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Gift Jesus!

June 25, 2017

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Third Sunday after Pentecost                           Trinity Lutheran Church

25 June 2017                                                        Murdock, NE

+ Jesu Juva +

Romans 6:23

 

“The wages of sin is death.” Really? The apostle went there? Indeed, he did. Obviously, Paul didn’t get the memo from HQ. After all, every expert and each guru on kingdom multiplication never go there. Not even on the radar screen. The wages of sin is death? We’re told that we can’t grow a church with that kind of preaching. We’re warned that no one will get up on a Sunday morning to go to church hear such nonsense. We’re lectured that people in the pews can’t reach their potential with preachers like that. Sin? Death? Never!

 

But there stands the text. “The wages of sin is death.” It is what it is. It is the truth. The God’s honest truth. All of us are sinners. Stop denying it or soft peddling it! None of us are exceptions to the truth that we are sinners. “The wages of sin is death.” Sin earns a paycheck. A salary. An income. A payday. Sin earns a wage. Not a living wage but one that ends in a hellacious, damnable eternal death.

 

“The wages of sin is death.” If you don’t believe that, then who don’t you need? Who’s not on your radar screen? Yes, that’s right, Jesus! You don’t need nor do you want Him as the Good Friday Dead on the Cross Savior of you the sinner. A Jesus-less, Good Friday-less sinner is in hellacious trouble. Whoever has no use of Savior of Sinners Jesus is in a never ending-ly hellish mess. Jesus puts it this way in Matthew 10: “Whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.” It doesn’t get any worse than that! Really it doesn’t.

 

So let’s not go there! Let’s turn in a different direction. The way of the text. “The wages of sin is death.” The apostle is spot-on. He learned and believed it from the Lord. Do you believe it too? Do you? Good! Now we’re getting somewhere. Now your baptism is bearing fruit. Loads of baptismal living. The Holy Spirit is rolling up His sleeves and having His way with you. Showing you your sin and its deadly, lethal and forevermore hellish wage. Why? So that the Holy Spirit, using the preacher, can deliver … Jesus … THE SAVIOR OF SINNERS to you and FOR YOU. Sinners need the Savior. You can’t save yourself. Only Jesus does that.

 

So: “The wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

 

There you have it. That’s the salvational clincher! Jesus is the gift of God. Gift of God in the flesh FOR YOU. He gives Himself as servant. Suffering Servant. On the cross. Bearing all your sin. In His crucified body. He Good Friday-ly steps up to the plate. He insists on taking all your sin away from you and applying it to Himself.

 

In addition, (and this is really quite salvationally delicious), He purposely takes the wage, the paycheck, the payment of eternal damnation in your place as the apostle preaches elsewhere in Galatians 3:13, “Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law having become a curse for us.” Or as the prophet Isaiah prophetically predicted: “Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions. He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon him … for He was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgressions of My people He was stricken” (Is 53:4-5, 8).

 

You are a sinner. I am a sinner. The text declares what sinners deserve. It’s sin’s paycheck: death. Eternal death. Hell. There’s nothing you and I can do to escape, evade, elude, dodge or avoid it.

 

So, your salvation, my salvation and the world’s salvation depends on Jesus! He gives Himself TO YOU as gift. Gift Jesus on the cross for your salvation. Eternal life. Heaven. “The gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

 

This is precisely why Jesus, in the gospel for today, sends out preachers. Preachers sent by the Lord Jesus proclaim the very good — Good Friday news that God Jesus reigns on the earth. He wears the crown of thorns. The cross is His throne. Royally reigning as the Savior of sinners. He gave Himself into death and hell FOR YOU. He hasn’t stopped sending preachers. Still does. I’m one of them. The Lord Jesus Christ has sent me to tell you that He died FOR YOU. That all your sin is forgiven. “The gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

 

I am also here to tell you that you have died and that your life is now hidden with Christ in God. After all, you are baptized into Christ’s death. Buried with Him through baptism into death in order to live a new life. The new life of the new creation that’s spelled: F-A-I-T-H! Faith only in Jesus. In you, the baptized, sin “shall not have dominion over you.” The gifted-ness of Christ’s cross and the “therefore” of your baptism into Jesus is that Gift Savior Jesus, not sin, reigns over you. Sin is not your lord. Jesus is! There is no sin too big for Jesus. FOR YOU Jesus is the salvific gift of eternal life!

 

Your baptism and the Lord’s Supper prove it! All gift. All grace. Nothing earned or deserved when it comes to salvation’s achievement or salvation’s delivery. Jesus says so. “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved,” (Mk 16:16). “Given and shed FOR YOU for the forgiveness of sins.” Where there is forgiveness of sins there is life and salvation. Gift Jesus. On the cross. In your baptism and in the Supper. Reigning and ruling as the Savior. Savior FOR YOU.     Keeping you aware of His daily mercies so that you may live securely and content in His eternal love.

 

No wonder then that Jesus makes this magnificent promise in Matthew 10: “Therefore whoever confesses me before me [as Savior], him I will also confess before my Father who is in heaven.”   That promise is especially FOR YOU.

 

In the Name of Jesus.

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