Sunday, April 21, 2013

Easter 4

John 16:16-23 - Jubilate, Easter IV - April 21, 2013 
80th Anniversary of Trinity Lutheran Church

A few months ago, the idea was suggested that we celebrate our 80th anniversary this spring.  December 11 marked 80 years since this congregation was first founded.  That’s a long time.  And yet it’s young enough to be remembered by several of our oldest members.  There is a lot to celebrate here.  How many of you, and your children have been baptized here and confirmed here?  How many of you were married here?  How many of you, in sadder times, looked at the face of a beloved husband or wife or mother or child for the last time here – and yet received here the certain consolation that you would see them again?  And this is all because here it is that we hear the word of God.  We celebrate 80 years of God doing what God does.  He calls us, gathers us, enlightens and sanctifies us – by His word.  He fills our greatest need.  How many of you having been burdened by sin, or having been stiff-necked and bitter at God, or perhaps filled with doubt and unanswered questions – how many of you, having been reproved by the law and persuaded of your sin, were then compelled to confess them here to a gracious God, only then to be served by that gracious God through the preaching of your crucified Savior Jesus Christ?  How many of you, having been fed with His very body and blood have received what Jesus secured for you in His resurrection?  —How many of you have thus been strengthened and preserved in the one true faith?  That’s what God does here.  That’s what we celebrate.  He forgives your sin and gives you life everlasting. 
Joy, O joy, beyond all gladness!
Christ hath done away with sadness!
Hence, all sorrow and repining,
For the Son of grace is shining.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Easter 3

John 10:22-30 - Misericordias Domini - April 13, 2013 
Good Shepherd Sunday

Jesus Christ is Lord.  This is the most fundamental confession of the Christian faith.  In Luther’s Small Catechism we confess in the second article of the Apostles’ Creed, “I believe that Jesus Christ, true God, begotten of the Father from eternity, and also true man, born of the virgin Mary, is my Lord.”   Immediately once we confess who Jesus is, namely, that He is true God and true man, we also confess what He has done.  This is important.  The two confessions always go together.  And so we continue, “who has redeemed me a lost and condemned creature, purchased and won me from all sins, from death and from the power of the devil, not with gold or silver, but with His holy, precious blood and His innocent suffering and death.”  It is not possible to separate who Jesus is from what He does for our salvation.  By calling Him Lord, we always confess both. 

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Easter 2

John 20:19-31 - Quasimodo Geniti - April 7, 2013 
The Arm of The Lord Is Revealed

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.  Amen. 
On Good Friday I preached a sermon on St. John’s account of our Lord’s Passion.  I decided to focus on an event that occurred only after Jesus died on the cross, but while His dead body was still suspended for all to see.  The piercing of Jesus’ side fulfilled Scripture not only by sparing His bones from being broken, but also because, as Zechariah foretold, “They shall look on Him whom they pierced.”  When Jesus was pierced by the Roman soldier, a flow of blood and water came forth from His side. 
John, the Apostle, saw it.  He bore witness.  And yet only the Holy Spirit can reveal to us the significance of Christ’s death. 
And He does.  We learn from the Holy Spirit by listening to the inspired words of Holy Scripture.