Proper 11 Trinity Lutheran Church
20 July 2008 Murdock, NE
Do not run after the false gods of this age. They promise life but they only deliver death. They promise heaven but only provide hell. Ask Israel of the Old Testament to whom Isaiah preached. Israel put her trust in false gods. Her heart clung to false gods of their own creation. False faith. Perverse hearts. Living not in freedom but in slavery. This is the temptation of the NT Israel, the church. And all that’s left when our idols crack is anger, despair, and exile.
Do not despair O Israel of the New Testament! The one true God and your Redeemer speaks: “I am the first and the last. No other God except me. No other like the one true God. I know what I’m doing. You can trust me. Don’t worry. Don’t be afraid. I’ll take care of you. Is there any God besides me? Is there any other Rock of Refuge like me? I don’t know any. Do you? I didn’t think so!”
God speaks. God acts. God promises. God saves. God cares. And it’s all FOR YOU.
Because Jesus, the only begotten Son of the Father took on your flesh and blood. Conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary.
In Jesus, who the first and the last, God lives FOR YOU, not for Himself. He sits in the Virgin’s lap. He nurses from her breasts. At His Baptism He is identified as God’s beloved Son FOR YOU. In Jesus all of heaven breaks forth FOR YOU. Complete and total access to the Father through His suffering under Pontius Pilate, His bitter sufferings, and His innocent suffering and death.
As He does His Good Friday, the first and the last God Jesus, bears all your sin and all of its ugly consequences. Suffering with all your sin He becomes the sinner. The idolater. The murderer. The thief. The adulterer. Hanging on the tree –your sin – all of it – is His! And so sin’s damnation! “My God, my God, why have you forsaken Me? Why are you so far from Me? Don’t you hear Me when I call? Why don’t you answer Me?”
First and last God Jesus takes your sin and its damnation. He does it FOR YOU! For your salvation. You are forgiven. You are saved. Redeemed. By His Good Friday. God is FOR YOU. That’s His promise.
God speaks. God acts. In Jesus. FOR YOU.
God speaks. God acts. In Holy Baptism. FOR YOU. You are baptized into First and Last God Jesus’ Good Friday death. Saved by the washing of regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit. "He who believes and is baptized will be saved." What a promise!
And more! First and Last God Jesus declares: “My Body. My Blood. For you! You’re forgiven! The benefits of My last will and testament.”
There’s no other God like that! No other merciful and loving God than First and Last Jesus who died for you. Who redeemed you lost and condemned persons not with gold or silver but with His holy precious blood and His innocent suffering and death.
You can always trust in Him. In everything. In every circumstance of life. Things happen in your life for a reason. So that you’ll have every opportunity to cling only to Him and His bloody wounds. Who or what else would you trust?
Thus says the Lord, King Redeemer, God Jesus: “I am the first and the last. And there is no God except Me. Who is like Me? Let him proclaim and declare it.”
Thank you Jesus. We’ll only proclaim and declare you. And today we’ll do it this way: “as often as we eat this bread and drink this cup of your testament we’ll proclaim your Good Friday death for us until you come on the last day. You are our Rock and our salvation. You alone are our God. There is none like you!”
In the Name of Jesus.