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The means of grace

1 Corinthians 19:1-13

Pastor David Ernst

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

Play MP3 of this sermon

Sun, Jul 24, 2016 

Grace and peace in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

I will preach on the epistle, 1 Corinthians 10.1-13, because it speaks of the sacraments that I will talk about in more detail this afternoon with those who are going to the youth gathering. One question: How many parts does the Bible have? Two. The Old Testament and the New Testament. The Old Testament is a collection of books written before the birth of Christ and the New is a collection of books written after the birth of Christ. Our calendar also divide s the history of the human race into two parts: before Christ and after Christ.

We believe the Old Testament prophesied the coming of Christ and the New Testament teaches us what occurred in the life of Jesus and of His work, especially His death and resurrection. "Testament" means "covenant" and the Old Testament is the story of the old covenant between God and the people of Israel, and the New Testament is the story of the covenant in the blood of Christ between God and the church. The New Testament is the fulfillment of the Old Testament.

What does the song, "Father Abraham" say? Many sons has Father Abraham. God promised the patriarch Abraham descendants like the stars in the sky or the sand on the beach. In addition, from among his descendants would come the Savior of the world. The entire Old Testament points to Jesus Christ and often Old Testament events prefigure those of the New Testament.

As our text says today: "Now these things happened as examples for us, so that we should not lust after evil things as they did." Paul speaks of the crossing of the Red Sea. For 400 years the Israelites, Abraham's descendants, were slaves in the land of Egypt. But God sent Moses to free the Israelites. God struck the land of Egypt with 10 plagues, the last was the death of all the firstborn of every house in Egypt. But, God commanded the Israelites to sacrifice a lamb without blemish and paint their doors with its blood and the angel of death would pass over their homes.

All the firstborn in the other houses were killed, including the son of the king of Egypt, Pharaoh. Then Pharaoh let the Israelites go, but changed his mind at the last moment and pursued them with his army. God parted the Red Sea and the Israelites crossed to freedom. Then God closed the waters to drown Pharaoh's army.

So our text says, "For I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea; And all ate the same spiritual food; And all drank the same spiritual drink; they drank from the spiritual rock that followed them, and the rock was Christ. "

Paul was a Jew and many of the early Christians were Jews. So the ancestors of which St. Paul spoke were descendants of Abraham as were St. Paul and the early Christians. The crossing of the Red Sea is an example or figure for us in this way. The Israelites were slaves in Egypt and crossed to freedom by the waters of the sea. We are slaves of sin and the devil by nature, but crossed to spiritual freedom through the waters of baptism. Therefore, St. Paul speaks of the crossing of the Red Sea as a baptism. In the Old Testament, God's people were the biological descendants of Abraham, but now the people of God are the church, all who believe in Jesus Christ, because Christ is the descendant of Abraham promised to be the Savior of the world. By baptism we are spiritual children of Abraham, heirs of God's promises. By adoption in baptism we are brothers of Jesus Christ, Son of God and son of Abraham.

However, after the crossing of the Red Sea, the Israelites were free, but did not immediately enter the Promised Land. They had to travel to the Promised Land through the desert and needed food and drink. There was no food or drink in the desert, but no matter, God gave them food in the form of manna, the bread of heaven, and water that flowed from a rock.

Paul says the rock was Christ, ie a figure for us. We are free from sin, but we have not yet reached the Promised Land, which is eternal life with Christ. We are in the desert, a world where there are many problems and bad things. Our bread of heaven is the body of Christ and our spiritual drink the blood of Christ in, with and under the bread and wine in the sacrament.

Our text speaks of baptism as the crossing of the Red Sea and the sacrament as manna and water from the rock. We can also think of baptism replacing circumcision and the sacrament replacing the Passover.

Our Lord instituted the sacrament intentionally during the week of Passover, the celebration of the deliverance from slavery in Egypt. The Israelites sacrificed a lamb without blemish to avoid the judgment of death for firstborns and later escaped slavery. For us, Christ is our Passover Lamb and we receive His body and blood, along with forgiveness of sins, in the sacrament.

Circumcision meant membership in the people of Israel. Only men received circumcision, not because women did not share in the promise, but because circumcision was a mark on the body of the man that all his children belonged to the old covenant. Now, we are not descendants of Abraham by blood, but we are spiritual children of Abraham in a spiritual family. All receive baptism as new birth: Men, women, elderly, children, youth, everyone. all also they participate in the Lord's Supper. As Paul says all were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; all ate the same spiritual food.

But Paul also says: "But with many of them God was not pleased; so they were overthrown in the wilderness. Why? "Now these things happened as examples for us, so that we do not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. Neither be idolaters, as some of them; as it is written: The people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play. Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day twenty three thousand. Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed by serpents. "

The first commandment says, "You have no other gods before me." However, some of the Israelites rejected the grace and mercy of God and worshiped other gods. They saw the power of God in the 10 plagues, the division of the waters of the Red Sea, the presence of God in the form of a pillar of cloud by day and fire by night, lightning and thunder from Mount Sinai, the glory the Lord in the face of Moses, the miracles of bread and water in the desert. But still they placed their confidence, their priority in powers apart from the Lord. So they did not reach the Promised Land.

All of us have received the grace of God in Jesus Christ. We receive the Holy Spirit in baptism. Every Sunday God does a miracle for us in the sacrament. We have received many other blessings. If we look to other gods in the distractions of this world, there is also the danger of not reaching our Promised Land. So we must be careful and keep alert to the snares of the devil.

Baptism is not a magic trick. It does not work apart from faith life. We will remain in this faith in it we have the promise of eternal life and peace that surpasses all understanding. Amen.

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