“Church Is Boring”
“Church is boring.” You ever hear that or think that? One of the things that Scripture does is put a pair of goggles on our eyes so that we begin to see what isn’t seen. If we begin to see those things, church is anything but boring. Being a Christian is anything but boring. Trying to keep the commandments, confessing that you haven’t and receiving absolution is anything but boring.
Spiritual Warfare – The Unseen
Our text (Matthew 4:1-11) addresses this if we answer this question, “Where is Jesus tempted?” Answer: in the wilderness. Away from any human eyes. There is a cosmic battle going on between good and evil, order and chaos, beautiful and ugly, the Son of God and Satan and while this is happening – this duel between Jesus and Satan and the ultimate winner of this battle get’s you and your body and soul – the average dad in Jerusalem is out fishing to provide for his family, the average mom in Jerusalem is preparing a meal and the average child is playing with their toy chariots in the living room. An average day for them – boring even. And yet, what is happening beyond their eyes is anything but boring.
This is the perfect image of spiritual warfare. If it isn’t revealed to us what is going on around us and if we don’t meditate on this battle and don’t take seriously the gifts that God has given us in this battle, then being a Christian and being at church might seem a bit boring at times.
Satan Doesn’t Want What is Good for our Bodies
So here’s what I want you to do when you get home. Then I’m going to give you something to do while you’re here. Luther says that if it was up to Satan, we would not even get to eat a slice of bread. He wants no good for your soul but he also wants no good for your body. For us at times I think he’s not trying to prevent us from getting a slice of bread, he’s trying to convince us to eat the whole loaf that God has given us. Anyway, here’s what I want you to do: the next time you are going to eat something, the next time you have a piece of broccoli on your fork, I want you to picture Satan’s demons trying to knock it off because he knows that you need it for health and body and energy. And then picture God holy angels battling against these demons to prevent the broccoli from being knocked off. Broccoli eating is anything but boring. Neither is going to work, loving your spouse, being kind to your enemies, serving your family, laughing in clean humor, speaking well of someone, going for a jog, or asking someone “how was your day?
Satan Doesn’t Want what is Good for our Souls
If this battle is going on with the things of this life and of the body, then rest assured that the eternal things that are happening now have twice the battle. There is nothing boring about praying. Satan is fighting to prevent your prayer from 1.) Ever coming out, but rather staying in and burdening you and 2.) You believing that God actually hears them and loves to hear them in spite of the multitude of sins you have.
This battle is happening when you hear the Word of God and believe it, when you hear that your sins are forgiven and are released from them, when you hear that God is at peace with you, when you hear that God loves to have mercy on all the things that we cry out for mercy for and when you sing hymns that confess His love and truth. Church is anything but boring. Put the goggles on.
Jesus Stands When we Fall
And being a Christian is anything but boring. It is rather serious. Our Lord Jesus stands against Satan even when we fall. He gives us the victory even when we fail. But there are also times that in and through His Christians, He withstands the assaults of the devil, and the flesh and the world. When tempted to deny God, worship Satan, and receive the pleasures of this life, Jesus replies, It is written “You shall worship the Lord your God and Him only shall you serve.” This is accomplished through us by our Jesus when we avoid Satan’s traps and temptations.
The Martyrs of Egypt in 2015
There has recently been an amazing confession made by our brother Christians in Egypt whom our Jesus spoke through. This is from a story in Christian Today (http://www.christiantoday.com/article/brother.of.slain.coptic.christians.thanks.isis.for.including.their.words.of.faith.in.murder.video/48412.htm)
The brother of two of the 21 Coptic Christians murdered in Libya last week has thanked their killers for including the men’s declaration of faith in the video they made of their beheadings.
Harrowing scenes of the murders have been seen around the world. The last words of some of those killed were “Lord Jesus Christ”.
Beshir Kamel thanked ISIS for not editing out the men’s declaration of belief in Christ because he said this had strengthened his own faith. He added that the families of the ex-patriate workers are “congratulating one another” and not in despair: “We are proud to have this number of people from our village who have become martyrs,” he told the program.
He said: “Since the Roman era, Christians have been martyred and have learned to handle everything that comes our way. This only makes us stronger in our faith because the Bible told us to love our enemies and bless those who curse us.”
Asked by host Maher Fayez what he would say if he were asked to forgive ISIS, he related what his mother said she would do if she saw one of the men who killed her son. “My mother, an uneducated woman in her sixties, said she would ask [him] to enter her house and ask God to open his eyes because he was the reason her son entered the kingdom of heaven.”
Invited to pray for his brothers’ killers, Beshir prayed: “Dear God, please open their eyes to be saved and to quit their ignorance and the wrong teachings they were taught.”
Jesus: Our Victor
May our eyes be opened to our partial ignorance of the devils temptations and willing weakness at times. May our faith be strengthened by those who did not deny the Christ and are now being confessed by that Christ before His Heavenly Father. And may we know that though we fail, though Adam and Eve failed, Jesus succeeded. Though we lose so often, our Jesus has won the victory and gives it to us. Though we sin, Jesus was perfect through His temptations, but yet was punished, so that the He might answer for our sins with His blood. Don’t feel bad for Jesus, that He has was tempted or that He died, because by these He was attacking Satan.
Being a Christian is anything but boring. And the gift you receive today in being gathered to hear God’s Word and receive His forgiveness is anything but boring. By these things, your Jesus is beating back Satan. Amen.