1 John 4:19-21
19 We love because He first loved us. 20 If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can[b] he love God whom he has not seen? 21 And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.
44 Days ago we took off on a Lenten Journey to set our eyes on Jesus Mission from the Cross and then our mission as people saved by Christ on the cross. We started out on Ash Wednesday when we heard that because of the sin that so clings to us from our first parents we “are dust and to dust we shall return”. Dead and buried in our sins Christ’s mission from the cross is to free us from those sins and make us alive to Him. God’s mission is to make sure that even though we are dead and buried, His word “might not be buried but put to use and enjoyed”. He sends the Holy Spirit to offer and apply to us the saving work of Jesus. Otherwise as Luther says it would remain hidden and no one would know of it and it would all be lost”. Right there is an explanation of your mission – to speak and witness to Christ in your work and family and day to day life.
Keeping our eyes fixed on the crucified and resurrected Christ, must begin with Christ crucified. The purpose of Lent is to fix our eyes on Jesus as he sets His face like flint to go up to Jerusalem and die. That is one way to translate Luke 9:51. It seems to be Luke’s way of going all the way back to the prophecy of Christ from Isaiah, “I offered my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard; I did not hide my face from mocking and spitting. Because the Sovereign Lord helps me, I will not be disgraced. Therefore I have set my face like flint, and I know I will not be put to shame. “Isaiah 50:6-7”. Most of our modern translations say, “As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. He did it for you and me and the whole world.
The purpose of Lenten preaching is to lead to repentance. We set aside special services during Lent in the desire to show the importance of the life of repentance and faith. Repentance leads to faith and a community that is ready to witness to Christ and Him crucified. Perhaps the reason for our special Lenten preaching is best described by Spurgeon, “O you redeemed ones, on whose behalf this strong resolve was made—you who have been bought by the precious blood of this steadfast, resolute Redeemer—come and think awhile of Him, that your hearts may burn within you and that your faces may be set like flints to live and die for Him who lived and died for you!” In those few words Spurgeon spells out a missionary context of Lenten preaching. You are called to live for Christ.