Enemy Sunday

Here is an interesting idea by Pastor William Cwirla:

“Rather than Friendship Sunday, we should consider Enemy Sunday. Invite an enemy to church. Pray for them. Give them a free lunch.”

After all, it is written as the Lord said:

But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. (St. Matthew 5)

When we get right down to it, isn’t this what the Great Week, Holy Week is all about, that is the Crucifixion and the Lord praying, forgive them for they know not what they do?

10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.

Invite your enemies. Invite your mother-in-law.  Invite the guy who said the church is filled with hypocrites.  Invite the atheist professor whom you could not best in class.  Invite the guy who ran into your car and told you to go to hell. Invite the friend who blabbed your deepest secret all over facebook.  After all, His death reconciled you and I as well, that is, God’s enemies.  “Oh, oh, but…I am…”  What’s the end of that sentence?  No “buts” at His Cross, only His enemies. God is plain in His Word. He is plain in His judgment…and His mercy through His bloody love at the cross. He invited you and it’s not your good sense that accepted the invitation but your need for His forgiveness.  

So, I think Pastor Cwirla is on to something:   Enemy Sunday.



Christ’s passion is for us.  The Passion of Jesus Christ is not reserved for Holy Week only. His whole life is His passion.  His passion is for us and for our salvation.  His felt first His passion, in the first drops of His blood in His circumcision.

His passion is not for material wealth, but the riches of His grace for us all. 

His passion is not to seek to be loved, but to love.

His passion is not to be served, but to serve. 

His passion is not to be number 1 but to give His life as a ransom for many.

His passion is not for the eternal death of sinners but that sinners repent and come to Him, as He said:  His yoke is easy and His burden is light. 

His passion is not for sin but for sinners. 

His passion is not to fool people, but lead His People.

His passion is not to expel people and so lose them but to find the lost.

Lent is about avoiding sinful passions to see more clearly His Passion; and His  Passion makes us clean and clear. The passions of men are for greed, lust, vengeance, for themselves the Lord’s Passion is for grace, mercy and peace for us and for our salvation.   His passion is not for the words of men but the Word of God. 

He laid it in on the line: I am the Resurrection and the life.  He is not at all like Buddha, Mohammed, Joseph Smith etc. laying out new principles and programs for one to follow.  I am, He says many times in the Gospel:  I am the Bread of life, I am the Light of the World, just before today’s lesson, I am the Good Shepherd.  He went and found Lazarus dead to show forth His Word: I am the resurrection and the life.  Jesus Christ is no principle nor program, though He is principled. No principle can console in death’s dark vale, only the One Man for all man, His passion for His friends. He did what the Law and no law can do:  change the heart, soul and mind.  He fulfilled every law and the prophets.  How?  The Word became flesh, all of our flesh, every atom of it.  I am the Resurrection and the Life, then in public ministry, but today He is the I am.  He fully and finally laid Himself on the line, so to follow Jesus Christ to the day in which there will be no sunset. “No greater love hath a man than this that He lay down His life for His friends”.  He said He has authority to lay down His life and take it up again.  He has.

His Passion is our passion. Here in John 11, we see His passion pointedly in the tumult of battle with the last enemy, death.  He sees death and sorrow and mourning and it is reported that Jesus was visibly moved, shakento  the divine depths, indignant that death had undone so many.  He saw the terror of death in His loved one’s eyes. We can so easily gloss over in the narrative of the raising of Lazarus is He loved him and his sisters.  He who knew what is in the heart of man, saw the terror and fear in their hearts. We all know that terror, the fear of death.  Martha told the Lord the obvious that it has been four days and there will be an odor.  Death stinks.  No amount of the smells invented by man can cover death’s stink. Mortal man does not control death’s terror, and neither does moral man.  Sin is death and as we cannot control death and so it follows, we cannot control sin.  Maybe externally we can refrain, but not in the heart unless we buy the lies of the super spiritual:  do this, do that then you will be free. Law cannot set one free.  This only results in pride or despair. Lord’s hates both in His grace toward us. Better despair so that to the Lord, we may repair. The only we are repaired from the effect of sin which is death is by the Lord entering the fray. Jesus went inside.  Move the stone, He said, at the tomb.  He crossed the border from life to death, so that He crossed from death to life to lead the way looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfector of our faith, so we can lay down the sin which so easily entangles the race. He would be in His tomb very soon.

His passion was not  to possess those whom He met.  He loved people and used things perfectly.  Man tends to use people and love things. Our passions are for many things, sports, jobs, family, cars, television, food…and the myriad and sundry ways of breaking the 1st commandment, though He alone has given all that for our need, and even for our passion.  But when such passion becomes more than our need for the Lord, then we have a false god. He crossed into the valley of the deities, and unlike any other god, Jesus Christ, true Son of the Father, died and rose so we are baptized into Him, as His passion is our passion.

His passion is our compassion.  We live and work amongst people we like and love and dislike and hate.  Yet for all them God so loved the world He gave His begotten Son that whoever believes in Him, shall not perish but have eternal life.  His passion is the cause of our compassion for our neighbor, not only His Law, but His blood shed for us all.  It is disorienting to see His Cross for someone we do not like, even hate. Yet, His passion orients us into His Way as He is the truth and the life, to see according to His Word.  We may wish someone’s eternal damnation but that is not the Lord’s goal, as He is compassionate with us every step of the way.  Seeing His cross is the only to forgive, die  and rise and bear our cross.

 His passion is for each of us.  This Lent we have heard 4 conversation Jesus has had with people, centering each time on one person:Lent 2, Jesus and Nicodemus, Lent 3, Jesus and the Samaritan Woman,Lent 4, Jesus and the Man born Blind, today, Lent 5,  Jesus and Lazarus

In other words:  Jesus and a Proud Man, Jesus and a Heretical and Adulterous Woman,Jesus and a Blind Man,  Jesus and a Dead Man.  There surely seems to be downward trajectory of the persons involved from pride to heresy/adultery to blindness to death,  and that’s the way of it in Adam and Jesus is going downward every step of the way with them and for them, and He will take them up from His tomb, every step of the way.

Spiritual tombs and physical tombs, now, the spiritual, and on that day, the physical tomb, as Lazarus’ was rent so all will be rent.  Yes, these are conversations between Jesus with many people involved, however, looking ahead in hope in Christ Jesus, the series is not complete: Jesus and Nicodemus,  the Samaritan Woman, the Man born blind, today,  Jesus and Lazarus and  every Day of the Year Jesus and YOU!  Passiontide is about Jesus and you and me, His passion for each of us, for our neighbor, every step of the way, our way, in His way.  Next week Sunday, Palm Sundaym begins the great week, Holy Week, the culmination of His passion on earth. It took 6 days to create the heavens and the earth, it took 33 years for the Lord to redeem it.  We need to hear, pray, and sing His passion and invite a neighbor to so sojourn and walk.

For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. (Romans 8)

What did Jesus Have to Lose? by Pastor T. R. Halvorson

I Haven’t Made Jesus My Personal Lord and Savior by Chad Bird

The Pharisees, as all Pharisees, are those who trust in their works to save.  Thy are the ‘good’ people.  They will tell you as much  ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ (Luke 18:  9-14, Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector).  Sounds so much of what goes for Christianity, sadly enough.  As a pastor I would want a congregation of fasters and especially tithers, that is, a congregation of Pharisees, but thank the Lord He does not grant that prayer.

I cannot imagine after being blind since birth and then seeing again to be so investigated by so many good people. I saw in a meme this past week which shows a man with a real quizzical, sarcastic face with the statement:  “Not going to church because of the ‘hypocrites’ is like not going to the gym because of “out of shape people”. I have heard folks say that I do not like to go church because of all the good people.  Sounds like too much like Christianity and that’s wrong.  Pharisees did not want to be forgiven people in Jesus Christ.  We are by His grace alone, a congregation of forgiven sinners.  We were darkness, not merely doing a dark thing or two, wrote the Apostle; and so walk as children of the light, that is, children of God baptized into Christ (Ephesians 5:8-14).  How can we walk as children of light?  Because in Baptism we are “light in the Lord” (Ephesians 5:8).  Only He can raise the dead, give light to the darkened, see the man born blind, see Saul of Tarsus, Peter, James, John, Lydia, the Philippians Jailer…you, me.  We need His light, the light of the Word:  preached, taught, administered, prayed, served in order  to so walk, protected by the Lord according to His Word, against all enemies, even our flesh.  His Word is the light of the world.  At the end of the Gospel the seeing man is at the feet of Jesus worshiping Him, the glory and truth of the Father in the communion of the Holy Spirit, as Jesus speaks with the Pharisees, protected by the Lord.

At the end of John 9, the seeing man is worshiping at the feet of Jesus, probably at His feet and the Pharisees are still taking pot shots.  Jesus is protecting him.  We are told that Jesus went in search of the formerly blind beggar.  Jesus teaches, I am the Good Shepherd, I go search of the lost (John 10).  Jesus found the now seeing man.  He protects him from the barbs of the self-righteous and all the wolves seeking to devour the flock. Jesus and the worshiping and seeing man is the icon, the  picture of the Church.  “For, thank God, today a child seven years old knows what the Church is, namely, the holy believers and lambs who hear the voice of their Shepherd. For the children pray thus: I believe in one holy Christian Church.”(Book of Concord, Smalcald Articles)

Icon of Noah, Kramer Chapel, Concordia Theological Seminary, Ft. Wayne, IN

Intro:  On Wednesday March 12, we began at the Mission a 6 week Bible Class, The 6 Building Blocks, a review of each of the 6 Chief Parts of The Small Catechism by Dr. Martin Luther.  Below is the outline  of the fourth session.-Pr. Schroeder 

Merciful Father, through Holy Baptism You called us to be Your own possession. Grant that our lives may evidence the working of Your Holy Spirit in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control, according to the image of Your only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior.

 From The Lutheran Service Book:  Holy Baptism, page 268ff, Luther’s “Flood Prayer”:

Almighty and eternal God, according to Your strict judgment You condemned the unbelieving world through the flood, yet according to Your great mercy You preserved believing Noah and his family, eight souls in all. You drowned heart-hearted Pharaoh and all his host in the Red Sea, yet led Your people Israel through the water on dry ground, prefiguring this washing of Your Holy Baptism. Through the Baptism in the Jordan of Your beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, You sanctified and instituted all waters to be a blessed flood, and a lavish washing away of sin.

We pray that You would behold name according to Your boundless mercy and bless him with true faith by the Holy Spirit that through this saving flood all sin in him which has been inherited from Adam and which he himself has committed since would be drowned and die. Grant that he be kept safe and secure in the holy ark of the Christian Church, being separated from the multitude of unbelievers and serving Your name at all times with a fervent spirit and a joyful hope, so that, with all believers in Your promise, he would be declared worthy of eternal life, through Jesus Christ, our Lord.


1)      Pray the Fourth Chief Part

i)        Emphasis of Sections:

(a)    Institution of the Sacrament of Holy Baptism God’s Name:  See St. Matthew 28: 19;  Numbers 6: 22-27

(b)   Relation to Second Commandment, 1st Article of the Creed, and 1st Petition of the   Lord’s Prayer

(c)    Actual Water

2)      Types of Sacraments in General:  see Numbers 21:8-10

(a)    Old Testament Type of Holy Baptism:  see 2 Kings 5: 1-15  “At first, Naaman was furious, thinking that God should use a more spiritual means of cleansing. Yet God willed to attach His Word to the ordinary water of the Jordan.”

(b)   Time-conditioned Sacraments

(c)    Definition of Sacrament: Christ’s command, Christ’s promise, a visible element (water, wine, bread),

(d)   Summation of Bible regarding water  and the Word:  Luther’s Flood Prayer, see above

3)      Question:  Can infants and children be baptized?

(a)    See St. Matthew 28:  19:  “all nations” include infants and children, otherwise our Lord would have said, baptize all adults;  see St. Mark 10: 13-16:  even adults who are baptized are baptized as children See Acts 2: 39;  Acts 16: 15, 33

(b)   Denial of Baptism is denial three key Christian Doctrines:

  1. Doctrine of Original Sin, “If you don’t believe in the doctrine of original sin, then have children” Tree and fruit, so-called “age of accountablility”
    1. See: Psalm 51: 5;  Romans 5: 12, 18-19;  Ephesians 2: 3 & 5
  2. Doctrine of Faith:  See Ephesians 2: 8-9; St. Luke 1: 41-44
  3. Doctrine of God’s Work confused as man’s work.  Who asked to be born?  Birth is something that is given, just as the New Birth, Baptism:  See St. John 3: 5-6;  1 Peter 1: 3, Titus 3: 5-8;  Galatians 3: 25-27  One Baptism continued from this life to the next, Romans 6: 3-11, see 3rd Article of the Creed, the resurrection of the body. See last paragraph of Luther’s explanation

 Close with The Lord’s Prayer

The Sadducees did not believe in the Resurrection asking Jesus a trick question (St. Mark 12: 18-22).  Jesus’ response begins with this post’s verse in the title. The Word of God is the power of God unto salvation and the Resurrection.  How could learned men not know?  The  Sadducees  demonstrated their supposed control of the Word and power of God.  Eve bought the serpent’s lie:   she could “know good and evil”.  “Knowledge is power”.  Eve thought she  could have power like God, controlling good and evil, especially,  spirituality.  Really?   The Sadducees limited God   to their understanding.  They didn’t know (control) the Word and power of God.   God raises the dead, soul and body. Soul:  see David, Jeremiah, Paul, you, me.  Body: see Lazarus and the son of the widow of Nain.  How?   His own Son raised for our faith unto eternal life.


















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