see Him face to face in the life of the world to come.
        When Moses descended from Mount Sinai, from being in the very presence of God receiving His Word - His face shone and the people feared. (2 Corinthians 3:9-11) The ministry of condemnation had glory - but it would pass away. The Law would be fulfilled by Jesus’ perfect keeping of it in His life as Our Brother. His suffering and death would fully pay the debt to the Law that we owed by our rebellion. The Gospel remains. Made alive in Christ the Law shows us the path to live as God’s beloved children. Freed in Christ the Law teaches us to live our faith in love towards our neighbor. Teaching them to love the Only True God and one another.
          By the Word of the Lord you were spoken sufficient - remade in Christ Jesus - forgiven - renewed - restored - “In The Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” Amen.

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