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Rend Your Hearts!

February 27, 2020

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Ash Wednesday                                              Trinity Lutheran Church

26 February 2020                                           Murdock, NE


+ Jesu Juva +


Joel 2:12-19


The Christian life that is lived in and from holy baptism is repentance – turning from sin — dying to sin and then turning to Jesus in FAITH – trusting that His Good Friday forgiveness is FOR YOU.


The Lord, through His prophet Joel preaches it this way: “Return to me with all your heart … rend your hearts … return to the LORD your God for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.”


I beseech you:  use Jesus properly.  Have good use of Jesus.  In what way?  For the forgiveness of all your sins.


Don’t you dare exclude yourself from Joel’s call to rip your heart from your sin and return with all your heart in faith to the Lord your God.  Don’t you dare say that everyone else is a sinner but that you’re the exception.  You’re not.  All have sinned and fall short of God’s glory.


This really is the “heart” of the matter!  Sin and sinning are a matter of the heart.  Jesus says so in Matthew 15.  “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander.”


Sinners need their hearts broken.  Their hearts rended.  Split.  Hearts that no longer cling to sin.  Hearts divorced from sin.   Hearts that cling to Jesus the Savior of sinners.  Hearts that hang on to His Good Friday forgiveness for salvation.


In the OT ashes were a symbol of mourning, especially for sin.  So too sackcloth. Yes, that’s right, scratchy, itchy burlap. “Sackcloth and ashes.”  Torn garments were another sign of mourning your sin.

But here is what God really wants.  “Rend your hearts.” He desires your crushed and broken hearts.  Hearts that feel the hammer blows of the Law. Hearts that are plowed under. Hearts that recognize there is nothing in us that would put God in some kind of full nelson to make Him answerable to us.   Empty, broken, and crushed hearts are what the Lord seeks.  This is precisely why we examined our lives according to the Ten Commandments at the beginning of the divine service tonight.

 “The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus.”  So Jesus wants your heart to trust in Him tonight and always.  Trust that He died FOR YOU.  Trust that He atoned for all your sin by His Good Friday death on the cross.  Trust that all your sins are forgiven because He shed His divine blood sacrificially FOR YOU on the cross.  That is putting Him to good use.  Salvific good use!

Jesus is gracious and merciful.  Slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.  He has the Good Friday wounds to prove it.  He gives you His body and blood tonight in the Supper as even more evidence.  The new heart spelled F-A-I-T-H says:  “Thank you Jesus.  I believe in you.  You are my Savior.”  What joy!

In the Name of Jesus.


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