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20th Sunday after Pentecost
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Sermon Excerpt: Sharper than a Two-Edged Sword Hebrews 4:12-16, F. Schaefer

This morning we hear the author of Hebrews use a very unusual, but interesting analogy, i.e. s/he compares the Word of God to a two-edged sword.
The most famous two-edged swords of antiquity are the Greek Xiphos and Roman Gladius. They were relatively light double-edged swords that contributed to the successes in warfare—one of the reasons why the Greek and Roman Empires established themselves in such a powerful way.

The Gladius sword is probably what the author of Hebrews had in mind. It was a standard issue weapon for all Roman soldiers. It was a little shorter and lighter and thus more effective than its predecessor, the Xiphos (which was also a double-edged sword).
The advantage of the double-edge, of course, is that no matter which way you strike, you can attack the enemy on the battlefield.

The truth of the “sword message” is that the gospel, while it is the good news of God’s grace and salvation, also makes very hard demands on us.  These demands by Jesus remind us that there is a cost to discipleship, as Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1) so aptly phrased. What is the cost of discipleship? Truthfully, these are things we all struggle with. . . .
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