Saturday, November 17, 2012

Sermon Nov. 17-18, 2012

Title: Christ gives us life eternal in Him!

Text: Heb. 10:23-25

23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

Thinking of the fullness and duration of this wonderful life, W. B. Hinson, a great preacher of a past generation, spoke from his own experience just before he died. He said, "I remember a year ago when a doctor told me, 'You have an illness from which you won't recover.' I walked out to where I live 5 miles from Portland, Oregon, and I looked across at that mountain that I love. I looked at the river in which I rejoice, and I looked at the stately trees that are always God's own poetry to my soul. Then in the evening I looked up into the great sky where God was lighting His lamps, and I said, ' I may not see you many more times, but Mountain, I shall be alive when you are gone; and River, I shall be alive when you cease running toward the sea; and Stars, I shall be alive when you have fallen from your sockets in the great down pulling of the material universe!' "

W. B. Hinson.

Christ gives us life eternal in Him!

Eternal life is the antithesis of human reason. Antithesis is a word that means to put in opposition to … the exact opposite. Eternal life means that death is not the end but human reason sees death in only physical terms. Reason says: “When the body dies, life is no more.” But as Christians we have been bought with a price as our text in the book of Hebrews reveals:

11 And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12 But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, 13 waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. 14 For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified. (Heb 10:11-14)

In the words of the hymn that I wrote for my Baptism class the work of Christ is revealed.

Jesus Christ, true God and True man, heard repentance call. The sin of our first parents Adam and Eve brought about spiritual death. No longer were they to live in this paradise that God had given them. No longer would this Garden of Eden, where they were to live forever, living in fellowship with God himself and being cared for by this loving God as a father cares for a beloved child, be their home.

With sin came death; both their spiritual death which came first, separating them from God but also later the physical death of Adam and Eve that also is part of who we are and what we inherit. In God’s loving act of casting out our first parents from paradise and keeping them from eating of the Tree of Life and living forever in their fallen state, He place Himself as the once and for all sacrifice for sin and the bridge to life eternal in Him … for you and me.

Christ gives us life eternal in Him!

We continue in our Epistle for today:

15 And the Holy Spirit also bears witness to us; for after saying, 16 “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws on their hearts, and write them on their minds,”17 then he adds, “I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.”18 Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin.

The water and the word of life; unites us in the death of Christ.

In our Baptisms we have been reborn. In our first birth or the natural way we come into being we have been conceived through natural means and in this way are born in sin. This sin that has been handed down in the natural course of life is called original sin and through it our death and spiritual separation from God is secured. Again we are at first spiritually dead at birth and through the course of life will also physically die. If you think about it in this way:

We are born dead to God … and apart from God’s own intervening in our life … we will remain dead to Him until God calls us all to judgment on the last day. For those apart from the Spirit of God - this is their lot. But we who have been given newness of life through baptism have God’s promise that in Christ our sins have been washed away, He drowns our sin and we will forever live with Him.

Christ gives us life eternal in Him!

But, what do we do and how do we live? Do we take the light that we are given and place it under a basket?

21 And he said to them, “Is a lamp brought in to be put under a basket, or under a bed, and not on a stand? 22 For nothing is hidden except to be made manifest; nor is anything secret except to come to light. 23 If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.” 24 And he said to them, “Pay attention to what you hear: with the measure you use, it will be measured to you, and still more will be added to you. 25 For to the one who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.” (Mark 4:21-25)

As you prepare for the Thanksgiving holiday this week and as a Christian look at what you have been given from Jesus Christ your Lord and savior. The Eternal life that you receive comes from the blessed blood given and shed for you at the cross by your Lord and savior Jesus Christ! He buries your sin and your guilt, he takes it upon Himself so that the spiritual death that you are born into is drowned in your baptism and is forever removed from the Fathers eyes. The grave holds no victory over you as in Baptism you are restored to that pristine relationship that Adam and Eve enjoyed with God before sin, death and the Devil corrupted your world.

19 Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, 20 by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.

Christ gives us life eternal in Him!

In remembering our Baptisms, we look to daily die and rise with Christ!

We can truly be thankful as the Holy Spirit comforts us with this blessed good news that our sins have been paid for in Christ! It should bring Joy and peace to us but at times the cares of this life define us and our thankful joy can once again fall to worry and despair. So, how does God stay active in our lives and continue to defend and uplift His children? - Through the word and by the work of the Holy Spirit.

23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

We stay in the faith eternal through God’s word and through the sacraments as we partake together as the body of Christ, raised through the water and the word.

Martin Luther had this to say in his Large Catechism:

24] Therefore state it most simply thus, that the power, work, profit, fruit, and end of Baptism is this, namely, to save. For no one is baptized in order that he may become a prince, but, as the words declare, that he be saved. 25] But to be saved, we know, is nothing else than to be delivered from sin, death, and the devil, and to enter into the kingdom of Christ, and to live with Him forever." -- Martin Luther (Quoted from the Large Catechism)

This hope eternal we receive. By God’s Holy Spirit in our baptism we receive this blessed faith to believe. And this faith that we receive is faith in the finished work of our Triune God - Father, Son and Holy Spirit who creates, redeems and brings to faith by the power of His Holy Spirit.

It is truly right to be thankful this Thanksgiving and everyday for all the blessings you have been given in this life and it is also right to thank the Lord for the saving Gospel message that in Christ you are marked as one redeemed by Christ the crucified.

Christ gives you life eternal in Him!

Even as the mountains will fall and rivers will run dry and the stars will no longer shine Psalm 119 reminds us:

89 Forever, O Lord, your word is firmly fixed in the heavens and
90 Your faithfulness endures to all generations; you have established the earth, and it stands fast.
93 I will never forget your precepts, or by them that you have given me life.

In the name of the Father and of the Son + and of the Holy Spirit.


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