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Here Shall Your Proud Waves Be Stayed

August 8, 2020 Pastor: Rev. Dean Kavouras

Verse: Job 38:11

Christ Lutheran Church
Cleveland, Ohio
August 9, 2020
by: Rev. Dean Kavouras

Pentecost 10
Here Shall Your Proud Waves Be Stayed

Today’s Scripture text is this hidden treasure from the rarely read Book of Job, the 38th chapter, the LORD says:

“Who shut in the sea with doors when it burst out from the womb,
  when I made clouds its garment
    and thick darkness it swaddling band,
      and prescribed limits for it
         and set bars for its doors,
and said,
  ‘Thus far shall you come, and no farther,
      and here shall your proud waves be stayed?’” Job 38:11

Today at the altar we will very literally “confess with our mouths” what we “believe in our hearts” the LORD! Jesus Christ! In Holy Communion. And the result will be the same one Peter experienced in today’s gospel: He desperately shrieked out to Jesus, “Lord! Save me,” and Jesus did.

Jesus reached out to Peter who grabbed onto his hand, no doubt, with the mother of all death grips! and was returned to the boat of the church in safety.

Each person here today has been, likewise, rescued. Brought safely through the turbulent sin-killing waters of baptism, and deposited into the ship of church by the nail-scarred hands of Jesus, and now you are safe!

Now the Proud Waves of sin, death and Satan are stilled so that we can truly sing, “all is calm, all is bright”.

Yes, now you are safe in the bosom of mother church!

Safe from the fear of ghosts that superstitious and gullible sinners are all too anxious to believe in.

Safe from the mighty waves of the devil, the world and the flesh that beat against our ships individually, and collectively as church. Protected from the headwinds that would blow our “little faiths” of Christian progress 10 steps backward for every 1 forward.

As regards the devil Luther writes in his hymn A Mighty Fortress Is Our God that “on earth is not his equal.” What he means to teach us there is that we are no match for the devil. That apart from the “shield of faith” Satan would “sift us like wheat”. He would conscript us into his army of useful idiots and have us do his bidding all day, every day making the world that much more evil. And we would have neither the courage nor the strength nor the savvy nor the spirit ever to break free again.

But the Lord who walked on the waters that day did battle with the devil and crushed the Fiend’s monstrous head by submitting to the death of the cross, and by rising again from it. Only Jesus can do that –

and now you can too by faith in him!

At the cross Jesus said to Satan:

“Thus far shall you come, and no farther,
and here shall your proud waves be stayed.”

As regards the world, or “the culture” as we could call it, we are now safe from it also. Safe from drowning the sea of the popular opinion, and going down with its rickety ship.

In case you have not figured it out yet the opinions of the world are “contra-indicators” for Christians; which means that you can almost always gage what is right by taking a position opposite of whatever the world is turned-on about at the moment.

How does this happen? By the knowledge of Sacred Scripture as it is heard and taught by the church. Reading the Bible on your own does some good, but learning it fully and well from the church is better. The difference is that of watching the baseball game on your cell phone, and being at the game itself: a huge difference indeed.

And so do not ever say: I don’t need that. I’m too old to start now. I have never done that before. St. Paul reminds us today that, “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” (Rom. 10:17) And so come to the Bible Classes and make them, along with this holy worship, the center of your life. By such sacred study you will be wiser than the world, and give greater glory to God.

Moreover you will be safe from “the new morality” which, not surprisingly, is more rigid and less forgiving than “the old morality”. For, you see, the world like the church also has a list of deadly sins and “naughty words” that one dare not utter in polite company – if we can call the world “polite”.

And when it comes to these “deadly sins” the world has a “zero tolerance policy,” the penalty for which is excommunication, and death if they could get away with it.

But Christ be praised there is no “zero tolerance policy” with God. But with him there is mercy, and plenteous redemption, and he will redeem his Israel from all his iniquity.

And so with your mind formed by Sacred Scripture you can say to the world’s opinions:

“Thus far shall you come, and no farther,
and here shall your proud waves be stayed.”

As regards the flesh, again our Lord keeps us safe. Remember that the flesh, is totally compromised by the sin we inherited from Adam. And though by blessed baptism we have the mind of Christ and the Spirit of God dwelling in us, we carry this treasure in vessels of clay; and so the Christian life is always a struggle.

Think of a bar room half filled with Donald Trump supporters and half filled with Joe Biden supporters. What would that room be like? That is what the Christian’s life is like.

But since no man can serve two masters we must do battle. Jihad. Holy war. Not against one another! Not against one another but against the sin that so readily delights us. And the power to win that war is obtained here, in the church, where we gain Jesus, the Savior, who will safely pilot us over life’s tempestuous sea.

And so hear O Devil, O World, O Flesh!

“Thus far shall you come, and no farther,
and here shall your proud waves be stayed.”

Where is here!

At the feet of Jesus whom the 12 disciples worshiped in the boat. Feet that soon enough would be attached by nails to the “Tree of Life” so that the last drop of his divine blood should be drained: to renew the face of the earth.

Where is here?

It is the Lord’s altar, whose gate is the baptismal font, whose clarion is the lectern from which the holy Word is read, and the pulpit from which it is preached.

And so let us once again confess with our mouths the Lord Jesus Christ, today using the words of the Liturgy of St. Basil where Byzantine Christians confess immediately before Holy Communion:

“I believe, I believe, I believe. I confess until my last breath that this is the life-giving body of your only Son. Our Lord, Our God and Savior Jesus Christ!” Amen.