Sermon – March 18, 2020 – Lent Wednesday

Printable PDF:  3-18-2020 Midweek 4 Sermon

Vicar Lindemann  ~  Midweek 4 Sermon  ~  March 18, 2020

The Warrior Faces Satan’s Ally, the World

 “What is truth?” retorted Pilate. With this he went out again to the Jews gathered there and said, “I find no basis for a charge against him.” – John 18:38

Do you have a grip on reality? My friends would say that I don’t after living in the winter haven of Phoenix for the past year. But I think I do, in the morning before the sun is up, I know it will be pretty chilly and that I’ll need a jacket, but when the sun shines for a while, I won’t need it because it will be warm. Do you have a grip on the reality of all the changes that are happening? I don’t think anyone has all the answers for the impact of this virus. But you clicked on this service out of the countless different websites you could have clicked on because you have a grip on eternal reality. It’s a truth you cannot see, but you believe. You learn that truth from the Bible, the truth about Jesus.

Not everyone believes that. The enemy of Jesus wants you to question that truth. And Satan is not alone. He has an ally in his campaign against Jesus and against his followers. The world around us also challenges us to question what God tells us in the Bible, and it offers a different reality, and alternate truths. Our Warrior, Jesus, faced the world’s question about what is real and true. He defended the truth because he knows that you and I depend on it. Jesus faced Satan’s ally, the world. This part of the conflict is important for us because it is crucial that we understand that we live in a world where…

  1. God’s own truth is under attack.

Jesus had been standing in front of the Roman governor, Pontius Pilate, who had to decide whether to have Jesus crucified as the Jewish leaders wanted or to set him free. Pilate had asked him whether he was a king, which was the charge that the Jews thought would condemn Jesus. Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me” (John 18:37).

Jesus is talking about the two sides of this conflict! On one side is the truth; on the other side is the lie. Lies aren’t usually blatant denials of the truth. They contain some truth mixed in with deceptive words. But on that side is the Father of lies, Satan. The lies he offers pretend to have answers to the big questions of life but they’re not true. John warns us, “Everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world” (1 John 2:16). The enemy, not the Father, stands behind those lies.

Satan has an ally, the unbelieving world. The world that we live in eats up those lies. They accept Satan’s lies and challenges anyone who does not agree with it. So the world is damaged and sinful. People parade ungodly ideas and trust in themselves as the solutions to all the things that are wrong in the world. The world thinks that Jesus and his Word are just so much foolishness.

The world wants nothing to do with Jesus. And how many of the world’s values haven’t we swallowed? The lies of anti-Christian culture seem to be fun, fresh, or loving. The world tells you the only way to survive is to hoard supplies for yourself or to ignore the guidelines and have no regard for people’s sensitive consciences. Immoral lifestyles and values that go against God’s Word bombard us and cause me to let down my guard at times. “What is truth?” Pilate asked. Our world says that it is whatever you want it to be. The world’s lies try to undermine and destroy God’s truth.

John went on to write, “The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever” (1 John 2:17). Satan and the world want us to concentrate on what passes away and not on the truth about sin, death, and our need for salvation. God has something far better, and Jesus came to fight for it.

Jesus came up against a cloud of rejection by people, religious leaders, and politicians. The whole world was ganging up. Yet every day, he calmly and strongly faced them all. Our warrior is ready. He spoke the truth with power. You just heard him tell Pilate: “You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me” (John 18:37).

“What is truth?” retorted Pilate. Pilate voiced the words of his world and our world as well. Pilate’s truth was whatever made his life the easiest. The world’s truth comes from distorted values. Trapped in a world of lies, Pilate couldn’t even recognize the truth when he was staring it in the face. Jesus clearly laid out the truth.

  1. Our hero is the truth.

What is the answer to Pilate’s question? God and the world both have an answer. God’s answer to Pilate’s question is and has always been: Jesus! He had told his disciples, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).

Jesus is the truth. In other words, he is the only way to understand reality—what is real and true. He’s the only way we can possibly make sense of life. Anyone or anything else cannot do that job. From the beginning of time to the very last day of the earth, he is the only one who will ever be able to help us see straight.

Jesus never said, “I’m guessing” or “I wish” or “I hope” or “I think” or “possibly” or “maybe.” He always spoke with complete authority. He said, “Truly, I tell you…” “I tell you the truth,” or “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:31-32).

God’s Word, the Bible, holds everything we need to know for life, to live freely without guilt—without the fear of God’s punishment—and, especially, to live forever free in eternity. That’s because every word in the Bible, in one way or another, points to Jesus Christ. And that’s why it is so important that my eyes see and my ears hear the dynamic Word of God! All other messages come from the Father of lies and flow through the world.

The world always questions God’s truth, and reality in general. Why am I here? What can I hope? How will I survive? Where can I turn? The world, of course, has millions of answers to those questions. The world’s guesses and wishes and “I thinks” all fail the test of truth.

Our world is broken. We all see it and know it. People hate. Nature and disease kill. Death stalks us all. I think, say, and do the evil I know I shouldn’t. We go running after the answers that the world gives. All of their answers promise to fix this mess. All have failed.

God’s answer did not fail: Jesus Christ! One honest to God, Gospel truth life came into our world. Our triune God loved us so much that he planned to rescue this sin-damaged world. The Son came to be the truth that would battle sin, death, Satan, and a world that hates him. Throughout his entire life he remained holy so that he could trade his life for ours at the place of God’s judgment. This is the sacred truth that we believe, confess, and hold dear because it means the solution for our sin. Our truth-telling Jesus gives us the certain conviction that he will take all those who trust him to live with him in heaven. This is the only reality there is.

His promise puts everything else into perspective. It gives us a worldview that is bigger than our eyes can see or what we can know. As a child of God through faith in our Savior Jesus, who now lives in us by that same faith, look at this great promise: “You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world” (1 John 4:4).

Jesus came from above with absolute truth from heaven. No matter what challenge or attack the world brings, Jesus has battled through all the world-perverted ideas of truth in order to give us the truth he came to share. That truth has changed us. We are on his side, the side of truth. We see reality—eternal reality—in the cross and the love of God for us sinners.

  1. He shares the truth through us.

Our Warrior, Jesus, calls us to be his warriors in this world. We don’t use swords or guns as Peter tried to do in the Garden of Gethsemane. St. Paul tells us how to wage our battles against Satan and the world: “Though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds” (2 Corinthians 10:3-4). The weapon he gives us is his own powerful Word. That has given us a Christian worldview far superior to any other worldview.  The Word has changed us. Our faith shows the hope and joy we have in Jesus.

Our world goes from experience to experience, seeking some form of happiness before moving on. It’s like using matches to find your way through the desert. The match goes out and they light another. But they find no happiness, true joy, or real peace.

So our high privilege is to grow in the truth of Christ through his Word, and then to show and share the beautiful faith he has given us. When you get out of bed in the morning, think, “Jesus.” As you choose what to spend your time, energy, and money on, think, “Jesus.” Let Jesus and his Word be the GPS for your entire life!

Sometimes we are tempted to think this world is so too far gone to be helped. So throw out the TVs and computers, don’t listen to anyone, and just read the Bible all the time at home. But keep in mind that Jesus gives us some direction. He told his disciples in a prayer during Holy Week, “My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world” (John 17:15-18).

So consider this: After being exposed to a godless worldview—whether godless panic or hateful skepticism—turn to your Bible and spend some personal and family time discussing how Christ gives us a far more truthful view of the world and life! Use those opportunities to equip yourself and your family to be confident of the real truth!

Jesus has overcome the world and given you the treasure of his truth. Go out there and live, play, and work in God’s marvelous truth. Be ready to share it. Amen.