Sunday, April 5, 2015

Sermon -- Easter Dawn (April 5, 2015)

EXODUS 14:10 – 15:1

In the name + of Jesus.

     When the Lord had called Moses to lead the Israelites out of Egypt, he said, “I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and the Jacob, as God Almighty, but by my name the LORD I did not make myself known to them.” (Exodus 6:3)  This does not mean that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob did not know the name of the LORD.  Each one built an altar to the LORD and called on the name of the LORD.  They knew and believed the promises of the LORD.  What they did not know or experience, however, was the LORD acting to deliver his people.  The LORD would reveal himself to Moses and all Israel as the LORD, that is, as the God who graciously redeems and saves.
     The Lord had led Israel out of Egypt after the Passover.  The firstborn in Egypt were slain, but Israel had been spared because their homes were marked by the blood of an unblemished lamb.  After the Egyptians had recovered from their initial grief, they rallied and mobilized their army.  They marched to get their slave laborers back.  It would be easy.  Though Israel was perhaps 2 million strong, they were also unarmed and untrained.  What was even more advantageous for the Egyptian army, they had Israel cornered.  Egypt stood behind them, and the Red Sea stood before them.  Israel could not outrun them or outwit them.  They were easy pickins for the most formidable army on earth.
     But God Almighty was ready to keep his promises and to reveal himself as the LORDIsrael would do nothing.  The LORD would act and fight for them.  He would overcome the enemy single-handedly.
     First, he drove back the waters of the Red Sea—enough that 2 million people and their flocks and herds could pass through on dry ground.  The Egyptians chased Israel into the sea, which the Lord used for their demise.  The LORD brought the waters back over them and destroyed them.  Israel, safely on the opposite shore, witnessed a resounding victory that they did nothing to win.  God Almighty revealed himself as the LORD.  He is the God who graciously redeems and saves.
     You know this LORD too.  He has revealed himself to you as a greater Savior.  And you are the recipients of a resounding victory that you have done nothing to win.  Jesus has singled-handedly taken on your enemies for you.  He has taken your sin and paid for it.  He has assumed your death and has overcome it.  He has battled the devil to win you.  Jesus has crushed him underfoot and delivered you from his grasp.  It was not the last gallant act of a dying man.  Your risen Savior is risen and lives to assure you that your enemies are defeated and dead.  Jesus Christ is risen and reigns.
     The LORD delivered his people through the waters of the Red Sea.  That was their baptism into the old covenant.  You, too, have been delivered through water.  You have been baptized into the new covenant.  By those baptismal waters, Jesus has washed away your sin.  It is drowned, and you are freed from it.  By baptism, the Lord put you to death and raised up a new creation.  Now, if you already died when you were baptized, then death is already done for you.  Death no longer has a claim you.  You are children of the resurrection.  You are heirs of eternal life.
     God Almighty has revealed himself to you as the LORD, the God who redeems and saves.  He has won an everlasting victory for you.  You have received the benefits of Jesus’ work on your behalf.  Rejoice.  Lift up your hearts and be glad.  The enemy has been defeated.  Jesus lives and reigns.  And the victory is yours.

In the name of the Father and of the Son + and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

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