St. Michael and All Angels, September 29, 2019

Epistle Revelation 12:7-12; Gospel Luke 10:17-20

So the battle in heaven is over and done with.  Christ has conquered all that could stand between us and the righteousness of God; the mighty angel Michael and his army of angels have carried out their marching orders “to a T.”  But remember what I said earlier?  The Christian life is often compared to a battle in the New Testament.  So even in our having received the justification of the saints, even in our having been sanctified, cleansed and made holy in the Blood of the Lamb, still we are battling against the things that would take us down in this life.  For it it true that Satan has been kicked out of heaven.  That’s the good news.  The bad news is that he now inhabits the earth, “going to and fro …and from walking up and down on it” (Job 1:7).  And he is taking aim at the church.  He is taking aim at your faith.  He is taking aim at the means of grace, at the Word of Christ and His Sacraments.  Did God really say?  How could water do such an amazing thing as bring a lost sinner into the Kingdom of Heaven?  What do you mean “take and eat, take and drink, this is true Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins?”  How can that be possible?  So this battle rages on.  And wherever and whenever you are confronted with someone or something that wants to separate you from these gifts, what Christ has given for you for the forgiveness of sins and everlasting life, you can be sure that the devil is at work.  Luther says the devil works not to captures our senses, that is, what we can see, but our minds.  He seeks to deceive us with false and wicked opinions.  Wherever doubt and division are present in the Church then you can be sure that the devil is at work.  The things we see, the conflicts that take place between people, even the disputes about the articles of the faith that are clearly revealed to us in the Holy Scriptures — these belie the underlying nature of what is actually happening.  Remember, “we do not wrestle against flesh and blood” but again the powers of darkness that drag us back to sin and death.

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