Sermon for 05.05.24 “Love God, love one another”

EASTER 6, May 5, 2024
Text: John 15:9–17
Theme: Love God, love one another
Other Lessons: Acts 10:34–48; Psalm 98; 1 John 5:1–8

(A) In the Name of the Father…Amen.
(B) The Gospel lesson serves as our sermon text for this morning.
(C) Grace, mercy, and peace be yours from God our heavenly Father through
His Son and our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
(D) Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, let us pray:

Gracious and Loving God, we gather in Your presence today, drawn by the
words of Jesus in John 15, where He calls us to abide in His love, just as
He abides in Your love.
We are grateful for this divine love, a love so profound that it transcends
understanding, a love that calls us friends rather than servants because
Jesus has made known to us everything that You have told Him.
Lord, we acknowledge the beauty and depth of this relationship, rooted in
love and chosen by You.
We thank You for choosing us to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and
for the promise that whatever we ask in Jesus’ name, You will give us.
Help us to embody this love not only in our words but through our actions,
living out the commandment Jesus gave us: to love each other as He has
loved us.
In our worship today, remind us of the sacrificial love of Christ, who laid
down His life for us, so that we might live through Him.
May this truth resonate deeply in our hearts and inspire us to love others
sacrificially and generously.
Teach us to maintain our connection to Jesus, the true vine, so that our
lives might be fruitful, reflecting Your grace and truth in all that we do.
Lord, as we continue in prayer, fellowship, and worship this day,
strengthen our commitment to live out this commandment of love.
Help us to be bearers of Your peace, agents of Your grace, and witnesses to
Your transformative love.
May our community be a reflection of the love that You have poured out on
us, and may our relationships be marked by the selflessness and joy that
comes from abiding in You.
We ask these things in the name of Jesus, our Lord and Savior, who with You
and the Holy Spirit reigns forever in perfect unity and love. Amen.


(A) Our text for this morning is right in the middle of Jesus’ farewell
message to his disciples, John 13–17, which makes His words extraordinary.
(1) For in just a few hours, Jesus will experience betrayal, abandonment,
and unlawful arrest.
(2) Then He will experience cruel abuse and execution.
(3) Yet Jesus speaks of both His and the Father’s love.
(4) This is especially noticeable in the use of the Greek noun for love
(ἀγάπη) four times and the verb for love (ἀγαπάω) five times in the text.
(B) In last Sunday’s Gospel from John 15:1–8), Jesus spoke of his
relationship with his disciples and with us using the vine-branches
(1) He is the vine; we are the branches.
(2) The branches cannot exist without connection to the vine.
(3) In today’s text, Jesus expands on this analogy, specifically pointing
out the relationships of Jesus and the Father, Jesus and the disciples, and
the disciples to one another.
(4) And each of these relationships consists of each one loving the other.
(5) So that’s the focus of Jesus’ message to us today too.
(6) Our text teaches us that The Love of Christ Compels Us to Love.
(I) We fail to keep Christ’s command to love.
(A) We all know how sweet love is, but Jesus also gives us a command to
John 15:9–10, 12, 16 (NASB95)
9 “Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My
10 “If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have
kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.
12 “This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved
John 15:16 (NASB95)
16 “You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would
go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you
ask of the Father in My name He may give to you.
(1) How well do we fit these descriptions?
(B) How are you doing with these commandments?
Jesus says:
John 15:10 (NASB95)
10 “If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have
kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.
(1) Because of our sinful nature, we break the commandments continuously
and constantly, so how could we possible abide in his love?
(2) Each one of us has our pet sins:
(a) Thoughts of lust
(b) Harsh words
(c) Violent temper
(C) Using Jesus’ analogy, as branches, how connected are we to the vine?
(1) Only when it is convenient for us, when it fits our schedule?
(D) How can we abide in his love if that connection is weak?
(1) We hardly love others as we are loved by Christ.
(2) We live in a world where the mindset is“after me, you first” prevails.
(3) Are we bearing abiding fruit?
(4) Jesus says to “go and bear fruit,” which might indicate the intention
to witness to others so that they may come to faith in Christ.
(5) That’s one of the most important ways we can love our neighbor.
(6) How evident is that fruit of yours?
(E) Jesus’ words certainly do not describe those who are unbelievers, those
branches who are cut off from the vine.
(1) Apart from faith in Christ, we are all spiritually blind, spiritually
dead, and enemies of God
2 Corinthians 4:4 (NASB95)
4 in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the
unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory
of Christ, who is the image of God.
Ephesians 2:1 (NASB95)
1 And you were dead in your trespasses and sins,
Romans 5:10 (NASB95)
10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death
of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His
(2) We all inherited this sinful nature from Adam and Eve.
(3) Because of this and the resulting actual sins of which we are guilty,
we deserve both physical death and eternal punishment in hell.
(F) We have all failed to keep Jesus’ command to love.
(II) But in that same love Christ calls us to repent and forgives us.
(A) Christ does not want us to perish spiritually and eternally, and in
love He calls us to repent.
(1) When we do repent, it is by God enabling us.
(2) He warns us by His Law—like the words we just heard—but then He makes
His loving purpose immediately evident as well.
(B) The Augsburg Confession teaches:
(1) True repentance is nothing else than to have contrition and sorrow, or
terror, on account of sin, and yet at the same time to believe the Gospel
and absolution (namely, that sin has been forgiven and grace has been
obtained through Christ), and this faith will comfort the heart and again
set it at rest. (AC XII 3–5, Tappert, German)
(C) When we repent, then God forgives us of our sinful nature and all of
our actual sins.
(1) He forgives us for the sake of Jesus Christ.
(2) How does He do that?
(3) By inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Paul writes:
2 Corinthians 5:21 (NASB95)
21 He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might
become the righteousness of God in Him.
(4) Sin was destroyed at Calvary even as Christ carried all of it for all
of mankind in His own body.
(5) At the cross, Jesus is your substitute.
(6) He suffered and died in your place to pay the penalty for your sins and
satisfy the wrath of God.
(7) And every Sunday we proclaim the Easter message that Jesus rose again
from the dead, victorious over sin, Satan and death, bringing us new life
in the face of death.
(8) And so forgiveness, life, and salvation are available through faith in
Christ Jesus.
John 15:13 (NASB95)
13 “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his
(9) Christ has proved His great love for us by laying down His life for us,
and now He declares us His friends!
(III) Then Christ’s love transforms us to love too.
(A) Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, the Lord has declared us:
(1) to be forgiven of our sins,
(2) saved from death and the fire of hell,
(3) and given the gift of living eternally in heaven with Him.
(B) Yet even more than all that, the love of Christ is transformational.
(1) The evidence of faith in Christ is seen in the changes that take place
in our lives.
(2) Scripture uses words like:
(a) born again,
(b) rebirth,
(c) regeneration,
(d) renewal,
(e) and transformation to describe what Christ’s love does to us.
(3) We are not only free from sin and the effects of sin, but we are free
also from the power of sin.
(4) We are thus:
(a) free to keep His commandments,
(b) free to abide in His love,
(c) and free to bear abiding fruit—that is, free to witness, as Peter
proclaims in today’s First Reading:
Acts 10:43 (NASB95)
43 “Of Him all the prophets bear witness that through His name everyone who
believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins.”
(C) The Augsburg Confession declares:
(1) “sin has been forgiven and grace has been obtained through Christ.”
(2) It goes on to say:
(a) “Amendment of life and the forsaking of sin should then follow” (AC XII
6, Tappert, German).
(b) When we have been loved by Christ’s forgiveness, we love too.
(D) In order to strengthen and increase our faith, love, and obedience, God
gives us the Means of Grace, his Word and Sacraments.
(1) The Word of God transforms us as it’s:
(a) read,
(b) spoken,
(c) expounded upon,
(d) and prayed individually and in groups as in this Divine Service.
(2) The Word of God connected to the water of Holy Baptism drowns the old
Adam and raises us to a new life of love.
(3) The Word of God in Holy Absolution gives comfort and consolation in
having the forgiveness of sins applied personally and individually.
(4) The Word of God together with bread and wine nourishes us for living
lives of God’s love with the true body and true blood of Christ given and
shed for us.
(5) Obedience to God’s command to love does not earn His love, but rather
it is evidence that flows from God’s love applied to us individually in
these Means of Grace.
(6) As we heard in today’s Epistle:
1 John 5:3 (NASB95)
3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His
commandments are not burdensome.


(A) In Book Two of the classic Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien,
there’s a critical and striking scene.
(1) The “Company of the Ring,” consisting of four hobbits, a dwarf, an elf,
and three men, one of whom is a wizard named Gandalf, are in the dark halls
of the Mines of Moria.
(2) They make their way to an exit gate across the dangerously narrow stone
Bridge of Khazad-Dûm.
(3) Here they encounter a Balrog, a menacing creature of fire and shadow.
(4) So that his partners might escape, Gandalf, the wizard, stands on the
bridge between his companions and the Balrog.
(5) He calls out to the creature that it cannot pass.
(6) The creature then jumps on the bridge with him.
(7) Gandalf strikes the bridge with his staff, and the bridge cracks and
breaks, causing the Balrog to fall off into the abyss.
(8) But as it does, it snaps its whip, which catches Gandalf around the
knees, dragging him off the bridge into the deep chasm.
(B) There are many more examples in history and literature of loving so
much as to give one’s life for a friend.
(1) But no sacrifice comes near that of Christ’s love for us!
(2) As we learned during the Lenten season:
Romans 5:8, 10 (NASB95)
8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet
sinners, Christ died for us.
10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death
of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His
(C) Our sermon text for this morning began with Jesus saying:
John 15:9 (NASB95)
9 “Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love.
(1) Jesus spoke all the words of today’s Gospel so that His joy may be in
us and that our joy may be full.
(2) Indeed, we ought to rejoice while abiding in His great love!
(D) Later on in our text for this morning, Jesus also said:
John 15:13 (NASB95)
13 “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his
(1) That is exactly what Jesus did for us on the cross!
(2) Thanks to be God that our heavenly Father loved us so much that He sent
His Son to die to save us!
(3) May we love others as He has loved us! Amen.
(E) Let us pray:
Heavenly Father, we thank You for Your Word that speaks so powerfully into
our lives.

Thank You for the assurance that as Your children, born of God, we have the
victory through our faith in Jesus Christ.
Help us to embody this faith in every aspect of our lives, loving You and
Your commandments, and loving each other as You have loved us.
Lord, strengthen us by Your Spirit to overcome the challenges of this
world, holding fast to the truth of Jesus who came by water and blood.
May this truth resonate deeply within us, guiding us in all our actions and
As we depart from this place, keep us steadfast in our faith and fervent in
love, that we may be true witnesses of Your grace and power in the world.
We ask all this in the precious name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.
Hebrews 13:20–21 (NASB95)
20 Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of
the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, even Jesus our Lord,
21 equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which
is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory
forever and ever. Amen.
In the Name of the Father…Amen.


Sermon for 04.21.24 “He cares”

EASTER 4, APRIL 21, 2024
Text: John 10:11–18
Theme: He cares
Other Lessons: Acts 4:1–12; Psalm 23; 1 John 3:16–24

(A) In the Name of the Father…Amen.
(B) The Gospel lesson serves as our sermon text for this morning.
(C) Grace, mercy, and peace be yours from God our heavenly Father through
our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
(D) Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, let us pray:
Loving God, we come before You in the spirit of the words from 1 John 3,
where we are taught about the depth of Your love, a love so profound that
Jesus laid down His life for us.
This scripture not only defines love in the ultimate sense but also calls
us to embody that love in our actions and the truth of God’s truth.
We acknowledge, O Lord, that Your love is not merely in word or speech but
in truth and action.
As we reflect on the sacrificial love of Christ, help us to grasp the
breadth and length, the height and depth of such love, and inspire us to
love one another earnestly, following Jesus’ example.
Guide us, Father, to put our faith into action, caring for those in need
and being bearers of Your peace and love in every aspect of our lives.
Help us to live in the assurance that comes from abiding in You and You in
us, through the Spirit You have given us.
We pray for the courage to face the challenges of living out this love in a
world that often rejects selfless acts and sacrificial living.
Strengthen us to be Your hands and feet, showing love not only in words but
through our deeds and truth.
In our worship today, may we be reminded of the confidence we have before
You—that if our hearts condemn us, You are greater than our hearts, and You
know everything.
Help us to rely not on our understanding but on Your vast, unfathomable
love that transcends our doubts and fears. Amen.
(E) Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia! Amen.

(A) This morning, every one of you will hear everything that is said, read,
and sung in this service.
(1) But the reality is, not every one of you will listen to everything that
is said, read, and sung in this service.
(2) Listening is much more involved than just hearing; listening takes
(3) We hear things all the time, but it’s only some of what we hear where
we actually tune in and listen.
(4) With all the technology and social media that is available today, there
is an even greater amount of voices coming at us.
(5) It can be rather overwhelming to know what “voice” to listen to.
(B) Do we always have discernment about who gets our attention?
(1) The answer is no.
(2) It stands to reason that we ought to listen to those who care about us.
(3) But do we always recognize who cares about us?
(4) What I mean is this:
(a) Who really, lovingly care for us?
(b) How do you even know?
(c) Our sermon text for today on this Good Shepherd Sunday speaks to this
quite clearly.
(d) It teaches us that Jesus Is the Shepherd Who Cares for You.
(I) Jesus cares for his sheep, unlike other shepherds.
(A) The people in Jesus’ day had heard a lot from spiritual leaders.
(1) For generations, their people had heard a lot.
(2) Long ago, there had been Moses and the prophets.
(3) They:
(a) Had been faithful, caring voices,
(b) had recorded God’s loving words in the sacred Scriptures.
(4) But in more recent years, actually for four centuries by this point,
the prophets had been silent.
(5) And those who were to teach and interpret those Scriptures faithfully
had become less than faithful.
(6) The Pharisees and the chief priests, mostly Sadducees, had become
self-serving shepherds, protecting their places of honor and caring very
little for the people.
(B) When Jesus came along, His voice was completely different.
(1) It was the voice of someone who cared:
(a) really,
(b) truly,
(c) lovingly cared.
John 10:16 (NASB95)
16 “I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also,
and they will hear My voice; and they will become one flock with one
(2) How would they know to whom they should listen?
(a) Because it was not just words, as John says in our Epistle, but it was
demonstrated and backed up through Jesus’ actions—which did speak louder
than words alone.
(C) In John 10, Jesus claims that He is the:
John 10:11 (NASB95)
11 “I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the
(1) Good (Greek: kalos) can also be translated as noble, beautiful, or
(a) Jesus displaying on the outside what He is like on the inside.
(b) The shepherd’s job was not easy.
(1) It was tiring and hazardous.
(c) In the context of Jesus’ statement, the point of contrast is to those
bad shepherds, like the Pharisees and Sadducees, what he calls in our text
John 10:12 (NASB95)
12 “He who is a hired hand, and not a shepherd, who is not the owner of the
sheep, sees the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf
snatches them and scatters them.
(1) That person is distinguished by his lack of concern and commitment to
the sheep.
(2) When danger comes, he flees.
(3) He looks out for his own self-preservation and self-interest.
(4) The good shepherd owns the sheep, so he has a commitment to them.
(5) Unlike those other shepherds, Jesus cares for his sheep.
(6) He does everything that is necessary to protect them.
(II) Jesus cares for His sheep so much that He laid down His life for them.
(A) The feature Jesus most highlights as He describes the good shepherd is
that he:
John 10:11 (NASB95)
11 “I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the
(B) Ordinarily, shepherds protect sheep, but they do not die for their
(1) Jesus, the Good Shepherd, cares and loves them so much that He is
willing to come between His flock and danger.
(2) When trouble comes, the hired hand won’t take any risk.
(a) He disappears.
(b) But Jesus is willing to die for His sheep.
(C) In Jesus’ description, the key word is “for”—and it reflects His
commitment to die “for” the sheep in obedience to God’s will.
(1) The Good Shepherd has a profound commitment to the ones He loves. We
might remember a different image from Ephesians 5.
(2) Paul writes:
Ephesians 5:25 (NASB95)
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave
Himself up for her,
(3) Jesus:
(a) Gave up everything,
(b) Surrendered all,
(c) for his Bride.
(d) This is an important point.
(D) Jesus was not a victim of human conspiracies:
John 10:18 (NASB95)
18 “No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own
initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take
it up again. This commandment I received from My Father.”
(1) Jesus gave Himself up to die, but He also took back His life through
His resurrection:
John 10:17 (NASB95)
17 “For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that
I may take it again.
(2) The resurrection was just as much in God’s plan as was Jesus’
sacrificial death.
(III) Jesus cares for his sheep with acts of kindness.
(A) The term shepherd is what Jesus uses to identify himself.
(1) He really is the true Good Shepherd.
(2) But remember, shepherd is also a term used to describe those other
people who tend to God’s flock, people who have spiritual oversight.
(3) In the First Reading for today, from Acts 4, we see the contrast
(a) those other shepherds, that is, the Jewish authorities who refused to
do what the Lord wanted His way, and
(b) The under shepherds of the Good Shepherd, that is, the apostles, who
were doing something they were called to do by the same Lord but were not
supposed to because the Jewish leaders said no.
(4) Peter and John were under arrest, standing before the Jewish Council.
(a) Their crime? They had just healed a lame man and were preaching to the
crowds how the resurrected Christ had made that happen.
(b) Since these Jewish leaders were the very ones who had crucified Jesus,
Peter’s message “greatly disturbed” them.
(c) They were jealous because of the people’s reaction and upset because
they were proclaiming Jesus to be alive.
(d) It must be incredibly annoying to go to all the trouble of crucifying
someone, only to have His followers pop up to tell everyone that He did not
stay dead!
(B) But Peter is quick to point out the irony of this.
(1) He asks, in effect:
(a) Why are we getting into trouble for doing something kind to someone?
(b) Do we need permission to do something kind to someone?
(c) You’re upset because of an act of kindness?
(d) What kind of people find fault with an act of kindness?
(e) Is that the kind of shepherds you are?
(f) You just saw someone healed.
(g) Peter knew that the Shepherd under whom he served cared for His sheep
by just such acts of kindness.
(h) Guess what? The Lord asks you and me those same questions.
(1) Are we listening or just hearing the words?
(C) So Peter continues:
(1) It is:
Acts 4:10 (NASB95)
10 let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel, that by
the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you crucified, whom God raised
from the dead—by this name this man stands here before you in good health.
(2) Jesus is the one behind this lovingly kind action.
(3) He’s:
(a) the foundation,
(b) the way,
(c) and the only Person where salvation is found.
(D) The message of the resurrection can and does transform lives.
(1) The ultimate consequence of Easter is when one’s life is radically
changed for the good.
(2) When the message of the resurrection is internalized into people’s
lives, they become different people.
(3) It begins with saving faith in Christ.
(4) Then it continues with acts of kindness just like our caring Shepherd
(IV) Jesus cares for His sheep, that is, “for you”
(A) In John 10, what John shows through Jesus’ words, and what stands out,
is the presence and care of this Shepherd, one unlike all others.
(1) It’s His willingness to lay down His life for His sheep.
(a) The sheep have come to trust their Shepherd because of what they know
through His actions for them, on their behalf.
(b) In all of His interaction with people, Jesus never closes His heart.
(c) Can we say the same?
(B) As important as such words are to us, they take on a whole new level of
importance when it comes to our relationship with God.
(1) That’s why God took the most important message any of us will ever
receive, and He perfectly translated it into human flesh, so that God’s
Word could reach us.
(a) Reach you.
(b) Reach you.
(c) Personally.
John 1:14 (NASB95)
14 And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory,
glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.
(C) As He has come among us and is now among us through His Spirit, He

(1) In the same beautiful and profound way that the Son and the Father know
each other, our Shepherd knows us and our needs:
(a) what’s truly important to you,
(b) what’s truly important to me.
(2) As we tune into His voice, not just hearing but listening, we can know
that we are listening to someone who cares.
(3) As He was for David in Psalm 23, the Lord becomes “my shepherd” too.
(4) He can be trusted to:
(a) lead,
(b) guide,
(c) renew,
(d) and restore our lives and spirits.
(e) And even when we are faced with the final enemy, death, we are assured
of His presence with us.
(f) His good words and actions are a comfort.
(g) And He will, as He promised, be with us all the days of our life.
(h) His goal is to lead us home to be with Him in the house of the Lord


(A) How many voices do we hear on any given day?
(1) The answer is, “A lot.”
(2) It’s the voices of people around us offering or giving us their advice,
information, or opinions on what they think we need or need to know.
(3) Then there are the voices of people we listen to on the radio, on
podcasts, on TV, and through social media.
(B) Advertising and marketing begin by stating a problem that is known or
(1) A storyline is introduced as to how our problem or issue can be
resolved by obtaining this or that product.
(2) And then we’re shown how our life or situation in the future will be
better if we buy what they are selling
(C) There are lots of voices out there, lots of things offered, but after
all is said and done, the discerning question from us should be:
(1) Who truly cares about me?
(2) Who really loves me and wants the best for me?
(3) Sadly, the self-serving motivations and expectations of other people
can be the focus.
(4) Think of the sacrifices, compromises, and resources that we have
possibly surrendered to people who may not really care about us.
(D) That is what is so different with Jesus.
John 10:14 (NASB95)
14 “I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me.
(1) Jesus’ actions demonstrated that He is for us and for our benefit.
(2) What He wanted for us is what caused Him to give His life lovingly for
(3) He gave His life in place of ours so we could have our greatest
spiritual needs met.
(4) His voice is one we can trust with our life, and when we follow His
voice, He will get us home.
(E) What does God want you to hear?
(1) What does God want you to hear from the voice of our Good Shepherd this
(2) Two words.
(3) Two words that are deeply profound and life changing:
(a) “for you.”
(4) They are two words spoken personally to you by your loving and caring
Good Shepherd.
(a) Spoken in the Words of Absolution.
(b) Spoken in the words in today’s readings.
(c) Spoken in today’s sermon.
(d) Spoken as ordinary bread and wine are given and shed for you—and
extraordinary things take place.
(e) Jesus gives Himself, personally, and says, “for you.”
(F) Your Shepherd goes with you today and every day. He cares for you.
Shalom! Amen.
(G) Let us pray:
Lord, as we continue to walk in the commandments of love and faith, as
Jesus taught us, let our hearts be reassured in Your presence, knowing that
we belong to the truth, and ensure our hearts in Your sight.
We ask all these things in the name of Jesus, who showed us the greatest
love of all, laying down His life for us, that we might live through Him.
(H) Hebrews 13:20–21 (NASB95)
20 Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of
the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, even Jesus our Lord,
21 equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which
is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory
forever and ever. Amen.
(I) Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia! Amen.
(J) In the Name of the Father…Amen.

Reaching Out

What Do YOU Bring to the Table?

Several years ago, when a non-profit organization board in the Arkansas Delta met to discuss prospective board members, they always asked: “What do they bring to the table?” They were asking “what could they contribute to our organization?”

What Different Age Groups Bring to the Table

We could ask the same question about people of different ages – what can they contribute to our society:

• BABIES inspire awe, wonder, and love; created in the image of God, they are BRAND-NEW PERSONS, more incredible than a solar eclipse, Niagara Falls, or Grand Canyon.

• CHILDREN contribute curiosity and excitement at encountering the world and learning how to get along with other people.

• YOUNG PEOPLE contribute energy and promise for the future, unencumbered by life’s burdens, unfulfilled dreams, and skepticism.

• MIDDLE AGE PEOPLE contribute their knowledge and skills in work, dedication, and commitment to family – raising the younger generation and caring for the older generation.

• SENIOR ADULTS contribute experience, wisdom, and a knowledge of history that enables them to view current events with deep understanding.

Healthy, Godly societies, communities, families, and churches recognize the critical contributions that each group can make, and act to support, protect, and nurture them. In these settings, individuals in each of the above groups are respected and loved for who they are, and “heard”.

What Does Satan Bring to the Table

In contrast, Satan and his minions seek to steal our identities – who we are as image-bearers of God, kill our bodies in a multitude of ways, and destroy our souls. He not only brings destruction and death to the table (our society, communities, families, and churches), but HE WANTS TO DESTROY THEM.

What Does Jesus Bring to the Table

Not only does our Lord prepare a table for us in the presence of our enemies (Psalm 23:5), but He:
• invited His disciples to join Him for a breakfast of fish and bread (John 21:12),
• invites us to dine with Him (Revelation 3:20), and
• offered bread and wine to His disciples at the last supper (Mark 14), an expression of and a precursor to Him giving Himself – His body and blood – on the cross to wipe away our sins and the fear of death forever (Mark 15).

What Do YOU Bring to the Table?

Jesus said we are to “love the Lord our God with all our heart, with all our soul, and with all our mind, the first and great commandment.” Then He said we are to “love our neighbor as ourself.”

He is saying – if we don’t spend any time with Him – in repentance, in His Word, in worship, and in prayer, we will have nothing special – NOTHING SUPERNATURAL to share with others. We will be unable to fulfill His calling upon our lives – the grand purpose for which we were created – to impart to others His truth and love.

So let us go forth with boldness and courage to reach others, for time is short, eternity is a very long time, and we are not guaranteed tomorrow.

To God be the glory
Board of Evangelism


Sermon for 04.14.24 “More amazing than a miracle”

EASTER 3, APRIL 14, 2024
Text: Acts 3:11–21
Theme: More amazing than a miracle
Other Lessons: Psalm 4; 1 John 3:1–7; Luke 24:36–49

(A) In the Name of the Father…Amen.
(B) The first reading serves as our sermon text for this morning.
(C) Grace, mercy, and peace be yours from God our heavenly Father through
our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
(D) Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, let us pray:
Gracious and Almighty God, we come before You, inspired by the words of
Peter in Acts 3, where he speaks not of his own power or piety but of Your
strength and sovereignty that made the lame man walk.
As Peter redirected the people’s awe from himself to Jesus Christ, the
source of true healing and salvation, we too focus our hearts on You,
recognizing that every good gift comes from Your hand.
Lord, we are reminded of our own need for repentance and turning back to
You, just as Peter urged the people of Jerusalem.
Help us to turn from our evil ways that lead away from You and to embrace
fully the life and redemption You offer through Jesus Christ, whom You
raised from the dead.
As we gather here today, may we, like the early believers, be filled with
boldness to proclaim the truth of Your power and compassion.
Empower us by Your Spirit to be agents of healing and transformation in a
world that yearns for Your touch.
Open our eyes to see the opportunities You lay before us to speak of Your
goodness and to act in ways that bring Your kingdom here on earth as it is
in heaven.
(E) Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia! Amen.


(A) Miracles sure attracted the crowds.
(1) Peter and John healed a lame man in the temple, and wow!—everybody came
(2) And who wouldn’t?
(3) I think all of us would.
(4) An amazing thing had happened, really impressive, but in Peter’s sermon
that followed—our text for today—another amazing thing took place, and
actually even more amazing than the miracle.
(5) God offered the forgiveness of sins to those who had killed Jesus!
(B) Yes, More Amazing than a Miracle, God Offers Forgive­ness to All.
(1) It’s impossible to imagine any sin worse than killing the Author of
(A) Let’s think about this for a moment.
(1) Who was Jesus?
a) He is God Himself, become true man in order to save us.
b) And in His ministry, what did He do?
1) He helped people:
a) Healing their diseases,
b) Casting out their demons,
c) Raising the dead,
d) And forgiving the sins of people, especially the sins of tax collectors
and sinners who knew so well that they needed it.
2) Did Jesus do anything that deserved death?
3) No. Not at all.
4) Even the conflicted governor Pontius Pilate knew he was innocent and
planned to release Him.
(B) So what happened?
(1) The leaders were jealous and resented Jesus’ rebukes to their pride and
(2) He was seen as a menace to their positions and power, so He had to go.
(3) And the people?
a) Well, on Palm Sunday they hailed Jesus as a hero, but just a few days
later, they were screaming out:
Mark 15:13 (NASB95)
13 They shouted back, “Crucify Him!”
b) Instead of choosing Jesus, they chose Barabbas, a murderer.
c) They wanted the Author of life dead.
d) And they got what they asked for.
e) Peter declared:
Acts 3:14–15 (NASB95)
14 “But you disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked for a murderer to
be granted to you,
15 but put to death the Prince of life, the one whom God raised from the
dead, a fact to which we are witnesses.
(C) Can you imagine a worse sin than that of crucifying the Son of God?!
(1) Even Adam and Eve’s choosing a piece of fruit at the price of death
does not seem so bad as crucifying the Son of God!
(2) So if anybody deserved hell, it was these very people to whom Peter was
(3) But instead of delivering God’s curse, what does Peter say?
Acts 3:19 (NASB95)
19 “Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in
order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord;
(4) Sins:
a) wiped out,
b) erased,
c) gone for good.
(5) That is what forgiveness is all about:
a) Sins gone for good!
(2) The resurrection is Christ’s victory over every sin, even the worst.
(A) Forgiveness for their sin or any sin is possible for one reason
only—the kind of God that God is.
(1) For when Adam and Eve sinned first and then all the rest of us followed
right along to fill up the measure of man’s wickedness, God acted to save.
(2) His mercy and love were greater than the sin of Peter’s hearers
a) even greater than the sin of killing God’s Son.
b) And His mercy and love are greater than our sin.
(B) Not only did He promise—starting with Adam and Eve—that He would save
us sinners from the punishment we deserved, He also kept his promise and
sent His Son, who did die, but on the third day rose again.
(1) Jesus was:
a) the great sin-bearer (our sin),
b) and the great conqueror of death(our death, our punishment, our hell!).
c) But when He arose from the grave:
1) He had won.
2) It is finished (Chinese: I won)
3) Not sin, not death, and not the devil had won, but Jesus had won.
4) Sin had been blotted out.
5) And that was what Peter was offering even to those who had killed Jesus:
a) the very worst sin, conquered and wiped clean in Jesus’ resurrection.
(3) The resurrection is Christ’s victory over every sin, even yours.
(A) Some sins seem too big to forgive.
(1) There are many of us here—maybe all of us—who have a sin too big to
(2) Perhaps it’s something really embarrassing or something really
scandalous that nobody knows about except us, and we can’t forget.
(3) Or maybe it’s a recurring sin that we can’t get over.
(4) We do it again and again and again.
Romans 7:15–20 (NASB95)
15 For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I
would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate.
16 But if I do the very thing I do not want to do, I agree with the Law,
confessing that the Law is good.
17 So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me.
18 For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the
willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not.
19 For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that
I do not want.
20 But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one
doing it, but sin which dwells in me.
(5) Sins like these can:
a) trouble us,
b) haunt us,
c) refuse to leave us alone . . . but do leave us wondering:
d) Does God really forgive this sin?
(B) Yes, He does!
(1) That is the answer found in our text for this morning.
(2) There is no sin too big to forgive even if we never forget it.
(3) God:
a) forgave David, an adulterer and murderer.
b) forgave Paul, who persecuted Christians.
c) forgave Peter, who denied him three times.
1) It was this same Peter who held out forgiveness and times of refreshing
from God, who would send Jesus back and restore all things to these very
people who had “killed the Author of life.”
(C) Yes, they killed Jesus, but He didn’t stay dead!


(A) When he was almost fifty years old, Pastor Henry Gerike joined the army
to serve as a Lutheran chaplain during World War II.
(1) He served capably and competently during the war, but his most notable
service occurred afterward.
(2) He was chaplain to the Nazi war criminals at Nuremberg.
(3) This was an assignment that he dreaded to take because, after all, he
would be ministering to men accused and then convicted of the most
atrocious war crimes, involving the deaths of millions.
(4) Some of the Allied officers at Nuremberg resented his ministry.
(5) They wanted to send the prisoners straight to hell.
(6) But Gerike did it because Christ had died for all, even the Nazis.
(7) He conducted services and invited all to come.
(8) Some did.
(9) Gerike prayed with them, heard their confessions, communed four of them
in order to assure them that Christ’s blood had washed away even their
(10) He walked to the gallows with some, and with Wilhelm Keitel, head of
the German high command, just before his execution, he prayed aloud a
prayer that both had learned from their mothers.
(11) That’s how amazing God’s forgiveness is.
(12) Christ’s resurrection proclaims his victory over all sins, including
those of Nazi war criminals (Acts 3:11–14, 19–20).
(B) What is God’s answer to sin?
(1) Easter!
(2) It is His answer to your sin, my sin, all of it.
(3) And there’s a lot of it.
(4) The whole world is full of sin, and history is its record.
(5) But there is something greater than sin, and it’s a part of history
(6) For God:
(1) almighty and all gracious
(2) has entered our world in the person of his Son to redeem us
(3) to die and to rise again, and to blot out all our sins.
(4) And that, dear brothers and sisters in Christ, is really amazing! Amen.
(C) Let us pray:
We pray for the humility to acknowledge our sins and the courage to forsake
May our hearts be turned towards You in every action we take and every word
we speak.
Guide us in Your ways, that our lives might bear witness to the
life-changing power of Your grace and the hope of the resurrection.
In the name of Jesus Christ, our Savior and Redeemer, who with You and the
Holy Spirit, reigns in power and glory forever. Amen.
(D) Hebrews 13:20–21 (NASB95)
20 Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of
the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, even Jesus our Lord,
21 equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which
is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory
forever and ever. Amen.
(E) Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia! Amen.
(F) In the Name of the Father…Amen.


Sermon for 04.07.24 “Easter makes a difference”

EASTER 2, APRIL 7, 2024
Text: Acts 4:32–35
Theme: Easter makes a difference
Other Lessons
Psalm 148
Epistle: 1 John 1:1–2:2
Gospel: John 20:19–31

(A) In the Name of the Father…Amen.
(B) The first reading serves as our sermon text for this morning.
(C) Grace, mercy, and peace be yours from God the heavenly Father through
our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
(D) Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, let us pray:
Eternal God, we approach Your throne of grace, mindful of the message
declared by John in his first letter, recounting the Word of life made
manifest among us.
He speaks of what was seen, heard, and touched—the very life of Jesus, Your
Son, made tangible in our world.
Through these sacred testimonies, we encounter the living truth of Christ,
drawing us into deep fellowship with You and each other.
Lord, in Your light, we see our shadows and acknowledge our sins.
We often stumble in darkness, veering away from Your path.
Yet, Your faithfulness shines bright, promising forgiveness and
purification from all unrighteousness through Jesus, our advocate and
As we come together in worship, fill us with the joy of fellowship that
John spoke of, a fellowship with You and with Your Son, Jesus Christ.
Empower us to live out this truth, reflecting Your love and righteousness
in our daily walk. Amen.
(E) Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia! Amen.

(A) Easter Sunday may be over for this year, but the season of Easter is
definitely not.
(1) Our church year gives us six more Sundays of the Easter season.
(2) But even that is not enough.
(3) Every Sunday serves as a “little” Easter.
(4) Christians worship on Sundays because Jesus arose from the dead on the
first day of the week.
(B) Easter still matters in the church calendar, but what difference does
it make in our lives?
(1) Easter Sunday can certainly create an emotional high:
(A) great music,
(B) powerful preaching,
(C) a church filled with people.
(D) We can all get excited about that, but how about this Sunday?
(E) Or the next Sunday?
(F) Pretty soon we’re back to the same old, same old.
(C) So what difference does Easter make—for you?
(1) Our text for this morning shows us how Easter does indeed Makes a
Difference in the Lives of Those Who Believe It.
(I) Making gods out of ourselves and our possessions ends us in the
grave—until it doesn’t.
(A) Our text for today shows what a difference it made in the lives of the
first Christians.
1) And what a difference!
2) People sold all their property and gave it to the apostles for relief of
the needy. That’s hard to believe, isn’t it, especially in this day and age?
(B) “What’s mine is mine” is the common, natural, and believable way of
thinking nowadays.
1) The mindset is something like this:
a) If you have need, maybe I’ll do something about it.
b) I might do it, but it’s not a sure thing.
c) After all, I have needs too:
1) bills to pay,
2) things to buy,
3) family to tend to,
4) lots of stuff.
5) You can’t expect me to take care of you.
6) In this world, you’re on your own.
7) Maybe the government will help, but don’t expect me to bail you out.
(C) That kind of thinking is easy for us to understand.
1) We do it all the time, and not only us.
2) So does everybody else.
3) It’s not even anything new.
4) The ancients used to argue about whether the sun traveled around the
earth or the earth around the sun, but both were wrong.
5) Not only the earth and the sun, but the entire universe goes around me.
6) I am the center of it all.
a) My hopes,
b) my desires,
c) my fears,
d) my thinking all center on me
e) not you, not even God, just me.
f) We call that sin.
(D) Satan’s first temptation to Eve was to replace God with herself.
Genesis 3:5 (NASB95)
5 “For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened,
and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
1) It wasn’t true, but ever since, the devil has been repeating this lie,
and human beings have been falling for it ever since.
2) They:
a) define their own values,
b) make their own rules,
c) and do what pleases themselves, including with their possessions.
d) They—or better, we—make gods out of ourselves and so out of our
possessions too.
e) I earned it,
f) I bought it,
g) and I’m going to do what I want to with it.
h) It’s mine.
(E) But that, too, is a lie.
1) What we have in this life depends entirely on the goodness and gifts of
a) our talents,
b) our opportunities,
c) our successes
d) all these are a result from what God has done for us.
2) Moreover, what Paul said to Timothy is still true:
1 Timothy 6:7 (NASB95)
7 For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything
out of it either.
(F) Of course, by the time Eve discovered that Satan’s temptation was a
dead end—literally, it was too late.
1) We do the same thing, every one of us.
2) We think that we are in charge, until we’re not, but then it’s too late.
3) The wages of sin is death!
4) It all ends in the grave—until it doesn’t!
(II) Easter changes that by restoring us to the love of God and his free
gift of eternal life.
(A) For Jesus Christ is alive, risen from the dead.
Romans 6:23 (NASB95)
23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life
in Christ Jesus our Lord.
1) That is the difference that Easter makes!
2) Our Lord’s resurrection overcame the penalty for sin, death, because His
crucifixion overcame sin itself.
3) He took the sin of all upon himself:
a) starting with Eve,
b) then Adam,
c) and then every last one of their descendants, including those yet to
come, including you and me.
4) But now Jesus is alive:
a) just ask no-longer-doubting Thomas.
b) Our God and our Lord is alive!
c) Sin has been paid for;
d) death has been overcome.
(B) Everything is different now.
1) Because of Easter, we know that what Jesus told us about God is true.
2) He is our loving Father.
Ephesians 2:1 (NASB95)
1 And you were dead in your trespasses and sins,
3) The Lord took the initiative to redeem us.
Romans 8:32 (NASB95)
32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how
will He not also with Him freely give us all things?
4) Our heavenly Father takes His perfect, tender loving care of us and
provides for us, and at the end of this life, He welcomes us into the next,
into the paradise about which Jesus spoke to that penitent thief on the
5) The devil is still lurking around, and, for sure, sin rears its ugly
6) But neither devil nor sin can take away what we have in Christ:
a) the God who loves us.
(III) Therefore, Easter also frees us to respond to the needs of others,
whatever they may be.
(A) That’s why those first Christians could respond as they did to the
needs of others.
1) Christ had freed them from the sin of self-interest.
a) God had filled their hearts with his love; and that love overflowed to
others, and:
Acts 4:34 (NASB95)
34 For there was not a needy person among them, for all who were owners of
land or houses would sell them and bring the proceeds of the sales.
(B) Of course, we live in different times.
1) Perhaps physical needs are not so pressing.
2) But in addition to the basics, people still have needs:
a) respect,
b) companionship,
c) purpose,
d) security.
3) How good are we at supplying things like these to others in our
a) Since God takes care of us, we can take care of others, giving not only
our money but also our time, energy, talents, and—most fundamental of
all—our love to one another in response to whatever challenges life brings.
(C) Perhaps this sounds like a sermon for “Stewardship Sunday” instead of
for Easter, but these first Christians have given us an example that we
cannot ignore—not now, not ever.
1) Easter means something.
a) It changes lives.
b) It changed their lives.
c) Easter makes a difference in the lives of those who believe.
d) So what about you?


(A) Speaking of examples, immediately following today’s text, Luke
introduces Barnabas as an example of someone whom the Easter proclamation
changed forever.
(1) He not only sold his property for the relief of the needy (Acts
4:36–37), but he also became one of the great missionaries of the apostolic
a) He took great risks for the sake of the Gospel.
b) After Paul’s conversion, Barnabas befriended him when others were
c) Upon hearing that the Gospel was reaping fruit in Antioch, the Jerusalem
church sent Barnabas to continue the work there, and Barnabas recruited
d) When the Spirit indicated that Paul’s missionary journeys were to begin,
he called Barnabas to the work as well.
e) Barnabas then shared in all the challenges and trials of that first
journey, including persecution in Antioch of Pisidia and Iconium.
f) Along with Paul, he was mistaken for a god in Lystra, where once again
they were persecuted.
g) Nevertheless, they revisited those places in order to strengthen the
faithful and appoint elders in the churches.
h) After returning to Antioch, Barnabas along with Paul defended the
Gentile mission against the Judaizers.
(2) Although Barnabas and Paul separated over a disagreement, the former
continued the mission by going to Cyprus.
a) Church tradition tells us that Barnabas died a martyr’s death.
b) Easter certainly made a difference to him.
c) It ought to make a difference for us and to us as well. Amen.
(B) Let us pray:
Lord. we thank You for the assurance and advocacy we have in Christ, who
not only covers our sins but also intercedes for all of us.
May our worship today be a reflection of the eternal life You have revealed
to us, an offering of gratitude and commitment to Your ways.
In the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Redeemer, we pray. Amen.
(C) The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, guard your hearts
and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.
(D) Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia! Amen.
(E) In the Father…Amen.

Reaching Out

Ten Reasons Why Repentance Is A Really Big Deal

“Repent, repent, repent – I am tired of hearing it. Why do they keep harping on repentance? Don’t they realize we just need to love each other instead of making us feel guilty? WHAT IS THEIR PROBLEM?”

Have you heard that, or something like it? There is false guilt that comes from our culture, but anyone who resists repenting of true sin is resisting the Holy Spirit, who convicts us of our sin. Instead, Christians should welcome conviction and repent – as quickly and as often as necessary, for the following reasons:

1) God is a holy, righteous, and jealous God, and He will not tolerate sin in His presence. If we approach Him with unconfessed sin on our hearts, we are idolators, worshipping another god.

2) Unrepentance refuses Christ’s gift of salvation, because He died for all our sins. We are saying – thanks anyway, I am doing fine and will just keep my sins. And if we refuse His free gift of grace, we will be judged under the Law and found guilty.

3) Unrepentance drowns out the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit. The sin in our soul also sends messages to our spirit, and we lose our ability to discern what is from the Lord and what is from the evil one.

4) Repentance frees us from the bondage of sin and death. When we retain sin in our hearts, we remain in bondage, enslaving our souls to the world, the flesh, and the devil. Receiving Christ as our Savior frees us from the slavery of sin and the fear of death.

5) Conviction from the Holy Spirit is our friend, as it is a warning sign that we are straying off the narrow path. But we have to repent of our sins to get back on that path.

6) Unrepentance pollutes our witness to others. Each of us influences others by what we say and do. Unconfessed sin sends mixed messages about Christ and those who follow Him. Laodiceans pollute their passion for Christ with their love of comfort and the pleasures of the world.

7) Unforgiveness is a powerful example of unrepentance. When we are wronged by someone, we feel they do not deserve to be forgiven. True, but neither do we deserve to be forgiven of our sins. And if we don’t forgive someone of their wrongs against us, our Lord will not forgive us of our sins.

8) Unconfessed sin is a cancer to our souls, and we need to get rid of it before it spreads and takes over completely. Repentance kills this cancer to the soul.

9) Unrepentance opens the doors to demonic influence in our lives.

Unconfessed sins attract demons like fresh meat attracts flies, but repentance closes those portals to our soul.

10) There is no sin in heaven. If we arrive at the pearly gates with sin

on our souls, we are idolators and rebels. We are defying the sovereign, living God of the universe by refusing to die to self and live for Christ, which is the entrance fee to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

The Lord is sending us into the front lines of the great spiritual battle for the souls of men and women – the ultimate prize. But we can only do this if we are spiritually clean, have our spiritual armor on, and are in touch with the Holy Spirit.

If hold on to any sin and refuse to die to self, we are saying no to life in the Spirit – a great spiritual adventure filled with blessings, sorrows, and the joy of the Lord that only comes from His presence in our lives. We will then take this banner of defiance and rebellion against God with us as we march down the broad path that leads the Lake of Fire.

So let us repent, forgive, and go forth with the love and truth of God, for time is short, eternity is a very long time, and we are not guaranteed tomorrow.

To God be the glory

Board of Evangelism


Sermon for Easter Sunday 10:30 service 03.31.24

Easter Sunday 03.31.24
Text: Psalm 41:12-13
Psalm 41 (in its entirety)
Old Testament: Isaiah 25:6–9
Epistle: 1 Corinthians 15:1–11
Gospel: Mark 16:1–8

(A) In the Name of the Father…Amen.
(B) Psalm 41:12-13 serves as our sermon text for this morning, which reads
as follows:
Psalm 41:12–13 (NASB95)
12 As for me, You uphold me in my integrity, And You set me in Your
presence forever.
13 Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, From everlasting to everlasting.
Amen and Amen.
(C) Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord Jesus
Christ! Amen.
(D) Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, let us pray:
Gracious and Almighty God, on this Resurrection Sunday, we come before You
with hearts brimming with joy and gratitude, celebrating the victory of
Your Son, Jesus Christ, over death.
As the Apostle Paul reminds us in 1 Corinthians 15, it is the good news of
Jesus’ death for our sins, His burial, and His resurrection on the third
day, according to the Scriptures, that stands as the cornerstone of our
Lord, we are humbled by the depth of Your love and the power of Your grace
that brought Jesus from death to life, ensuring our own resurrection and
eternal life in Him.
You have fulfilled Your Word and demonstrated Your faithfulness through the
ages, from the witnesses who first saw the risen Lord to all of us gathered
here today, united in the joy of His resurrection. Amen.
(E) Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia! Amen.


(A) David prayed to the Lord of hosts in Psalm 41, “You have upheld me
because of my integrity, and set me in Your presence forever. Blessed be
the Lord, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting! Amen and

(1) Integrity means “whole and undivided.”
(A) Integrity indicates original, unblemished condition.
(1) Because integrity means “whole, original, and unblemished,” the word
also can be used to indicate beautiful qualities such as:
(a) honesty,
(b) faithfulness,
(c) purity,
(d) reliability,
(e) uprightness,
(f) honor,
(g) incorruptibility,
(h) forthrightness,
(i) and other noble virtues.
(B) “Because of my integrity.”
(1) David wrote those words, but NOT because he wanted to sing and pray
them all by himself.
(a) David wrote Psalm 41 because he wanted you and I to sing and pray
together with him.
(b) He wanted YOU and I to say to God in sincerity and truth,:
(1) “You have upheld me[, O Lord,] because of my integrity.”
(2) Can you bring yourself to do that?
(C) God, the living God, provided that David’s words be written into His
Holy Scriptures.
(1) David’s words are in the Scriptures because the Lord your God wants you
also to pray with all honesty:
(a) “You have upheld me[, O Lord,] because of my integrity.”
(b) Can you do it?
(D) Can you honestly join with David in saying to God:
(1) “You have upheld me[, O Lord,] because of my integrity”?
(a) The answer is YES!
(b) Yes because you are the baptized child of Christ and because Christ is
(c) He is risen, indeed! Alleluia!
(d) The resurrection of our Lord has guaranteed that your answer is indeed
YES, even though you might feel tempted to think that your answer should be
(E) “Because of my integrity.”
(1) Everybody wants to have integrity, but nobody actually has it—at least,
not in the original, main sense of the word.
(a) Our loss of integrity was originally Adam and Eve’s fault and only
later became ours.
(2) Integrity means “whole and undivided.”

(a) Integrity indicates an original, unblemished condition.
(b) Integrity also can be used to indicate such beautiful qualities as
honesty, faithfulness, and purity.
(c) We all want to be described with such wonderful words and, to a certain
extent, we all can be—but only to a certain extent.
(F) Do you ever hesitate to pray to the Lord:
(1) “You have upheld me because of my integrity”?
(a) Perhaps you do not think all the qualities of integrity rightly
describe you; at least, not all of the time.
(b) Perhaps you can see a different set of qualities at work inside
(1) NOT whole and undivided, but sometimes doubleminded (James 1:8) and
other times doubtful (Matthew 14:31).
(2) NOT in original, unblemished condition, but chipped or broken, stained
with sin, hampered by the memory of wrongdoing, and marked with regret.
(3) Honest, but not always;
(4) true and faithful, but only when no temptation is present;
(5) mostly reliable and fairly honorable and hopefully incorruptible, but
nobody’s perfect!
(G) Such realizations might make it feel a little brazen or dishonest for
us to pray David’s words:
(1) “You have upheld me because of my integrity.”
(a) We all want to have integrity.
(b) In most cases, any of us would gladly describe ourselves as having
integrity, but we probably would NOT want to talk that way in the presence
of God for He knows our hearts (Luke 16:15).
(c) He knows where the integrity falls apart.
(d) Perhaps it is wisest and best to mumble Psalm 41 when it states, “You
have upheld me because of my integrity,” or to pray those words with the
thought that they probably refer to someone else but NOT so much to you or
(H) Why then did David write these words in Psalm 41?
(1) David wrote Psalm 41 because he wanted us to sing and pray together
with him.
(2) David’s words are in the Scriptures because the Lord our God also wants
us to pray those words together with David.
(2) “You have upheld me because of my integrity.”
(A) Throughout the season of Lent, the sermons and our worship services
have focused upon Psalm 41.
(B) There have been two points of emphasis as we focused on Psalm 41:
(1) In one way or another, all of God’s Psalms—including Psalm 41—speak
about our Lord and His work of salvation on our behalf (Luke 24:44).
(a) That is why God included the Psalms in His Scriptures;
(b) They all “bear witness,” said Jesus, “about Me” (John 5:39).
(2) Because the Psalms are about Jesus, they are also about you.
(a) You are, after all, the baptized of Christ.
(b) When you were baptized:
(1) you miraculously entered into Christ’s holy body (Romans 12:5; 1
Corinthians 1:30) just as surely as He entered yours (John 14:20; Galatians
(2) And Christ is risen! (He is risen, indeed!) Alleluia!
(3) You and your risen Christ are now joined together as one flesh (1
Corinthians 6:17; Ephesians 5:32).
(4) “What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate” (Matthew
(C) What does our union with Christ indicate?
(1) It indicates that, when Jesus of Nazareth died upon His cross, you and
I and all the baptized of Christ died there with Him.
(a) Baptism is why Paul could say, and why we each can say with Paul:
(1) “I have been crucified with Christ” (Galatians 2:20).
(b) In addition to that, Baptism also indicates that, when Jesus rose from
the dead, God the Father also:
(1) “raised us up with Him and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in
Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:6).
(2) At your Baptism,
(a) your Lord’s perfection became yours, and your sins became His (1 Peter
(b) His strength became yours, and your weakness became His (2 Corinthians
(c) His life became yours, and your death became His (Romans 6:4); and
(d) His perfect and unblemished integrity became yours, and any lack of
integrity in you became His
(D) You are now “partakers of the divine nature,” as Peter declares in his
second epistle (2 Peter 1:4).
(1) Because of your participation in the divine nature of Christ in and
through your Baptism, every Scripture passage that speaks about Jesus now
also speaks about you.
(2) In all of human history, only Christ Jesus, our Lord, could pray to His
Father on the basis of His own merit:
(a) “You have upheld Me because of My integrity.”

(3) But Jesus has now joined Himself to you.
(a) In that miraculous joining, whatever the Scriptures say about Jesus can
now also be said, in all faithfulness and honesty, about you:
(1) “You have upheld me because of my integrity.”
(3) Integrity means “whole and undivided.”
(A) Integrity means “in the original, unblemished condition.”
(1) Integrity indicates such qualities as:
(a) honesty,
(b) faithfulness,
(c) purity,
(d) reliability,
(e) uprightness,
(f) honor,
(g) incorruptibility,
(h) and forthrightness.
(i) Those qualities all describe Jesus, the One who was crucified (1
Corinthians 1:23).
(j) Because of our Lord’s personal integrity (Acts 2:24), “God raised Him
up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for Him to be
held by it.”
(B) As you heard in today’s Gospel these words:
Mark 16:1–6 (NASB95)
1 When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James,
and Salome, bought spices, so that they might come and anoint Him.
2 Very early on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb when the
sun had risen.
3 They were saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us
from the entrance of the tomb?”
4 Looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled away, although it was
extremely large.
5 Entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting at the right, wearing a
white robe; and they were amazed.
6 And he said to them, “Do not be amazed; you are looking for Jesus the
Nazarene, who has been crucified. He has risen; He is not here; behold,
here is the place where they laid Him.
(4) By the power of His death and in the victory of His resurrection, Jesus
has now given all of His integrity to you so that His perfect integrity may
be yours forever!
(A) Our Lord’s personal integrity has been delivered to you in the water of
Baptism, which joined you to both His death and His resurrection (Romans
(B) Our Lord’s personal integrity has miraculously entered into your heart
and mind through the proclamation of the Gospel.
(C) Our Lord’s integrity likewise enters your mouth and fills your entire
body when you participate in the blessed Sacrament of the Altar.
(1) With confidence, we can proclaim that yes, Christ lives—and we with
Him—as we hear in Romans 6:9:
Romans 6:9 (NASB95)
9 knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die
again; death no longer is master over Him.
(D) Our Lord’s personal integrity, given personally to you, is the power by
which you now can pray to the Lord, with all godliness and honesty:“
(1) You have upheld me because of my integrity.”
(2) That same integrity, poured out by our God, is the only reason why I
can likewise pray with you.


(A) King David did NOT rely upon his own integrity when he prayed.
(1) King David relied upon the integrity of his Christ, who was both
David’s Son and David’s Lord.
(2) You and I do NOT and cannot rely upon our own integrity any more than
David did.
(3) David’s Son was born also to us (Luke 2:11).
(4) David’s Lord died also for us.
(5) David’s prayer is therefore our prayer, and David’s rejoicing in
eternity is likewise our rejoicing, both now and forever:
(A) “Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, from everlasting to
everlasting! Amen and Amen.”
(B) Why? Because Christ is risen! (He is risen indeed!) Alleluia! Amen.
(B) Let us pray:
Lord, as we proclaim with Paul that Your grace towards us has not been in
vain, may we, too, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in Your work,
knowing that in the Lord, our labor is not in vain.
Empower us by Your Spirit to bear witness to the resurrection of Jesus,
living as people of hope, transformed by the reality of the empty tomb.
On this glorious day, help us to grasp the magnitude of what it means to
say, “Christ has risen indeed!”
May this truth renew our minds, inspire our hearts, and guide our actions.
Let the joy of Easter not just be a momentary celebration but a lasting
reality in our lives, shaping us to be bearers of Your light and love in a
world that so desperately needs the hope of the risen Christ.
In the mighty power of the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy
Spirit, we pray. Amen.
(C) The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, guard your hearts
and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.
(D) Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia! Amen.
(E) In the Name of the Father…Amen.


Sermon for Easter Sunrise 03.31.24

Easter Sunrise 03.31.24
Text: Exodus 15:1–11
Theme: Holy Joy
Other Lessons
Psalm 118:1–2, 15–24; 1 Corinthians 15:1–11; Luke 24:1–11

(A) In the Name of the Father…Amen.
(B) The Old Testament lesson from Exodus 15 serves as our sermon text for
this morning.
(C) Grace, mercy, and peace be yours from God our heavenly Father through
our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
(D) Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, let us pray:
464:1-3 The Strife Is O’er, the Battle Done
Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!

The strife is o’er, the battle done;
Now is the victor’s triumph won;
Now be the song of praise begun.

The pow’rs of death have done their worst,
But Christ their legions hath dispersed.
Let shouts of holy joy outburst.

The three sad days have quickly sped,
He rises glorious from the dead.
All glory to our risen Head!
Alleluia! Amen.


(A) Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia! Amen.
(B) Today is a day of joyous celebration!
(1) With great songs of holy joy we affirm the victory over death and the
grave that the Lord accomplished through his death and resurrection.
(2) Listen to the first stanza of the hymns for this morning as evidence of
this holy joy:
467 Awake, My Heart, with Gladness
Awake, my heart, with gladness,
See what today is done;
Now, after gloom and sadness,
Comes forth the glorious sun.
My Savior there was laid
Where our bed must be made
When to the realms of light
Our spirit wings its flight.
Text: Public domain
490 Jesus Lives! The Victory’s Won
Jesus lives! The vict’ry’s won!
Death no longer can appall me;
Jesus lives! Death’s reign is done!
From the grave will Christ recall me.
Brighter scenes will then commence;
This shall be my confidence.
Text: Public domain
461 I Know That My Redeemer Lives
I know that my Redeemer lives;
What comfort this sweet sentence gives!
He lives, He lives, who once was dead;
He lives, my ever-living head.
Text: Public domain
(C) As we celebrate the greatest victory of our faith, we take as our text
the song that was sung on the day of the greatest victory that the people
of Israel ever experienced in their history:
(1) their deliverance from Pharaoh and his army at the Red Sea.
(2) The Song of Moses gives us, too, the occasion to celebrate.

(D) As in Israel’s day, with Joyous Hymns of Faith, the People of the Lord
Celebrate Christ’s Easter Victory.
(1) With the song of Moses, Israel celebrated a foreshadowing of Christ’s
Easter victory.
(A) At the Red Sea, the people of Israel faced two unpleasant options.
1) They could surrender to the Egyptian army and be taken back as slaves to
Egypt, or they could drown in the Red Sea.
2) Either option basically amounted to death.
3) In addition to their precarious situation, they also showed a lack of
faith as mentioned in the previous chapter right before our sermon text for
this morning:
Exodus 14:10–12 (NASB95)
10 As Pharaoh drew near, the sons of Israel looked, and behold, the
Egyptians were marching after them, and they became very frightened; so the
sons of Israel cried out to the LORD.
11 Then they said to Moses, “Is it because there were no graves in Egypt
that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness? Why have you dealt
with us in this way, bringing us out of Egypt?
12 “Is this not the word that we spoke to you in Egypt, saying, ‘Leave us
alone that we may serve the Egyptians’? For it would have been better for
us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness.”
(B) But God provided them with another option: salvation from the Egyptian
army by passing through the Red Sea.
(1) God parted the waters of the Red Sea so they could escape from the
a) Much more dramatic than Cecil B. Demille’s version!
(2) God tricked the Egyptians into thinking that they could go through the
Red Sea too.
Exodus 15:9–10 (NASB95)
9 “The enemy said, ‘I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the
spoil; My desire shall be gratified against them; I will draw out my sword,
my hand will destroy them.’
(3) But God wiped them out.
10 “You blew with Your wind, the sea covered them; They sank like lead in
the mighty waters.
(4) The Egyptians never bothered the Israelites again.
(C) In response, the people of Israel sang joyous praises to the Lord:
Exodus 15:1–2 (NASB95)
1 Then Moses and the sons of Israel sang this song to the LORD, and said,
“I will sing to the LORD, for He is highly exalted; The horse and its rider
He has hurled into the sea.
2 “The LORD is my strength and song, And He has become my salvation; This
is my God, and I will praise Him; My father’s God, and I will extol Him.
(1) Their song affirmed two things:
a) God’s power active in the world.
Exodus 15:3–8 (NASB95)
3 “The LORD is a warrior; The LORD is His name.
4 “Pharaoh’s chariots and his army He has cast into the sea; And the
choicest of his officers are drowned in the Red Sea.
5 “The deeps cover them; They went down into the depths like a stone.
6 “Your right hand, O LORD, is majestic in power, Your right hand, O LORD,
shatters the enemy.
7 “And in the greatness of Your excellence You overthrow those who rise up
against You; You send forth Your burning anger, and it consumes them as
8 “At the blast of Your nostrils the waters were piled up, The flowing
waters stood up like a heap; The deeps were congealed in the heart of the
b) There are no other gods like their God (v 11).
Exodus 15:11 (NASB95)
11 “Who is like You among the gods, O LORD? Who is like You, majestic in
holiness, Awesome in praises, working wonders?
(2) We, too, celebrate Christ’s Easter victory with hymns of faith.
(A) Our situation seemed no less perilous than Israel’s. We were left with
the same two options.
(1) On one side were the devil and his army. Oh, he wants us to live. He
doesn’t want us to die—that is, in the sense of being snuffed out of
existence. He wants to take us back to his country, where he can enslave us.
a) Slavery to Satan is our fate because of our sin.
1) Lustful thoughts
2) Words of anger
3) And if thoughts and words were not bad enough, actions including and to
the point of abuse.
b) Every time we sin, we confirm that we cannot live as free people.
1) We are slaves to sin.
2) On our own, we can’t do good, we can’t turn away from evil.
3) That means we are destined to live in sin forever in hell.
(2) The other option for us is no better: death.
(3) Moses’ song is our song because they faced the same enemy we do.
a) For the Israelites, the name of death was Pharaoh and his army.
b) For us, the name of death may be a heart attack or cancer.
c) But these are just names for the same thing: death.
d) Someone with terminal cancer is just as trapped as the Israelites were.
(4) Death, like enslavement in hell, is a result of our sin, and that makes
it just as inescapable.
a) Christians, who are often accused of being unrealistic, are very
realistic about death.
(B) But through Jesus’ cross and resurrection from the dead, God has
provided us with a third option: salvation through death.
(1) Despite the disciples’ lack of faith on that first Easter, God’s power
broke through and won the victory.
(2) Now when we pass through death, we are saved.
a) This is what happens in the waters of Baptism.
b) In Baptism we are buried with Christ and raised to a new life.
c) In a way, the baptismal waters you were drowned in are the same as the
parted waters of the Red Sea.
(C) Our response to this great salvation is holy joy—especially in song.
(1) Examples of words from the great Easter hymns.
457 Jesus Christ Is Risen Today
Jesus Christ is ris’n today, Alleluia!
Our triumphant holy day, Alleluia!
Who did once upon the cross, Alleluia!
Suffer to redeem our loss. Alleluia!
Text: Public domain
458 Christ Jesus Lay in Death’s Strong Bands
Christ Jesus lay in death’s strong bands
For our offenses given;
But now at God’s right hand He stands
And brings us life from heaven.
Therefore let us joyful be
And sing to God right thankfully
Loud songs of alleluia!
Text: Public domain
488 He Is Arisen! Glorious Word
He is arisen! Glorious Word!
Now reconciled is God, my Lord;
The gates of heav’n are open.
My Jesus did triumphant die,
And Satan’s arrows broken lie,
Destroyed hell’s fiercest weapon.
O hear what cheer!
Christ victorious,
Rising glorious,
Life is giving.
He was dead but now is living!
Text: Public domain
(2) The joy we sing is holy because:
a) it is not based on anything we have done.
b) it is a permanent solution to the enemy of death.
c) As Peter says in his first epistle, we have:
1 Peter 1:4 (NASB95)
4 to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not
fade away, reserved in heaven for you,
(3) Our songs of joy today affirm that our God has real power and that
there are no other gods like him.

(A) In John’s vision of heaven in the Book of Revelation, he hears the
saints singing the very song of Moses that we’ve heard in our text.
(1) Through the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, God has given us a
place to escape the power of sin, death, and the devil.
(2) Our enemies are drowned, just as the Egyptian army drowned in the Red
(3) Now we sing these glad tidings, and we sing them in words that John
suggests we’ll be using for all eternity. Amen.
(B) Let us pray:
He broke the age-bound chains of hell;
The bars from heav’n’s high portals fell.
Let hymns of praise His triumph tell.

Lord, by the stripes which wounded Thee,
From death’s dread sting Thy servants free
That we may live and sing to Thee.
Alleluia! Refrain
Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia! Amen.
Text: Public domain
(C) The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, guard your hearts
and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.
(D) Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia! Amen.
(E) In the Name of the Father…Amen.


Sermon for Good Friday 03.29.24

Sermon for Good Friday 2024
Text: Psalm 41:10
Psalm 41 (in its entirety)
Old Testament: Isaiah 52:13–53:12
Epistle: Hebrews 4:14–16; 5:7–9
Gospel: John 18–19

(A) In the Name of the Father…Amen.

(B) Psalm 41:10 serves as our sermon text for this evening, which reads as
Psalm 41:10 (NASB95)
10 But You, O LORD, be gracious to me and raise me up, That I may repay
This is the Word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.

(C) Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord Jesus
Christ! Amen.


(A) During the season of Lent, we have focused our attention upon Psalm 41,
written by David, written concerning our Christ.
(1) Although it was written many years before the birth of our Lord, Psalm
41 speaks history concerning Jesus:
(A) During the days of His humiliation, Jesus
“went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for
God was with Him” (Acts 10:38).
(B) Thus fulfilled were David’s words from Psalm 41:
“Blessed is the one who considers the poor” (v. 1) and “he is called
blessed in the land” (v. 2).
(2) Jesus was welcomed and loved by the Galilean crowds but not by the
Jerusalem leaders.
(A) Many prominent men opposed Him, hated Him, and conspired against Him.
(B) This all took place according to what David had prophesied in Psalm 41:
“My enemies say of me in malice, ‘When will he die, and his name perish?’”
(v. 5)
“They imagine the worst for me” (v. 7).
(3) Psalm 41 could also see the Lord’s betrayer, Judas Iscariot, coming.
(A) The Psalm said in our Lord’s voice, and our Lord even quoted the psalm
on the night He was betrayed:
“Even my close friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted his
heel against me” (v. 9; cf. John 13:18).
(4) Tonight’s Gospel brings us to the death of our Lord and to these
prophetic words from Psalm 41:
“But You, O Lord, be gracious to me, and raise me up, that I may repay
(I) When the Scriptures speak about “lifting up,” or “raising up,” as they
do in this psalm, the first thing that often comes to mind is God’s
miraculous power of resurrection, by which He makes that was once dead to
be alive again.
(A) Thus it is written in an earlier psalm, Psalm 40:
“He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my
feet upon a rock, making my steps secure” (Psalm 40:2).
(1) To this Paul added:
“[God] raised us up with Him and seated us with Him in the heavenly places”
(Ephesians 2:6).
(B) Sometimes when the Scriptures speak about “raising up,” they are NOT
talking about life, but they are talking about death.
(1) In particular, “raising up” can be a reference to our Lord’s death on
His cross.
(2) Throughout John’s Gospel, for example, Jesus repeatedly used “lifting
up” and “raising up” in reference to His cross and death.
(C) Jesus said in the third chapter of John:
“As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man
be lifted up” (v. 14).
(1) Those words speak NOT about our Lord’s resurrection but, rather, His
death on the cross
(2) In the same way that the bronze serpent was raised up on a pole for the
healing of the rebellious people of Israel, so Jesus was likewise suspended
above the earth:
“for the healing of the nations” (Revelation 22:2).
(D) Jesus said a similar thing in the eighth chapter of John:
“When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He”
(v. 28).
(1) There again, the “lifting up” or “raising up” of which our Lord spoke
was a reference to His crucifixion.
(2) This lifting was in keeping with the words of the prophet Isaiah:
He shall be high and lifted up. . . . His appearance was so marred, beyond
human semblance, and His form beyond that of the children of mankind—so
shall He sprinkle many nations (Isaiah 52:13–15).
(E) What happened when the Lord Jesus was lifted up from the earth and
suspended upon His cross?

(1) Jesus explained in John chapter 12:
“And I, when I am lifted up from the earth,” He said, “will draw all people
to Myself” (v. 32), once again speaking about His death for the sins of the
(F) “But You, O Lord, be gracious to Me, and raise Me up.”
(1) Here in Psalm 41, as in those other passages, the reference to “raising
up” is not so much a reference to our Lord’s resurrection as it is to His
death on the cross.
(2) “Raise me up, that I may repay them.”
(II) For what purpose was our Lord therefore lifted up, according to this
psalm? “That I may repay them!” Repay whom? Here is an amazing thing: Jesus
wanted to be raised up on His cross in order to repay those who plotted
evil against Him; to repay those who spoke evil concerning Him; to repay
those who imagined the worst for Him and who said “in malice, ‘When will He
die, and His name perish?’” (v. 5).
(A) This is a strange way of speaking!
(1) The Lord our God has worked His vengeance against His enemies in a
manner that is totally unlike all the ways that we humans like to work our
(2) For example:
a) The kings of the world work their vengeance by sending out armies
against those who plot against them.
b) Saul required from David a terrible and weighty bride price, requiring
that it be cut from the Philistines,
“that he may be avenged of the king’s enemies” (1 Samuel 18:25).
c) When Jesus told His parable of the tenants, even His enemies knew that
the master of the house would be within his rights to
“put those wretches to a miserable death and let out the vineyard to other
tenants” (Matthew 21:41).
(B) Like all of the kings of the earth, you and I equally use revenge
against those who have wronged us.
(1) We want them to feel as miserable as we do.

(2) Even little children understand the idea of payback.
(3) Adults are more subtle when it comes to working out their revenge but
still with the same disastrous results.
(4) That is why we have such familiar sayings as:
a) “The sweet taste of revenge”
b) “Revenge is a dish best served cold”
c) and “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.”
(C) These sayings do not apply to the Lord our God!
(1) Where we humans prefer to work our vengeance in acts against others,
the Lord of hosts preferred to execute judgment against His Son.
(2) Our God was so adamant about cleansing the sin of the entire world, so
preoccupied with your salvation, that even the vengeance He sought against
His enemies was self-inflicted:
“But You, O Lord, . . . raise Me up that I may repay them!
(3) In answer to that prayer, God the Father lifted up His Son to death:
a) “even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:8).
(D) The death of Jesus our God was indeed divine vengeance over every
enemy—including death itself.
(1) The death of Jesus our God was therefore NOT the triumph of His enemies
over Him.
(2) When the soldiers at the cross saw the earthquake and what took place:
“they were filled with awe and said, ‘Truly this was the Son of God!’”
(Matthew 27:54).
a) This happened in keeping with David’s prophecy in Psalm 41, written in
the voice of Jesus:
“By this I know that You delight in me: my enemy will not shout in triumph
over me.”
b) Even though the enemies of God enjoyed the sight of His death, their
enjoyment was but momentary, so eclipsed and devastated that momentary
victory was by the power of Christ’s resurrection.
(III) We must therefore be exceedingly careful—and mindfully faithful—when
we think of our enemies. Jesus died. All vengeance was worked by God upon
the cross. That is why our heavenly Father now graciously forbids us to
seek vengeance. Our acts of revenge are nothing less than denials of the
Christ and His death!
(A) You were joined by Baptism to the death of Christ, according to the
words of Paul:

“I have been crucified with Christ” (Galatians 2:20).
(1) Again, Paul also said:
“Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus
were baptized into His death?” (Romans 6:3).
(2) Thus, because Psalm 41 speaks about Jesus, it speaks likewise about
(3) Therefore, these words are your words:
a) “But You, O Lord, be gracious to me, and raise me up, that I may repay
(B) What do those words mean when you and I pray them?
(1) They mean that we, along with Jesus, have already been raised up on the
a) We, like Jesus, already have our losses and injustices avenged in His
b) In the death of Christ, all vengeance has been worked by God.
c) When we therefore seek revenge upon our enemies, our desire for revenge
becomes a denial of the cross and a rejection of the atonement.
(2) That is why God has said:
“Vengeance is Mine, I will repay” (Deuteronomy 32:35; Romans 12:19).
(3) That is why our Lord Jesus taught us:
“Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right
cheek, turn to him the other also” (Matthew 5:39).
(4) That is why the apostle Paul has added:
“The Lord is an avenger in all these things” (1 Thessalonians 4:6).
(C) Shall the Lord our God work vengeance for us on the Last Day, when
Christ Jesus our Lord returns to judge both the living and the dead?

(1) The answer is:
a) Yes, and Amen!
b) That is why there are Christian martyrs who, even now, plead with God
for His victorious return, that He might avenge their blood (Revelation


(A) We do NOT need to think of our Lord’s vengeance on the Last Day as
something separate from His cross.
(1) The Last Day, rather, is the culmination and the full flowering of that
which was completely worked for us upon the cross.
(2) The blood of God’s saints shall one day be avenged (Revelation 6:10)
because Jesus was raised up on the cross to work God’s vengeance.
The death of God’s saints is precious in His sight (Psalm 116:15) because
Jesus of Nazareth “bowed His head and gave up His spirit” (John 19:30).
(3) Every injustice you have suffered:
(A) along with every injustice you have ever perpetrated
(B) They all find their fulfillment and satisfaction in these words:
“O Lord, be gracious to me, and raise me up, that I may repay them!” Amen.
(B) Let us pray:
Dear Father, thank You for Your infinite love and goodness toward us, Your
dear children.
Even when we are disciplined, we know You love us.
Keep us in Your Word, in faith and in prayer. Amen.
(C) The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, guard your hearts
and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.
(D) In the Name of the Father…Amen.


Sermon for Maundy Thursday 03.28.24

Sermon for Maundy (Holy) Thursday 2024
Text: Psalm 41:9
Old Testament: Exodus 12:1–14
Psalm 41 (in its entirety)
Epistle: 1 Corinthians 11:23–32
Gospel: John 13:1–30

(A) In the Name of the Father…Amen.
(B) Psalm 41:9 serves as our sermon text for this evening.
(C) Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord Jesus
Christ! Amen.
(D) Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, let us pray:
Lord Jesus, who came to Your own and they received You not, grant us Your
Spirit to glorify You in our hearts.

Enlighten our souls with this living knowledge that You are the power of
God and the wisdom of God, that we may never be offended in You, but may
hold Your righteousness in an unwavering faith, and may not be ashamed to
confess you before men.

(A) David prayed in Psalm 41, “Even my close friend in whom I trusted, who
ate my bread, has lifted his heel against me.”
(B) During the midweek services for Lent, two things have been emphasized:
(1) that the Psalms speak about Jesus (John 5:39) and
(2) that because the Psalms speak about Jesus, they therefore speak also
about you.
(A) In Baptism, you were “joined to the Lord” (1 Corinthians 6:17) and
(B) are now “become one” as the Scriptures say (Ephesians 5:31–32).
(C) We can therefore think of Psalm 41, in part, as a biographical sketch
about you.
(1) Psalm 41 tells both your story and mine as surely as it tells the
history of our Lord.
(2) But Psalm 41 was written by King David, which means the psalm also
gives us a sketch of David.
(I) “Even my close friend,” said David, “in whom I trusted, who ate my
bread, has lifted his heel against me.”
(A) David might have been talking about Absalom (cf. Psalm 3:1), his most
handsome and charming son.
(1) Absalom grew up on King David’s knee.
(2) Absalom ate his father’s bread at his father’s table.
(3) He enjoyed his father’s generous and reconciling love and received
every comfort of his father’s house.
(4) Absalom also harbored a temper and held a grudge that led him to
conspire against his own father and murder his own brother.
(5) Absalom tried to overthrow his father and occupy the throne of Israel
for himself.
(6) In the figure of speech expressed by Psalm 41, Absalom “lifted his heel
against” David.
(7) David was knocked down hard by the blow.
(B) Think of the various muscles in the human body.
(1) Hardly any physical blow can exert more impact than a raised heel.
(2) A closed fist can certainly do damage, especially when thrown by a
strong man with an experienced arm and calloused knuckles.
(3) A swung elbow can drop an opponent larger than you, but only if it hits
the right target.
(4) By comparison, it is very difficult for anyone to receive the uncoiled
blow of a raised heel and still remain on his feet.
(5) Even a petite woman’s raised heel can “kick like a mule,” as the saying
(6) The heel explodes out like a cannonball, involving nearly every muscle
in the leg.
(C) Absalom “lifted his heel” against David.
(1) Absalom laid low the one who had lifted him up and had given him every
good thing.
(II) Judas Iscariot did the same thing to Christ Jesus, our Lord.
(A) As it is written in Matthew 26:
Matthew 26:14–16 (NASB95)
14 Then one of the twelve, named Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests
15 and said, “What are you willing to give me to betray Him to you?” And
they weighed out thirty pieces of silver to him.
16 From then on he began looking for a good opportunity to betray Jesus.
(B) Judas did that terrible thing because he held malice toward Jesus:
(1) inexplicable malice toward Jesus, who had given Judas every good thing.
(2) When traveling together with the disciples, Jesus entrusted to Judas
all the finances of the entire group (John 13:29).
(3) When Jesus sent out His disciples and gave them His own divine power to:
Matthew 10:8 (NASB95)
“Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. Freely
you received, freely give.”
(a) the gracious, ordaining hand of our Lord was gently laid also upon
Judas’ head.
(4) On the night Jesus was betrayed, as you heard in tonight’s Gospel,
Jesus knelt even before Judas and humbly washed his feet along with the
rest of the disciples.
(5) Jesus likewise served Judas the Holy Communion of Christ’s body and
blood, given and shed even for the sins of Judas (Matthew 26:20–28).
(6) Our Lord knew beforehand:
(a) He knew from the Scriptures of the Old Testament (Zechariah 11:13;
Psalm 69:25; 109:8; cf. Acts 1:20)
(b) who would betray Him.
(7) Jesus faithfully loved His betrayer, nonetheless.
(C) Judas fulfilled in the life of Christ what King David had earlier
experienced and written in Psalm 41:
Psalm 41:9 (NASB95)
Even my close friend in whom I trusted, Who ate my bread, Has lifted up his
heel against me.
(1) David likewise wrote in another psalm concerning Jesus:
Psalm 35:14 (NASB95)
I went about as though it were my friend or brother; I bowed down mourning
(literally dressed in black) as one who sorrows for a mother.
(2) Yet again, David said in another psalm—again speaking words concerning
our Christ—
Psalm 55:12–14, 20 (NASB95)
12 For it is not an enemy who reproaches me, Then I could bear it; Nor is
it one who hates me who has exalted himself against me, Then I could hide
myself from him.
13 But it is you, a man my equal, My companion and my familiar friend;
14 We who had sweet fellowship together Walked in the house of God in the
20 He has put forth his hands against those who were at peace with him; He
has violated his covenant.
(III) “Even my close friend in whom I trusted”:

(A) Those words are indeed about David, who suffered the betrayal of his
beloved son Absalom:
“He who ate my bread, has lifted his heel against me”.
(B) Those words are likewise about Jesus, the true and messianic Son of
David, whom God had promised.
(C) Because those words are about Jesus, they are also about you; you are
the baptized of Christ and “one body” (Romans 12:4–5) with Him.
(D) Among the many emotions that betrayal can evoke, perhaps the strangest
is that of loneliness.
(1) Betrayal can make you feel abandoned and alone.
(2) Betrayal can focus your thoughts upon only that one, lost friend,
rather than all of the other friends who have remained faithful to you.
(3) David wrote Psalm 41 about himself, and he wrote it about our Christ,
in part, so that we would be able to draw comfort from the ancient fact
that we are not alone.
(4) We are in good company when we are betrayed by those whom we have made
our equal, our companion, our familiar friend (Psalm 55:12–13).
(E) “Even my close friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted
his heel against me.”
(1) Many people can read those lonely words as that biographical sketch I
mentioned earlier.
(2) Life in this dreary world assures us that we shall each eventually get
to a point where we can see ourselves in this story.
(3) I know how my betrayers have made me desolate.
(4) Who has betrayed you?
(F) Think of the muscles in the human body.
(1) Our betrayers have the power to kick like a mule, bowl us over, and lay
us low.
(2) Both our Lord Jesus and our forefather David can help us with that
(a) Absalom dealt his father, David, a harsh blow that laid him low, but
David survived; he rose to his feet by the power of God, and he sat down
again on the throne that had been given and promised to him by his Maker
and Redeemer.
(b) Judas Iscariot likewise dealt our Lord Jesus a mighty blow, laying Him
low in the depths of the grave.
(c) Jesus rose again from the dead.
(d) God:
Hebrews 2:9 (NASB95)
But we do see Him who was made for a little while lower than the angels,
namely, Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned [Him] with glory
and honor, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone.
(e) Jesus loved NOT His life, even unto death (cf. Revelation 12:11), but
loved those He came to save.
(f) Thus, Jesus could say to His Father in heaven, in the words of His
father David and in the closing words of Psalm 41,
Psalm 41:11–13 (NASB95)
11 By this I know that You are pleased with me, Because my enemy does not
shout in triumph over me.
12 As for me, You uphold me in my integrity, And You set me in Your
presence forever.
13 Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, From everlasting to everlasting.
Amen and Amen.
(G) Those words are also your words.
(1) David said those words.
(2) Jesus said those words.
(3) You have been given God’s Spirit that you might likewise say those
Psalm 41:11 (NASB95)
By this I know that You are pleased with me, Because my enemy does not
shout in triumph over me.

(A) There is no need to pretend here.
(1) Those who have betrayed us have indeed hurt us, having raised their
heel against us.
(2) The pain and the shame and the loneliness can be undeniably great, but
those things shall remain only for a little while.
(3) The Lord your God shall vindicate you and raise you up and set you
above your “enemies all around” (Psalm 27:6), even those who have betrayed
you and raised their heel against you.
(4) The resurrection of our Lord shall inevitably make it so.
(5) To this, we can say with David, in the final words of Psalm 41, “Amen
and Amen” (verse 13).
(B) By the power of the Holy Spirit and with confidence in the resurrection
of our God, we add our “Amen” with certainty and without fear.
(1) We say it once because we mean it.
(2) We say it twice to intensify and emphasize our hope.
(3) This is in keeping with what we learned to say from the Small
(A) “Amen, Amen means ‘yes, yes, it shall be so’” (Conclusion to the Lord’s
(4) Amen.
(C) Let us pray:
Dear Father, thank You for Your infinite love and goodness toward us, Your
dear children.
Even when we are disciplined, we know You love us.
Keep us in Your Word, in faith and in prayer. Amen.
(D) The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, guard your hearts
and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.
(E) In the Name of the Father…Amen.