KJV Luke 9:51 And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem,
KJV Luke 13:22 And he went through the cities and villages, teaching, and journeying toward Jerusalem.
As Jesus journeyed towards through the cities and villages towards Jerusalem where according to the foreordained plan of His Father, He would rescue us from sin and death by becoming sin for us and by dying for us, He continued to teach many as he went. He would not only rescue us but He would invite us to be joined unto Him in a relationship of grace and truth, a relationship in which He wants us to live in the abundance of the riches of His grace.
Throughout the ages the heart of God has been seen in those who lived in the Old Testament times, in that through the preaching of the Word they have been touched by the heart of God to the point that they became those who lived in the Promise (Genesis 3:15) of the coming of the Messiah. They not only looked to the Promise but they also were changed inwardly so that their hearts became new, in that they looked to how they might serve others in love. In our first Scripture reading (2 Samuel 9:1-13) we heard of how David, one after the heart of God, asked if there was anyone in the house of Saul that he might show kindness to for Jonathon's sake. (Please read that account)
Then we heard of the heart of Apostle Paul who called upon his people to follow his example, which of course was lived after Christ's example. (Philippians 3:17-4:1) He then goes onto reveal to us of how with weeping he warned them that there are enemies of the cross of Christ, whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, whose glory is their shame and whose minds are set on earthly things.
Paul had the mind and the heart of God and of Christ, as he sorrowed over those who had not come to yield to the amazing grace and gift of God which is through the cross of Jesus Christ. He wept over them as he spoke to his people about the enemies of the cross of Christ. As he pointed them to the great and glorious future of their heavenly inheritance, he pointed out that their earthly body one day would be fashioned like unto the body of Christ, by the power that enables Him to subject all things unto Himself.
Then he poured out his heart of love for his people, when he said, "Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and my crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved. Wow, how many endearing words did he use in trying to express his love for those he was given the grace to minister to? Let's see, brethren, dearly beloved, longed for, my joy, my crown, my dearly beloved. Wow! Wow! Wow!
From where did the Apostle get that love that he felt inwardly and which he so profusely expressed to his congregation? Of course we know the answer, from God and we even know the verse in Romans 5:5, "And hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us."
In our Gospel lesson today Jesus spoke to the man who asked him a question as to if many were going to be saved:
ESV Luke 13:24 "Strive to enter through the narrow door. For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able.
KJV John 10:9-10 I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
As Jesus spoke it was still the day of grace for those He was speaking to as he pointed to Himself as the only way to life and that once the door was closed, it would not be opened again. Today the door is open, Christ is the door to the abundant life in grace. As we heard above, after coming through the door which is Christ and His cross, David and Paul's lives were very similar in attitude and action of God, of Christ and of His Spirit. Paul expressed great joy in the love that he shared with his fellow believers and great sorrow even to weeping for those who "would not come" to Christ. (Luke 13:34).
His sorrow was not in hopelessness, but perhaps he channeled it into reaching those who were yet "enemies of the cross of Christ by seeking to "open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.' Acts 26:18
Acts 20:24 But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.
As we continue to pray for our upcoming annual ALCA convention in St Cloud during the last part of June,may the Lord give us His heart, the heart of His Son and the heart of the Spirit. We have come to HIs table of salvation and it is our joy to have fellowship with Him and with one another in this feast of salvation here in time. May our hearts be enlarged so that we would call upon other sinners who have been redeemed, so that they might take their place beside our Saviour, sit down and be set free, set free to truly love....
Therefore, my brothers and sisters, dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved.
Come to His Table and receive from His hands His gracious gift of His body and of His blood, for the forgiveness of your sins. Amen.
Pastor Orval Wirkkala