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All Saints’ Day

November 4, 2012

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All Saints’ Day                                             Trinity Lutheran Church

4 November 2012                                        Murdock, NE

 

Matthew 5:1-12

Saints!

 

All Saints’ Day!  Saints!  You hear that word and what comes to mind?  Other people!  Men and women long dead whose bones, a shred of clothing, a sliver of fingernail, a lock of hair, or milk from a breast are enshrined in ancient cathedrals in Italy, Germany, France or Great Britain! 

 

Saints!  And who comes to mind?  People who were so pious!  So religious!  Super spirituals!  Who slaved away in India for an entire lifetime working with the untouchables!  Who lived secluded lives totally dedicated to prayer and fasting.  Who made vows of celibacy, poverty, and obedience!  Who never got angry!  Never lusted!  Never stole, cursed, or murdered!  Who never had any doubts about the Lord!  Saints!  And you automatically think these are people who were without sin!  And that you, of course, are excluded from this exclusive club of super spirituals! 

 

Wrong!  False!  Today is ALL Saints’ Day!  “All” means all believers in Jesus are “saints!”  Blessed by the Lord Jesus Christ!  Blessed by His word of forgiveness!  Holied and cleansed by His most divine Blood that gives you the white robe of His righteousness!  Baptized into the only death that counts for your salvation:  the Good Friday one!  Raised to new life through the power of His resurrection! 

 

So let’s get it right!  Saints in the Bible are holy ones!  That’s you!  Christians!  Holied not because of what you’ve done or not done!  Good grief!  We’d never say that!  You’re holy because Jesus has insisted on smearing you with His Blood!  He covers and bathes you with His Blood!  Or as the First Reading from Revelation puts it:  You are white robed!  Whitened or holied because you have been washed, purified, cleansed in the “blood of the Lamb!”  

 

And that’s not just any blood!  Not just the blood of a man!  His Blood is the very Blood of God Himself!  The sacrificial divine Blood of Jesus!  Offered and sprinkled on the altar of the Cross!  Whereby God-man Jesus gives His life into death in order to bestow His life to you!  His divine life!  That purifies!  Sanitizes!  Decontaminates!  Or holies that which is unholy!

 

You are a holy one!  A saint!  Because of Jesus!  Because of His bloody dying for you!  And so St. Paul writes to the “saints of Corinth,” “to all the saints in Ephesus,” “to all the saints in Christ Jesus at Philippi,” “to the holy and faithful brothers in Christ at Colosse,” or “to all God’s beloved in Rome, called to be saints.”   

 

So let me say it again!  I dare to repeat it!  All Christians are saints!  Holy ones!  Because of Jesus!  Only because of Jesus!  Saints are in heaven before the throne of the Lamb singing the hymns of high doxology in praise of their Redeemer Jesus.  Saints are on the earth, you and me, hooked together with “angels, archangels and the whole company of heaven” praising the same Lord Jesus who is adored in heaven! 

 

Saints in heaven or on the earth are not self-made saints!  Saints or holy ones are those for whom the Lord Jesus died.  He declares you to be holy through His Word of forgiveness that His Good Friday death achieved for you!

 

And that’s precisely what He gives you in His sermon from the mountain!  “Beatitudes!”  Or blessings!  From His mouth!  To and for you!  His blessings are not just wishes:  “Boy I sure hope these people are blessed!”  NO!  Just the opposite!  His blessings bestow or give to you exactly what He declares!

 

After all, once again, Jesus is God in the flesh for you!  Blessing you through His beatitudes!  Giving you what is His!

 

Jesus is poor in spirit.  He’s totally and completely dependent on His Father.  And so He receives from His Father the kingdom of heaven. 

 

Jesus is “well acquainted with grief” just as the prophet Isaiah declared.  Jesus weeps over Jerusalem’s incredible unbelief.  She refuses to receive her Messiah!  But Jesus receives comfort from His Father!  The grief is turned into eternal joy as He is raised from the dead on Easter Sunday! 

 

The Most High God Jesus – the Prince of Heaven – is not ashamed to humble Himself.  He is conceived by the Holy Spirit through the preaching of Gabriel’s sermon in the Virgin’s ears!  He is meek and gentle.  He comes in lowliness of heart.  He rides into Jerusalem not as a mighty warrior but as a lowly passenger – ON A DONKEY of all animals!  Why?  To suffer!  To die!  He, the Holy One, comes to the unholy!  He associates with SINNERS!  Takes on their sin!  Becomes MAXIMUM SINNER!  Enduring all sins’ wages! 

 

To Jesus is given “all authority in heaven and on earth.”  As the only-begotten Son of the Father, He inherits the earth.

 

Jesus said:  “My food is to do the work of Him who sent me and to accomplish His work,” (John 4:34).  He hungers and thirsts for your salvation!  AND HE IS FILLED!  For His Good Friday death wins for you the very righteousness of God! 

 

Sent from the heart of the Father, the Son is merciful!  He has obtained mercy for you, not for Himself!  You who are destitute in your sin! 

 

Jesus is pure of heart as He completely obeys to His Father’s Word and will.  He demonstrates this as He is assaulted by many of Satan’s clever temptations:  in the wilderness after His forty-day fast, by an apostle who gets in His grill to say that Messiahs are not allow to suffer and die, and by the crowds at the foot of the cross who mockingly shout, “You’re the Christ are you?  Well, then get down from that cross and then WE WILL BELIEVE IN YOU!”  But He stays put!  He trusts His Father’s Word and will that all this is for the sake of sinners and for their salvation! 

 

Jesus sees the Father’s face in glory everlasting.  He is the Prince of Peace who makes peace for you by the Blood that drips and seeps from His Body hanging on the Tree!  His Holy Week suffering and death reconciles you to His Father so that you are now sons of God! 

 

Jesus is persecuted for righteousness’ sake! In the utter shame of His cruciform suffering, agony and torment He reigns among and for sinners!  Crowned with the thorns!  Enthroned!  Giving you His kingdom!

 

Like the prophets of Old He is reviled.  Falsely accused!  Yet for the joy set before Him, He endures the cross so that His reward is yours!

 

All that Jesus, the Son of God is, He is for you!  His blessedness is your blessedness!  All the beatitudes He speaks from the mountain are His gifts to you!  You are blessed!  Blessed by Jesus Himself.  For ultimate and even more blessing.  Listen!  He promises:  “I go to prepare a place for you.  I will come again and will take you to myself that where I am you may be also,” (John 14).  The last book in the New Testament, which is a Revelation of Jesus Christ Himself, declares:  “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on … that they might rest from their labors, for their deeds will follow them,” (Revelation 14:13). 

 

That is so comforting.  For today, All Saints’ Day — I remind you — a great cloud of witnesses surrounds you!  You do not walk alone!  You saints here on this earth share a blessed, sweet communion with those whose rest is won.  You all have a loved one or friend who has died in the faith:  a parent, a grandparent, a brother or sister, a wife or a husband, a son or daughter.  For some of you the grief is still quite intense!

 

But I tell you that they are here with the Lord Jesus today at this altar and communion rail.  There is another side to the altar that the human eye cannot see!  Seated at the other side of this altar and communion rail are all those who have died in the Lord!  While we eat and drink the Lamb’s Body and Blood today they unendingly banquet at the Marriage Feast of the Lamb in His Kingdom that has no end!  Suffering and shame are gone.  Tears are wiped away.  Their joy is everlasting! 

 

You are one with them!  What we sing is absolutely true:  “we feebly struggle, they in glory shine.”  And yet you are one with them in the Lord Jesus Christ!  They were redeemed by His Blood and so are you!  They were baptized into Christ and so are you!  This morning you are given a glimpse of the future that awaits for you.  With that glimpse of the glory that is yet to come you have the encouragement to press on.  To run the race that is set before you with all the vigor that Christ’s beatitudes give!  He is faithful!  He will bring you to His heavenly kingdom.

 

For “salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” 

 

In the Name of Jesus.            

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