Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Daily Readings May 23-30, 2010

Pentecost Sunday Numbers 21:10–35; Luke 21:20–38
May 24     Numbers 22:1–20; Luke 22:1–23
May 25    Numbers 22:21—23:3; Luke 22:24–46
May 26    Numbers 23:4–28; Luke 22:47–71
May 27    Numbers 24:1–25; Luke 23:1–25
May 28    Numbers 27:12–23; Luke 23:26–56
May 29    Numbers 32:1–6, 16–27; Luke 24:1–27

Looking Ahead: Trinity Sunday

the feast of the holy trinity

When Isaiah beheld the glory of the Lord, he cried out “Woe is me!” For the sinner cannot stand in the presence of a holy God and live (Is 6:1–7). But God the Father lifted up His Son Jesus for us on the cross, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life (John 3:1–15). This eternal life of Christ is given us according to the Holy Spirit’s good pleasure in Baptism. “Unless one is born (again) of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.” To sinners in fear of death, the messengers of God place on our lips the living body and blood of Christ and speak His words of absolution, “Your iniquity is taken away, and your sin purged.” Having received forgiveness and life from the Father through the Son by the Holy Spirit, we join with the angels in praising the blessed Trinity, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts!” “For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen” (Rom 11:33–36).

Blessed the Holy / Trinity*
        and the Undivided / Unity:
Let us give glo- / ry to Him*
        For He has shown mercy / unto us. (Liturgical Text)

Almighty and everlasting God, who has given to us, Your servants, grace, by the confession of a truth faith, to acknowledge the glory of the eternal Trinity and in the power of the Divine Majesty to worship the Unity, we implore You that You would keep us steadfast in this faith and evermore defend us from all adversities; who lives and reigns, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.n

Old Testament: Isaiah 6:1–7
Epistle: Romans 11:33–36
Holy Gospel: John 3:1–15 (16–17)

Pentecost Sermon

May 22 – 23, 2010
John 14:23-31
“Jesus Is Lord”

In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

No one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit. Flesh and blood do not, cannot, reveal this, but the Father in heaven can, and does. Every time men make confession, proclaim that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, they do so by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, speaking in a tongue alien to fallen flesh, which they did not learn. So the Holy Apostles on Pentecost, amidst the blood and fire and vapor of smoke, spoke in tongues that they did not know, with Spirit-given utterance. The vision of tongues of fire upon their heads was not the miracle. But the Spirit at work through His Word, burning in the hearts of men, so that they asked, “What shall we do?” that is the miracle. That is the intervention of the Almighty in the course of human affairs, the setting aside of the laws of nature. For we cannot, by our own reason or strength, believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, or come to Him. But God does what man cannot. He converts and gives new birth from above. He changes the hearts of men.

That isn’t some far away, long ago act. But this is who He is and what He does still today. He calls us by the Gospel, enlightens us with His gifts, sanctifies and keeps us in the true faith. All this He does by His Word. Men seek signs and get none but the quiet sign of Jonah, the resurrection of Jesus Christ out of the tomb. If you will not accept His Word and live by faith, then no moving of mountains will change your heart. Repent.

The Holy Spirit is not interested in special effects, but in character and plot development. Nor does He seek to draw attention to Himself or to entertain us with sci-fi fantasies and speculation about the future. Instead He ever draws attention to the salvation He has procured for us with the Father by the perfect, atoning Sacrifice of the Son. The Holy Spirit teaches the Doctrine of Justification, that is, that God has reconciled mankind to Himself through the death of Jesus Christ. He does not look upon sinful men with wrath, but forgives them. He does not hold their sins against them. He has satisfied the Law, fulfilled Justice’s stern demands, for them, that He might again love men, free and full, complete and perfect. Death is dead. But this Jesus, whom you crucified, He lives. He is Lord and Christ, the Victor who divides the spoils with His unworthy children by grace. Mankind is exalted for God has become one of us. As a Man, as one of us, He has conquered Satan and Hell and as a Man, as one of us, He has ascended to the right hand of His Father from where He sends His Holy Spirit. He makes us partakers of His Divine nature. That forgiveness and acceptance, that Divine declaration of innocence, that peace, is the “all things” that Jesus sends the Holy Spirit to teach. There is nothing else.

What, should we then do? “Repent. And let every one of you be baptized in the Name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call. Everyone who calls upon the Name of the Lord shall be saved.”

This is the God of the Holy Scriptures, the God of Jonah who brought the unbelieving Ninevites to repentance and faith. He forgives, justifies, renews, restores, encourages, feeds, nurtures, heals, and loves. He does this not in some abstract, philosophical way, but in the real, solid things He has given: in His Word, in the cleansing waters of rebirth infused with His Name, in the Body and Blood of Jesus given and shed for you. All by grace for mercy’s sake, all by the death and resurrection of Jesus, sent by the Father, proclaimed by the Spirit.

There is nothing more comforting in all the world than this. And nothing can be allowed to corrupt or water down this saving message. For there is nothing more expedient, practical, generous, or charitable than to speak what the Spirit has given us to speak. Nor is there  anything else that lasts. The fads of religion come and go but the Word of Our Lord shall endure forever. Here is your hope, your present and your future wrapped up into one: the God of all grace and mercy, makes His home with you! You have nothing to fear. There is no one to accuse you. Go in peace. In the name of + Jesus. Amen.