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

Wednesdays: Divine Liturgy 7:00 PM


The Fountain Of Youth

June 23, 2019 Pastor: Rev. Dean Kavouras

Verse: Luke 8:26–39

Christ Lutheran Church
Cleveland, Ohio
June 23, 2019
by: Rev. Dean Kavouras

Pentecost 2
The Fountain Of Youth
Luke 8:26-39

By today’s gospel St. Luke means to strengthen Christians in their baptism, and to call those who are not baptized into the glorious liberty of the children of God. This liberty that we enjoy today. This emancipation from the evil murdering Devil who wants nothing more than to enter into unholy communion with us. To dine with us on the flesh of dead pigs, in the place of eternal torment.

Now while we cannot make a doctrine of this it appears from what we hear in today’s gospel that demons can enjoy temporary reprieve from their fate if they can find a willing host. They found one in this man who was so greedy for evil that one demon just wasn’t enough.

There are people like that, aren’t there? Vacant killers. Brutal rapists. Shameless pedophiles. Insatiable thugs. Dead men walking who spend their lives naked of righteousness, roaming from one mortal sin to another. No bonds can hold them. No treatment program change them. For they are driven by unseen forces. They are possessed. And none can save them save Jesus alone!

But nor can any save you except Jesus because, truth be told, every person born into this world is a demoniac of sorts.

Not in the Hollywood sense of the word.

Not as obvious as the man we hear of today, or the people who upon hearing the report of this great miracle asked Jesus, not to stay and save them, but to leave them, and to get as far away from them as possible.

The Christian doctrine of “original sin” teaches us that we have all inherited the sin of our parents and, as such, dwell in the “domain of darkness,” until we are “transferred into the Kingdom of God’s dear Son by the mighty movement of Holy Baptism in which we have redemption that is, the forgiveness of sins! (Col. 1:13)

But it is not only forgiveness we obtain therein which is life and salvation, but also eternal youth. Indeed we can think of baptism as the Fountain of Youth. The washing of regeneration that saves our children, and neutralizes the “ever-rolling stream” of time that in the end paints us all into a final corner.

But these truths can only be perceived at the Altar of God Most High.

To comprehend them we need what airplane pilots call “instrument rating”. There are two kinds of pilots. Those who are restricted to flying in daylight and clear weather where whatever they need to see, they can be see with their eyes. And those who have “instrument rating” and can fly in any conditions, day or night, because they don’t rely on their eyes, but on the instruments to do their seeing for them.

The Bible is our “instrument,” this assembly our “rating” where we come to understand things that cannot be understood anywhere else.

Yes, in this account St. Luke calls all men to baptism for apart from it we, like the demoniac, are Naked and Homeless. But we learn in today’s epistle that to be baptized into Christ is to be clothed with Christ, and we need to pay careful attention to those two prepositions: Into & With.

When we talk about being “in Christ” it is not simply a manner of speaking, but a location. A new location. A good location. The best location of all.

Before baptism we reside, as we have said, in the “domain of darkness”. Without Jesus we live our entire lives among the tombs, which is to say that it is not Christ who permeates us. Not Christ who is our shield, who hems us in before and behind as we sang in our opening hymn. But the octopus death with its mass of twisting, turning, life-sucking tentacles from which there is no escape.

It is this darkness that leads men to ravage the earth to find peace. To do what is immoral, illegal, illogical, irrational – even self-defeating, self-destructive to the ruin of everyone about them, and in defiance of God in Heaven! Only to find every avenue closed and then to just die inside!

But when we enter into Christ we not only gain a good conscience, and good place of dwelling; but we become fully clothed with the radiant righteousness of Christ and there is nothing better than that!

Beloved, we now dwell “in God” and today we are enjoying a “foretaste of the feast to come.” But “in the blink of an eye” the foretaste will become the Feast itself in the “world without end.”

This is what the demoniac received from Jesus. He was shot up like a rocket from the bowels of hell, to the heights of heaven, by the one who “came down from heaven,” “for us men and for our salvation.” May he thus lift you up today!

But today’s gospel also reminds the baptized to be careful of what they take on board.

Guard yourself!

It is one thing to hear the degrading sins of flesh knocking upon your door, but quite another to invite them in, serve them refreshments and urge them to stay the night.

But our new place of residence inside of Jesus, to say nothing of our new status and sons of the Most High God, calls forth a very different duty – to tell aloud the great things that God has done for us!

This duty is not discharged by the “personal evangelism” that Fundamentalists are always urging upon us but by what we are doing here and now. By confessing with our mouths the glorious gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

It is further discharged by doing what the Lord told the restored demoniac to do: Go home!

It is the duty of the baptized to pass on the gift. To baptize their infants. To bring them to God’s house every Lord’s Day. To conduct a reverent home and to “pray like heaven” for them because sin crouches behind door waiting to devour them.

But while you pray do not worry or frustrate yourself because you are not God!

You are not that big.

But baptism is!

It is very big! Very powerful. Mightier than a legion of demons. It is the Well of Salvation. The Fountain of Youth that sanctifies our youth, and consoles the aged with the promise of Fresh Life.

And so do not be afraid. Only believe. And you will see the salvation of God!