If I say to the wicked, "You shall surely die," and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, in order to save his life, that wicked person shall die for his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand. Ezekiel 3:18
Years ago, that is, before air-conditioning, I heard of a pastor (not LCMS) in Texas who, on a hot and humid August Sunday, ascended his pulpit and preached this sermon: "I want y'all to remember there is one place which is hotter than Texas in August. Amen."
Although that message didn't have a proper Law-Gospel balance, it was remembered. Short messages can do that.
In contrast to many politicians, the late president of the United States, Calvin Coolidge, was a man known for his sparing use of words. One Sunday, when his wife was sick, "Cal" went to church alone. That afternoon, Grace, his wife, asked, "Cal, what did the pastor talk about?" The reply was one word: "Sin." The next question called for a longer answer: "And dear, what did the minister say about sin?" Cal answered: "He was against it."
We live in a world that has seen many changes.
One of those many changes should not be the way a pastor approaches sin. In the sainted president's words: pastors should be against it.
Now I don't say that because I belong to some denomination. I say it because God says it. Look at the warning the Lord gives to Ezekiel. Ezekiel wouldn't have been surprised. In his day it was required for a messenger to relate the precise words he had been told.
To change a message or not deliver a communication would have been unthinkable.
It should still be unimaginable.
In His Holy Word the Lord has shared the story of His love. He has done so in the Person of His Son who gave His life so that all who are brought to faith by the Holy Spirit's power might be forgiven and adopted into the family of faith.
It is a message that is simply too good not to share -- and too important to change.
This is why I pray your pastor, your parish, the people around you -- and you -- do as the Lord requests. Condemn that which the Lord condemns; allow that which He allows, and always point to the Savior whose sacrifice on Calvary's cross is God's gracious guarantee of eternal life.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, I give thanks Your Word is simple enough to save a child and complex enough to challenge the wisest of scholars. Today I pray this Word may not be modified, maligned or slandered. Instead, may it accomplish Your purpose: the saving of souls. This I ask in the Name of my Savior, Jesus. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries