“God’s Testimony: Eternal Life in His Son” (1 John 5:9-15)

Seventh Sunday of Easter
May 13, 2018

“God’s Testimony: Eternal Life in His Son” (1 John 5:9-15)

This week the Epistle reading once again is from First John. This has been the Epistle featured throughout this Easter season, and for good reason. The author, St. John, was an eyewitness of the risen Lord Jesus, and in this letter John bears witness concerning the life God has given us through the death and resurrection of his Son. John opened this letter by saying: “The life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life.” Now as we come to the end of this letter, John makes it clear that the eternal life he is bearing witness to is not just a matter of his or any man’s testimony. Indeed, it is God’s own testimony.

John writes: “If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater, for this is the testimony of God that he has borne concerning his Son. Whoever believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself. Whoever does not believe God has made him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has borne concerning his Son. And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.” And so our theme this morning: “God’s Testimony: Eternal Life in His Son.”

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Published in: on May 12, 2018 at 10:17 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“The Spirit and the Water and the Blood” (1 John 5:1-8)

Sixth Sunday of Easter
May 6, 2018

“The Spirit and the Water and the Blood” (1 John 5:1-8)

Our Epistle today from First John includes a section that at first glance may seem a little puzzling. But when we look at it a little more closely, we’ll see how it really does make sense. Indeed, it makes quite clear the very heart of our faith and salvation. The passage in question is 1 John 5:6-8, as follows: “This is he who came by water and blood–Jesus Christ; not by the water only but by the water and the blood. And the Spirit is the one who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. For there are three that testify: the Spirit and the water and the blood; and these three agree.” And so our theme this morning: “The Spirit and the Water and the Blood.”

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Published in: on May 5, 2018 at 5:40 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“The Love That Lays Down Its Life” (1 John 3:16-24)

Fourth Sunday of Easter
April 22, 2018

“The Love That Lays Down Its Life” (1 John 3:16-24)

“The King of Love My Shepherd Is.” What a beautiful hymn to sing on this day in the church year known as “Good Shepherd Sunday”! How we need a good shepherd to lead and guard and guide us! That’s why we follow Jesus and listen to his voice. We sing his praises, because of his great love for us. He loved us so much that he laid down his life for his sheep.

Today we want to see what the results are of Christ laying down his life for us. What does it mean for us to be on the receiving end of Christ’s love? What effect does his love have on our daily lives, in the way we live? That’s what we’ll explore today, under the theme, “The Love That Lays Down Its Life.”

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Published in: on April 22, 2018 at 12:21 am  Leave a Comment  
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“What We Are Now and What We Will Be” (1 John 3:1-7)

Third Sunday of Easter
April 15, 2018

“What We Are Now and What We Will Be” (1 John 3:1-7)

Last week we began a series of six straight weeks of Epistle readings from 1 John. Our theme last week was “Fellowship through the Word of Life”: We have fellowship with God and with one another through the Word of Life, enfleshed and proclaimed. Now today we want to find out more of what this fellowship with God means for us, both for now and for the future. And in today’s lesson the apostle John tells us: “What We Are Now and What We Will Be.”

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Published in: on April 14, 2018 at 6:59 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“Fellowship through the Word of Life” (1 John 1:1 – 2:2)

Second Sunday of Easter
April 8, 2018

“Fellowship through the Word of Life” (1 John 1:1 – 2:2)

Today on this Second Sunday of Easter, we begin six straight weeks of Epistle readings from First John. This is quite appropriate for the Easter season, since First John is all about a real crucified-and-risen, flesh-and-blood Savior for real flesh-and-blood sinners. In his epistle John is telling us that this is the only way to have fellowship with God and with one another: It is through Christ, the eternal Son of God, coming in the flesh, shedding his blood for us, and rising from the dead bodily, to give us eternal life. We have fellowship with God and with one another only through the enfleshed and proclaimed Word of Life, Jesus Christ. And so at the beginning of this epistle, John announces his theme: “Fellowship through the Word of Life.”

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Published in: on April 7, 2018 at 11:09 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“Confidence, Unity, and Joy: God’s Gifts to Our Church” (1 John 5:9-15; John 17:11b-19)

Seventh Sunday of Easter
May 17, 2015

“Confidence, Unity, and Joy: God’s Gifts to Our Church” (1 John 5:9-15; John 17:11b-19)

Today we are very happy to receive yet another family into our congregation. That makes seventeen new members added to our little church so far this year. Seventeen! That is remarkable. From out of the blue, quite unexpectedly, God has gifted us with these brothers and sisters in Christ, who are joining our church. Thanks be to God!

Yes, today we give thanks to God for the gift of these new members, who already are being a real blessing to our church. But now I want to tell you about some other gifts that God has for our church, and these are gifts that are spoken of in the Scripture readings for today. And they are these: “Confidence, Unity, and Joy: God’s Gifts to Our Church.”

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Published in: on May 16, 2015 at 11:24 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“Water, Blood, and Spirit Crying” (1 John 5:1-8)

Sixth Sunday of Easter
May 10, 2015

“Water, Blood, and Spirit Crying” (1 John 5:1-8)

“Water, Blood, and Spirit Crying”: That’s the hymn we just sang (LSB 597). Listen again to the words of the first stanza:

Water, blood, and Spirit crying,
By their witness testifying
To the One whose death-defying
Life has come, with life for all.

The One to whom the Spirit, the water, and the blood are testifying is, of course, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who has defied and defeated death for us, who comes with life for all, and whose Easter victory we are celebrating during this season.

But now where did the hymn writer get the idea for this hymn and the very words that he uses? He got them from our Epistle for today, from 1 John chapter 5. And in particular, from verses 6-8, reading again as follows: “This is he who came by water and blood–Jesus Christ; not by the water only but by the water and the blood. And the Spirit is the one who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. For there are three that testify: the Spirit and the water and the blood; and these three agree.” This is our text.

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Published in: on May 9, 2015 at 11:16 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“We Love Because He First Loved Us” (1 John 4:1-21)

Fifth Sunday of Easter
May 3, 2015

“We Love Because He First Loved Us” (1 John 4:1-21)

Love, love, love. How often do we hear that word “love”! We use it so freely, so loosely. We use it for McDonald’s hamburgers: “I’m lovin’ it.” We use it for clothing and cars and hairstyles and lots of things we like, but instead of saying “like,” we say “love.” I found myself doing that just the other night: Lance Lynn struck out a batter with the bases loaded and two outs, and I said, without thinking, “Love it!”

Well, a step up from that very loose use of “love” is when we apply the word to people. But even there, it can be overused. So many pop songs have “love” in the lyrics, but what they mean is “I’m really infatuated with you” or “You really turn me on.” Meh, that’s a little weak. Better is when we use “love” about people for whom we have a strong and lasting personal affection. “I love my grandma.” “I love my daughter.” That’s pretty good. That’s the love of personal affection.

But we can do even better than that. There is the love of commitment, of caring and serving others, even the love of self-sacrifice for the good of another. Now that is really the best and highest use of the word “love.” And where and how do we learn that kind of love? That’s what we’ll take up now, under the theme, “We Love Because He First Loved Us.”

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Published in: on May 2, 2015 at 11:12 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“Faith, Fellowship, and Forgiveness” (John 20:19-31; 1 John 1:1 – 2:2; Acts 4:32-35)

Second Sunday of Easter
April 12, 2015

“Faith, Fellowship, and Forgiveness” (John 20:19-31; 1 John 1:1 – 2:2; Acts 4:32-35)

Did you get any gifts for Easter? Maybe an Easter basket, filled with chocolate bunnies and jelly beans and Easter eggs that you open up and there’s a coin inside? Well, I can think of some Easter gifts that are even better than that. And today I want to tell you about them. They’re right there in our readings for today, and they are these Easter gifts, three of them: “Faith, Fellowship, and Forgiveness.”

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Published in: on April 11, 2015 at 11:11 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“Who We Are and What We Will Be” (1 John 3:1-3)

All Saints’ Day (Observed)
Sunday, November 3, 2013

“Who We Are and What We Will Be” (1 John 3:1-3)

Today as we observe All Saints’ Day, we look back and remember with thanksgiving the saints who have gone before us, who now rest from their labors and are with the Lord. We look around us, and even though we cannot see them, we know that we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses to the faith, all of us united in the one great communion of saints, the whole church on earth and in heaven. And we look ahead, we look forward with hopefulness to the day when our Lord Jesus Christ returns and raises our bodies and restores his creation to a glory that we cannot even imagine.

And so there is this “now but not yet” aspect to our readings on this day–and really, throughout the month of November, as we come toward the close of the church year. In November our thoughts turn to the last things, to the end times, to this earth as we know it coming to a close and Christ coming again to bring in the everlasting age to come. And in the midst of this, our forward look gives us hope–and calls us to holiness–even now.

This “now and not yet” dual emphasis is perfectly encapsulated in one of our readings for today, the Epistle from 1 John 3. Listen, for example, to this verse: “Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared.” And so our theme this morning: “Who We Are and What We Will Be.”

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Published in: on November 2, 2013 at 11:26 pm  Leave a Comment  
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