Sermon Audio & Transcript
Second Sunday of Easter
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Who in his great mercy he has given us a new birth into a living hope. The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil, or fade. Which is kept in heaven for you who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is. Who in his great mercy he has given us a new birth into a living hope. The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil, or fade. Which is kept in heaven for you who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is bit ready to be revealed in the last time.
“Dear brothers and sisters.” That is not an uncommon greeting at the beginning of the sermon. I’ve fallen into the habit of usually using the one that starts, “brothers and sisters Grace mercy and peace from God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ,” but this is a great greeting. This is the one that Peter used to greet his congregation and all of the Christians that the Holy Spirit wanted to inspire Peter to write to in the New Testament. We remind ourselves about the inheritance that we have. The inheritance that is kept in heaven for us. Talking about inheritances, some of you may be have inherited things maybe from your parents, or from other rich relatives, or not so rich. Maybe you’ve inherited odds and ends. I was watching a program on television called Strange Inheritances. Strange Inheritances; in one case it was a man who inherited a large barn that was full of old cars. It turned out that these old cars were some very rare and in spite of the rusted out condition, some very valuable cars, that he was able to sell for some real money. In the olden days of American history, it used to be that gold was kept at Fort Knox, and that gold was the basis for the American monetary supply. So that if you had a dollar bill that dollar bill was backed by one dollar worth of gold in Fort Knox. If you had $100 bill, that dollar bill was proof that you will own $100 worth of gold at Fort Knox. No we don’t do it that way anymore. It’s been about 60 or 70 years since we went off the gold standard. So now money is not necessarily backed by gold that’s in a safe, but it’s backed by the full faith of the United States government. And you can take that for what it’s worth, but it’s a pretty sure thing if you have an American dollar bill. If it’s not counterfeit, that it’s actually worth a dollar in trade it’s worth a dollar in goods or services
I got an inheritance. It is not kept in Fort Knox. It’s not even kept in an extremely safe FDIC protected bank account. In fact, my inheritance is in a place that is much safer. I know someone, who even probably will be here tomorrow who had savings built up, and even own property but in World War II. She and her family lost everything. In fact, they were never even able to return to the property that they had lost in Russian-occupied East Germany. No matter how secure you think your inheritance on earth is, it can perish, it can spoil, it can fade, robbers can come by and steal. Depression or recession can steal the value away from it, but the inheritance that I have is in heaven, and even though I don’t see it, I know that I have full ownership of it. And even though it is not something that I can trade for a good or service here on earth, I know that it is mine, because it is backed by the full faith, not of the government, but of the governor of the universe. Yes my God in heaven guarantees to me that I’ve got this inheritance. I have eternal life. My body is going to rise again on the last day, or if Jesus comes back before my body is dead, my body is going to be glorified. In either case I will be glorified and made imperishable so that I can live with my Lord forever in heaven. I will be praising him with all joy. I will be with my family and friends who have also died in the Lord, but most importantly I will see my God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit before me, and we will enjoy each other’s presence because I am adopted into his family.
That’s not what I’m experiencing right now though, and you’re probably not experiencing anything close to that either. I have a good friend who is caught in the terrible sin and he is not able to see the fact and the guilt that he is brought upon himself because of that sin. And other people have faithfully brought it to his attention but he still defends himself. And it makes me very sad. Another dear friend cannot understand why so many bad things keep happening to her. I tried to explain to her that this is life. We’re living in a sin-cursed world where surrounded by sinners we should not be surprised when bad things happen to us. And I tried to reassure her that it’s not God punishing you. These things have a purpose to bring glory to God and to bring about your ultimate good, and even though you might have to suffer grief in trial, it is not the end of the world and it shouldn’t be a surprise God is working out good through it. I got another friend struggling, struggling against a mental illness and unable to get full control of the mind. But these are not isolated cases these are not just other people out there. I’ve got my own problems, and so do you. And in fact, sometimes the reason that we like to help other people with their problems as it makes us forget about our own problems. Yeah, I’ve got a sinful nature, and I struggle against it, and sometimes I don’t struggle against it, and I fall so quickly into temptation, and I feel the guilt and the grief that comes from falling. And sometimes I even slipped beyond that, and I start to despair, and I say, God, how can you still love me? I’m so foolish. I’m so worthless. God, why would you waste time pursuing me and chasing me to bring me back into your family? And yes I just like the rest of you am growing older, and with every wrinkle, and every gray hair, and every ache, and every pain, and with every illness, and with every recovery, and with the loss of hearing, and the loss of eyesight and the loss of other senses, we are reminded again and again that we pitch our moving tent a day’s march nearer to our home in heaven.
Even though we may have to suffer the results and the consequences of sin in this life, we still have that inheritance. In fact, if we didn’t have these tests and trials, we would have no opportunity to let God prove the genuineness of our faith. And when God proves the genuineness of our faith. When we overcome temptation. When we maintain cheerfulness and optimism in spite of the pain. When we keep a Christian witness, in spite of the fact that we are being threatened, maybe even someday to the point of loss of property, and even death. Then when our faith is proof genuine the glory and the praise and the honor goes to our Lord Jesus, and the Holy Spirit was called us by the Gospel. And the Father who sent the Son and who together with the son sends that Spirit. That is really what it’s all about, isn’t it? That we have this privilege of glorifying God. You know this inheritance is kept in heaven for us. Let me read again, this verse, “these trials have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith of greater worth than gold which perishes even though refined by fire, may result in praise and glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed” In other words when he comes back in glory to judge the living and the dead. “Though you have not seen him.” Peter is talking not just to the disciples who were around when he was but new converts to Christianity. People who have not seen Jesus with their own eyes, but who have met him through his eyewitnesses people who have heard the testimony of Scripture. People like us who are blessed according to Jesus words to Thomas. “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” Though you have not seen him, you love him, and even though you do not see him now you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy.
For you are receiving the end result of your faith the salvation of your souls. Stronger than Fort Knox. Stronger than any human citadel, or fortress, or castle. The gates of heaven stand protecting my eternal inheritance. I can’t quite picture that today because I’ve never experienced anything outside of this world and I’ve never seen anything except with these physical lies in my physical body. but the Bible pictures this inheritance for us in several wonderful ways. In some cases it is pictured as paradise like, Adam and Eve’s Garden of Eden restored. In all of its beautiful natural splendor. The tree of life is there from which we can eat abundantly and receive the nourishment of its fruit. The river of life flows through it just as the river flowed through the garden. And we can drink of its waters and of course that river is Jesus the tree of life is Jesus. Jesus is there. Is pictured as a huge city a thousand miles in each direction like a cube, where there is room for all it’s pictured as a Jerusalem the glorious city made out of gold the streets of which are paved with gold and the gates of which are made out of pearls. And Jesus pictures it as a place where there is a room for you, and the room for me. He says in my father’s house there are many rooms. Many mansions, the King James version says, an alternate reading says that each of us have a mansion ready for us, and in comparison whatever we have on earth it’s a mansion or room. I don’t care, it can be a broom closet. As long as God lets me live there. Jesus has prepared it Tom Bodet from Motel 6, will say we’ll keep the light on for you. Jesus is keeping a light on for us and whenever it’s time for us to cross over into that beautiful place is going to be ready to greet us, maybe with the chocolate mint on the pillow. He’s ready to gather us around that beautiful table. That banquet table where there is rich food and abundant drink and it’s going to be just like a wedding feast, a wedding banquet, that goes on and never has to end. That’s the sad thing about human celebrations, and parties and festivals, they all have to end, but this one never ends. Kept in heaven for us. This reading tells us that the end result of our faith is the salvation of our souls.
We don’t deserve to have that glorious place called heaven. We don’t deserve ourselves to have this inheritance, but God because he is filled with grace that’s undeserved love for us. Because he is powerful enough, because he is filled with goodwill for us, he sent his son Jesus to die on the cross to take our sins on himself, and then to rise again from the grave guaranteeing that we’ve got this inheritance. The only thing, the only person that can get us into paradise is Jesus himself. And the only thing that can get us there is faith in Jesus. Which he holds out to us and gives us as a gift. Not this weekend but many weekends we celebrate the Lord’s Supper at this very place. For all of you were baptized, one day you are at the font, or in the pool. Once I baptized someone in the ocean. The water was there. The water is here together with the word of God. The Holy Spirit watches over us. The Holy Spirit forgives us our sins and says you are a child of God. Yhat’s why you have an inheritance. You’ve got a really rich dad. Who loves you very much.
Second Sunday of Easter
SERMON TEXT: 1 Peter 1:3-9
See Second Lesson below.
FIRST LESSON: Acts 10:34a, 36, 39-43
Then Peter began to speak: “You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, announcing the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all….
“We are witnesses of everything he did in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They killed him by hanging him on a cross, but God raised him from the dead on the third day and caused him to be seen. He was not seen by all the people, but by witnesses whom God had already chosen—by us who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead. All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”
SECOND LESSON: 1 Peter 1:3-9
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire —may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
VERSE OF THE DAY:
Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.
These words are written that we may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.
GOSPEL: John 20:19-31
On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.
Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”
Now Thomas (also known as Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”
But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”
A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”
Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”
Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.