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.
To hear how our Lord has visited you to raise you from the dead and live in the resurrected body of Christ, now and forever, click on the MP3 audio link provided above.
Thanks be to God, Christ's resurrection is your resurrection!
Your servant of the Word,
Here is the preaching manuscript.
TEXT: "A great prophet has arisen among us!" and "God has visited his people!"
Dearly beloved people of God,
Our Father in heaven, who so loved the world that he gave his only Son, to visit His people and to suffer, die and rise for them, sets a beautiful tapestry of readings before us today to comfort, and uplift us as we face the suffering and trouble that surrounds us in this Valley of the Shadow of death in which we live daily.
All three of our Scripture lessons today reveal to us how God has visited and continues to visit His people. Perhaps more importantly for us, they reveal WHY.
Ever since the beginning, God has visited His people. Adam and Eve were placed in Eden for that very purpose, for God to visit them—to walk and talk with them in the flesh as they worked and kept the beautiful garden God had created for them.
And ever since the fall into sin, God's visits to His people have taken on an added dimension, so to speak.
God has visited His people to raise them from the dead.
• The widows' sons in today's OT and Gospel lessons (1 Kings 17:17-24; Luke 7:11-17)
• In the Church (Rom. 6, Eph. 3:21)
". . . to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations."
Just as He promised and proclaimed to be so Where in the preaching and teaching of His Word and the baptizing of all nations He is with us
What does such baptizing with water signify?--It signifies that the old Adam in us should, by daily contrition and repentance, be drowned and die with all sins and evil lusts, and, again, a new man daily come forth and arise; who shall live before God in righteousness and purity forever.
Where is this written?--St. Paul says Romans, chapter 6: We are buried with Christ by Baptism into death, that, like as He was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
• On the Last Day
Raising of the widows' sons points to God's visit of His people to raise them from the death of sin in Word and Sacrament, which in turn prepares us for God's visit on the Last Day to raise His people from bodily death to receive a new flesh that will live with Him in heaven forever.
What is the one prerequisite being raised from the dead?
We must die.
God must visit.
This is fine for the widows' sons. For Lazarus.
But what about for us?
We must die in the flesh because our sin must be put to death. True enough, the Old Adam in us has been put to death in Holy Baptism, and thus God has visited us to begin our life with Christ.
But this only brought to completion by our Lord on the Last Day. Our Baptism is the vehicle that delivers us into the presence of God for His visit with us. And the Church's preaching of the Word and bestowing of the body and blood of our risen Savior is the fortress that keeps us in Christ's resurrection until the day of our own.
Lest we get caught up in the trauma and terror of facing our own death, remember there is still another prerequisite for the resurrection that lasts forever? The most important part, Christ the only begotten Son of God must first die and be raised. The glorious thing about that is that it is finished!
21to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. Ephesians 3:21
For in the holy Christian church God the Holy Spirit visits His people as He "calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian Church on earth, and keeps it with Jesus Christ in the one true faith; in which Christian Church He forgives daily and richly all sins to [you] and all believers, and at the last day will raise up [you] and all the dead, and will give to [you] and to all believers in Christ everlasting life.
This is most certainly true, dear people of God. God has, does, and will continue until the very end of the world to visit His people in order to forgive them and raise them from the dead. And it is my blessed call and privilege as His ordained servant of the Word to declare to you that you are His people 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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