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Only the Name of Jesus Saves!

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Fourth Sunday of Easter                            Trinity Lutheran Church

22 April 2018                                                Murdock, NE

 

+ Jesu Juva +

 

Acts 4:1-12

 

You take it for granted that everyone is interested in what the preacher has to say and that the sermon is always received positively. Well, that’s not always true. Not everyone appreciates the preacher let alone the sermon. Sometimes, when God sends a preacher – the sermon really annoys, aggravates, irritates, infuriates and enrages the old Adamic nature of those that hear. Not because the preacher is such a dufus, nerd, geek, (preachers are – especially Kuhlman) but because of the faithful content or topic of the sermon.

 

Check it out. After healing a lame man in the name and by the authority of Jesus, the apostles and Peter audaciously preach … Jesus! “They were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection from the dead.” Then Peter doubled down. Put the preaching pedal to the metal! “Let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel that BY THE NAME OF JESUS Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead – by him this [lame] man is standing before you well. This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone.” Then comes the clincher or climax of Preacher Peter’s sermon: “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is NO OTHER NAME under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

 

There you have it. Like Peter, I’ve been sent by the Lord Jesus to preach the same thing today. Are you listening? It’s salvationally important. Salvifically important. Here it is. THERE IS SALVATION IS NO ONE ELSE BUT JESUS! He alone is the Savior. No one else is. His divine and saving name excludes any other name when it comes to salvation. Preach that salvation comes only through Jesus – through the preaching of His name – and some of the natives not only get restless, they go on the warpath.

 

Does today’s sermon “greatly annoy” you like it did in Peter’s day? I sure hope not. I hope it gives you great joy and comfort. I pray that the name of Jesus for salvation edifies you immensely.

 

Why? Well, here’s why: it is because no other name but the name of Jesus can save you. No other name has the power to deliver you from all your sin, all the death and damnation your sin has earned. No other name holds off the judgment of God’s law that demands your perfection or your life. There are plenty of other names that can inspire you. There are lots of names that can provide great role models or examples to follow. There are loads of names that can teach you morality, how to be healthy, wealthy, and happy. However, there is only one NAME “under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” Only the name of Jesus saves you from sin. Only the name of Jesus saves you from the grave, gives you bodily resurrection and eternal life.

 

So it’s a no-brainer that the preaching of Jesus’ divine and salvific Name stirs up lots controversy in our country. Generic god-talk is barely tolerated just as long as it doesn’t get too exclusive, specific or pointed. The second that you mention Jesus and that there is only salvation in His name that’s when the sparks start to fly. The venom, slurs and invectives are spat. Soon the protests and the protesters are coming to a church near you. After all, Christians are vehemently commanded to never bring their Christianity to bear on the lives of others. “Keep your faith and your Jesus private! Keep Jesus to yourself! Don’t bring him up in any public conversation! Don’t annoy us in the public square with any Jesus talk! Or else!”

 

We live in a very dangerous world. It is becoming more and more hazardous to be a Christian. In this country the tolerance of Christianity and for the practitioners of the Christian faith are coming to an end. The free exercise of religion will soon exclude followers of Jesus. The big wigs and know-it-alls do not like you. They see you as an enormous threat. They hold Christianity and Christians responsible for all the problems of Western civilization.

 

Four days after the celebration of Easter George Washington University held a workshop to teach students and the public to identify and beware of so-called “Christian privilege” in order to eliminate it from society.[1] Reading between the-not-so-subtle-lines it means that Christianity cannot be tolerated in the United States and in the world any longer. It is imperative for the creation of a civil and just society to exterminate Christianity and Christians from the face of the earth. Can you imagine what Timothy Kane, the host of the workshop, would say to Peter’s and my sermon: “there is salvation in no one else, for there is NO OTHER NAME under heaven given among men by which we must be saved – [the name of Jesus]”? Why, he’d have a monumental meltdown to say the least. He’d call for Christianity to be criminalized and for Christians to be sent to re-education seminars, jailed or silently removed from society – (wink, wink).

 

Step on any university campus these days and there is one name (Jesus) that cannot be spoken unless that name is used to promote the LBGTQ, transgender or Marxist agenda. Just in case you think I exaggerate let me offer an example. Last month a theology professor and chair of New Testament studies at Holy Cross College in Worcester, MA opined that Jesus was a drag king who had queer desires and that the Lord’s Supper was a “literary striptease” and that Jesus was not a man but gender fluid.[2] This professor teaches other things that I can’t repeat in the sermon if I am to keep it G or PG rated. But this is what passes and receives kudos and atta boys and praised as scholarship when using the name Jesus.

 

Bottom line: don’t fall for this! This is Antichrist because Holy Cross college and its professor flat out deny today’s preaching: “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is NO OTHER NAME under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” AND THAT NAME IS JESUS!

 

Once again, I’m here to tell you that there is no other saving name under heaven except the name of Jesus. Only Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life! He is the only door for the sheep. He is the only gate to heaven. “No one comes to the Father except through me” he categorically preached. His is an exclusively inclusive name. Inclusive in that He Good Friday-ly died FOR ALL! He didn’t leave any one out of His all inclusive and atoning death. Exclusive in that only in this death on a Friday afternoon is there salvation for anyone!

 

Jesus’ name is a name that is above every name. For in His divine name God has saved the world from death and damnation and brought eternal life and the new creation. That new creation is spelled F-A-I-T-H!

 

It is your joy and glory to bear the divine and saving NAME of Jesus as His baptized believers. To proclaim repentance and forgiveness of sins in His NAME. To call upon His NAME in days and times of trouble. To cling to His NAME through every suffering, trial and temptation that comes your way now and in the hour of your death. Oh, you will suffer for bearing and confessing the NAME of Jesus. That’s just a given. But know this – that those that call upon the NAME of the Lord – Jesus the Christ – the one from Nazareth – WILL BE SAVED!

 

So, proclaim His name. Cling to His name. Call upon His name. Trust His name only. There is no other name that can save you. That can heal you. That can raise you from the dead. Only the DIVINE AND SAVING NAME OF JESUS.

 

In the Name of Jesus.

     [1] https://www.thecollegefix.com/post/43577/

     [2]http://www.foxnews.com/us/2018/03/29/jesus-was-drag-king-with-queer-desires-claims-theology-professor.html

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April 22, 2018 Bible Class

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1 & 2 Peter & Jude Part Eleven

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1 & 2 Peter & Jude Part Ten

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1 & 2 Peter & Jude Part Nine

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1 & 2 Peter & Jude Part Eight

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Repentance & Refreshment!

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Third Sunday of Easter                        Trinity Lutheran Church

15 April 2018                                          Murdock, NE

 

+ Jesu Juva +

 

Acts 3:11-21

 

What a courageous and faithful preacher! Some, however, would totally disagree. They’d call him immature, heavy-handed and a legalist who should have his call rescinded PDQ at the next quarterly meeting. I sure hope you’re not one of those folks.

 

Who’s the preacher? He’s Peter, the bold confessor of Jesus the Christ, the Son of the living God. He’s the preacher Jesus has sent! Did you hear me? THE PREACHER THAT JESUS SENT. Peter preaches what Jesus mandates. Consequently, Peter is a double “R” word preacher! However, one of the “R” words Peter has the nerve to use is a verb that is strictly forbidden in today’s church, especially by the occasional pew sitter, those that teach preaching professionally and most especially by those who supervise preachers. Consequently, the majority of preachers today have capitulated. They have eliminated this “R” verb from their preaching and pastoral care vocabulary. For that we need to … well … I’ll dare to say it. I’ll use the word. We all need to … REPENT.

 

Peter lets loose with both of the “R” words. He lets it all hang out. Peter preaches “refreshment” (that’s one of the “R” words but not the forbidden one). He promises refreshment in Jesus’ most holy name. “Repent, therefore, and turn again.” That’s the outlawed, prohibited and forgotten “R” verb! “Repent … that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.”

 

When Peter preaches refreshment he’s not pushing a cold Bud-Lite on a hot summer day. He means sins forgiven. The debt of sin wiped out. The record book of sin torn up and burned. All on account of Jesus’ Good Friday dying and His Easter morning resurrection!

 

Peter is a bold preacher. Humanly speaking he puts his reputation and his life on the line. He preaches the law. And by doing so the Holy Spirit in such preaching is out to kill the old Adam who is a self-justifier 24-7-365! “Repent!” Peter doesn’t pull any punches. Makes no bones about it. His hearers must “repent”!   Their old Adams must die! Preacher Peter recalls how Jesus is God’s Servant prophesied by Isaiah who would suffer and die as the Savior. The people to whom Peter’s preaching denied Jesus. They clamored for His crucifixion. They chose the murder-terrorist-anarchist Barabbas to go free in Jesus’ place. They flat out rejected Holy and Righteous Jesus. They killed “the Author of life.” Those are serious charges. Preacher Peter holds his hearers responsible for the crucifixion of Jesus.

 

Don’t think for a minute that you’re excluded from such preaching. Peter’s law preaching of “repent” is aimed at you too. You too are responsible for Jesus’ death! Don’t deny it. Oh, of course you weren’t there screaming for His crucifixion and ranting for Barabbas to be set free. Of course you weren’t pressuring Pilate like radical community organizers or nailing the spikes into Jesus’ hands and feet. However, it was your sin – it was my sin — that put Jesus on the cross! Seriously! Jesus was made to be your sin. He was cursed with your curse. He died your death. The law says to you today: “You killed the Author of life.” You are responsible. Your rebellion against God and His commandments, especially the first three commandments killed Jesus. If you had no sin, Jesus would not have been crucified. Or let me put it another way: because Jesus was crucified and died this shows that you are a sinner and have sinned enormously – First Commandment-ly!

 

You don’t like to hear that, do you? Of course you don’t, your old Adam, that is! Peter’s hearers probably didn’t either. To be reminded of such treachery is not pleasant. The temptation is to close your ears, roll your eyes and cross your arms to such preaching, to boycott it, or to get rid of the preacher or all of the above.

 

This is called denial. Denial is a part of grief. Grief is your response to death. When you don’t want to deal with death, you deny it. You say it isn’t so. It isn’t true. You’re going to beat this thing called death. But the law says “No!” The wages of sin is death and we all deserve to die. You killed the Author of life. You chose to save the murderer Barabbas and murder Holy and Righteous Jesus. The law holds each and every one of us responsible and accountable.

 

So it’s time to tell the truth. Time for the old Adam to die! To be repented. Confess our sinfulness and our sins. Time to stop kidding ourselves and make God out to be a liar. Then we have come to repentance – a broken heart that says we have nothing to offer God and that He has every reason to reject us. That is the death of the old Adam. That is our Good Friday, our old Adam’s death in the death of Jesus!

 

But after Good Friday comes Easter Sunday! After the law comes the gospel! The “good news” of Jesus – FOR YOU! After death comes resurrection from the dead.

 

To you who have felt the heavy hand of God’s law in the preaching today, to you who grieve your sin and mourn your death, to you who are ashamed and afraid to step into God’s presence, who are only empty handed beggars before God – I HAVE A WORD OF GOOD NEWS AND LIFE.

 

Be turned, be of a different mind about yourself and about God. Turn away from selfish-sinful self and turn to God who is gracious and loving on account of His beloved Son Jesus! There is this promise from preacher Peter: Your “sins will be blotted out” “Times of refreshing” will come to you!

 

That time of refreshing is now! Right here and now! In the preached and sacramental gospel of Jesus Himself that I’m here to give you. Listen. Jesus has sent me to preach it to you and FOR YOU. Because of Jesus’ suffering and death on the cross all your sin is blotted out. All of it! You are forgiven. Totally. There is no doubt. Jesus has covered your shame with His glory. He has brought the light of the gospel into the darkness of your life.

 

You are died for! You are baptized in Jesus’ saving name. He feeds you with His most holy body and blood with the specific promise that it’s given and shed FOR YOU for the remission of sin.

 

Let me say it one more time for good measure. Upon the command of and “from the presence of” the risen Lord Jesus Himself I tell you that all your sin is forgiven in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Where there is the forgiveness of sins, there is life and salvation.

 

That’s refreshing! Salvifically refreshing.

 

In the Name of Jesus.