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.
The man's obituary read: "If you are reading this in the paper then I am no longer of this world but have passed on to the eternal world promised by Jesus. Hopefully, I am headed up and not down."
How sad! God, our Father, does not want us to have any such doubt about the eternal world, about Jesus' promise. Our salvation and eternal life with him are secure and finished - that is what your Baptism means and delivers.
I hope that sometime between the writing of this obituary and his death this man heard the Word of His Savior and yours from our text today, or at least something like it: "Because I live, you will live also." John 14:19b
Do you see how simple, how direct, how powerful those seven words are? They are a veritable prescription for life - written by God, filled by His Son, and delivered by the Holy Spirit!
"Because I live, you will live also."
This is the commandment within the commandments of which Jesus speaks in our text today. When He talks about keeping His commandments, it is in the sense of how your doctor tells you to be sure to have your prescription filled and to take it regularly - as prescribed.
Jesus, the great physician, is wherever His Word of forgiveness of sins is to give you life: "Because I live, you will live also."
As certainly as Adam and Eve were given life by the very breath of God in the beginning, so to the very Words of God breathed upon you give you eternal life. "Because I live, you will live also."
Do you know anybody who thinks like the man who wrote the obituary - that hopefully (i.e. *maybe*) they will go up instead of down? Then as Peter tells you in today's Epistle, "be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you." 1 Peter 3: 15 For just such a person with just such doubt gives you the perfect opportunity to speak to them about the Gospel you have received, and continue to receive, here at Trinity Lutheran Church. Every Sunday here you can count on receiving Christ's prescription for eternal life - the forgiveness of sins. "Because I live, you will live also."
You will live!!! Tomorrow, next week, next month, next year -- in the year 2525, "if man is still alive," is neither a question, nor ever in doubt -- for in Christ you will live forever! "You will live" is a future tense without end because the one who says, "Because I live, you will live also," is the "same yesterday, today and forever!" [Hebrews 13:8]
This prescription for life, a life that begins with Baptism into the name of the one who gives it for the forgiveness of sins and continues every time you hear that Word of forgiveness and receive it along with His body and blood in the Sacrament, and the certainty of its effectiveness is given throughout Scripture. Hear more from the Word about that, starting with today's reading from Acts:
"Therefore, since we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, something shaped by art and man's devising. Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead." Acts 17:16-31, NKJ
Last week's Gospel:
John 14:2-3 "In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. (NKJ)
Perhaps the most beloved and oft quoted verse in Christianity:
John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. (NKJ)
The Gospel from Good Shepherd Sunday:
John 10:27_29 "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father's hand. (NKJ)
John 11:23-26 Jesus said to her, "Your brother will rise again." Martha said to Him, "I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day." Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?" (NKJ)
Eph 2:4-9 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. (NKJ)
Col 2:11-14 In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. (NKJ)
Rom 6:5-11 For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (NKJ)
So dear people of God, do not let your hearts be troubled. You need never wonder if you are going up or going down. Jesus promise is not a lottery, or a game of Deal or No Deal where you don't know the outcome until the case is opened. It is not a matter of finding out only when you get there. It has been prescribed, pre-written in the book of heaven for you. Jesus the very Son of God, the risen Savior says:
John 14:27 "Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." (NKJ)
"Because I live, you will live also." For all of your sins are forgiven -- 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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