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Second chance, last chance

Luke 7:11-16

Pastor David Ernst

16th Sunday after Trinity
Epiphany Lutheran Mission of La Caramuca  
Barinas, Venezuela


right-click to download MP3 of this sermon

Sun, Oct 9, 2011 

In our text for today we find a story of the restoration of the deceased to life. There are others in the Bible: In the Old Testament, the prophets Elijah and Elisha revived the sons of widows (1 Kings 17:17-24; 2 Kings 4:8-37), our Lord Jesus Christ also revived the daughter of Jairus (Mark 5:22-43) and Lazarus, the brother of Martha and Mary of Bethany (John 11:1-46) and the Apostle Peter revived Dorcas of the church at Joppa (Acts 9:36-41).

Like the others, the story of the son of the widow of Nain proves two points:

1. The Lord has all power over life and death.

2. The Lord is merciful.

The Bible says human life begins at conception as a creation of God.

"For You created my inmost being; You covered me in my mother's womb. I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and my soul knows it very well. It was not hid from You that my frame was made ​​in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. "(Psalm 139:13-15).

Moreover, the life of each has value and purpose in God's eyes. "The Lord called me from the womb, from the bowels of my mother mentioned my name." (Isaiah 49:1).

God has numbered the days of our lives. Only He knows why one person lives many years and others die in the womb (which is why today we pray for Wuendy, aunt of Elias, Oriana, Eduar, Ignacio and Anyi, because she miscarried this past week). Of course, God has given civil government the right of the sword, to control the exterior acts of criminals. But the government is only the instrument of God. If a person does not threaten his neighbors, even the government has no authority to judge the value of his life and kill him without cause.

God is just but also merciful. He has given some people a second chance to live in this world to be a blessing to others. Perhaps in this case, the widow of Nain had no other relatives to support her, only her son, so the Lord showed his compassion.

However, there is a difference between this type of story and the promise of resurrection to eternal life. The glorious resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ was not simply an extension of earthly life. Christ was raised forever and those who believe in the resurrection will also be raised forever. Christ was not merely revived from death, Christ conquered death. The sons of the widows, the daughter of Jairus, Lazarus, all of them had to physically die again to share in the resurrection at the last day. Hopefully, all of them will rise with us to eternal life, but others will arise to their damnation.

Because Christ has given all of us believers a second chance. Not in an obviously miraculous way, as with the son of the widow of Nain, but we were all spiritually dead before we received the gift of new life in Christ through Holy Baptism. For us, baptism means a second chance to live again as a blessing to others, as sons and daughters of God.se

But the second opportunity is the last chance. On the final day, everyone will raise from the dead to be judged by Christ. Those who reject the second chance offered by Christ in this life, will receive justice, not mercy. But we who are clothed in the righteousness of Christ will receive mercy and eternal life.

We will have to stay in this world of pain and trial for a while, but finally we share in Christ's victory over death and not suffer a repeat of physical death.

Well, what happens when a child dies without baptism? Thank God, there is the hope of the grace of God for these children of Christian parents too! The biblical basis for this claim is primarily 2 Samuel 12:22-23. The newborn son of King David died before the day of circumcision, eight days after birth. David said: "While the child lived, I fasted and wept: Who knows if God will have mercy on me, that the child might live? But now he is dead, why should I fast? Can I bring him back? I will go to him, but he will not return to me." That is to say, David anticipated a reunion with his son in heaven and the Scriptures do not indicate that it was a false belief.

In the Old Testament, circumcision correspond to baptism in the New Testament. It was instituted by God as a visible seal of the covenant between the Lord and His people. The one who received the circumcision became part of the people of God and an heir of the Lord's promises to Abraham, but those who rejected circumcision were not heirs of the promise. However, girls were included in the covenant because of their circumcised fathers. And as the verses in 2 Samuel imply, the Lord honored the intentions of the parents who would have presented their children for circumcision, had they not died.

As Dr. Martin Luther said, "Who would doubt that the children of Israel who died before the circumcision on the eighth day were saved through the prayers of their parents, based on the promise that God would be their God?" (What Luther Says, Vol. I, page 49, CPH, St. Louis, 1949).

Baptism is the seal of the new covenant in Jesus Christ. Our Lord commanded baptism for all, including children. As it is written in Mark 16:16, "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved: but he that believeth not shall be damned." Jesus also said, "Suffer the little children come unto me and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God." (Luke 18:16).

The will of God is to save all humanity and not lose anyone. It is not the absence of baptism (by circumstances outside of our control) that condemns, but is the rejection of baptism (when there is a chance).

This does not negate the need or urgency of baptism. When we have the opportunity, as the people of God, we must administer baptism as the Lord commanded us. If children were not sinners, none of them would die physically. However, the hope for who die before baptism is not based on their innocence, rather becaus, although the Lord has forced the church to observe everything He commanded us, anything is possible with Him and His grace and mercy are boundless .

The peace of God which passeth all understanding will keep you in heart and mind in Christ Jesus. Amen.





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