“Behold, I Am Making All Things New!” (Revelation 21:1-7)

Fifth Sunday of Easter
May 19, 2019

“Behold, I Am Making All Things New!” (Revelation 21:1-7)

Today we’re starting a three-part sermon series I’m calling “Behold, the New Jerusalem!” These messages will be based on the readings from Revelation chapters 21 and 22, where St. John is given a vision of our eternal dwelling place, the new Jerusalem. What we will discover over these next couple of weeks is what you and I have to look forward to as the people of God. Brothers and sisters, it will be new and exciting and beyond our wildest imagination!

We begin today with the opening verses of Revelation 21. Here St. John is given a vision of a new heaven and a new earth, and he sees a new Jerusalem coming down out of heaven. In fact, the Lord God says–and this is our theme this morning for the first message in our series: “Behold, I Am Making All Things New!”

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Published in: on May 18, 2019 at 9:51 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“My Sheep Hear My Voice” (John 10:22-30)

Fourth Sunday of Easter
May 12, 2019

“My Sheep Hear My Voice” (John 10:22-30)

On this Good Shepherd Sunday, Jesus says to us: “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.” This is our text.

“My Sheep Hear My Voice.” I should certainly hope so! But how closely are we listening? And when we hear the voice of our Shepherd, do we follow where he is leading? Today we will hear the voice of Jesus speaking to us, and by God’s grace we will follow where he leads.

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Published in: on May 11, 2019 at 11:22 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“Jesus Is in the Restoration Business” (John 21:1-19)

Third Sunday of Easter
May 5, 2019

“Jesus Is in the Restoration Business” (John 21:1-19)

So far this Easter season we’ve heard about Jesus appearing to his disciples two times, on Easter Day and then a week later. Today we hear about a third appearance to a group of his disciples. Why does Jesus do this? Why does he manifest himself to his disciples repeatedly during these forty days from his resurrection to his ascension? The most obvious answer is to show that he is indeed alive, risen from the dead, physically, bodily. Christ’s resurrection shows that he who died on the cross now is risen from the dead. These resurrection appearances demonstrate that the sacrifice for sin Jesus made on the cross was sufficient to remove the curse of death. Showing himself to his disciples, with the marks of his wounds in his risen body, makes the connection that the crucifixion was not a defeat but rather a victory. Christ’s death was God’s plan for solving the sin-and-death problem. These resurrection appearances underline the centrality of the death and resurrection of Christ in the good news the apostles are being sent out to preach.

So far, so good. But there’s also another dynamic at work in these resurrection appearances. And that is, in a word, restoration. Jesus has some restoration work to do, and it has to do with these disciples. But why? What had they done that they need restoring? All the disciples, really, needed to be restored. They all had deserted Jesus in his hour of need. They all had fled, fearing for their safety. Then they all failed to believe in Jesus’ promise that he would be raised on the third day. So they all were in need of restoration, forgiveness, absolution. And the good news is, for them and for us: “Jesus Is in the Restoration Business.”

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Published in: on May 4, 2019 at 10:10 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“Behold the Man: A God Who Rises” (John 20:1-18)

The Resurrection of Our Lord: Easter Day
Sunday, April 21, 2019

“Behold the Man: A God Who Rises” (John 20:1-18)

Alleluia! Christ is risen! (He is risen indeed! Alleluia!)

Behold the man who is risen, who died and now lives. His heart was stopped, but now it pulses with renewed rhythm and vigor. His blood was spilled on Golgotha, but now his veins course with a fresh supply. His lungs were stilled after that loud cry with which he breathed his last, but now the breath of life has returned. His eyes were shut in death, but now they are open and see the light of life. His hands had been nailed to the cross, but now they pick up the grave cloths and fold them neatly in place. His legs were limp as his body was placed in the tomb, but now he stands upright. His body was cold and lifeless, but now he lives. He still bears the marks of the nails and the spear: those are Christ’s holy wounds by which he always wishes to be known. Behold the man, Jesus Christ, true God and true man–he lives. He rises triumphant from the dead and strolls out of the tomb into his green creation.

And Mary Magdalene mistakes him for the gardener. It’s an honest mistake, really. She was understandably confused. She showed up first, while it was still dark and the disciples were asleep. And she probably hadn’t gotten much sleep these last couple of days, so distraught she must have been. As soon as day began to break after the Sabbath, she went to the tomb. When she saw that the stone had been rolled away, dislodged from its fixed location, she ran and told the disciples. She found Peter and John, and her words came crashing out so quickly, it’s a wonder they understood her at all: “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.”

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Published in: on April 20, 2019 at 9:01 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“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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“Abide in the Vine” (John 15:1-8)

Fifth Sunday of Easter
April 29, 2018

“Abide in the Vine” (John 15:1-8)

“Stay where you are!” “Don’t move!” These commands sound rather restrictive. These imperatives can sound oppressive and limiting, like we’re being told what to do, and it’s to not do anything. The idea of remaining where you are sounds kind of boring, like we’re stuck in a rut. But when it comes to the Christian life, nothing could be further from the truth. Far from being dull and lifeless, for the Christian, remaining where you are–that is, “abiding in the vine,” remaining connected to Christ–is dynamic, active, and very productive. And so our theme this morning: “Abide in the Vine.”

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Published in: on April 28, 2018 at 1:24 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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