Pentecost 13
August 30, 1998
Jeremiah 23:29
"The Christian's Mighty Weapon"

+++

" Is not My Word like fire, says the Lord, and like a hammer which breaks the rock in pieces?"

                                                                                                               [Jeremiah 23:29]

Introduction:  The nations of the world are ever seeking the latest weapons in sophistication and power.  In recent weeks we as a nation have witnessed terrorist bombings of two of our American embassies and the retaliation of air strikes over suspected and known terrorist compounds.  Should we expect more of escalation?  The experts in foreign affairs suggest that we are in for a long battle.  . As our American Secretary of State Madalin Albright has hinted, "this now the kind of warfare we can expect in the future..." We look for a time when man will know of war no more yet our world situation suggests that we are in for a long, long struggle.

Because of instant and global communication we can see the latest in weaponry in an instant. .    Such was demonstrated during the Persian Gulf War in which the latest technology was broadcast across the world and beamed into our living rooms at an unrelenting pace.  The unavailing of new technology continues even today where the latest in neutron bombs and smart bombs and all sorts of missal development are paraded in front of the world. 

In our text for today the Lord reveals to us that God has the best weapons, which cannot be improved, which is, His God.  In our Old Testament lesson God's Word is described as a fire and a hammer.

God needs this weapon in the conflict with evil.  In Jeremiah's day the conflict was between the words, dreams, and visions of the prophets and the true Word which was proclaimed by Jeremiah.  That Word of the Lord is still the only weapon of the Christian.  In Luther's great Reformation hymn " A Mighty Fortress Is Our God" he referred to this weapon against Satan when he wrote, "one little word can fell him".  What is that little word?  His name is Jesus Christ.  He is proclaimed throughout the pages of God's mighty Word.

The purpose of our time together is to become convinced of the power of the Word and then to use it in our battles against evil.  This morning, let us see how the Word is the Christian's mighty weapon...the mighty weapon of choice.

[1]   The Word of the Lord is like a Fire.

A.  Fire consumes.  It burns up.  Everything left in its path is swallowed and absorbed.  We have all witnessed scenes of a home or a building devastated by fire.  Earlier this summer we were shown live reports of the ravaging effects of the Florida wild fires.  Everything was consumed.  God in His Word reminds of that there are the fires of hell.  Like branches, those content to practice evil are thrown into the lake of fire which can not be quenched.  The fires of hell are to be understood literally as an" asbestos" fire, one which burns white hot.  The flames of hell are intended for those who reject God and refuse to submit to His will.

B.  When we want to get rid of refuge we burn it.  Once it is burned it is no more.  Likewise the fire of God's Word consumes evil.  If you remember back to your Catechism days these words of our text fall under the heeding of the first use of the Law.  Like a curb, or a club, the Law works to check our sin.  The emotion, which we feel, is fear. We refuse to participate in certain behaviors because of fear...fear of punishment, fear of reprisal, fear of the cost of the penalty.  The classic illustration of this first use of the Law is found on the door of every K-Mart and Wal-Mart in the country.  It reads "Shoplifters will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the Law" I do not shoplift because of fear.  And it is this use of the Law, which motivates me. 

Thus the Law is good. It keeps me on the straight and narrow.  It keeps sin in check. It keeps this world from spinning completely out of control.

Transition:  But you might say "But Pastor, look at all the evil in the world today!  Doesn't it seem as if the world is spinning completely out of control?"  Yes, this is how the world appears to us.  That is why we need this Word of God for not only does it cause us to consider the consequences of our sin and the effects of sin in our lives it is also the only tool which we have to combat sin, whether it is the sin in our world, or our own individual lives. The Word of God is given to us to break and hinder evil.

[2]   The Word is God is also like a hammer.

A.     A hammer breaks up, divides, and destroys. Likewise, the Word of God, like a hammer, breaks up the cartels of evil organizations and projects.  We can not legislate morality.  All the laws and prescriptions, rules and edicts that you and I can come up with will not change the heart of man.  After the Flood God promised that He would never completely destroy the world again by a flood for he told us

"...I will never again curse the ground because of man, for the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth; neither will I ever again destroy every living creature as I have done." [Genesis 8:21]  Because of the sinful nature of man only one thing can change the heart of a person and that is the Word of the Lord.

As a leopard can not change his spots likewise a human can not remove his sin by himself. As we confess in the explanation of the second article of the apostle's creed  " I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ my Lord or come to Him..." Mere will power and determination can not change a man.  Nor will the effort of man bring about any change in our world. The only solution is God and His mighty Word.

B.   This Word of the Lord, like a hammer, which smashes a vase into a thousand pieces, is also able to obliterate evil. The truth of God's Word destroys falsehood.  As Jesus said to those who believed in Him in the Gospel of John " And if you adhere to My Word you are truly My disciples indeed and you will know the truth and the truth shall set you free."   Only in Jesus Christ and the power of His Word can there be any truth and freedom found.  Not by might and not by human strength but by His Word shall the truth be known.

Conclusion:   As long as this world endures there will be those who will try to rule this earth either by human might or human edict.  That is the world's solution in solving our ills. It has not learned so it keeps on trying.  You and I have a better plan with a proven track record.  It is the Word of the Lord.  As you and I live our lives here on this earth may we apply ourselves unto wisdom and seek the Lord where He may be found. May the Word of God dwell in you richly and may His truth be found in your life and in your living. For this we say in the Savior's precious name. Amen.

           +  Soli Deo Gloria  +