Sunday, September 24, 2017

"Does Jesus Know You?"

Daily Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries
By Pastor Ken Klaus, Speaker Emeritus of The Lutheran Hour
"Does Jesus Know You?"
September 21, 2017
Matthew 25:10b-12 - (Jesus said) "... the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut. Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, 'Lord, Lord, open to us.' But he answered, 'Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.'"
Pastor's Note: this devotion is probably not for you, but it may be for someone you know. If so, won't you make sure they get it? Thanks, Pastor Klaus
Did you pay attention to the reading? Did you hear the last statement? Listen carefully: "He answered, 'Truly I say to you, I do not know you.'" That parable leads me to ask, does Jesus know you? It's an important question, one which I'm sure most, if not all of you, would be able to answer: "Yes, absolutely! The Holy Spirit has introduced us, and Jesus has personally forgiven my sins." Still, most of us can name someone who probably isn't known by the Savior.

Let me explain. The president of the USA is Donald Trump. You probably know a few things about him. For example, you may know the name of his wife, some of his children, what he used to do for a living, and the address of his home when he is in Washington.

Now, let me ask, since you know so much about President Trump, what do you think would happen if you went up to the White House and asked to see him? Maybe, in this day of heightened security, you might get to the front gate. There you'd be confronted by a guard. You tell the guard you'd like to see the president.

How far do you think you're going to get? Do you think the guard will say, "No problem, come on in. The president is always glad to have strangers show up off the street"? That isn't a likely scenario, is it? In all probability, the guard would check his list to see if you were expected or had an appointment. He might ask, "Does the president know you?"

What do you think would happen if you said, "Well no, the president really doesn't know me. Truth is, I never voted for him, and have spent some time criticizing him"?

Having heard that, I think the best you could expect out of the guard would be "I'm sorry, sir, the president doesn't allow strangers to walk in unannounced."

But suppose, just suppose the guard asked you, "Look, just how long do you think your visit with the president will take? Ten minutes? Fifteen? A half hour? How long do you think you'll want to be staying?"

To that question you reply, "Well, I actually haven't thought about this as a visit. I really thought I'd come and live here."

Hardly able to contain himself, the guard shoots back: "Let me get this straight. You don't like the president, have no use for him, have no appointment with him, and now you want to come in and freeload off him the rest of your life? Buddy, get out! We don't know you."

Yes, that's the way it would be if you, uninformed, unannounced, and unexpectedly tried to go and live with the president. And that's the way it will be for those who try to get into heaven without any kind of relationship with the Savior. People cannot expect to spend their lives ignoring the Lord and, at the end, without any change, be invited in to stay with Him.

So, does the Savior know you? There is still time for the Holy Spirit to make an introduction. There is still time for the Lord, who died and rose to rescue you, to extend a personal invitation to join Him in heaven.

THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, grant that those who work so hard at ignoring Jesus, may have their hearts softened and be brought to a saving faith in their best and dearest Redeemer, Lord, and Friend. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker Emeritus of The Lutheran Hour
Lutheran Hour Ministries

"No Religion Here"

Daily Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries
By Pastor Ken Klaus, Speaker Emeritus of The Lutheran Hour

September 16, 2017
Revelation 2:10-11 - Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
Britain has another religious survey out. This one was conducted by the National Centre for Social Research. It's a simple enough survey. Its primary goal was to answer the question, "Do you have a religion or do you not?" 

• In the year 1983, 31 percent of the people said they were without any religion.
• Thirty-four years later, in 2017, 53 percent of the respondents said they have no faith. Period.
• When the question was asked of the 18-to-24-year-old crowd, the percentage went screaming up to 71 percent.

One individual, Dr. Richard Land of Southern Evangelical Seminary, has tried to decipher the downward trend. His interpretation is not too hard to understand. He holds that the problem all stems from the leadership of the church constantly questioning Scripture, denying fundamental doctrines, and denying God's truth.

I guess Dr. Land is just sharing some common sense.

It stands to reason: if you've been led to believe that God has lied to you in one area, there's no reason to think He won't do the same somewhere else. And if the Lord cannot be trusted or held to a higher level of accountability than the average conman, well, who needs Him?

Although we can be sure there are other factors which have played a part in this mass desertion, the theory goes far in explaining what has happened in England.

And it can go just as far in warning us what could happen to the church in the U.S. of A.

Right now, there are three things standing between America and Britain's mass exodus. The first is the Holy Spirit. It is He who is the founder, protector, and the strengthener of the church. Without Him, all would be lost.

The second bastion against the church's erosion is a clergy that speaks the Lord's Word in love. These men of the cloth speak when the Lord speaks and are silent when God is silent. They are shepherds when it is time to lead, and they are servants when the flock needs assistance.

The third force for faithfulness is a laity that remains committed to Word and Sacrament. They are gentle to the weak and lovingly call back the wandering. They sing like they mean it at worship, and their witness is powerful, positive, and joyful.

Now I know you can look at my definitions above and come up with something better. You may readily think I have missed the boat altogether. I won't argue; it is possible. If that is how you feel, then, please write down your list of what the church needs to succeed as it proclaims the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.

THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, grant that Your church may know how to live and work so that we bring a great and powerful witness to our Savior who has died and risen to redeem us. Keep us from sour faces and sad proclamation. This I ask in Jesus' Name. Amen.

The above devotion was inspired by a number of sources, including one written by Steve Jordahl for One News Now on September 6, 2017. Those who wish to reference that article may do so at the following link, which was fully functional at the time this devotion was written: click here.

In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker Emeritus of The Lutheran Hour
Lutheran Hour Ministries