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The Rev. William Klock: “Will He Find Faith on Earth?” (Luke 18:1-14)

June 9, 2015

From Fr. Bill Klock of Living Word Reformed Episcopal Church in British Columbia, here is another sermon in his series on the Gospel of Luke, titled Will He Find Faith on Earth?.  In this message, Fr. Bill has some very good thoughts on reconciliation and redemption:

Brothers and sisters, God’s kingdom is about reconciliation and redemption.  It always has been, ever since he called Abraham to himself, blessing him in order to be a blessing to the nations.  Jesus brought that mission of blessing to its climax as he created a new people, his Church, to be a light to the world that the whole human race might be drawn to the Lord and know him and go home justified by faith.  That’s our mission.  And that means that our lives ought to be characterised by humility—by the knowledge that, like the tax collector, we are poor sinners redeemed by grace.  We can stand before God only because Jesus, the only human being who was ever perfect enough to stand before him on his own merit, went to the cross to die the death we deserve.  And kingdom people, because of our humility, because we have experienced and known the love of God for sinners, will always be about redemption and reconciliation—about seeking not to condemn the lost, but to draw them to Jesus.  Because kingdom people were once lost, because kingdom people know what it means to be lost, and because we desire to share this life we know only be grace with everyone around us.

But all too often we forget the true nature of grace.  We look at the sinners around us and we start to think like the Pharisee in the parable and we start looking down on others.  And it isn’t a great step from looking down on sinners to longing for their judgement.  Think of all the times we look at others with judgement and condemnation.  Think of our attitude towards the people who hurt us.  Think of our attitude towards the Mormon who knocks on the door or the Jehovah’s Witness handing out cult literature on the street corner.  Think about our attitude towards the people we hear on the street cursing up a storm with the Lord’s name or the same-sex couple holding hands.  Think about our attitude towards the members of the “wrong” political parties who are ruining our country or ushering in an era of persecution for the Church.  Think of our attitude towards criminals and prisoners and our attitude towards the people in far off countries who follow false religions, even those who are persecuting our Christian brothers and sisters.  What’s our attitude towards all these people?  Brothers and sisters, the answer to that question reveals our place in the kingdom.  It reveals whether we’re the Pharisee who went home condemned in his self-righteousness or the tax collector who went home justified for his humble faith.  Yes, God’s people long for justice and we seek justice in this world—that’s part of our mandate—but if we are truly following our Lord, we’ll recognise and we’ll remember that Jesus went to the cross, not to reconcile good people to God, but to reconcile sinners—all sinners, including you and me, including the people who hurts us, including the cultist interrupting our dinner to argue doctrine, including the kid dropping f-bombs and the same-sex couple, including Liberals and New Democrats and Conservatives and Greens, including criminals and prisoners.  Jesus even died to reconcile terrorists and murderers to God.  We have a duty to speak out against evil and sin in the world, but brothers and sisters, let us never be like the Pharisee.  Let us never speak out of self-righteousness.  Let always remember that the only way evil and sin will ever be overcome is as we proclaim the good news that Jesus is Lord and as sinners are welcomed to the cross and into the kingdom with the message of God’s reconciling love for his enemies.

One can certainly say that redemption and reconciliation in our own lives and our own actions are a powerful testimony for the truth of the Gospel.  If you’d like to hear the sermon, here is a player for it.

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