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 holy ones of God!
If you would like to hear the sermon preached at Trinity Lutheran Church in Layton, Utah for the 11TH Sunday after Pentecost, click on the MP3 link provided above:
The audio recording includes the singing of the Hymn of the Day, "O God, My Faithful God," LSB #696. The sermon begins at the 3:58 mark.
Have a blessed week living as as a holy one of The Holy One of God--Jesus Christ our Lord.
Rev. Kurt Hering, Pastor
Trinity Lutheran Church
Here is the preaching manuscript.
TEXT: 63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is of no avail. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. 64 But there are some of you who do not believe." (For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him.) 65And he said, "This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father."
66After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. 67So Jesus said to the Twelve, "Do you want to go away as well?" 68Simon Peter answered him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, 69and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God." John 6:63-69
How does one come by the title, The Holy One of God? How does one become a holy one of God anyway?
Jesus words in today's Gospel lesson are reminiscent of those He spoke to Nicodemus in John 3: It is the Spirit who gives life-- Jesus answered [Nicodemus], "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God. . . . Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. . . . No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. John 3:3, 5, 13
Along with the words of our Baptism, many people make the sign of the cross.
Have you ever counted how many times the words of our baptized are used during a worship service?
There is the invocation and the benediction, and in between during the Absolution, the Introit, the Gloria in Excelsis, the Collect, the Creed, the sermon, the Prayer of the Church, the Post Communion Canticle B even the ending of the Lord=s prayer, appended by the church incorporates a variation of the Trinitarian Baptismal formula. The whole worship service is a Baptismal sandwich, so to speak.
There is a very good reason for that B these are the words of eternal life by which you are now called and made God=s own child in whom He is well pleased because they have been placed upon you. These are the Words that deliver to you personally that which Jesus accomplished for all time and for all people on the cross of Calvary. By these words you are buried into the death and resurrection of the Son of God. These words are the staple, the bread of life our Savior spoke of in our Gospel lessons the past few weeks. They are also the words that were offensive to and rejected by many, even most.
Remember, these were the people who were at the feeding of the 5000 from whom Jesus withdrew for the very reason that they wanted to make Him king. He walks on the water to get to the other side of the lake, frightening the disciples and confusing the crowd who took boats across and knew Jesus had not.
Having followed Him all this time, the many disciples who, AFrom that time . . . went back and walked with Him no more,@ left because they thought they had better things to do. This Jesus in whom they had placed so much hope was, as it turned out, only talk. After all these hours, days, weeks, months, and years they didn=t feel any different. They had seen a lot of miracles, but they themselves were still sick, still suffered pain, still got hungry and thirsty, still were under Roman rule
This One who promised them,"I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst. But I said to you that you have seen Me and yet do not believe. All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out.@ (John 6:35-37 NKJ) must certainly be a either a con man or a mad man.
It is no different today. After an hour or hour and a half of worship, after two to and half hours if you come to SS, after doing this for all these weeks, months, and people don=t feel any different. find themselves and their loved ones still sick, still suffering pain and loss, still losing jobs, still getting hungry and thirsty, still under the rule of the rich and the greedy B it must be that what happens here is not so important after all.
The liturgy is boring, the pastor repeats himself over and over and over and over and over and over and over again. Surely if that is all he is going to talk about and all we are going to do, he can waste less of our time in doing it so I can get home and eat and get on with my day. Some leave for places where there is less of that boring stuff, less of the hard stuff and more excitement, more entertainment, more busyness. There must be a better way. Some just leave. This way is just not for me at all.
But this is the way that has been given to us. Paul speaks to this matter in his letter to Christians at Corinth: 1 Cor 2:1-5 And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power,
that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. (NKJ)
As much as we would give other reasons and excuses, there is only one explanation for not rejoicing in Jesus' words of eternal life many people, for being offended that there isn't another way. It is a rejection of the Holy Spirit who gives life through those very words.
Now, this is not to say that you dear baptized children of God, when you have one of those days that your flesh gets the better of you have forever rejected the Spirit and are damned to hell. But it does mean that you have a sin that needs to be recognized, repented of and forgiven--and that happens only through living in your Baptism in the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit.
Can you live in those words on your vacations, and in your living room and on your patio--? Yes, certainly! But do you? How many times during the course of your work day, your home life, your vacation days do you hear, speak, or pray In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit? And if you do, you know why you do? Because you have heard them often, over and over and over and over and over and over and over again.
And that is why the Lord has gathered you here again today like he has so many times before -so you can hear those words that give you spirit and life, and learn more and more why they are so important.
A READING FROM THE BOOK OF CONCORD
ELEVENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST
LARGE CATECHISM, THE APOSTLES' CREED
ARTICLE III: THE HOLY SPIRIT
What do you mean "I believe in the Holy Spirit?"
Answer, "I believe that the Holy Spirit makes me holy, as His name implies."
"But how does He accomplish this, or what are His method and means to
Answer, "By the Christian Church, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. For the Spirit has His own congregation in the world, which is the mother that conceives and bears every Christian through God's Word. Through the Word He reveals and preaches, He illumines and enkindles hearts, so that they understand, accept, cling to, and persevere in the Word."
Where the Spirit does not cause the Word to be preached and roused in the heart so that it is understood, it is lost. Under the papacy faith was entirely put under the bench. No one recognized Christ as his Lord or the Holy Spirit as his Sanctifier. No one believed that Christ has gained this treasure for us, without our works and merit, and made us acceptable to the Father. The Holy Spirit was not there to reveal it and cause it to be preached. But men and evil spirits taught us to obtain grace and be saved by our works. For where Christ is not preached, there is no Holy Spirit who creates, calls, and gathers the Christian Church, without which no one can come to Christ the Lord.(paragraphs 40-45)
Jesus Christ is, was, and always has been the Holy One of God. He comes from the Father that way—always has and always will. And the reason He comes from the Father and descends to earth is to make you a holy one too, to conform you to His image, and to give you the title of a Holy One of God that makes you a son and heir of eternal life in the kingdom of heaven--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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