Sermon for Pentecost II

Second Sunday after Pentecost, May 29, 2005

False Prophets in the Wilderness
Matthew 7:15-23

In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
You are standing in the middle of a great wilderness, a desert of sand and rock where oases are few and far between and shade seems nonexistent. You cannot remember a time in your life when you were not in this wilderness. To judge by all appearances, there is no other place except this wilderness; based on everything you have seen, the desert covers the entire earth, and you can never reach the end of it. You’ve heard rumors about a place beyond the edge of this dry and arid wasteland, but you have your doubts. Or at least you have your doubts about ever getting there.
Thinking of that desert reminds me of the scene in the Clint Eastwood movie, The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, where Clint Eastwood’s character (“The Good”) is forced by Tuco (“The Ugly”) to walk across 100 miles of desert. My throat gets a little dry just thinking about it. He has nothing to drink, and he has no hat to cover his head. His face is soon blistered and cracked from the effects of the sun. That’s what the desert does to you.
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Thank You, Dr. Feuerhahn

“Sometimes faithful service is costly, and men fall out of favor. This was [Hermann] Sasse’s ‘lonely way’ (der einsam Weg)–the cost of confessing the faith in the face of opposition from within and without of the household of faith. Such loneliness is real, of course, but it does not mean ruin because our gracious Lord never leaves us. Instead, the lonely way brings a holy despair of self, persons, committees, programs, bureaucracies, seminaries, and synods, stripping away everything but Jesus Christ. Ron [Feuerhahn] speaks of this strengthening to those who would lose hope, bidding them, ‘trust yourself to the One who judges justly’ (see 1 Pt 2:23). Such an unshakable pastoral delivery of Gospel hope is perhaps his greatest gift to us: ne desperemus (Ap VII/VIII, 9)” (Scott A. Bruzek, “Faith’s Ancient Strength” in Lord Jesus Christ, Will You Not Stay?: Essays in Honor of Ronald Feuerhahn on the Occasion of His Sixty-Fifth Birthday (St. Louis: Concordia, 2002), 7).