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Remaining in Christ’s Word!

October 28, 2013

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Reformation Sunday                                     Christ the King Lutheran Church

27 October 2013                                              Spencer, Iowa


+ Jesu Juva +

John 8:31-36

Reformation Festival


Do you believe in Jesus?  You do!  Wonderful!  There are those in Jesus’ life who believed in Him too.  Now let me ask you another question.  Would you continue to follow Him?  To be His disciple?  Was that a “yes”?  That’s great!


Now to you who believe in Jesus and to you who want to be His disciple, He offers ALL THAT HE CAN GIVE TO FAITH.


And what is it that Preacher Jesus gives?  Are you ready?  Can you handle His gift?


All that Jesus gives to you is HIS WORD!


Jesus says:  “If you abide / remain / continue in My –Word, you are truly my disciples.”


Yes, His Word!  Only His Word!


His Word is never a nothing.  “Let there be light.”  And there was light.  It does what it says.  Gives what it promises.    “By the Word of the LORD the heavens were made and by the breath of His mouth all their host,” (Psalm 33:6).  Starving Preacher Jesus overcame Satan’s very religious temptations in the wilderness with:  “It is written … It is written … It is written,” (Matthew 4).  And so we sang in the hymn:  “one little word can fell him [Satan],” (LSB #657:3).

And most amazingly and most incredibly Jesus gives Himself to you with His Word of promise!  Entirely.  Completely.  To be God for you!  With all His Good Friday benefits.  All His Easter gifts!  All His pentecosting you with His Spirit!  That’s what He gives to you with His promissory Word.


Imagine for the first time in your life hearing preachers from their pulpits categorically proclaim that you are forgiven completely and only because Jesus died for you!  That His blood purifies you from all your sin!  Or as the Epistle put it today:  You are “justified freely by God’s grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus” who is THE “sacrifice of atonement through faith in His blood,” (Romans 3:24-25).  Many called such preaching reckless.  Irresponsible.  Unfaithful.  Heretical.  But those were the sermons crafted by preachers sent to the church from the University of Wittenberg in the 16th century.  Talk about good news!  Talk about finally hearing the truth!  Talk about truly being set free!


At the time of the Lutheran Reformation in Saxony here is what the pastor would say to the sinner in Holy Absolution:


Pastor:  Gläubst Du auch, dass meine Vergebung Gottes Vergebung sei?[1]

Penitent:  Ja, lieber Herr.[2]


Pastor:  Wie Du gläubst, so geschehe Dir.  Und ich aus dem Befehl unsers HERRN Jesu Christi vergebe Dir Deine Sunde im Namen des Vaters und des Sohns und de heiligen Giests, Amen.  Gehe hin im friede.[3]


That was it!  The pastor speaks only what the Lord would have him say:  the Lord’s Word.  All based on the mandate and institution Word of the Lord Jesus in Matthew 16, Matthew 18 and John 20 for the church through the holy ministry to forgive sins!  Thus the absolution:  “BY THE COMMAND OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST I FORGIVE YOU ALL YOUR SINS IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER, SON, AND HOLY SPIRIT.”


But what about my sorrow?  What about my making amends for my sin?  Contrition and amendment of life are important.  However, they have nothing to do with Jesus forgiving you!  Are you forgiven because you are so sorry?  Because you promise to change the way you live?  No!  Double No!  You are forgiven only because of Good Friday Jesus.  Only because He Good Friday-ed you with His “It Is Finished!” proclamation.  Then He Easter Sunday-ed you!  The absolution stands alone!  The absolution, Christ’s Word, does and gives precisely what it says!


Forgiven you are then according to Christ’s mandate!  According to His Word.  When you hear the holy absolution spoken by His called and ordained servants you are hearing Christ Himself speak to you!  Viva Vox Christi!  Christ’s living voice is the absolution!  And the Reformation exploded and grew because the Word of the Lord was having its way!


“If you continue in My — Word, you are truly my disciples.”


Now, imagine going to church and never hearing the Words of Institution or the Lord’s Words for the Sacrament of the Altar!  In the medieval mass the priest turned his back to the congregation and whispered the Lord’s Words over the bread and wine in order to change them into the body and blood of Jesus because of the indelible character given to him in ordination.  No one could hear him.  Only when the bell rang and the priest elevated the host or the cup did you know that the body and blood of Jesus was now being offered to God the Father as an atoning sacrifice for the sin of the living and the dead in purgatory.  To repeat:  you didn’t hear the Words of the Lord.


At the time of the Lutheran Reformation that all changed.  Instead of the pastor whispering the words at the altar and you just hearing the bell and seeing the elevation, the pastor faced the congregation with the bread and the wine in his hands as he belted out Christ’s Words loudly and clearly for the entire congregation to hear and believe!


Which words of Christ?  The words by which He instituted the Sacrament!  “Take; eat; this is my body which is given for you.  This do in remembrance of me.  This is my body given for you.  Drink of it all of you.    This cup is the new testament in my blood which is shed for you for the forgiveness of sin.  This do as often as you drink it in remembrance of me.”


Again:  Viva vox Christi!  The living voice of Christ!  To you and for you!  Proclamation to you!  His promise to you!  That again, your sins are forgiven!  That is certain and sure because with His Body given with the bread and His Blood bestowed with the wine HE SAYS SO!


Consequently, the Body and Blood of Jesus were no longer offered to the Father as an atoning sacrifice for the living and dead.  Instead, the Body and Blood are bestowed by Jesus as His gift to you — sinners – just as He instituted the Sacrament.


The Reformation blossomed and the Christian people of Germany and all over Europe knew that the Lord’s Supper is the Gospel!  Since the Sacrament is the Gospel a disciple of Jesus cannot be without it.  Nothing would prevent Reformation Christians from receiving the Lord’s most holy Body and Blood and believing His promise that their sins are forgiven!


“If you continue in My — Word, you are truly my disciples.”


Are you stilling willing to be His disciple?  Does His preaching offend you?  Are you picking up rocks to throw at Jesus’ head?  Do false divinities hinder you from following Him anymore?  What other words captivate you?  Enslave you?  Bind you?


The word of false lords, false gods, or idols is very tempting.  One Idol in particular, I’ll call it, Materialism, Pleasure, and Play is the American trinity!


And this idol speaks.  He commands.  “You will have no other gods!” And, tragically, many hearts cling with all their might to Materialism, Pleasure, and Play.  Expecting to receive all their good – all the meaning in life — from “all-powerful, all satisfying and all seductive” God Materialism, Pleasure, and Play.


But this idol, this false god, she shows no mercy!  Totally merciless!  Ruthless!  In addition, she gives no Sabbath Day rest!  Seriously, no rest!  Ever!  She has slaves!  Bound and captive slaves!  To the sin of her idolatry!  Materialism, Pleasure, and Play will not allow her slaves to hear someone else’s word!


And whose word would that be?  Christ’s!


But Jesus, the Christ, the one true God, speaks anyway!  He will be heard!  To break and crush all idols!  To save slaves from the hellacious consequences of their wicked idolatry!  To bring slaves to repentance and faith!


Yes, repentance and faith! Even for you!  Jesus, through His Word, would turn you away from your sin and then turn you to Himself.  To Himself only!  You and I are not immune to the wiles and temptations of idol Materialism, Pleasure and Play!  So the one true God speaks to you today.  The God-man!  In the flesh!  With all His Calvary wounds showing!  And pouring from those gaping bloody wounds all His saving benefits into your ears and hearts!


Will you listen?  Will you be given to with all that Jesus has to give?  After all, “faith comes by hearing” (Romans 10:17) – hearing Christ’s Word!  Faith in Jesus that saves you comes by HEARING HIS WORD!  Or will you, like so many that we have dreadfully witnessed over the years, fall away from following Jesus and become slaves to false gods that promise so much but only deliver hellacious results?


“If you continue in My — Word, you are truly my disciples.  And My Word will set you free from the slavery of sin’s idolatry!”


Jesus’ Word is this:  “I died for you.  I rose for you.  I am God for you!  And I am God for you the most when I took all your sin in My Good Friday Mercy Seat Body and answered for all of it.  All your sin is forgiven.  Salvation is yours!”


Here’s another Word of promise from the crucified and risen Jesus:  “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved,” (Mark 16:16).


Another Word is this:  “Now, eat this bread.  Drink this wine.  This too is for you.  I give you My Body and Blood – My Calvary Body and Blood.  Here I am God for you!  And you are forgiven!  Death and hell are defeated.  The resurrection of the body and life everlasting are yours!  I promise!  I am your God!  I am your Savior!”


“If you continue in My — Word, you are truly my disciples. 


Happy Reformation Sunday!  Happy being His set free disciples!  Sons and daughters in the Father’s house.


In the Name of Jesus.



     [1] Do you believe that my forgiveness is God’s forgiveness?

     [2] Yes, dear pastor.

     [3] As you believe so may it be to you.  And I, by the command of our Lord Jesus Christ forgive you your sins in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.  Go in peace.

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