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.
Rejoice! Your sorrow will be turned to joy.
You have that in common with the prophets they stoned, the apostles they executed, the martyrs of the Church throughout the ages, as well as the Lord Himself. To hear more of this wonderful Gospel of comfort for you in the midst of your daily troubles, in today's sermon preached at Trinity Lutheran Church of Layton, Utah, click on the MP3 link provided above.
Have a wonderful week as you rejoice in the hope that our Risen and Ascended Lord has set before you.
A servant of the Word and His beloved people,
Here is the preaching manuscript.
He is risen! - He is risen indeed!
Alleuia! - Alleluia!
Text: 19Jesus knew that they wanted to ask him, so he said to them, "Is this what you are asking yourselves, what I meant by saying, 'A little while and you will not see me, and again a little while and you will see me'? 20Truly, truly, I say to you, you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice. You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy. 21When a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow because her hour has come, but when she has delivered the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world. 22So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you." John 10:16-22
Dear people of God,
Did you hear the Good News, the incredibly wonderful promise of our Gospel today? Jesus says, "your sorrow will turn into joy." Like very Gospel promise, it is a sure thing, a done deal, a dead solid lock. Why? Because Jesus says it. And as the eternal Word of God, it must be so because He makes it so just as so. Let there be _______ , and there is. There is nothing left for man to do to complete other than to believe it—or not.
Your belief doesn't make it so, it receives what has been created, made by God to be true. Whereas unbelief denies the truth, and so declines and refuses to let it be as it has been created and thus lets the blessing go unused.
Peace to you, because we do not have peace. Rejoice! Because we have no joy. Live because we have not life. Salvation because we need saving—most of all from ourselves. Even, believe! Because we have not faith.
God gives us all of these by speaking them into existence among us.
So here Jesus is telling them of the joy He will speak into the disciples, into our, lives of sorrow and tribulation.
It may take the form of life threatening or chronic debilitating health problems like cancer or stroke, lupus or MS. It may be unemployment or underemployment in an unpleasant job. But these are things that come to even unbelievers, though for some not until their very last days after a lifetime of seemingly out of proportion reward and happiness.
But more than that, it will often be particularly because you are a Christian, a member of the body of Christ here on earth—suffering because you have been and are in the process of being born again. Losing a job out of faithfulness to God or family or even neighbor. Losing friends, relatives, even children or spouse to worldly cares. Watching people leave the church or head to greener pastures. Remember Noah. We still have more than 8.
But why does the sorrow, the suffering, the tribulation come to believers?
1. Show us our sin and drive us on our knees to God in Christ so we may be born again. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. 20For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope 21that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. 23And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? 25But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. Romans 8:19-25
2. Shape us. According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, 7so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 1:3-7
3. Show who is approved. I hear that there are divisions among you. And I believe it in part,[d] 19for(T) there must be factions among you in order(U) that those who are genuine among you may be recognized. ! Corinthians 11: 18
4. Reveal Christ to the world through us. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 5For as we share abundantly in Christ's sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. 6If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. 7Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort. 2 Corinthians 1:3-7
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36As it is written, "For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered." 37No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. Romans 8:35-37
Just as all these things are revealed and given to us through the trials and even death of our Lord, so now they are revealed to the world through the sorrows and even the death of His Saints. "Blessed in the eyes of the Lord is the death of is saints." Psalm 116:15
Ever since the fall, God has always chosen to reveal Himself in common, even ugly and violent things.
• He will crush your head, you will wound His heal.
• The seed of a woman
• The Flood
• Wrestling with Jacob
• The people of Israel
• OT sacrifices
• Riding on a donkey
• Stable and manger
• Shepherds, fishermen, tax collectors and prostitutes
• The cross
• Martyred disciples
• Persecuted Church
• Baptism into His death
• A supper to remember His death until He comes
What He is saying here, in addition to His death and resurrection soon to come, is that from the time He ascends to the right hand of the Father until He comes again on the Last Day, His church, the disciples and every believer to come after them are living in the Latter Days—the days of the tribulation.
Yes dear people of God, this is the great tribulation—NOW!!! This really is as bad as it gets:
• We hear it from St. Paul as he trains Pr. Timothy to prepare the saints under his care. But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. 2For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good. treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power." 1 Timothy 3:1-4
• what will be the sign of your(F) coming and of(G) the close of the age?" 4And Jesus answered them, (H) "See that no one leads you astray. 5For(I) many will come in my name, saying, 'I am(J) the Christ,' and they will lead many astray. 6And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you(K) are not alarmed, for this(L) must take place, but the end is not yet. 7For(M) nation will rise against nation, and(N) kingdom against kingdom, and there will be(O) famines and earthquakes in various places. 8All these are but the beginning of(P) the birth pains. 9"Then(Q) they will deliver you up(R) to tribulation and(S) put you to death, and(T) you will be hated by all nations for my name's sake. Matthew 24:3-9
• that's the message of Christ's Revelation to St. John.
• For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. 1 Peter 2:20-21
So take heart dear Christians. Your suffering and tribulation and death is not punishment for your sin. That would have to be eternal. That is what Christ suffered and endured for you, for the joy set before Him. Your suffering and tribulation and death are all part of the birthpangs of being reborn into the kingdom of God. But , "your sorrow will turn into joy"—joy for you and joy for those who will be brought to faith and into the Church through your suffering, your continuing to bear the cross of Christ in the world as His body here on earth.
The Church is the Ark that saves us, you and every believer, and bears us safely through the troubled waters of tribulation into the kingdom of heaven.
Just as the cross was merely a temporary, though painful and debilitating wound, so is our tribulation. And just as our Lord endured the cross for the joy set before Him, so too is our tribulation only a wounding of our heel we endure for the joy set before us.
[Therefore] let us, [dear brothers and sisters] hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. 24An let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. Hebrews 10:23-25
Just as Jesus spoke to His disciples in our Gospel lesson, He is speaking to you today in the DS and especially at His table. "Your sorrow will turn into joy." Because He is here to forgive you all your sins and give you a better, eternal life--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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