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.
Greetings dear Children of God the Father!
If you would like to hear the sermon preached at Trinity Lutheran Church in Layton, Utah for the 10TH Sunday after Pentecost, click on the MP3 link provided above.
The audio recording includes the singing of the Hymn of the Day, "Lord, Enthroned in Heavenly Splendor," LSB #534. The sermon begins at the 3:00 mark.
Thanks and credit to Rev. Jon Bischof, pastor of St. Matthew in Corning, Arkansas for his treatment of the unbelieving hearers, which I adapted and used in implication #2 of the sermon.
God grant that we believe and help us all in our unbelief.
Rev. Kurt Hering, Pastor
Trinity Lutheran Church
Here is the preaching manuscript.
TEXT: All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. 38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. 39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. 40 For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day." John 6:37-40
Dear children of God, how wonderful is that? Isn't it comforting to know that the will of the Father is that everyone who looks on the Son and believes lives forever? And what's more, the Father wants everyone to look on the Son.
For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 1 Timothy 2:3-4
This has some incredible implications for you.
1) It eliminates any need for you to compete for God's affection or any reason for jealousy.
2) It gives you comfort in regard to your loved ones, even if they have left the church for now.
3) Since you are looking on the Lord and believing, you have eternal life and will be raised on the last day.
Let's take them in reverse order:
3) You are looking on the Lord and believing, you have eternal life and will be raised on the last day.
Jesus is preaching today so this will be so among you. That is really the only reason His Spirit has brought you here today.
The fact is, Jesus preaches every Sunday all around the world. I only get to preach here at Trinity in Layton, but Jesus preaches in every one of His churches throughout the world. Today His sermon comes from Capernaum as it goes all around the world from all the pulpits in His One Holy Christian Church.
This what we believe according to the Third Article of the Apostles' Creed:
What does this mean? I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him; but the Holy Spirit has called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith.
In the same way He calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian church on earth, and keeps it with Jesus Christ in the one true faith.
In this Christian church He daily and richly forgives all my sins and the sins of all believers.
On the Last Day He will raise me and all the dead, and give eternal life to me and all believers in Christ.
2) And this gives you comfort in regard to your loved ones too, even if they have left the church for now.
When Jesus first preached this sermon there were two different groups of people within that congregation at Capernaum. One of those groups was the group that didn't believe in Jesus. We know that this group of folks didn't believe because Jesus says so. He said to them flat out during the sermon: "JCB John 6:36 But as I told you, although you have seen Me, still you do not believe."
Jesus even told this group of people why they had come to hear Him:
ESV John 6:26 "Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves."
This group of people in the congregation weren't really interested in what Jesus taught, they only came to church for a free lunch. Often folks who don't care about God's Word at all-will show up for a free meal. So Jesus told them that there's another free food that they should be interested in-not the temporary food but the food that lasts to eternal life.
There are those who hunger and thirst for this food that Jesus gives; that's the other group in the congregation at Capernaum. Jesus is feeding them a different kind of free lunch right now as He says: John 6:35 "I am the bread of life," Jesus told them. " whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst."
Jesus always knows who truly believes His Words and who doesn't. He knows because His Father has given these people to Him. All that the Father gives to Jesus come to Jesus because the Father Himself draws them to Jesus. God draws people to Jesus by teaching them His Word. And everyone who learns from the Father comes to Jesus in faith. The Father gives these people to Jesus so that He can keep them and protect them. Jesus always accomplishes what His Father wants, so He keeps them and never loses a single one of them but raises all of them from the dead on the Last Day.
Those who don't believe, may think that they are true believers, but they can't keep from complaining against the Lord's teaching. They grumble because they know that what Jesus is preaching today can't possibly be true and they think it's arrogance to insist upon these things. . . . If people who saw Jesus do miracles refused to believe in His Teaching, then we shouldn't be surprised that many today hear the Word of Christ and still don't believe.
As we will see next Sunday as we hear the rest of our Lord's Sermon at Capernaum, most people who don't believe Our Lord's Word eventually just stop coming to hear Him. And it doesn't matter how many times you invite them or what reasons you give or what excuses they make. They don't come because they don't believe—at least not yet. [Credit and thanks to Rev. Jon Bishof for this section.]
The comfort here is twofold:
1) It's not your fault.
2) If they have been given to Christ, they will not be lost.
All are loved by God, and all are saved by the same means. So this also
1) eliminates any need for you to compete for God's affection or any reason for jealousy.
Remember the Smothers Brothers? In their trademark routine they would attempt to perform a familiar song together for the audience. Dick played the Bass Fiddle and Tommy played guitar, but poor Tommy could never get it right. Or at least right enough for his brother Dick, who made it a point to do justice to the music, its composer, and the audience. Invariably, Tommy would get caught up in the song and do something silly, make a funny face, or ask a dumb question. Then Dick, always the perfectionist, would start scolding his brother and embarrass him in front of the audience. Finally, Tommy screwing up his face in mock anger would sputter and stutter, "Well, mom always did like you best!"
The truth behind their comedy cuts deeply. Other than the death of a child, I can't think of anything more distressing to a parent than to see one's children fighting amongst themselves - unless of course they are doing it in front of company, out in the open for all to see.
Any parent who has more than one child has witnessed this. As distressing as this may be, now imagine what it would be like to lose one's spouse and in the midst of grieving, witness children arguing over funeral arrangements and the disposition of the lost loved one's personal effects and affections. My deepest condolences if you have.
This sibling rivalry, this familial fighting is the kind of thing Paul has in mind in today's epistle when he entreats the people of the church, who are brothers and sisters by Baptism, when he says, "do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption."
The Holy Spirt has called you by the Gospel. Through God's means of grace - His precious word and Sacraments - He has made you one of His family. That calling came at great cost. 1 Cor 6:19-20 "You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body."
That price of course, is the suffering and death of God's one and only son, Jesus Christ. And in that death, the Father turned His back on His One and only Son and heard: "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" Matt 27:46
Talk about anguish. That is what it took to make us children of God -- to forgive you and bring you into His family.
God went through that anguish so that He might also call us sons. Jesus suffered the wrath of His Father so that he might call us brothers: "In bringing many sons to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the author of their salvation perfect through suffering. Both the one who makes men holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers. Heb 2:10-11
So imagine the grief of the Holy Spirit, the grief of God "who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth." 1 Tim 2:3-4 when He sees His children, His bought and paid for by the blood and condemnation of His Only begotten Son children, fighting amongst themselves. For not only is there the pain of seeing them argue and fight, but the pain of seeing others turned away from His means of grace by that fighting. For it is through His church, through you, brothers and sisters in Christ, that He calls, gathers and enlightens others with His Gospel. It's through the church that you were called.
And in turn God uses you to bring His grace, to bring His love to others. In love for God and for the sake of those who must yet hear of His love through you, His church:
Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.
These things are born of selfishness, a desire, a perceived need to elevate ourselves. I will not go into how we do this. I truly don't think it is necessary. And I do not want risk using an example that would cause anyone in particular to come to mind. For that would be a violation of the 8th Commandment. That might keep you from recognizing yourself.
Every church has this problem, for it is made up of sinners. We do fall back into our old ways and need to hear of the forgiveness of God and to remember our Baptisms in the name of the Father and of + the Son and of the Holy Spirit that puts the seal of His name on us and makes us people of Christ - brothers and sisters in Christ, brothers and sisters of Christ.
The fighting, the desire to be recognized, the selfishness comes at the expense of others. For we all want recognition. But when that recognition comes, when our self is lifted up, others are put down. And more than that, the name of God is obscured.
Therefore Paul calls us to . . . 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
He calls us to . . . Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children 2 and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
Brothers and sisters, there is no need to for us to elevate ourselves by bringing others down. For, "God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-- and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God--not by works, so that no one can boast." Eph 2:6-9
Knowing that you have been given the name of God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit; knowing that you have been baptized into Christ's death; knowing that you come forward to receive the very body and blood of Christ to hold, and taste, and to receive the forgiveness of sins -- you know that God loves you best!
God loves you best! And you! And you! And you! There is no need for rivalry. There is no need to worry about your loved ones. You have every reason to believe you have eternal life and will be raised on the last day. For each of you bears the seal of salvation. That is what makes you brothers in Christ. That is what makes you brothers of Christ. For you have been given the name of God and all that comes with it--the name of the Father, & of the + Son, & 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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