Good morning: On September 2, 1945 Japan surrendered, bringing World War II to an official end. Troops on both sides laid down their arms. Peace returned. Yet Japanese lieutenant Ei Yamaguchi on the Pacific island of Peleliu fought on. For the next 18 months he and a small group of desperate comrades waged a campaign of jungle warfare which they had no hope of winning. Why? Why not return home to their families? Why endure the danger and deprivation? It was all for one simple reason. They hadn’t heard that the war was over. They weren’t the only ones. Communication was slow or non-existent across Japan’s sprawling empire. The result was needless, ongoing warfare between nations which were now at peace with one another. If good news isn’t told and heard, it doesn’t benefit those for whom it is intended. That is just as true for the good news of forgiveness and salvation in Christ. Jesus came to win the war Adam had lost. As our champion, he was tempted in every way just as we are, yet never sinned. With divine determination he set his sights on the cross where he suffered the full punishment for the sins of the world. He is our peace with God. “God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them” (2 Cor. 5:19). God has pronounced the whole world not guilty. There is not a single person whose sins have not been atoned for. The war is over! But what if the news doesn’t get out? Paul writes, “ ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’ How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!’” (Rom. 10:13-15). The war against Satan, sin, and death has been won. Jesus crushed the serpent’s head. We have peace with God through him. But what if your parents had not told you? What if you had never attended a Sunday school class and heard about Jesus’ birth? What if Sunday mornings had been spent at home rather than in God’s house? You would still be lost in a spiritual jungle. Left to ourselves we would head down one false trail after another in a hopeless search for meaning and purpose to life. We would live with nagging uncertainty and fear that things are not right with God, but have no idea what to do about it? Thank the Lord for parents, grandparents, Sunday school teachers, Christian day school teachers, and others who have told us, “Jesus loves you. He is your Savior. He is the way, the truth, and the life. There are millions who have not heard that the war is over. They are still fighting a losing battle. You may see and talk with some of them today. Ask the Spirit for the opportunity and strength of faith to tell them the war is over and Jesus won! There is no better, more liberating news. Yours in Christ, Pastor Our service tomorrow is at 9 a.m. Pastor Aaron Ude from our sister congregation in Rapid City, SD will conduct the service. Everyone is invited to stay after the service for brunch and fellowship to mark Pastor Eichstadt’s 25th anniversary at Messiah.