Sundays:  Pastor's Class 9:00 AM (Eucharistic Prayers & Post Comm. Collects)
               Divine Liturgy 10:30 AM

Wednesdays: Divine Liturgy 7:00 PM


Doing The Will Of God

June 9, 2018

Verse: Mark 3:20–35

Christ Lutheran Church
Cleveland, Ohio
June 10, 2018
by: Rev. Dean Kavouras

3rd Sunday After Pentecost
Doing The Will Of God

Then Jesus entered a House, and again a crowd so great had gathered that they could not even Eat. And when those (Jews) who were following him learned of it they went to restrain him, because they thought he was out of his mind.

At the same time the Scribes who had come there from Jerusalem (to investigate) concluded that he was possessed by Beelzebul and that it was by the power of the demon Prince that he expelled demons (from people).

And so he spoke to them in parables asking, "How is it possible for Satan to cast out Satan? And, if a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. Further, if a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand. And so if Satan rises up against himself in Division he cannot continue, but has come to an end! Nonetheless, no one can enter a strong man's house and plunder his possessions, except he first tie up the strong man: then he plunders his house.

Truly! I say to (all of) you that every sin and every blasphemy will be forgiven the children of men. But whoever blasphemes the Holy Spirit can never be forgiven but is guilty of an eternal sin," he said this because they insisted that "He (Jesus) is possessed of an unclean spirit."

Also arriving were his mother and his brothers who, standing outside (the house), sent word to him, and called out to him. And the crowd seated about him said to him, "Behold, your mother and brothers are outside seeking after you." And he answered saying, "Who is my mother and who are my brothers?" And looking at those seated around him he said, "Behold my mother; and my brothers, for whoever does the will of God, that person is my brother, and sister and mother." (Mark 3:20-35)

Do you do the will of God? If so, you are the Lord’s family; you are his mother and sister and brother. If you do not, you are not. So think about it again? Do you do the will of God? Are you careful to conform your precious life, and expend your rapidly passing days, doing his holy will “at all times and in all places?” Or do you confuse thinking about it with doing it?

Are you like the people who sat at Jesus’ feet eagerly imbibing Divine truth? Or are you like the Lord’s false friends who thought he was out of his mind (to eat with Gentiles) and set about to have him committed? Sometimes your friends can be your worst enemies, can’t they.

Do you do the will of God? Do you believe that Jesus possesses the Holy Spirit without measure (Jn 3:34); and that it is by his unbounded power, that the Lord sets forth to renew the face of earth? (Ps. 104:30) Or are you like the Scribes we hear of in today’s gospel who journeyed from Jerusalem to Capernaum in order to investigate Jesus: only to conclude that he is demon-possessed? That his power liberate those oppressed by Satan comes from Satan? Talk about irrational!

But then we are irrational, too, aren’t we? We have learned from the demons how to emote rather than reason; and how to employ hysteria in order to silence civil debate. But the question stands: Do you do the will of God? Are you Jesus’ family?

“If we say we have no sin we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. But if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Because “the blood of Jesus his Son purifies us from every sin.” (1 John 1:7-9) If you have faith in that blood – shed on the cross and received at the altar – then you are Jesus’ family. You are his mother and brother and sister. And there’s nothing better than that!

Nonetheless we need to pray the last petition of today’s Collect often: “ …enable us always to do your will.”

We need to pray it because “the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.” (Mark 14:38) Because sinful pride tells us we are good enough; and that we can sit back, take it easy, eat, drink and be merry because we are, after all, saved by faith. (But: faith without works is dead, being alone. James 2:25)

We need to pray it because we are the children of the Woman who prefer the Serpent to God. Lies to truth. Delusion to reality. Because we are the children of Adam, the unfaithful pastor of Paradise, who was duty-bound to cut off the Serpent’s head when he assaulted the infant Church. And because we have inherited the nakedness of our First Parents who threw off the garments of the Divine Image, and donned the garments of sin instead.

And so we should not only pray today’s Collect as if our life depended on it, but we should believe that God answers it! Because while Satan is the strong man in today’s gospel, Jesus is the Stronger Man.

The Stronger Man who plundered Satan’s kingdom by the cross, crushed his serpentine head, and harrowed hell.

The Stronger Man who robbed Beelzebul of his ill-gotten gains, and restored them to God. We are those people!

The Stronger Man who still gathers his people around him in This House, teaches them the gospel we are now hearing, and feeds us with the Bread of Life at this Table “prepared before us in the presence of our enemies.”

And so what we sing in today’s opening hymn is a wonderful summary of today’s lessons, and of the doctrines of Inherited (Original) Sin; and of salvation by faith in Christ.

1. All mankind fell in Adam's fall,
One common sin infects them all;
From sire to son the bane descends,
And over all the curse impends.

2. Through all man's powers corruption creeps
And him in dreadful bondage keeps;
In guilt he draws his infant breath
And reaps its fruits of woe and death.

3. From hearts depraved, to evil prone,
Flow thoughts and deeds of sin alone;
God's image lost, the darkened soul
Nor seeks nor finds its heavenly goal.

4. But Christ, the second Adam, came
To bear our sin and woe and shame,
To be our Life, our Light, our Way,
Our only Hope, our only Stay.

This is the Christian faith O Sons Of Men. Sing it. Believe it. Love it and spend your days in its study because it will make you strong, make you whole, and give you peace like nothing else can, and nothing else will. Amen.