Sword of the Spirit
Friday of Christmas 1
30 December 2016
The only weapon of the church and her children have is the Word of God. We live by the Word; never by power, never by sword, never in triumph or glory. By the Word. Only the Word. Always the Word. When we do battle with the powers of darkness that would overthrow the gospel of grace we have no other weapon than the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. Who would desire a better weapon? What more effective instrument of God's grace could there be than the mouth of the Lord?
 
Our own spiritual poverty, perversity and ignorance are the direct corollary of this truth. The Lord must speak for us, because we cannot. The Lord must speak because we will impoverish His Word with our own "interpretation," and by that interpretation impoverish His glorious grace. The Lord must speak because we have careened off the Lord's royal road and have lauded our own works as the way to heaven. The Lord must speak because our ignorance cannot conceive the conception of His Son of Mary so that God is with us.
 
There is only one way to speak for God: God must speak for Himself. The church must remain immersed in the Word of God. If she does not then another voice will arise from her midst. That sulfurous voice is not one far away but is as near as our own hearts. We will either speak the Word of God or the word of the enemy. We who are dust and ashes have no better weapon. When we confess the sufficiency of the Word of God we are also plunging the Sword of the Spirit into our own hearts in repentance, only to die again with Christ the death of baptism; slaying the old Adam and his desire to silence the Word of God and substitute his own sick unto death croaking.

Rev. Dr. Scott R. Murray
Memorial Lutheran Church

Hilary of Poitiers
 
"And now, Almighty God, I must first pray You to forgive my excess of indignation, and permit me to address You; and next to grant me, dust and ashes as I am, yet bound in loyal devotion to You, freedom of utterance in this debate. There was a time when I, poor wretch, was not; before my life and consciousness and personality began to exist. It is to Your mercy that I owe my life; and I doubt not that You, in Your goodness, gave me my birth for my good, for You, who have no need of me, would never have made the beginning of my life the beginning of evil.
 
"And then, when You breathed into me the breath of life and endowed me with the power of thought, You instructed me in the knowledge of Yourself by means of the sacred volumes given us through Your servants Moses and the prophets. From them I learned Your revelation, that we must not worship You as a solitary God. For their pages taught me of God, not different from You in nature but one with You in mysterious unity of substance. I learned that You are God in God, by no mingling or confusion but by Your very nature, since the divinity which is Yourself dwells in Him who is from You. But the true doctrine of the perfect birth revealed that You, the Indwelt, and You, the Indweller, are not one person, yet that You dwell in Him who is from You.
 
"And the voices of the Evangelists and Apostles repeat the lesson, and the very words which fell from the holy mouth of Your Only-begotten are recorded, telling how Your Son, God the Only-begotten from You the Unbegotten God, was born of the Virgin as man to fulfill the mystery of my salvation. Truly You dwell in Him, by virtue of His true generation from Yourself, and He in You, because of the nature given in His perpetual birth from You." 

Hilary of Poitiers, On the Trinity, 6.19
Revelation 1:12-18

Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking to me, and on turning I saw seven golden lampstands, and in the midst of the lampstands one like a son of man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash around his chest. The hairs of his head were white like wool, as white as snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire, his feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and his voice was like the roar of many waters.
 
In his right hand he held seven stars, from his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength. When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, "Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.
(ESV)
Prayer
Come Lord Jesus! In these latter days by Your Word bring judgment upon our own croaking utterances that we might live only by that Word which is the Sword of the Spirit. Let us be cut asunder that You might make us whole by Your speaking of life. Amen.
 
For the family of Bill Heine, whom the Lord called home, that they would rejoice in the power of the resurrection and the hope of the life to come
 
For Nathan Haak and Hilary Murray, who are to be joined as man and wife in holy marriage this afternoon, that they would live as signs of Christ and His bride the church
 
For all those who do not expect the return of the Lord Jesus, that they might be led into true repentance and receive their salvation when He comes to judge the living and the dead
 
For President Ken Hennings, of the Texas District that he might speak using the only weapon of the church of Christ
Art: CORREGGIO, Holy Night (1528-1530)
Memorial Lutheran Church
smurray@mlchouston.org
http://www.mlchouston.org
© Scott Murray 2016
Memorial Lutheran Church, 5800 Westheimer Rd., Houston, TX 77057
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