Disciples Are Focused in the Face of Opposition

Sunday, August 14, 2022

Who of us doesn’t want life to be “a bowl of cherries”? Wouldn’t it be wonderful if everyone just believed in Jesus and acted like it? Wouldn’t it be great if those who don’t know Jesus would all melt with joy when they hear the Gospel and join us on the road to heaven?

God’s Word tells us that won’t happen.

In our Old Testament Lesson the Lord warns us through Jeremiah that not only will many not believe the truth, some will even be so bold as to proclaim lies in the name of God. But God assures us He will deal with false prophets. “Let the ‘prophet’ who has a ‘dream’ tell his dream. But let the one who has my word speak my word faithfully. What has chaff to do with grain? declares the Lord. Is not my word like a fire? declares the Lord, and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces?

Our Gospel Lesson is also a serious “heads-up” for Christians from Jesus. Life as a believer will not be easy because we will always have unbelievers around us. The One True Faith separates believers from unbelievers, and not always in a peaceful way. In some cases, even family members will be divided—one believing, the other not. And it will lead to tensions, Jesus forewarns. We shouldn’t be surprised.

Since life will be difficult for believers like a hard-run marathon, our Epistle Lesson reminds us that it will all be worthwhile when we cross the finish line. And winning a race requires discipline and hard training. Some have already run and won the race. Hebrews 11 listed some of those great “heroes of the faith,” such as Abraham whom we heard about last week. We want to observe them watching us from the finish line and strive to get into the winner’s circle with them. “Are You a Candidate for the Hall of Faith?” That’s the question we ask ourselves in this week’s sermon.

This Week’s Lessons:

Jeremiah 23:23–29

Hebrews 12:1–13  (Sermon Text)

Luke 12:49–53

Psalm 4