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Faith Alone

Luke 18:31-43

Rev. John F. Wurst

The Lutheran Church of Christ the King  
Duluth, Minnesota

Play MP3 of this sermon

Sun, Feb 10, 2013 

"For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified." (1 Cor. 2:2)

In the Name of the Father and + of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

Jesus foretells His suffering, death, and resurrection for the third and final time. Jesus tells His disciples that everything that will happen to Him in Jerusalem is to fulfill the Scriptures.

Many in this world, still today, do not believe in Jesus Christ. Many who have heard the message of salvation have rejected it. People like you ask, "Why some and not others?" The answer is simply sin.

There are some who "claim" Jesus for themselves. They "accepted" Jesus into their heart. All false notions. All false claims. You and every other sinner cannot believe in Jesus or come to Him. It's impossible.

To know Jesus is to believe on Jesus Name and all that He has done for you to reconcile you to the Father in heaven. The Holy Spirit is the One who creates and sustains faith in the sinner. Martin Luther said, "Faith does not reconcile us of itself,but it grasps and obtains the reconciliation which Christ has wrought for us."

Faith is the Triune God's gift to sinners He rescues from sin, death, and the power of the devil. He creates faith that grasps ahold of Jesus' atoning sacrifice and doesn't let go. Faith is the means by which God reveals His eternal Son, Jesus, to you, so that you know Him, learn about Him, abide in Him, confess Him, live in Him, and one day die in Him.

That's what your life is all about; living in the Christ. Does this mean you don't sin? No. Does mean you boast in your sins because you know God is so gracious? No. St. Paul says, "What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?" (Romans 6:1-2)

Your life is about glorifying God in all you do. St. Paul continues, "Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life." (Romans 6:3-4)

It is the very Son of God, incarnate of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary, made flesh for you, that you believe in. It is the Christ prophesied by the prophets of old that was revealed to Jews and Gentiles alike for the salvation of the world that you believe in. It is this same Jesus who turned His face toward Jerusalem, toward the cross, where He would would be the final sacrifice for the world to atone for the sins of all sinners. It is Jesus that faith seeks out in the preaching of the Word for the forgiveness of sins. Forgiveness granted not for your sake, but for the sake of the Son who died in your place.

Bartimaeus believed in Jesus. He knew He could restore His sight. He cried to The Lord for mercy in the day of his trouble and affliction. Jesus answered the prayer of Bartimaeus and said to Him, "Receive your sight; your FAITH has saved you."

The healing and forgiveness Bartimaeus received from Jesus were not for the sake of his faith but for the sake of the Son and only for the sake of the Son does the Father bestow His mercy. Only for the sake of the Son are faith and salvation given to sinners. (Luther)

Just as Jesus restored Bartimaeus' sight, He too opens your eyes to the truth that He descended from heaven to bring to the world. Jesus comes to you. He chose you. He rescued you. He gave you life in His Name. He hears your prayers. He forgives your sins. Jesus does this because He is love and He loves you.

Everything Jesus does for you today is because He set His face toward Jerusalem. He did not let the devil, the world, or human frailty stop Him from His Father's task; to save sinners from sin, death, and the power of the devil.

Judas will hand Jesus over for thirty pieces of silver. The townspeople and the Roman soldiers will come with clubs, knives, spears, and swords as if they were were to overtake a small country.

Peter lies through his teeth. The Pharisees blaspheme Jesus and call Him a liar. They challenge A man smacks Jesus and challenges Him to prove He is the Son of God. Jesus is put on trial. Not by one Governor but two. No fault is found. Yet, the people cry out Crucify Him! Crucify Him!

After being beaten, crowned with thorns, stripped, mocked, insulted, and spit upon, Pontus Pilate hands Jesus over to die on the cross like a common criminal. The soldiers lay the very method of human destruction upon His back. Carry it they command Him.

Finally making it to Golgatha, the Place of the Skull, Jesus is nailed to the tree of life. He is lifted up, ridiculed, and mocked some more, not only by Rome but also the criminals who deserve their punishment because of their crimes.

The Sabbath Day nearing, the order to break the legs of the criminals to make sure they die on time. When they came to Jesus, the soldiers saw that He was already dead. Just to make sure, they thrust a spear deep into His side. Immediately Blood and Water gushed forth from the body of The Lord.

Jesus died. He died to save you. He died to justify you before His Father. He died to atone for your sins. He died to redeem you back from death and restore you back into communion with His Father. Jesus died to forgive your sins and give you everlasting life.

Faith and faith alone apprehends these gifts. Faith and faith alone receives these divine gifts. Faith and faith alone believes in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation. You cannot do it. God does it through His Means of Grace; Word and Sacraments. God does it for you for the sake of His only begotten Son, Jesus the Christ.

In the Name of the Father and + of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

The peace of God which surpasses all understanding guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Amen.

+ SDG +

(C) Rev. John F. Wurst

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