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.
Dear beloved of God,
If you would like to hear the sermon preached at Trinity Lutheran Church in Layton, Utah for Holy (Good, i.e. God's) Friday, "God for You," click on the MP3 link provided above.
God grant that you always see this as GOd's Good Friday as you look forward to celebrating the Resurrection.
A servant of the Word and His people,
Here is the preaching manuscript.
TEXT: For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:21
Dearly beloved and baptized of God,
This day, originally called God's Friday is a great day for you. It is the day on which He defeated Satan for you and finishes His work of salvation for you. This is the day he enters into His glory and makes His exodus into heaven for you, bringing you with Him into the heavenly realms even as He took your sins to the cross with Him.
Behold the Lamb of God, Who Takes Away the Sin of the World
Jesus, the Lamb of God, is led to the slaughter of His cross as the sacrifice of atonement for the sins of the world. "Despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief" (Is. 53:3), He is the righteous Servant who justifies many by His innocent suffering and death. He bears our griefs and carries our sorrows; He is wounded for our transgressions; He is crushed for our iniquities; He suffers our chastisement, so that "with His stripes we are healed" (Is. 53:4-5). As the Son of God, He fulfills the Law for us in human flesh, and so fulfills the Scriptures (John 19:7, 24). For in Christ, "God was reconciling the whole world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them" (2 Cor. 5:19).
Athanasius, Bishop of Alexandria & confessor of the faith after whom the Athanasian Creed is named, writes of the Crucifixion of our Lord::
But if any honest Christian wants to know why the Lord suffered death on the cross and not in some other way, we answer thus; in no other way was it expedient for us, indeed the Lord offered for our sakes the one death that was supremely good. He had come to bear the curse that lay on us; and how could He "become a curse" otherwise than by accepting the accursed death? And that death is the cross, for it is written "Cursed is every one that hangs on a tree. [Deuteronomy 21:23, Galatians 3:13]"
Again, the death of the Lord is the ransom of all, and by it "the middle wall of partition" [Ephesians 2:14] is broken down and the call of the Gentiles comes about. How could He have called us if He had not been crucified, for it is only on the cross that man dies with arms outstretched?
Here again, we see the fitness of His death and of those outstretched arm: it was that He might draw His ancient people with one and the Gentiles with the other, and join both together in Himself. Even so, He foretold the manner of His redeeming death, "I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men unto Myself. [John 12:23]"
How to Contemplate Christ's Holy Sufferings
NOT to sympathize with Christ as to weep and lament for him because he was so innocent, like the women who followed Christ from Jerusalem, And as they led him away, they seized one Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, and laid on him the cross, to carry it behind Jesus. And there followed him a great multitude of the people and of women who were mourning and lamenting for him. 28But turning to them Jesus said, "Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. Luke 23:26-28
II. THE TRUE VIEW OF CHRIST'S SUFFERINGS.
Fourthly, they meditate on the Passion of Christ aright, who so view Christ that they become terror-stricken in heart at the sight, and their conscience at once sinks in despair. This terror-stricken feeling should spring forth, so that you see the severe wrath and the unchangeable earnestness of God in regard to sin and sinners, in that he was unwilling that his only and dearly beloved Son should set sinners free unless he paid the costly ransom for them as is mentioned in Is 53, 8: "For the transgression of my people was he stricken." What happens to the sinner, when the dear child is thus stricken? An earnestness must be present that is inexpressible and unbearable, which a person so immeasurably great goes to meet, and suffers and dies for it; and if you reflect upon it real deeply, that God's Son, the eternal wisdom of the Father, himself suffers, you will indeed be terror-stricken; and the more you reflect the deeper will be the impression.
< End Luther >
He is there because of you and for you. It is you that deserves to be there, but he hangs there willingly in your place that you may never taste death. With this in mind, here again His seven words, i.e. messages spoken for you as he hangs on the cross of Calvary fro you:
THE FIRST WORD:
"Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do" (Luke 23:34)
You & I are them.
THE SECOND WORD:
"Today shalt thou be with Me in Paradise" (Luke 23:43)
The thief then, and you now.
THE THIRD WORD:
"Woman, behold thy son!" - "Behold thy mother!" (John 19:26, 27)
Church—entrusts to the care of the Word & Sacraments
THE FOURTH WORD:
"My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?" (Matthew 27:46)
That is the ultimate punishment for your sins
THE FIFTH WORD:
"I thirst!" (John 19:28)
He has become man for you. That He was and is also God will be proven once and for all on the Third Day when He rises from the dead.
THE SIXTH WORD:
"It is finished!" (John 19:30)
There remains no condemnation, no punishment, no death, for you. The devil is defeated by the vilest evil he has ever accomplished.
THE SEVENTH WORD:
"Father, into Thy hands I commend My spirit" (Luke 23:46)
This is faith. What God demands and commands He lives and supplies for you.
Yes, dearly beloved and baptized of God, the Resurrection is yet to come. But the victory over sin, death, and the devil is won. Salvation and eternal life are yours. It is finished for you— 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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