Pastor’s July Message

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Moses Preaches the Gospel
Moses speaks, of course, to the Israelites. But the Lord will always have his Israel. Jesus is Israel’s King, and he has his people, his new Israel, the church. So the church hears the words of Moses proclaiming the Gospel to Israel: “you are a people holy to the Lord your God”.

That God is “God” applies to everyone on Earth. He created Earth and all the heavens, creating man and women and their offspring. But he announces himself also as your Lord (in Hebrew, the name Yahweh). For he has redeemed you from sin; he has put his Name on you in Baptism; he has covered your shame with his honor; he says you are his possession, which means that nothing happens to you, without you being his concern.

You are holy to the Lord your God. Not that you have been holy. That would leave no one holy. This is not about keeping score of who has followed the Law best. You are holy to the Lord your God because he has put his name on you, setting you apart as his own and cleansing you of all sin. It’s his declaration, his word that makes you holy. So Moses preaches, “You are a people holy to the LORD your God”. [DEUTERONOMY 7:6-9, OF THE O.T. TEXT OF PENTECOST 12]

It is the gracious choosing of God, apart from any worthiness in you, that in his kind mercy he saw you in your sin, and with no delusions on his part, purely out of his kind-ness, he chose you to be his own, to live under him in his gift of righteousness forever. So Moses preaches, “The LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the Earth”.

A Voice Against the Gospel
And yet, there is still that small voice in the back of the mind, that slippery voice of sinful flesh (the Old Adam), whispering, But if I am the Lord’s treasured possession, if he’s my Savior and I’m holy to him, then there must be some small thing in me or about me, or something I’ve thought, something hidden perhaps very deep, that he saw, that made him want to have me as his own. In some small way, even though I’m a sinner, he must’ve seen some potential in me that made me desirable to him. To which, Moses corrects, 7 “It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the LORD set his love on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples, 8 but it is because the LORD loves you and is keeping the oath that he swore to your fathers”…

The Gospel is The Lord’s Oath
It is because the Lord loves you and keeps his oath. This is your certainty. The Lord gave oath. What he says about you—that you are forgiven, that the righteousness of his Son is yours, that he will never depart you, that you are his treasured possession purely out of his loving kindness for you—what the Lord says about you, he has put his Name on it. His honor is at stake. If you are not forgiven, if your sin is not covered with the holy blood, if he will leave you on your own, then he has broken his oath and his Name is mist in the wind.

But, on the night when God the Son was betrayed, as he was looking at his path to the cross where he would shed his blood to make you his possession, knowing that he was going to die, your Lord, as any man who is about to die might do, instituted his Last Will and Testament. So that his wealth would not be squandered but would be distributed to his beneficiaries.

To his Apostles, he held up the bread and wine, and he said to eat it and drink it, for in it he was giving his Body and Blood. He told them continue doing this. He then went to the cross, so that, upon his death, the Last Will and Testament of his Body and Blood became the wealth to be distributed to his church, until he comes again.

A man puts his name nowhere more surely than in his Last Will and Testament. It is a man’s gift to the coming generations; it is the bequeathing to those he loves of everything he has accomplished; it is a sworn statement that can’t be reversed; it is his oath. By oath, by the testament of his blood, Jesus forgives you. You are holy.

In the Name of Jesus,

Rev. Warren W. Graff

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