Monday, April 25, 2016

Sermon -- HVL Chapel (April 25, 2016)





This was the chapel devotion given at Huron Valley Lutheran High School in Westland, Michigan.


LORD, TAKE MY HAND AND LEAD ME – 
IN A LIFE OF LOVE.

In Love He Will Remove The Problem Of Sin.

REVELATION 21:1-6

In the name + of Jesus.

     The Gospel writer Matthew sums up Jesus' ministry in this one verse: “And he went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people.” (Matthew 4:23)  You are all familiar with the miraculous healings that Jesus performed—restoring sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, and speech to the mute.  He made the paralyzed and lame walk.  He even raised the dead.
     When you go to church, you usually hear more about the first part of what Jesus did—teaching and proclaiming the gospel.  There is good reason for that.  Being blind does not send anyone to hell, nor does paralysis or even death for that matter.  Christians die, but that does not mean they have gone to hell.  Sin condemns us.  Sin is the reason we are guilty and unclean.  Sin is the reason people go to hell.  Sin causes us to despise God and to go against his word.  Sin causes us to think we are good enough and to think that if God has a problem with us that God is the one with the problem.  Sin makes unbelievers of us all, and that is the reason we would go to hell.
     Therefore, your pastor preaches God's word to you in order to put to death those sinful inclinations in you.  You are admonished so that you do not let sin make itself at home with you.  This drives you to Jesus, our Immanuel.  Behold!  The dwelling place of God is with man! (Revelation 21:3)  Jesus came to dwell among mankind in order to deliver mankind out of all sin and guilt.  Jesus alone forgives you sins because he has paid for them.  Jesus alone grants you the righteousness you need to stand before God because Jesus alone has it.  Jesus alone makes you children of the resurrection because Jesus alone has conquered death.  Jesus is the door into the kingdom of God.  Jesus is the way to eternal life.  That is why we preach about Jesus Christ who was crucified and is risen.  For, he alone forgives sins and saves sinners.
     So now, you bear the status of saints.  You are holy and blameless in the sight of God.  But you have not been delivered from all your troubles yet.  In fact, the older you get, the harder the troubles are going to seem.  Family and friends will die.  Bodies will get older, ache, and become frail.  You will be slandered by neighbors and sabotaged by co-workers.  You will experience car accidents, broken bones, flu, watery eyes, and runny noses.  You will read stories about war, terrorist attacks, hurricanes, tornadoes, and flooding.  Guess what?  You live in a broken world.  That doesn't mean you won't enjoy any blessings in it, but the blessings are always pock marked by the effects of sin.  You will get to know many people who will be overwhelmed by all the problems in the world.  You will be overwhelmed too, from time to time.  But fear not.  You have your Immanuel.  You have a Savior who delivers you even from these.
     He who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” (Revelation 21:5)  Jesus Christ not only taught and proclaimed the gospel, he also went about healing every disease and affliction.  The kingdom of God is not merely about forgiving sinners so that they can go on living in a corrupt, warped, and broken world.  You already have that now.  But you long to be delivered completely from your pains and  problems.  Dear Christians, you will be.
     St. John proclaimed the vision of your future: Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.  And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.  And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man.  He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.  He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:1-4)  
     The Lord Jesus Christ is your Immanuel.  He became man so that he could deliver mankind from sin and all its consequences.  That is why he healed diseases and removed afflictions.  Those are a foreshadowing of the perfection to come.  He rose from the grave with his body to show you that your bodies will also rise from the grave forever free from sin and its consequences.  He will make all things new.  The Paradise of God is better than you can dream of because there will never be problems there—not car accidents or cancer, not allergies or acne, not bitterness or backstabbing, not pain, not sorrow, not death, not sickness, and not even Kleenex.  Jesus will make all things new and perfect and permanent.
     I know that we do not have all of these things now.  For now, we continue as saints living in a sinful world.  For now, we continue to flee to Jesus for mercy and encouragement, for admonition and consolation.  And Jesus continues to pour out his blessings upon us.  And Jesus continues to remind us of the glories to come.  And they will come.
     In the meantime, rejoice!  For you have what people dream about.  You have been promised what people pray for.  People want a world where people get along, where wars have ended, where disease has ceased, where bodies don't get weak, and where loved ones don't die.  Dear Christians, you do not have to dream about it; you only have to wait for it.  Jesus came to dwell with man so that we could dwell with him forever.  The Lord who proclaimed the kingdom of God is also the Lord who puts an end to every disease and affliction.  These words are trustworthy and true, and they ensure your place in his kingdom now and forevermore.

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

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