Online Worship Trinity Two, Sunday June 21, 2020
Bible Text: Proverbs 31:8-9 | Preacher: Andrew Schaller | Sermon for Trinity Two – 09,10,00 – Sunday June 21, 2020
Calvary/Marquette ● Soli Deo Gloria
Grace be unto you and peace from the One True God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.
“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.”
In the Name of Jesus, the Christ,
Who speaks on our behalf to the Father,
Dear Fellow Redeemed in His Precious Blood –
When I first became Pastor at Resurrection Lutheran Church in Corpus Christi 27 years ago, I was given office space by one of my members in downtown Corpus Christi. I enjoyed having a downtown office and every morning my members and I shared coffee and visited. I got to know them rather well.
There was only one drawback to having an office in downtown Corpus Christi – I was told not to come down to the office after dark. A city of 300,000, Corpus Christi has a problem with gangs and violence, especially downtown after dark. I heard stories told of people who were caught in between rival gangs at night, who went from door to door asking to use the phone to call for help, but no one would even open their door.
Can you imagine refusing to help someone who is in danger of death? Can you imagine refusing even to call 911 in another’s defense? These people would not help because they were afraid or simply because they ‘didn’t want to get involved.’ It made me sick to hear that some human beings would refuse even to speak on behalf of another who is in danger of death.
I find it especially shameful when those in need are children or young adults.
In the Proverb before us this morning, Solomon gives advice to his son, his son who would one day follow his father and become King. Solomon tells him that he is to speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves and those who are left behind. He tells him to defend the rights of the poor and needy.
These words, however, are not only meant for kings and those in authority. These are also the words of our heavenly Father, who would have us LIVE IN DEFENSE OF OTHERS. Our Heavenly Father, who sent His Son Jesus to speak up and to stand up for us, bids us to speak and stand up for those in need. We are indeed blessed to hear GOD speak to us in His Word.
Consequently, we pray that GOD the Holy Spirit would through the Gospel fill our hearts with a great love and concern for all our fellow men. Amen.
“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.
If you’ve ever seen a television program that includes an arrest scene, then you’ve probably heard the Miranda rights:
“You have the right to remain silent. Anything that you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have a right to an Attorney. If you cannot afford one, one will be appointed to you by the court. Do you understand these rights?”
We all understand what an Attorney does – he stands speaks on behalf of another. He stands and speaks because he understands the law and the procedure of the court. “Your honor, my client pleads not guilty.”
In a sense, this Proverb tells us that our Heavenly Father wants us all to be like an Attorney in this respect: We are to speak on behalf of and defend those who cannot speak. This would first of all include the mute, those who literally and physically cannot speak. We should make sure that their needs are not left unspoken.
These words would also apply to those who because of age cannot speak: the unborn, infants and children.
As Christians we should speak in defense of the unborn. This is done when by our vote we individually oppose Abortion.
As Sponsors, we speak on the Infant’s behalf at baptism, answering for the child’s faith, which though created by God cannot be expressed because of the child’s inability to speak.
As Parents we defend and speak on behalf of our children, when we make decisions that affect their physical and spiritual lives.
We should also remember here that Our Father would have us speak up on behalf of those who are not present to speak for or defend themselves. When someone speaks evil of another in their absence, we should be diligent to defend them, especially if we know the gossip to be false.
For it is written (James 4:11):
“Do not speak evil of one another, brothers.”
Our Father also tells us that we should speak up for the rights of all that are destitute. The word destitute here refers to those who have been left behind because of a death, those who would die without help. When we support Project Kinship and provide for the Orphans in India, we do in fact, speak up for the rights of the destitute.
Why should we speak up on behalf of others and defend them?
Well, some say that we should speak up because it’s the nice thing to do. Well, it is the loving and kind thing to do, but that’s not really the reason why we should defend our neighbor.
Maybe we should speak up so that people see us as good and honorable people and so speak kindly on our behalf. It may indeed happen that others will think highly and speak kindly of us, but that’s not really why we should do so.
Well, shouldn’t we defend others so that God will defend us and reward our kindness with Heaven?
God already has already promised the gift of heaven is ours through faith in Christ. All the riches of the world cannot buy what is God’s Gift.
We should defend others faithfully and lovingly, because Jesus once faithfully and lovingly stood up in defense of us, and still does! Let’s remember that we are by nature guilty of sin and GOD has all the evidence He needs to condemn us.
We are by nature spiritually dead, unable to speak for ourselves, so Jesus came to speak for us, and to live for us and to die for us. It was an open and shut case against us. There was nothing that we could say or do, nothing that we could offer to change the Judge’s mind or win the case against us. Jesus stepped forward and became our Advocate, our Attorney. Jesus spoke up for us and still does, so it is written (1 John 2:1b):
My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.
We were the orphans, and He came to adopt us as His own (Galatians 4:4-5):
When the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.”
Moreover, when Judgement Day dawns we will be declared ‘not guilty’ and set free to everlasting life, because our attorney even now stands before the throne of God pleading for us. We need not fear because our attorney is also the judge. The New Century Translation expresses it well (Romans 8:33-34, NCV):
“Who can accuse the people God has chosen? No one, because God is the One who makes them right. Who can say God’s people are guilty? No one, because Christ Jesus died, but he was also raised from the dead, and now he is on God’s right side, begging God for us.”
Our Father and His Son, our Savior, ask us to speak up for and defend those who cannot speak for themselves. But that’s not all he asks us to do.
Some lawyers wouldn’t dream of actually getting their hands dirty, of providing for the needs or defending a client personally. Many lawyers will defend in word only, and not in action.
We are not merely called upon to speak, but to judge, to act on behalf of the poor and needy.
Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.”
It’s the deep dark bush of Africa, and suddenly a lion charges a man in your safari. What would you do: 1) Yell loudly ‘Look out!’ as you run the other way, or 2) Throwing your gun to your shoulder step in between the man and the lion? That’s a tough decision, right?
It’s one thing to speak up for another, but it’s quite another to do something, to step between them and danger.
Our Heavenly Father doesn’t only ask us to speak, he also asks us here to Judge Fairly, to make righteous decisions. We are quick to defend and provide for ourselves. The LORD here asks us to defend others, to stand up for and step in to help others, especially the poor and needy.
We are sometimes inclined to judge people and to help them based upon the way they look. We give the benefit of the doubt to those who are dressed well, rather than to those dressed in dirty clothing. If we Judge Righteously, then we will look at the need and provide, regardless of social status or color of skin.
Judging Righteously means that we see to it that justice is rendered on behalf of those who are oppressed, whether humbled in stature or poor, needing help.
Should we become a social organization and make our purpose feeding the poor? While we applaud efforts to provide food and clothing for the destitute, we must remember that our primary purpose as a church is not to try and right the wrongs of this present world. We are not to be merely a ‘social needs’ organization, but a ‘spiritual needs’ organization.
We should step forward and provide for the poor, but let’s not pretend that we have then solved their problems. It’s one thing to feed their bodies, its far more valuable to feed their souls. When we help those in need by providing food or clothing, let’s not forget that the greatest protection we can offer comes through faith in Christ Jesus. Let’s make every effort first to direct them to Jesus, so that He can give them Heaven.
Why should we provide for the poor and needy?
So that people will think us good people? NO.
Just in case we might be poor and needy one day? NO.
In order to earn God’s Riches? NO.
We love because He first loved us. We love because even before we were born, God sent His Son into this world to speak up and stand up in our defense. Jesus didn’t just talk about saving us, He stepped forward and took on human flesh and blood. He stood up for us and Himself did all that was necessary to redeem us. For —
“God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
It was genuine grace, undeserved love that moved Christ to come to defend us in word and deed.
It is only when that Love is transferred into our hearts by the Holy Spirit that we will defend others in both word and deed.
May God grant us just such a genuine Love, a love that loves in response to the Love of Christ, and glories in Christ alone.