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Freedom in Christ!

John 20:10-31

Rev. John F. Wurst

Quasimodo Geniti
The Lutheran Church of Christ the King  
Duluth, Minnesota

Sun, Apr 7, 2013 

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

John 20:19-31

The Second Sunday of Easter (Quasimodo Geniti)

"FREEDOM IN CHRIST"

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

What is freedom? How would you describe freedom to another person who lives in a repressed third-world country? You probably answer the question like everyone else in America; you would talk about civil liberties, freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom to bear arms, etc.

Compared to other countries, the citizens of America do enjoy more freedom than others in their daily lives. However, when you look at what true freedom is, I suspect Americans are prisoners on death row compared to other countries like Kenya, Siberia, and others.

The problem in America is the imprisonment os people by the works-righteousness. The problem is there are too many people like Joyce Meyer, Joel Osteen, Rick Warren, Jimmy Swaggert, and so many others who are teaching that you are not sinners. They teach that you just have to live a good life. Be moral. Be kind. You're in control of your life. Do good things for others. Everyone is going to heaven. Lies. All lies.

You are sinners. The truth is you like your life because, according to the devil, your life is rich, full, and complete. What more could you want? You have it all. You've run off all those you despise. You've rejected all those in need. They're too much of a bother. You gossip. You love the taste of flesh as you rip your neighbor's reputation apart with others in the neighborhood. Life is good.

Consider for a moment now what would happen to you is Jesus did not come into the world to suffer and die on the cross. On Judgment Day, The Lord would say to you, I do not know you. Go away! Go to hell. Be with your kind.

Here's the difference between the worldview of freedom and God's freedom. The worldview of freedom is limited, deadly, and finite. God's freedom is holy, righteous, and everlasting.

The Son of God came into this world to bringing healing to the sick (that's you) and to save sinners from eternal condemnation (that's you again).

John writes about his revelation that Jesus is the One who freed you from your sins. How? BY HIS BLOOD! Jesus stood in your place in the Judgment Hall of Pontius Pilate and took all accusations against your sins unto Himself. Jesus received the Judgment against your sins when the people cried out "Crucify Him! Crucify Him!" Your freedom from sin, death, and the power of the devil was purchased not with gold or silver, but with the precious Body and innocent Blood of Jesus Christ.

On Easter morning, Jesus burst forth from His prison. He is Risen! He will never die again. Later that joyous evening, Jesus appeared to His disciples who were hiding behind a locked door for fear of the Jews. Hiding like cowards. Jesus says, "Peace be with you."

Jesus brings healing to these sinners. Men who fled for fear of their own lives. Jesus doesn't hold a grudge. He forgives them of all their sins. Jesus does the same for you. Because of His love for you, Jesus gave to His Church the Keys that unlock the prisons you get yourselves thrown into because of sin.

These Keys are divine. They are sacramental. They do exactly what Jesus instituted them for; to forgive and retain sins. When you confess your sins, according to your station in life, with contrition in your heart, Jesus forgives you. His pastors forgive. And, you forgive one another just as Jesus forgives you.

Now, when a sinner is stiff-necked or unrepentant, that is, grounded in their sin, then Jesus withholds His forgiveness. He binds it on earth. The sinner remains unforgiven and in a state of separation from God and His love.

Jesus does not like to turn the Key that binds. When you anger Him with your disobedience and sins, He has no choice and neither do His pastors. When you sin and reject the Word of God, you must be disciplined. That discipline comes by locking the altar of grace from you as long as you are stiff-necked and unrepentant. When you live in sin, you are not to receive the grace of God but only His LAW!

For the sinner who is penitent, Jesus says, I forgive you all your sins. He says to you, Take eat; Take drink. This is My Body given for you. This is My Blood shed for you for the forgiveness of your sins.

The forgiveness of sins is that peace which Jesus gives you. Peace which the world cannot give. Jesus gives to you that which was earned for you through suffering, death, and resurrection again from the dead.

Peace is knowing and believing you are saved by the Blood of the Lamb sent to take away the sins of the world. Peace is believing in Jesus for the salvation of your soul. Peace is life in Christ. Peace is FREEDOM.

What is freedom? Freedom is salvation in Jesus Christ. Freedom is being forgiven of your sins committed against God and neighbor for the sake of Jesus Christ. Freedom is received in Baptism and lived daily through contrition and confession of sins thus hearing that Key unlocking your prison and setting you free.

Rejoice in the Crucified and Resurrected Christ! He is Risen! You are free because the Son has made you free.

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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