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With Unveiled Faces

1 Corinthians 10:12-18

Rev. Kurt Hering

Transfiguration of Our Lord
Trinity Lutheran Church  
Layton, Utah

Sun, Feb 22, 2009
Transfiguration of our Lord
 

Preaching to the saints of the Lutheran Church at Christ-Elkhart and Faith-Hugoton in Kansas since February 8, 2015. All sermons prior to that date were preached either at Trinity Lutheran Church-Layton or First Lutheran Church-Tooele, Utah.

Over my years as a pastor here at Trinity, Layton, The TRANSFIGURATION of Our LORD has grown to be one my favorite Sundays of the Church year--if a pastor may be allowed to have such favorites. The reason is basically twofold:

1) The spectacularly vivid view The TRANSFIGURATION of Our LORD gives us of heaven-- being in the presence of Christ with His prophets of ancient day and apostles of the days of His pedestrian ministry, walking and talking with Him.

2) The abundantly rich Scripture texts it presents to the pastor for preaching--offering one of those pleasant pastoral puzzles, i.e. what one must leave out of the sermon.

But I digress into something of another sermon in itself.

So here is the audio file of the sermon preached here at Trinity Lutheran Church in Layton, Utah for The TRANSFIGURATION of Our LORD , February 22, 2009 with one further disclaimer that must be made in order that the listener will understand the introductory remarks of the sermon.

Disclaimer: Upon entering the pulpit I could not get my recording device to power up. So I excused myself to get a back-up from my office after asking the congregation to meditate on Luther's Small Catechism explanation to the First Article of the Creed, which we would recite later in the sermon.

With that, the audio:

TransfigurationofOurLord.WithUnveiledFaces.mp3.mp3

Have a blessed week with unveiled faces in the presence of the Son of God.

Pastor Hering

Here is the preaching manuscript, which is the lion's share, but not the entire content of the sermon preached.

The TRANSFIGURATION of OUR LORD:

"With Unveiled Faces"

Grace, mercy and peace to you from God our Father and from His Son, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. The text for our message this morning is from our Epistle lesson , wherein we may be enlightened as to the meaning of today's Gospel lesson and the Transfiguration of Our Lord :

12Since we have such a hope, we are very bold, 13not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face so that the Israelites might not gaze at the outcome of what was being brought to an end. [14But their minds were hardened. For to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away. 15Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts. 16But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. 17Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.] 1 Corinthians 10:12-18

My Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

I'm going to take a bit of a risk here today. Some of you might be offended. At the same time, I suppose, some of you might actually think it is about time. And then some of you won't think it a big deal either way. That's okay.

I say this up front so that so that you all know that I realize it may be a difficult thing to hear and to ask you to bear with me because you will see the reason for what I say.

Anyway, here goes. I want you to consider the fact that the people of Utah suffered a great loss Friday afternoon when Larry Miller breathed his last. Why do I say that?

Small Catechism Explanation to First Article of the Creed, p. 322.

Talk about Miller's good works/press conference while they look it up.

This is what our Lord is telling us through His apostle when Paul writes to young Pastor Timothy: "1 Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, 2 for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. 3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth." 1 Timothy 2:1-4

So we give thanks to God today for the blessings we and countless others have received from our Lord through the man, Larry Miller. Why? Because God used that man, whatever you may think of him, to help people be able to better lead a quiet and peaceable life for the main purpose of coming to a knowledge of the truth of Christ so that they might be saved.

So what does this have to do with our text and God's good news of salvation for us today that we might be saved?

The Millers spoke of the vast and wonderful archive that they have from Larry to give them comfort in the days and years to come. In our Transfiguration Gospel today, having witnessed the Lord Jesus standing and talking with Moses and Elijah, Peter was desiring to make an archive in a time of great distress.

5. . . Peter said to Jesus, "Rabbi, it is good that we are here. Let us make three tents, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah." 6For he did not know what to say, for they were terrified.

But our Gospel tells us not do such things, but rather get our comfort from the God who gave us Moses and Elijah, who gave you the dear loved ones that you may have lost and long to see again—and yes, even Larry Miller.

7And a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice came out of the cloud, "This is my beloved Son; listen to him."

Our Epistle lesson today does a wonderful job of explaining the significance of the disciples' mountain top experience, and the importance of the Transfiguration in creating, sustaining, increasing our faith in Christ, our place in the kingdom of God today and forevermore.

14But their minds were hardened. For to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away. 15Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts. 16But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. 17Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.

In wanting to build the tents of honor for Moses and Elijah, Peter and the disciples for whom he was spokesman, were operating with hardened minds and veiled faces.

16But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed.

That veil is sin. And when we turn to see the Lord that veil is necessarily destroyed. That veil of sin simply cannot exist in the presence of the Lord.

This is a difficult, uncomfortable, and even terrifying thing. But there are degrees of difficulty, levels of discomfort, and stages of terror.

For some the tearing of the veil is excruciating, because they refuse to let it go.

For others, like Peter, James, and John—like you dear Christians—it is more like picking a scab, or scratching a persistent itch. There is pain, but the relief and comfort and freedom that follows far surpasses the momentary pain.

17Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.

We all walk around with veiled faces. "For all have sinned . . . "

We all veil ourselves behind our good works.

And that is why the Spirit of the Lord brings you here—to unveil your face that you may be transformed from a dead sinner into a living saint. Oh, it is not the most pleasant or comfortable thing in the world that is true. But it is necessary—and unavoidable.

That is why we begin our worship in the liturgy of the Divine Service like we do. In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit tells you that you are now in the presence of the Lord. Since that presence cannot but unveil the face of your sin, we confess it. And because God wants us to know that the unveiling of your sin, as painful as that is, is a good even necessary thing—he pours the soothing ointment of forgiveness all over us as soon as that veil has torn the sinful flesh of our face open to Him.

"When one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed." You have no choice or decision in the matter. The veil of your sin is removed whenever you come into the presence of Christ—and only in the presence of Christ is the veil of your sin taken away because only through Christ is it taken away.

But for you, Christian, that is a most marvelous and perfectly pleasant thing.

"I didn't go to religion to make me happy. I always knew a bottle of Port would do that. If you want a religion to make you feel really comfortable, I certainly don't recommend Christianity." -- C. S. Lewis

Dearly beloved and baptized of God, with unveiled face behold your Lord! He is here today, the same as He is in your Baptism, forgiving your sins and giving you life with Him now and forever--in the name of the Father, and of the + Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen!



Insofar as this sermon is a true proclamation of the Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ, it belongs to Him and His Church. Therefore its use is free to all who deem it worthy and beneficial.



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