The Verdict Is In!
Thursday of Pentecost 9
30 July 2015
+ Jesu Juva +
Higher Things Matins / Concordia University, Seward, NE
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne,” AND, “all the nations will be gathered before him!”
“Son of Man.” That’s Jesus. On the Last Day Son of Man Jesus will reveal what’s hidden. He will separate His faith-alone-in-Him-for-salvation-believers from unbelievers. “He will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.” Heaven’s eternal life for the sheep. Gift. “Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.” Hell’s eternal damnation for the goats. “Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.”
So which one are you? Sheep? Goat? The answer I give will blow you away. It’s why the Lord sent me to preach. That’s precisely why I’m here. My answer totally contradicts the talk of Satan, the world, and maybe even you. My answer is God’s answer. Are you listening? Are you all ears? You are? Excellent!
Here goes. As a called and ordained preacher sent by the Lord Himself I audaciously dare to give you the good news of the Last Day’s judgment before the Last Day ever happens. I’m going to give you the Judgment Day Verdict ahead of time.
It’s this: you’re a sheep because Jesus is God FOR YOU and for your salvation! He’s the Good Friday Good Shepherd. The Very Good Friday Lamb of God Good Shepherd who takes away the sin of the world. Even and most especially yours! Yes, He bears all your sin in His Lamb of God Good Shepherd Body. On the cross with all your sin in His Body as your divine substitute He was judged as sinner. Maximum sinner. “He who knew no sin was made to be sin” (2 Cor. 5). Incredibly, He took what you deserved. It was hellacious. The entire and complete wrath of God. Damnation. Hell. He was made to be a curse (Gal. 3:13) as He hung on the tree.
Name your sin. Do the math if you can. Add it all up. No! Better not! We don’t have all day! Besides that, the Higher Things sermon stopwatch is running and the Higher Things sermon timers are antsy and quite nervous. So, let’s leave it at this: whatever your sin, from biggest to least, the sin of which you know very well, the sin of which you’re not even aware, the sin that you hate and with which you struggle – whatever the sin and no matter how much, I’m here to tell you that they’re all sufficiently covered and atoned for with Good Friday Lamb of God Good Shepherd Son of Man’s sin cleansing divine blood that stained the cross and the world red.
That means that you’re forgiven. Totally. Completely. Absolutely. That’s the Lamb of God Good Shepherd Son of Man’s judgment. It’s final. Authoritative. He’s got you. Herded you and flocked you. You’re a sheep. His! Given to be totally dependent on Him. Given to be a complete and total hanger on. A salvation moocher, if you will. Mooching off of Good-Shepherd-Lamb-of-God-Son-of-Man-With-All-Authority-To-Save-Sinners-Like-You-Jesus. Salvationly sponging off of His Good Friday Body and Blood given FOR YOU to eat and drink in the Sacrament! Hearing and hanging on His promise that it’s “given and shed FOR YOU for the forgiveness of your sin,” (Mt. 26:28).
Again, what’s the verdict? Well, what else could it be? Just in case you were nodding off it’s this. A divine categorical and audacious: YOU’RE FORGIVEN! You’re a sheep. What you now have by faith will be revealed for all to see on the Last Day.
In the meantime, until the Last day, what’s there to do for you the Son-of-Man-Good-Shepherd-Lamb-of-God’s-sheep? For salvation: there’s absolutely nothing for you to do. You simply trust that that job’s been done. Good Friday. Jesus. Never forget that.
Until the day of your death or the Last Day, whichever comes first, Good Shepherd Son of Man Jesus has very good use for you. It’s the life of self-sacrificial love. Denying yourself. Living for all people but most especially to those who are of the “household of faith,” (Gal. 6:10). Loving them. Merciful living for them. Why? Well, people and your brothers and sisters in Christ need your love. For this life. Whatever they need you do it. For them.
You fix a dinner for the family. Provide a cooler full of ice-cold bottles of water and Gatorades for your teammates. Invite the new next-door neighbors into your home. Supply a pair of Levis, boots, and belt to the poor immigrant kid down the street. Tending to your sister’s scraped knee. Handing out some Ibuprofen for your mother’s throbbing headache. Making sure Grandpa takes his blood pressure medicine. Visiting and comforting your buddy at the county jail.
You just do those things. No score keeping. What needs to be done you’ll do it. For others. They need it. It’s what the Good Friday died-for sheep do. Works like that naturally flow from faith in Good Shepherd Lamb of God Jesus. Like an apple tree that naturally brings forth apples.
Incredibly and wonderfully Jesus lets out another goodie. Hidden in the neighbor or the person you serve and love is Jesus Himself. “Truly I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.”
How wonderful! Magnificent!
You truly are blessed. Jesus says so. His Father’s work of blessing FOR YOU began at creation. His blessing continues throughout all history and most especially on Good Friday and Easter Sunday. His blessing actively continues as Jesus serves up His Good Friday forgiveness in the divine service every week. And even more! The Last Day’s climactic blessing from the lips and mouth of the Divine Son of Man Jesus whose Good Friday wounds will still be showing: “Come … inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” Those words are FOR YOU His sheep.
Having received those words, let’s sing another Te Deum!
In the Name of Jesus.