Sermon – Luke 14.16-24 (Trinity 2 – 2022)

“Save Us from Apathy, and Give Us Love for You and Your Word”

Let us pray: Lord God, heavenly Father, we give thanks to You, that through Your holy Word You have called us to Your great supper, and we beseech You: Enliven our hearts by Your Holy Spirit, that we may not hear Your Word without fruit, but that we may prepare ourselves rightly for Your kingdom, and not allow ourselves to be hindered by any worldly care; through Your beloved Son Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one true God, now and forever. Amen.

Grace to you and peace from God, our Father, and our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

 18 “But they all with one accord began to make excuses. The first said to him,`I have bought a piece of ground, and I must go and see it. I ask you to have me excused.’

 19 “And another said,`I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to test them. I ask you to have me excused.’

 20 “Still another said,`I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.’

 21 “So that servant came and reported these things to his master. Then the master of the house, being angry, said to his servant,`Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in here the poor and the maimed and the lame and the blind.’

 22 “And the servant said,`Master, it is done as you commanded, and still there is room.’

 23 “Then the master said to the servant,`Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.

 24 `For I say to you that none of those men who were invited shall taste my supper.'”

These are Your words, heavenly Father. Sanctify us by the truth. Your Word is truth. Amen.

Dear fellow redeemed,

According to a recent Lifeway poll of protestant pastors, the primary “people dynamic” challenge in the Church is apathy, or as some have termed it apatheism. One article described it this way, “It is the theological stance of answering the ‘God question’ with a shoulder shrug and a teenage-like ‘whatever’.” (Giatti, Ian. Christian Post, “The Rise of ‘Apatheism’ and What It Means for Christians and the Gospel.) It is not a theological stance, but rather an attitude of indifference or of not caring. An apatheist does not care to deny the existence of God. An apatheist could even acknowledge God’s existence, but still be disinterested in that truth.

It’s not surprising that people have this attitude, but it is completely unreasonable. The large majority of people acknowledge the obvious truth that a God exists. If a person acknowledges this, what are some of the next logical questions? Who is this God? What does He think of me? What does He expect of me? Am I accountable to Him? Will there be a judgment? And if so, how will I be judged? These are serious questions! Can there be any more important questions than these? An agnostic might say that we can’t know the answers to these questions. That is a theological claim: the claim that God is unknowable. An apatheist, however, would not make a theological claim about those questions, but would rather say, “Meh. It doesn’t matter to me.”

We ought to recognize the danger of apathy that we might find in our hearts. Our fallen hearts are already predisposed to such an attitude. But what is it around us that has really increased the apathy towards God and His Word? Perhaps it is because our culture has been so conditioned to make us think life all about pleasure. Media entertainment trains us to become passive and unthinking consumers of pleasure. The sexual revolution was all about discarding self-control, chastity and sexual morality to chase one’s own sexual pleasures. Of course, abortion is key to this perverse pursuit. Thanks be to God, Roe vs. Wade was overturned this week, so that infanticide is no longer a federally protected right. What else may have brought about this desire for pleasure and apathy toward things eternal? Perhaps, when the raising and training of children became focused on no more than becoming functional, nice, and happy people in this world. If pleasure is the goal, what does God have to do with our pleasure in the here and now? Does He matter? To many, the answer is no. And unfortunately, a godless culture seeking pleasure has only created more dysfunction, trouble, and grief.

But this isn’t new. Solomon, who said there is nothing new under the sun, said that the seeking of pleasure apart from God is vanity, useless. It’s satisfaction doesn’t last. It is like a chasing after the wind.

Another aspect of apathy that is relevant today, is the apathy about the truths of God’s Word. Yesterday was June the 25th, the anniversary of the Presentation of the Augsburg Confession. There the Lutheran princes presented the biblical truths that the Lutherans confessed before the Catholic Roman Emperor, Charles V. They cared about these truths so much, they were risking their lives for them.

God tells us to “contend for the faith, once for all delivered unto the saints” (Jude 3). But what do we see today even within visible Christendom? We see an apathy towards God’s Word, apathy to the truth. Many will think such discussions and arguments over doctrines silly squabbles. God keep us from becoming apathetic to the truth of God’s Word, and no longer striving for its purity among us. For it is by the truth of God’s Word that we are saved.

We see apathy in our text today, don’t we? It is apathy toward the feast that the master has prepared. This is the feast of salvation. The invitation is to take hold of the gospel. It was given first to the Jews. Here is the true God, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob. He has made Himself known to you in His Son. You have been told of the one who would crush the serpent’s head. You have been offering sacrifices; well, here is the One whose sacrifice takes away the sins of the world. Look to Him, who is proof that God loves you, and wishes to save you, and give you life with Him forever. Your Messiah has come. Your salvation has arrived. The supper is ready. Come, believe in Him.

But what response is given? “Meh? No thanks.”

And then the Master sends His servant into the highways and hedges, to send that invitation that began in Jerusalem, to all the world to you and to me. Here is Christ for you! Your Savior. The One who answers for your sin, big or small, and takes them all away. You will find in Him peace and comfort that will not end. He gives you eternal life.

But beware of the apathy. Who are these showing the indifference to the invitation? One must go check out the land he bought. Perhaps, this is really an disingenuous excuse and lie, because it seems silly that one would buy land without seeing it first. Nonetheless, it is his land that he is concerned about. There is no intention to be a Christian landowner, rather, he remains a lost landowner. The other man just purchased five yoke of oxen. He must go test them. This man is seeking to be a responsible business owner, a productive member of society. But he is apathetic to the invitation. There is no desire to be a Christian business owner, rather, he remains a lost business owner. The third man just got married. He figures he ought to be a good husband, and must tend to her. Though he forgets that a good man cares not only for the physical and emotional needs of his wife, but also for the spiritual needs of his wife and brings her to Christ and His Word. But the man in our text does not care for the feast in the first place. Why would he think it is important for his wife if it is not important to him? Such is his attitude toward the feast. He has no desire to be a Christian husband, but he remains a lost husband.

Beware of the apathy of the heart. The Lord said in Revelation, “Because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth” (Rev 3:16).

Let this law strike us out of our apathy. God is a just judge, a consuming fire. And we are sinners. If we will not feast at His table in the kingdom of God through faith, we will in unbelief drink the cup of His wrath even to the bitter dregs.

But remember God’s great love for you. See how much He desires for you to come to His feast. How greatly He wishes for you to dine with Him at table, in perfect love and peace. He gave His only Son, Jesus Christ to drink the full cup of His wrath over your sins, so that you are forgiven, and now through Christ, have the right to sit at the table with Him.

You do not have to take bites at the air, hoping to get a little bit of Christ. But rather here is the Word of Christ’s forgiveness for you! What rich fare! Eat it. Take it by faith, and your hunger for righteousness is satisfied. In the Lord’s Supper, the true body and blood is offered to you. Eating of His body and drinking His blood with believing hearts, you have the forgiveness of all your sins and the eternal life He has won for you.

May God’s great mercy and love for you make you lovers of Him, and give you delight to partake of His feast of salvation. Amen.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, forevermore. Amen

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