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Resurrected Life Proves that God's Word Is Truth

1 Kings 17:22-24 (17-24)

Rev. Thomas Handrick, Sr.

Second S a Pentecost
Immanuel Lutheran Church & School  
Perryville, MO

View Associated File

Sun, Jun 10, 2007
Second S a Pentecost

Standard LSB C Readings:
First: 1 Kings 17:17-24
Epistle: Gal 1:11-24
Gospel: Luke 7:11-17
Psalm: Ps 30 (5b)

 

In the name of the Triune God—Father,  Son, and Holy Spirit.  [Amen.]

(1 Kings 17:22-24) "And the LORD listened to the voice of Elijah.  And the life of the child came into him again, and he revived.  And Elijah took the child and brought him down from the upper chamber into the house and delivered him to his mother.  And Elijah said, 'See, your son lives.' And the woman said to Elijah, 'Now I know that you are a man of God, and that the word of the LORD in your mouth is truth.'"

INTRODUCTION: Dear Fellow Resurrection-Reality and Spirit-Filled Saints of God.

Last Sunday we began the "non-festival" or "ordinary" portion of the Christian church year.  I remind us that the "festival" portion of the Christian church year extends from the First Sunday of Advent through the Day of Pentecost.  The dominant liturgical colors are blue, purple, and white.  During that time we joyfully celebrate the events in our Savior's incarnation that compose His atonement activity.  Those events include His conception, birth, baptism, transfiguration, death, resurrection, and ascension.  In short, during the festival portion of the Christian church year we focus on Jesus Himself and what He did to gain forgiveness of sins, salvation, and eternal life for us.

The non-festival or ordinary portion of the Christian church year extends from Holy Trinity Sunday (the First Sunday after Pentecost) through the Last Sunday of the Church Year.  The dominant liturgical color is green, the color of life.  During that time we focus on the Spirit-guided work of the church.  That work is the application of Christ's atonement activity to our lives, building up the faith of believers, educating us about the meaning and living out of our faith in everyday situations, and evangelizing the world by telling the Good News about Jesus to all people, especially those who do not yet believe in Him as Lord and Savior.

In light of such, we regretfully realize that death is one of the foremost items with which we Christians and all people deal, often with many questions and much anxiety.  Temporal death is the separation of the immortal soul from the mortal body.  Eternal death is the separation of the body-and-soul from God, Who is the Source of life.

Death was not part of God's original plan for mankind, the crown of His creation.  His plan for human beings was and continues to be life.  Unfortunately, our first parents Adam and Eve spoiled God's holy plan with their rebellious sin.  The result of such was and continues to be death—both temporal and, for all who hard-heartedly reject Jesus Christ as Redeemer and Savior, eternal.

Thankfully, our Creator-God is all-powerful even over death.  Holy Scripture contains accounts of bodily resurrections that prove that in addition to the greatest of all resurrections, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ Himself.  Those accounts are in both the Old and New Testaments.

Interestingly, the account in today's Old Testament Reading has a parallel in today's Holy Gospel Reading.  Both are of widows whose only sons had died.  That, in itself, was a most devastating situation because it deprived those ladies of their sources of provision and, in effect, caused them to have to rely on social welfare (otherwise known at that time as begging) for their existence.

Well, Almighty God then entered the equation and miraculously changed the outcome.  He did so through His prophet Elijah in today's Old Testament account and Jesus Christ Himself in today's Holy Gospel account.

The major lesson we learn in them is that ...

Transition: RESURRECTED LIFE PROVES THAT GOD'S WORD IS TRUTH sadly realizing that Death Is Life's Dreadful Problem but happily celebrating that Life Is Death's Sacred Solution.

I. DEATH IS LIFE'S DREADFUL PROBLEM. [17-18: "After this the son of the woman, the mistress of the house, became ill.  And his illness was so severe that there was no breath left in him.  And she said to Elijah, 'What have you against me, O man of God?  You have come to me to bring my sin to remembrance and to cause the death of my son!'"] We've all probably heard it said at least once if not more often that the only two sure things in life are taxes and death.  In fact, physical birth is the beginning of life's journey to death.  As if that's not morbid enough, no matter how far medical science and the healing arts advance there will still be a 100% mortality rate until Christ returns.  Why is that?  Simply because ...

A. Our feeble flesh is very fragile.  The widow's son in today's Old Testament Reading experienced that, as illustrated by the fact that he became not only ill, but severely ill.  Hey, illness and its cousins disease and injury are no strangers to any of us here today.  A simple irritating cold, something more serious like pneumonia or diabetes, a critical disease like cancer or congestive heart, a minor injury like a pulled muscle or bruised tendon, or a major injury like an open head wound or severed spleen are all evidence that our feeble flesh is very fragile.

The simple truth is that the fragility of our feeble flesh is a result of sin.  And, in fact, ...

B. Sin causes death.  Adam and Eve discovered that stark reality in the Garden of Eden.  The Apostle Paul emphatically wrote about it.  We today continue to recognize and experience it.

If there's any doubt whatever, just think back to something Pastor Marks said in a sermon sometime ago about driving a short distance from Highway 61 on Allan's Landing or, I might add, a short distance away from downtown Perryville on T Road from the bypass.  What do we find in both of those locations?  Not fields of dreams but fields of dead people whose bodies realized the result of sin even as our own bodies will as well.  I'm reminded of it multiple times daily as I drive between my home and my home-away-from-home (the church).  It's a route that takes me by Mt. Hope Cemetery, where I see the graves of many who died long ago, sometime ago, and a short time ago.

So, in the context of the reality of death we learn that ...

Transition: RESURRECTED LIFE PROVES THAT GOD'S WORD IS TRUTH sadly realizing that Death Is Life's Dreadful Problem but happily celebrating that Life Is Death's Sacred Solution.

II. LIFE IS DEATH'S SACRED SOLUTION. [19-21: "And he said to her, 'Give me your son.' And he took him from her arms and carried him up into the upper chamber where he lodged, and laid him on his own bed.  And he cried to the LORD, 'O LORD my God, have you brought calamity even upon the widow with whom I sojourn, by killing her son?' Then he stretched himself upon the child three times and cried to the LORD, 'O LORD my God, let this child's life come into him again.'"] Let's be very careful about believing and promoting ideas that may sound good but are really false and just plain wrong.  One such idea is that prayer changes things.  No!  No!  No!  Prayer does not change things!  Rather, the one true Almighty God to Whom we pray changes things.  And let's not think that our prayers inform, control, or influence Him who is all-knowing and all-powerful.  Instead, they worship, honor, praise, and glorify Him by extolling Him as the God of gods and Lord of lords and expressing our Spirit-given faith in Him.  In so doing, ...

A. Prayer connects us with God's power.  Now that's a connection that results in overwhelming and amazingly miraculous things.  So many people who are disconnected from God by their personal neglect of participation in public worship in which we hear God's Holy Word and dine on Christ's Holy Supper wonder why He seems so absent from them ... why they neither see nor experience much or any of His divine power.

Well, duh!  Or, as we learned in the Adult Bible Class last Sunday: Hello!  In other words, wake up and pay attention!  God's power prevails all around us everyday.  Some people fail to see it because they have disconnected themselves from Him by their sinful refusal to seek Him where He is to be found, namely, in Word and Sacrament.  Or, they neglect to trustingly converse with Him whereby we become connected with His power by means of which we can and do witness His miraculous deeds.

Without a doubt, the greatest of those miraculous deeds demonstrates that ...

B. God possesses power over even death.  The very God who created life, is the Source of life, and, in fact, is Life itself, prevails over death.  Oh, make no mistake about it, death had its heyday then and still does today.  Death defeated Jesus Himself ... temporarily.  In that seemingly dreadful victory Jesus paid the price that God demanded for sin ... your sin ... my sin ... the sin of all people of all time ... sin that became the second Adam's sin that He carried to Calvary's cross where He became the sacrificial and sacrificed Lamb that takes away the sin of the world.

But His death was not a final and permanent absence of life.  He defeated His death and our death with His bodily resurrection from the dead.  That resurrection sealed God's victory over sin, Satan, and death itself forever.  His resurrection back to life gained forgiveness of sins, salvation, and eternal life with Him in the glorious mansions of heaven for all people and gives those precious gifts to all who cling to Immanuel by Spirit-given faith in Him.

His resurrected life is our resurrected life, something that He freely gives us in the Blessed Sacrament of Holy Baptism and reminds and reassures us of in His Holy Word and the Blessed Sacrament of Holy Communion.  As we dine on His real crucified and resurrected body and blood that He gives us in, with, and under the sacramental elements of consecrated bread and wine, the Holy Spirit renews our faith in Jesus, increases our trust in Jesus, and gives us the comfort and consolation of Jesus when trials and tribulations, heartaches and despairs threaten to overcome and destroy us.

Through it all, in it all, and by it all, we learn and are reassured that ...

Transition: RESURRECTED LIFE PROVES THAT GOD'S WORD IS TRUTH sadly realizing that Death Is Life's Dreadful Problem but happily celebrating that Life Is Death's Sacred Solution.

CONCLUSION: In today's Epistle Reading we heard St. Paul say,

(Gal 1:22-24) "And I was still unknown in person to the churches of Judea that are in Christ.  They only were hearing it said, 'He who used to persecute us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.' And they glorified God because of me."

Each and every one of us needs to ask the following deeply penetrating and soul piercing question of ourselves: Are people glorifying God because of us?  The people who had known Paul as Saul the persecutor and executor of Christians came to know him as the preacher and teacher of Jesus Christ, Whom he had energetically denied.  He who had previously sought to still the voices of Christians by killing them became the Holy Spirit's voice proclaiming Jesus Christ that others then sought to still.

Let each and every one of us also be such voices, telling people here in Perryville, Perry County, Missouri, the United States of America, and the whole wide world the Good News about Jesus.  Let us do so not only with our voices but also with our hands, our hearts, our attitudes, our prayers, and our generous financial offerings as we serve God by saying and doing His holy will.

In today's Holy Gospel Reading we heard the following about when Jesus came upon the funeral of a distraught widow's only son,

(Luke 7:13-15) "And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her and said to her, 'Do not weep.' Then he came up and touched the bier, and the bearers stood still.  And he said, 'Young man, I say to you, arise.' And the dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother."

Jesus was not only filled with compassion but generously and graciously communicated His compassion with words of comfort and consolation and actions of intense intervention.  After lovingly telling the weeping widow to not cry, He then gave her reason to not cry by resurrecting her son back to life and giving him to her.

Let us likewise comfort and console grieving mothers, fathers, wives, husbands, daughters, and sons with words that speak Christlike care, concern, and compassion in the face of life's dire difficulties.  Let us also reassure all who need reassurance that the same Jesus who raised that widow's son from the dead will one day raise all people from the dead and give eternal life with Himself in heaven to all who believe in Him as Lord and Savior.

After all, resurrected life proves that God's Word is truth even though, sadly, death is life's dreadful problem but of much greater significance is that life is death's sacred solution.  That truthful Word of God speaks His condemning commands of Law as well as merciful and gracious promises of Gospel to all people.

God grant it all for the sake of Jesus Christ, His humble Son, our holy Savior.  Amen.

In the name of the Triune God—Father,  Son, and Holy Spirit.  [Amen.]



This sermon is not copyrighted. It is God's gift to His Church for free and unrestricted use through me who am one of His many faithful servants. Please exercise the common courtesy of properly acknowledging its source should you use part or all of it for any purposes.



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