Preached at Holy Cross Evangelical Lutheran Church in Rocklin, California on the Fourteenth Sunday After Pentecost, September 6, 2020 by Pastor Todd Peperkorn.
Sermon Text: Matthew 18:1-20
Sermon Theme: “If Your Brother Sins Against You”
Old Testament: Ezekiel 33:7–9
Epistle: Romans 13:1–10
Holy Gospel: Matthew 18:1–20
Living as Humble Little Children of the Father
True greatness is not self-sufficient strength, but humility like that of a little child. The greatness of childlike faith receives all good things as gracious gifts from our Father in heaven. Apart from such faith, “you will never enter the kingdom of heaven,” but whoever is humbled like a little child will be “the greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 18:3–4). Though in our sin we deserve to be “drowned in the depth of the sea” (Matt. 18:6), we have instead been drowned (“buried”) with Christ in Baptism and then raised to the new, humble life of a child of God. The Lord sends His watchman to warn us with a word from His mouth, in order that we may not die in our iniquity but be turned from our pride and selfishness to live (Ezek. 33:7–9). Thus, we live in humility and faith before God as well as in love for our neighbor, which “is the fulfilling of the law” (Rom. 13:10). In the reverent fear of God, we do no harm to our neighbor, but we “pay to all what is owed to them” (Rom. 13:7) and we “owe no one anything, except to love each other” (Rom. 13:8).