Sermon for 05.14.23 “Identity: God’s and yours”

Easter 6, May 14, 2023
Text: Acts 17:16–31
Theme: Identity: God’s and yours
Other Lessons: Psalm 66:8–20; 1 Peter 3:13–22; John 14:15–21

A. In the Name of the Father…Amen.
B. The reading from Acts 17 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:
LSB 594:1 God’s Own Child, I Gladly Say It
God’s own child, I gladly say it:
I am baptized into Christ!
He, because I could not pay it,
Gave my full redemption price.
Do I need earth’s treasures many?
I have one worth more than any
That brought me salvation free
Lasting to eternity!
Text: © 1991 Robert E. Voelker. Used by permission: LSB Hymn License no.

A. Where is your identity found?
1. Try asking that question at your next family get together!
2. Is your identity, that is, who you are, a product of what you decide and
do, or is it what you receive from God?
3. To put it another way, is who you are a self-construction, or are you
instead a creation of someone else, namely, God?
B. There seems to be much confusion about this in our world today.
1. A few years ago, in a paper for The Minnesota Review, culture and
gender-studies researcher Whitney Stark argued that physics based on the
laws of Newton is so oppressive because it divides the observed world (that
is, what we can see, hear, smell, taste, and touch) into binary categories,
such as particles versus waves and space versus time—structures that she
believes are arbitrary and lead to oppressive categories in other aspects
of life.
2. She contends, for example, that positive and negative charges observed
in nature encourage people to think in terms of male and female.
3. She believes that conclusions drawn from nature should be suppressed in
the name of social causes.
4. She maintains that individuals should construct for themselves who they
are (Whitney Stark, “Assembled Bodies: Reconfiguring Quantum Identities,”
The Minnesota Review 88 [2017]: 69–82).
5. She is not alone in this line of thinking.
6. This has become part of mainstream thought in our culture today.
a. This is central to what is known as “wokeism” and the cancel culture.
b. If your sole purpose is to see something as offensive, racist, bigoted,
or close minded, you will certainly not have any trouble finding it!
c. If you refuse to buy into the lies that are being sold, then you will be
labeled as:
1. Offensive
2. Racist
3. Bigoted
4. Close minded
5. And you are at risk of being “cancelled.”
C. This type of thinking, however, is disconnected from reality.
1. The fact is that human social and moral life are not arbitrary or
human-made constructions;
2. rather, they are connected to nature:
a. that is, to reality, and ultimately to the reality of God.
3. As the apostle Paul reminds us today:
a. Acts 17:25 (NASB95)
25nor is [God] served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since
He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things;
4. Paul goes on to say that we know who God is because we see Jesus Christ:
a. Acts 17:31 (NASB95)
31because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in
righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof
to all men by raising Him from the dead.”
b. That is to say, first, the identity of God is made known in and through
Jesus Christ and, second,
c. Acts 17:28 (NASB95)
for in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have
said, ‘For we also are His children.’
d. In other words, God’s Identity Is Revealed to us and Our Identity Is in
Jesus Christ.
1. Knowing who God is necessary for us to know who we are.
A. Acts 17:22–23 (NASB95)
22So Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, “Men of Athens, I
observe that you are very religious in all respects.
23“For while I was passing through and examining the objects of your
worship, I also found an altar with this inscription, ‘TO AN UNKNOWN GOD.’
Therefore what you worship in ignorance, this I proclaim to you.
1. God, to the philosophers of the Areopagus:
a. was a product of human imagination,
b. someone we or others construct for ourselves.
2. This is a form of identity theft, and this is a real problem in our
world today.
a. Someone other than yourself and for nefarious reasons:
1. Gets a credit card in your name.
2. Takes a loan out to get a car in your name.
3. Tries to sell your house without you knowing it in your name.
3. If we don’t know who God is, or if we seek to claim his identity for
a. we will never know who we are,
b. and we will never truly live as God created and redeemed us to live.
4. Paul states very simply:
Acts 17:29 (NASB95)
“Being then the children of God, we ought not to think that the Divine
Nature is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and
thought of man.
5. If God is only a product of our imagination, it makes us God, and
therefore our own Creator.
a. But then to whom could we turn for help that’s bigger than ourselves?
6. We often do make God a figment of our imagination:
a. imagining he’ll answer prayers as we want,
b. tolerate sins we hold dear,
c. side with us in politics
d. or help us win personal squabbles.
7. But that isn’t the real God;
a. the real God would remain unknown to us.
b. So where would we be?
c. Would we even care?
2. In Christ, we do know who God is and who we are.
A. Unlike the ancient Greeks, we do know who God is.
1. The Athenians scoffed at the idea of the resurrection since they didn’t
believe flesh was worth raising
a. Acts 17:32 (NASB95)
32Now when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some began to sneer,
but others said, “We shall hear you again concerning this.”
2. The Greeks pictured their gods:
a. as appearing like humans, but never being humans, that is, flesh and
3. We know our God because he did become human:
a. flesh and blood that was not strange to him, but precious,
b. worth being the sacrifice on the cross for the sins of the whole world.
4. And when we see the man, Jesus Christ (verse 31), in the flesh, we see
God fully.
a. Jesus says in our Gospel reading for this morning:
1. John 14:20 (NASB95)
“In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in
B. Knowing God, then, we do know who we are.
1. We who are flesh like Christ are thus made in his image:
Acts 17:26 (NASB95)
and [God] made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face
of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of
their habitation,
2. We, as Christ’s brothers and sisters, are God’s children, as Jesus is
his Son:
a. Again John 14:20 (NASB95)
“In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in
b. God has called you by name to be his child in and through Holy Baptism.
c. Our Epistle lesson for today declares:
1 Peter 3:21 (NASB95)
Corresponding to that, baptism now saves you—not the removal of dirt from
the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience—through the
resurrection of Jesus Christ,
3. We, therefore, have the purpose of being Christ to the world, not a
purpose of our own imagining.
A. John 14:21 (NASB95)
“He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he
who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will
disclose Myself to him.”
1. Witnessing to others (martyria)
a. Before God
b. To the world
2. Showing mercy (diakonia)
a. Regarded by God as dearly loved
b. Sharing that mercy with others.
3. In this Life together (koinonia)
a. This is our confession (who we are)
b. This is our witness (what the Lord wants others to be)
4. We are in Christ and will live forever:
A. John 14:19 (NASB95)
“After a little while the world will no longer see Me, but you will see Me;
because I live, you will live also.

A. A pall, put on a casket at a funeral, is a reminder that in Holy Baptism
we are clothed with Christ.
1. It is like a bookend to the baptismal garment an infant wears when
baptized into Christ.
2. Both are reminders that in Baptism we are clothed with Christ.
3. We are clothed with his forgiveness, his righteousness, and his life
that conquers death.
B. Often there are symbols on a pall.
1. I’d like you to picture in your minds a pall with a red cross encircled
in gold.
2. This reminds us that the glory of God is seen in Jesus shedding his
blood and dying for us on a cross.
3. Such is his love for us.
4. Somewhat to the side of the cross is a pitcher with streams of water and
blood flowing out of it.
a. This calls to mind the living water of Christ’s love for us that flows
from the font into our hearts and lives and the blood of his life, which we
drink from the chalice.
5. Below all of this are still waters (Psalm 23) that remind us that in
Christ we have a “peace that surpasses all understanding.”
6. Finally, blooming out of the still waters is an Easter lily that in the
cold of winter is dead but with the warmth of the sun blooms anew.
7. In Christ, the Sun of Righteousness, we bloom anew in the glory of God,
never to die again.
8. We have a new identity in Christ:
A. Acts 17:28 (NASB95)
for in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have
said, ‘For we also are His children.’

A. God said:
Genesis 1:26–27 (NASB95)
“Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule
over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle
and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the
27God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him;
male and female He created them.
1. Isn’t that interesting? Quantum physics confesses the reality of what
God has created.
2. Our Lord has made you and redeemed you by his name and Word to be who
you are, and it is good.
3. There is no one else like you.
4. To top it off, God loves you for who you are, who He created and
redeemed you to be.
5. You are important to him, and He will be with you forever in Christ.
B. Let us pray:
LSB 725:2 Children of the Heavenly Father
God His own doth tend and nourish;
In His holy courts they flourish.
From all evil things He spares them;
In His mighty arms He bears them.
Text: Public domain
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 05.07.23 “God’s newborn, chosen, priestly people”

Easter 5, May 7, 2023
Text: 1 Peter 2:2–10
Theme: God’s newborn, chosen, priestly people
Other Lessons: Acts 6:1–9; 7:2a, 51–60; Psalm 146; John 14:1–14

A. In the Name of the Father…Amen.

B. The Epistle 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:

LSB 573:1-2 Lord, ’Tis Not That I Did Choose Thee

Lord, ’tis not that I did choose Thee;
That, I know, could never be;
For this heart would still refuse Thee
Had Thy grace not chosen me.
Thou hast from the sin that stained me
Washed and cleansed and set me free
And unto this end ordained me,
That I ever live to Thee.

It was grace in Christ that called me,
Taught my darkened heart and mind;
Else the world had yet enthralled me,
To Thy heav’nly glories blind.
Now I worship none above Thee;
For Thy grace alone I thirst,
Knowing well that, if I love Thee,
Thou, O Lord, didst love me first.


A. A nursing infant gazes at her mother’s smiling face while that mother
ponders the wonder she cradles in her arms.

A. She marvels at the tiny little life that the Lord has knitted together
in her womb.
Psalm 139:13 (NASB95)
For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb.

B. Her heart bursts with love for her little child, and she ponders with
hope her baby’s future, praying it will be filled with meaning and purpose.

B. In so many ways, this little child is you, the Church of Jesus, for you
in Baptism have been:
1 Peter 1:3 (NASB95)
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to
His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the
resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
A. For this new life, God is nourishing you:
1 Peter 2:2 (NASB95)
like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you
may grow in respect to salvation,

B. Joined to Christ, you are chosen and precious to God. And he has
purposeful work in store for you as:
1 Peter 2:5 (NASB95)
you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a
holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through
Jesus Christ.

C. Today, the living Word of The Living Savior Exalts Your Status as God’s
Newborn, Chosen, Priestly People.

A. Joined to the resurrected Christ by baptismal grace, you are a newborn

A. Baptized into the risen Christ, his people are:

1 Peter 2:2 (NASB95)
like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you
may grow in respect to salvation,
A. Life is pure gift.
a. We can give ourselves neither physical nor spiritual life.
B. God, our Father in Christ:
1 Peter 1:3 (NASB95)
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to
His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the
resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

B. We are growing up into salvation (verse 2).

A. This is not growing toward a salvation we do not yet possess,
B. but growing into a salvation fully bestowed upon us in Christ.
C. For this growth, we need and receive the nourishment of “pure spiritual
milk,” that is, the Word of God.
a. God’s Law warns us against the empty calories of idolatry, which simply
is this:
Isaiah 55:2 (NASB95)
“Why do you spend money for what is not bread, And your wages for what does
not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, And delight
yourself in abundance.
B. God’s Gospel offers the nourishment God has lavishly supplied in the
life, death, and resurrection of Christ.
D. Here:
a. we have tasted that the Lord is good (verse 3, Psalm 34:8),
b. calling to mind God’s Means of Grace.
1. The written and spoken Word of God (Gospel)
2. Holy Baptism
3. Holy Communion
c. Faith craves that Word over the empty and harmful food the world offers
in its word and wisdom.
d. A healthy newborn does not find nursing a chore.
e. The child lives for it.
f. When Jesus told his disciples they must become like little children
(Matthew 18:2–3), he spoke of this absolute dependence on his grace.
E. To grow, we also need and receive nurture.

C. Illustration
a. A newborn is nearsighted and cannot see very far away.
b. But the distance from the mother’s breast to the baby’s face is just the
right distance for the newborn to gaze upon the mother’s loving face.
c. In a similar way, as the Church is nourished by “pure spiritual milk,”
she is able to look upon the loving face of God in Christ.

B. From that nurturing love, the infant children of God learn their
identity as chosen people.

A. Granted, the Church is not chosen or precious in the world’s eyes.
a. In the world’s eyes, her Lord was
1. “rejected by men” (verse 4; Isaiah 53:3),
2. seen in his Passion and death.
b. She shares in that rejection, as exemplified in Stephen (Acts 7:51–60).
c. This rejection tempts her to doubt her status as chosen.

B. But she is chosen and precious in God’s eyes.
a. Her Lord Jesus is chosen and precious, the living cornerstone upon which
God builds his Church
1 Peter 2:6–7 (NASB95)
6For this is contained in Scripture: “BEHOLD, I LAY IN ZION A CHOICE STONE,
7This precious value, then, is for you who believe; but for those who
CORNER stone,”
Psalm 118:22 (NASB95)
22The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief corner stone.
Isaiah 28:16 (NASB95)
16Therefore thus says the Lord GOD, “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a
tested stone, A costly cornerstone for the foundation, firmly placed. He
who believes in it will not be disturbed.

B. As she feeds on God’s pure spiritual milk, the Church is reassured:
a. First, there is no reason to envy the world, which (apart from
repentance) can only face separation from God
1 Peter 2:8 (NASB95)
and, “A STONE OF STUMBLING AND A ROCK OF OFFENSE”; for they stumble because
they are disobedient to the word, and to this doom they were also appointed.

B. Second, her true status in God’s eyes is an exalted one.
a. Once lost in sin, she was “Not My People,” but grace has made her the
people of God.
b. Once, her name was “No Mercy,” but now she has received mercy
1 Peter 2:10 (NASB95)
for you once were NOT A PEOPLE, but now you are THE PEOPLE OF GOD; you had
C. In Christ, she is the Father’s beloved, infant child.

C. Living in Christ and sharing his status, you also share in his priestly

A. Joined to Christ, the Christian becomes a living stone (verse 5), and is
being built up:
a. Into a spiritual house:
1. the dwelling place of the living God,
b. For a holy priesthood:
1. qualified by grace to serve in God’s presence,
c. To offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

B. Her spiritual sacrifices are in no way atoning sacrifices for her own
a. That work belonged uniquely to Jesus
Hebrews 7:26–27 (NASB95)
26For it was fitting for us to have such a high priest, holy, innocent,
undefiled, separated from sinners and exalted above the heavens;
27who does not need daily, like those high priests, to offer up sacrifices,
first for His own sins and then for the sins of the people, because this He
did once for all when He offered up Himself.
Hebrews 10:10 (NASB95)
10By this will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of
Jesus Christ once for all.
B. And “it is finished” (John 19:30), something his resurrection has

C. Rather, the Church shares in his priestly work of glorifying the Father.
a. This includes sacrifices of thanksgiving and praise
1 Peter 2:9 (NASB95)
God’s OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who
has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;
B. It also includes the work of intercession,
a. praying for others:
1. including our enemies (as did Stephen, Acts 7:60).
C. It finally includes our witness:
a. in word and deed,
b. to God’s love for all in Christ.

D. Illustration
a. We have all heard the expression, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”
a time or two.
b. On the one hand, you may think some abstract work of art is ugly or even
offensive, even though art experts somewhere have valued it at hundreds of
thousands of dollars.
c. Meanwhile, stuck to your refrigerator door with a magnet is a simple
drawing from your little grandchild, which leaves much to be desired in
terms of technique and would mean nothing to anyone else, but to you, and
yes, it is a treasure.
d. God treasures us.
1. This is not due to some special beauty or quality in us.
2. In fact, our sin had earned us the names:
1. “No Mercy” and “Not My People” as declared by the Lord to the Hosea.
(Hosea 1:6, 9).
3. Yet God in his redeeming love has joined us to Christ through Holy
4. Although the world sees no beauty in God’s people, they are connected to
Christ and therefore, chosen and precious in God’s eyes
1 Peter 2:4 (NASB95)
And coming to Him as to a living stone which has been rejected by men, but
is choice and precious in the sight of God,


A. As “aliens”, the term Peter uses at the beginning of his first letter,
the Church will not enjoy an exalted status in the world’s eyes.
a. But joined by baptismal grace to your resurrected Lord, you, his Church,
have become his newborn, chosen, priestly people who glorify God and
witness to his love for the world.
b. Joining in his priestly work, you intercede for the world and bear
witness in word and deed to your risen Lord, whose love is working through
his Church’s ministry, inviting the world to become with you his newborn,
chosen, priestly people.
c. Amen.

B. Let us pray:
LSB 573:3Lord, ’Tis Not That I Did Choose Thee

Praise the God of all creation;
Praise the Father’s boundless love.
Praise the Lamb, our expiation,
Priest and King enthroned above.
Praise the Spirit of salvation,
Him by whom our spirits live.
Undivided adoration
To the great Jehovah give.
Text: Public domain

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 04.30.23 “Real world? Real Savior!”

Easter 4, April 30, 2023
Text: Acts 2:42–47
Theme: Real world? Real Savior!
Other Lessons: Psalm 23; 1 Peter 2:19–25; John 10:1–10

A. In the Name of the Father…Amen.
B. The first reading from Acts 2 serves as the 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:

LSB 911:1 Lord, This Day We’ve Come to Worship
Lord, this day we’ve come to worship;
Father, Son, and Holy Ghost,
Grace us with Your blessèd presence;
Blessèd Savior, be our host. Refrain

Alleluia, alleluia,
Alleluia, praise the Lord!
Alleluia, alleluia,
Alleluia, praise the Lord!


A. As beautiful as the scene of our sermon text is, it almost has a “Once
upon a time” feel to it.
1. This is not to say that St. Luke is romanticizing things or that he
doesn’t have his facts straight.
2. It just seems that the scene he describes is like nothing we have ever
experienced before.
3. And if you have never experienced such a beautiful scene, perhaps you
wonder what help Luke’s words have to offer.
B. We should not assume these conditions of the early church would be in
the church’s future.
1. Luke lets us peer through a small window into life in the early church.
2. What we get to see through that window is by no means a full-length
feature film, but it is also much more than a mere snapshot.
3. The church described in our text is bustling with activity:
a. a vibrant life of worship
b. and an avalanche of generosity toward the needy,
c. a beautiful camaraderie that no snapshot could capture.
4. It’s like the flurry of activity you see when an ants’ nest has been
stirred up.
a. Every single member of the body seems to be busy with something.
C. Perhaps to us, the problem with this beautiful scene is that it (almost)
lacks any problems.
1. You almost have to read between the lines to find anything less than
2. Apparently, not everyone in Jerusalem had yet come to faith in Christ.
3. But at the same time we hear these words:
Acts 2:43 (NASB95)
43Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were
taking place through the apostles.
4. The people were:
a. Acts 2:47 (NASB95)
47praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was
adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.
5. There were people who needed help
Acts 2:45 (NASB95)
45and they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing
them with all, as anyone might have need.
a. but those needs seemed to be met as soon as they came to light.
6. So if there is any problem with this beautiful scene, it’s that it seems
too beautiful.
a. We have a hard time relating to it.
b. After all, we live in what we have cynically come to refer to as the
“real world,” right?
D. We may live in the “real world,” but for that “real world,” God in his
grace has provided a real Savior, the risen Lord Jesus Christ, our Good
1. I don’t need to tell you that the church today is living in the “real
world,” a world where sin seems out of control, where it’s often hard to
distinguish the church from the world it’s supposed to be witnessing to.
A. Churches embracing homosexuality as an “alternative” lifestyle.
B. Condoning rearranging the order of God’s creation:
1. It’s okay if a boy wants to be a girl.
2. It’s okay if a girl wants to be a boy.
3. All this is to be seen as “normal”.
4. If it makes you feel better about yourself, do it!
5. This is not normal and it is wrong according to God and His Word!
C. Today’s church faces a growing opposition from the world around it.
1. Now, this is nothing new for many Christians around the word, but for
the church here in North America, this is not something we are accustomed
a. Then we hear, far more often than we would like, of scandals within the
1. embezzlements,
2. sexual misconduct,
3. misappropriated funds,
4. things that give the church a real black eye and have the world telling
the church to clean up its own act before it dares to preach to others.
b. Individually, we all have our own battles against sin:
c. not big, public scandals, per se,
d. but private problems that only we and maybe a close friend or two know
e. But they are still battles, and they leave us bruised and wounded.
2. Then there are wounds we’re nursing from others’ sins against us, and
our struggle to forgive as we have been forgiven.
a. Add these all together, and it seems our world bears no resemblance to
the world Luke describes in our text for this morning.
D. But remember: as beautiful as it is, the scene Luke describes is just a
small window into the early church.
1. It teaches us some wonderful things, but Luke is not suggesting that the
early church faced no real problems.
a. Keep reading! In chapter 4, real hostility arises against the church as
Peter and John are arrested for proclaiming the Gospel.
b. In chapter 5, the church faces scandal.
1. Ananias and Sapphira apparently wanted to see their names on a big wall
plaque, announcing what generous people they were.
2. They pretended to make a big donation to the poor, but it was all for
show; and to pull this off, they lied:
A. to the church,
B. to the apostles,
C. but ultimately to the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:3).
c. Moving on to chapter 6, we hear the Greek-speaking widows complaining
that they were being discriminated against.
2. We could go on and on, but you get the point.
a. Whatever else Luke is teaching us, it is not that the early church faced
no real problems.
b. The world of those early Christians was every bit as “real” as ours is.
2. But for people (then and now) who find themselves in the “real world,”
our text proclaims the life that comes from the very real (and risen)
A. Jesus lives! The Lord is risen! He is risen indeed. Alleluia!
1. Luke’s description of life in the early church is beautiful, not because
those Christ­ians faced no real problems, but because they were learning to
face real problems with a real and living Savior!
2. Jesus lives!
B. And because he lives, we shall live also—in him!
John 14:19 (NASB95)
19“After a little while the world will no longer see Me, but you will see
Me; because I live, you will live also.
1. Our Good Shepherd is leading his flock to life.
a. With David, we pray:
Psalm 23:6 (NASB95)
6Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life,
And I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.
2. But the Scriptures also make it clear:
a. eternal life does not eventually begin when you die in faith.
b. Eternal life has already begun from the moment God joined you in faith
to Christ, your Good Shepherd, in and through your Baptism.
John 5:24 (NASB95)
24“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who
sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed
out of death into life.
3. The Good Shepherd leads us through the valleys of life:
Psalm 23:4 (NASB95)
4Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no
evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
4. Why does He do this?:
Psalm 23:6 (NASB95)
6Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life,
And I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.
5. No doubt, we look forward to that glorious day.
a. But that life is already now being manifested in his church.
C. That’s what makes our text so exciting.
1. It’s not that the early church had no real problems.
a. It’s that they knew they had a real Savior, and that glorious truth
could not help but show itself in how they lived out their faith.
2. That life manifested itself in their devotion to the Lord’s Word and
Acts 2:42 (NASB95)
42They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and
to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.
a. Luke is speaking of the three thousand or so who had come to faith in
Jesus on Pentecost.
3. They were steadfastly devoted “to the apostles’ teaching” because that
is where they heard the voice of the Good Shepherd’s.
4. They were devoted to “the fellowship,” their sharing together in Christ
and all his gifts, including the gift of the family of faith.
5. They were devoted to “the breaking of bread,” which may have included
the Agape meals that were part of the early church, but it especially
involved the regular celebration of the Lord’s Supper.
6. And they were devoted to “the prayers.”
a. For God had made them:
Exodus 19:6 (NASB95)
6and you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are
the words that you shall speak to the sons of Israel.”
b. and they earnestly took up their priestly work of interceding for
c. The early church lived from a rich, vibrant life of worship!
7. Because they were so strongly connected to their Good Shepherd’s voice,
that Word took root in them and made them agents through whom the Good
Shepherd extended his care to others.
Acts 2:45 (NASB95)
45and they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing
them with all, as anyone might have need.
a. No one told them they had to do this.
b. It was simply the natural care and concern they had for one another as
part of the flock of the Good Shepherd.
D. Yes, the church today has problems.
1. But what better time to manifest the life and love of Christ?
a. The same God of love,
b. the same risen Savior,
c. the same Holy Spirit,
d. They are all still at work in the church today!
2. The church of Jesus continues to be fed and strengthened by our Lord’s
Word and Sacrament.
a. We gather together to hear the voice of the Good Shepherd by:
1. Devoting ourselves to the apostolic teaching,
2. To the fellowship,
3. To the breaking of bread,
4. And to the prayers.
3. Strengthened by these gifts of grace, the church of Jesus continues to
serve as the agent through whom the Good Shepherd extends his care to
others in their various needs.
a. First among those needs is the proclamation of the Gospel.
1. Everyone still needs to hear that Jesus has died for her or his
b. But lots of other activities bear witness to that Gospel:
1. food pantries,
2. grief counseling,
3. care for the sick and dying.
4. these and countless other expressions of care are a natural outgrowth of
the church’s life, and they all happen because our real and living Savior
lives in and through his church.

A. We sometimes speak of people who “look at life through rose-colored
1. We have in mind people who are overly optimistic and seem not to want to
face reality.
2. Such an over-optimistic outlook can be dangerous when it refuses to take
into account the real sin (and its effects), the real evil, that has
infected God’s good creation.
3. When the optimism has no foundation, sooner or later the bubble will
burst, leaving behind it shattered hopes, dreams, and even lives.
B. In the resurrection of Jesus, God allows his people to look at life
through Christ-colored glasses (Acts 2:42–47).
1. Our optimism is not based on ungrounded personal wishes, but on God’s
sure and certain promise grounded in the death and resurrection of Christ.
2. As we look at life and the world, we can view it as marked with the sign
of the cross.
3. We can look at life as it truly is:
A. as part of God’s very good creation, beautiful, and yet infected with
(and affected by) sin.
B. So, there will be times of joy and beauty.
C. There will also be times of sorrow, sadness, and suffering.
D. But all of it falls under the promise of God’s steadfast love in Christ,
E. Romans 8:28 (NASB95)
28And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those
who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
C. Life in the early church as St. Luke describes it might seem too good to
be true, like it’s not part of the “real world.”
1. Just remember: our text is not the church’s whole history.
2. Other parts of that history testify to sin’s ongoing presence, and to
the church’s ongoing need for a very real Savior.
D. But the church has just such a Savior; and while our text is not the
church’s whole history, it is a very real part of that history, and it
demonstrates the very real life which our very real Savior has imparted to
his beloved, forgiven flock.
E. While Leading You, His Sin-Wounded Sheep, to Life, the Good Shepherd
Creates among You the Very Life to Which He Is Leading You.
F. And you shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever! Amen.
G. Let us pray:
LSB 911:3,5 Lord, This Day We’ve Come to Worship
May Your Word enrich our spirit,
Give us strength to do Your will,
Show the kingdom we’ll inherit,
When at last our voice is still. Refrain

Celebrate the resurrection
In the church and sing His praise,
Till we come to true perfection:
Serve the Lord through all our days. Refrain
Text: © 1995 Richard C. Dickinson. Used by permission: LSB Hymn License no.
H. The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, guard your hearts
and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.
I. In the Name of the Father…Amen.


Sermon for 04.23.23 “So live the deeds!”

Easter 3, April 23, 2023
Text: 1 Peter 1:17–25
Theme: So live the deeds!
Other Lessons: Acts 2:14a, 36–41; Psalm 116:1–14; Luke 24:13–35

A. In the Name of the Father…Amen.
B. The Epistle 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:
LSB 477:1-2 Alleluia, Alleluia! Hearts to Heaven
Alleluia, alleluia!
Hearts to heav’n and voices raise:
Sing to God a hymn of gladness,
Sing to God a hymn of praise;
He who on the cross a victim
For the world’s salvation bled—
Jesus Christ, the King of Glory,
Now is risen from the dead.

Alleluia, Christ is risen!
Death at last has met defeat:
See the ancient pow’rs of evil
In confusion and retreat;
Once He died, and once was buried:
Now He lives forevermore,
Jesus Christ, the world’s Redeemer,
Whom we worship and adore. Amen.

E. Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia! Amen.


A. The first and chief article of the faith is this:
1. Jesus Christ, our God and Lord, died for our sins and was raised again
for our justification (Romans 4:24–25).
2. He alone is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world (John
1:29), and God has laid upon him the iniquities of us all (Isaiah 53:6).
3. All have sinned and are justified freely, without their own works or
merits, by His grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, in
His blood (Romans 3:23–25).
4. This is necessary to believe.
5. This cannot be otherwise acquired or grasped by any work, law, or merit.
6. Therefore, it is clear and certain that this faith alone justifies us.
7. As St. Paul says:
® Romans 3:26–28 (NASB95)
26for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time,
so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in
27Where then is boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? Of works?
No, but by a law of faith.
28For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the
B. Nothing of this article can be yielded or surrendered, even though
heaven and earth and everything else falls (Mark 13:31).
® Acts 4:12 (NASB95)
12“And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under
heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”
1. Isaiah 53:5 (NASB95)
5But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our
iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His
scourging we are healed.
2. Upon this article everything that we teach and practice depends, in
opposition to the pope, the devil, and the whole world.
3. Therefore, we must be certain and not doubt this doctrine.
4. Otherwise, all is lost, and the pope, the devil, and all adversaries win
the victory and the right over us.
C. Well, there it is—from the Smalcald Articles (SA II I 1–5) contained in
the Book of Concord, the doctrine you confess about the faith and what your
pastor takes an oath to adhere to in his teaching and proclamation.
1. We are saved by faith in Christ—apart from the deeds of the Law.
D. But then hear the first verse of our text:
® 1 Peter 1:17 (NASB95)
17If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each
one’s work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on
1. “Who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds” but the Lord God
2. If we’re judged on our deeds, we ought to fear!
3. Because we are mankind, which means we are fallen beings made of spirit
and flesh.
E. What are we?
1. We can’t keep a promise for a week, let alone for centuries.
2. We witness our God on a mountain giving us his Law and then build a
golden calf against that law.
3. We see our God fight a Pharaoh with miracles to free us and then doubt
he can give us the land he promised us.
4. We will listen to demons about the needs of our flesh and will bite on
the temptations.
5. We stand at grave sides.
6. We will be in graves.
7. We know there is nothing righteous in us.
F. So, are we saved by faith, or Is Eternal Life Based on Our Deeds? No! On
Christ! So . . . Live Those Deeds the Father Judges!
1. God judges sinful deeds (Lev 19:2; Ps 5:4–5).
® Leviticus 19:2 (NASB95)
2 “You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy.”
® Psalm 5:4–5 (NASB95)
4For You are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness; No evil dwells
with You.
5The boastful shall not stand before Your eyes; You hate all who do
A. God is fair.
1. The Law is the basis for His judgment.
2. So one sinful thought, word, deed, or desire condemns me.
3. Alas, my very nature is sinful!
4. Therefore, I am condemned!
B. Money or attempts to accomplish good deeds to avoid condemnation are to
no avail.
® Romans 13:8–10 (NASB95)
8Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his
neighbor has fulfilled the law.
NOT STEAL, YOU SHALL NOT COVET,” and if there is any other commandment, it
is summed up in this saying, “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.”
10Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of
the law.
C. If my deeds are judged this way, I should fear!
2. Yes, God is holy and just, but He is also merciful (Jeremiah 3:12).
® Jeremiah 3:12 (NASB95)
12“Go and proclaim these words toward the north and say, ‘Return, faithless
Israel,’ declares the LORD; ‘I will not look upon you in anger. For I am
gracious,’ declares the LORD; ‘I will not be angry forever.
A. Before creation, in his omniscience he knew what man would do and
1. Man would be incapable of achieving his salvation.
B. Before the first proclaimed Gospel, before the first sin, before the
foundation of the world, God determined to send his Son for our redemption.
® 1 Peter 1:20 (NASB95)
20For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared
in these last times for the sake of you
C. Silver or gold could not meet God’s requirements for our sin.
1. What we could not do, the precious blood of Christ, a sacrificial lamb
without blemish or spot, did for us:
® 1 Peter 1:18–19 (NASB95)
18knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or
gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers,
19but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood
of Christ.
D. God has promised eternal life to those who trust in his Son, that trust
working in us by his Holy Spirit using his Word—the never-changing,
life-giving Word.
® 1 Peter 1:21 (NASB95)
21who through Him are believers in God, who raised Him from the dead and
gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.
3. By faith in Christ his Son, my judge is also my Father.
A. I come to him as my Father, confessing I am sinful and can’t meet his
1. If he judges by deeds, am I still condemned?
2. Is eternal life mine or not?
B. God cannot deny himself.
1. He must judge in righteousness and he must be faithful to his promises.
® 2 Timothy 2:11–13 (NASB95)
11It is a trustworthy statement: For if we died with Him, we will also live
with Him;
12If we endure, we will also reign with Him; If we deny Him, He also will
deny us;
13If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.
2. We know we speak and act with sinful flesh.
A. Our actions, words, desires, thoughts, will—are not perfect.
B. Even our acts of love are tainted with sinful thoughts.
C. How will we be judged?
3. As righteous! Because Christ’s righteousness covers those sinful
A. the righteousness given to you at your Baptism, received by the faith
the Holy Spirit works in you!
C. So the Father does judge our deeds!
1. But your sins are not in his book of deeds!
2. Your sins shall not be remembered.
3. Your “good deeds,” though tainted, are righteous by the blood of Christ.
4. Your righteous deeds are the fruit of faith, evidence of being a new
® 2 Corinthians 5:10 (NASB95)
10For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each
one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has
done, whether good or bad.
® Matthew 25:34–40 (NASB95)
34“Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed
of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of
the world.
35‘For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and
you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in;
36naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in
prison, and you came to Me.’
37“Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry,
and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink?
38‘And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and
clothe You?
39‘When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’
40“The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent
that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them,
you did it to Me.’
® Revelation 12:11 (NASB95)
11“And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of
the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when
faced with death.
4. Therefore, since the Father has judged you righteous apart from deeds,
live the deeds he judges righteous.
A. You are righteous, “pure,” by faith.
® 1 Peter 1:22 (NASB95)
22Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a
sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart,
B. You want to serve such a loving Father by serving your neighbor—in love,
not expecting anything in return—for your neighbor has no impact on your
1. That has been accomplished by Christ!

A. Like kids in confirmation, we struggle to understand and explain the
question, “Why do I want to fear the Lord?” as Peter says in verse 17 of
our text.
1. Is Jesus not my Savior?
2. Does he not love me?
3. Am I going to be allowed in his presence only if I tremble with fear?
4. We use the word respect to convey the idea that the fear of God means we
love him so we don’t desire to anger him.
5. But we also need to keep in mind that we fear him because he will
discipline his children for their own good.
6. We are to be wary of those things that bring God’s discipline, for if
they are unchecked, they will lead to his wrath and condemnation.
B. The Greek word for fear, φόβος, is derived from φοβέομαι, which means
“to flee” or “withdraw.”

1. We certainly are to cling to God for all good things:
A. his salvation,
B. his guidance,
C. his protection.
2. But as children of the living God, we fear him by:
A. withdrawing from those things that anger him,
B. Staying away from those things that replace him in our heart as God.
3. Not that we are fearful of those things in themselves; we are fearful of
what they will do to our relationship with God.
4. If we do not withdraw from such things, then something else in our life
has become what we fear more, for we’re no longer fearing God.
5. Something our sinful nature claims is now our god.
C. We hear from:
® Psalm 130:4 (NASB95)
4But there is forgiveness with You, That You may be feared.
1. Let us ever withdraw from those things which do not give forgiveness:
A. idols,
B. works,
C. false religions.
D. We withdraw from them so that we will ever be with our God.
D. Since before the world began, our Father had you in mind.
1. He would send his Son into the flesh for you:
A. to die for you,
B. redeem you,
C. and bring you to faith in what he has done for you.
2. We have been brought to that faith by the Father’s own living Word, his
imperishable seed.
3. That faith, that trust, is strengthened by staying in the Word.
4. As long as that faith remains—whether it be feeble or strong—you will
stand confidently before your judge.
5. So live a life of thanks for what has been done to redeem you from sin,
death, and the devil.
6. Live in love for the precious blood and resurrection of the Son of God.
7. In Christ, eternal life is yours right now!
8. The great reunion with all the faithful is yet to come.
9. So now live in the freedom, the joy, the deeds the gift of eternal life
that Christ brings! Amen.
E. Let us pray:

LSB 477:3 Alleluia, Alleluia! Hearts to Heaven
Alleluia, alleluia!
Glory be to God on high:
Alleluia to the Savior
Who has gained the victory;
Alleluia to the Spirit,
Fount of love and sanctity!
Alleluia, alleluia
To the triune Majesty!
Text (sts. 1, 3): Public domain
Text (st. 2): © 1982 The Jubilate Group, admin. Hope Publishing Co. Used by
permission: LSB Hymn License no. 110000247

F. The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, guard your hearts
and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.

G. In the Name of the Father…Amen.


Sermon for Easter Day 10:30 service 04.09.23 “Long lives the King of Kings!”

Easter Day 2023
Text: Psalm 146
Theme: Long lives the King of Kings!
Hymn: LSB 797

A. In the Name of the Father…Amen.
B. Psalm 146 serves as our sermon text for this morning, which reads as
Psalm 146:1–10 (NASB95)
1Praise the LORD! Praise the LORD, O my soul!
2I will praise the LORD while I live; I will sing praises to my God while I
have my being.
3Do not trust in princes, In mortal man, in whom there is no salvation.
4His spirit departs, he returns to the earth; In that very day his thoughts
5How blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, Whose hope is in the
LORD his God,
6Who made heaven and earth, The sea and all that is in them; Who keeps
faith forever;
7Who executes justice for the oppressed; Who gives food to the hungry. The
LORD sets the prisoners free.
8The LORD opens the eyes of the blind; The LORD raises up those who are
bowed down; The LORD loves the righteous;
9The LORD protects the strangers; He supports the fatherless and the widow,
But He thwarts the way of the wicked.
10The LORD will reign forever, Your God, O Zion, to all generations. Praise
the LORD!
This is the Word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.
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:
LSB 797:1-2 Praise the Almighty
Praise the Almighty, my soul, adore Him!
Yes, I will laud Him until death;
With songs and anthems I come before Him
As long as He allows me breath.
From Him my life and all things came;
Bless, O my soul, His holy name.
Alleluia, alleluia!

Trust not in rulers; they are but mortal;
Earthborn they are and soon decay.
Vain are their counsels at life’s last portal,
When the dark grave engulfs its prey.
Since mortals can no help afford,
Place all your trust in Christ, our Lord.
Alleluia, alleluia!
E. Alleluia! Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!


A. Is it hard work that makes the world go round:
1. whether it be:
A. in academia,
B. business,
C. government,
D. or any type of vocation?
B. In order to succeed:
1. you take classes,
2. you chase after advanced degrees,
3. you put in long hours.
4. You borrow money, so you put off marriage and children to pay the
debt—the enormous capital offense!
5. But you finally get the sheepskin and, you hope, the successful career
and life that follows.
6. Is that what makes for success?
C. Or is it the other great wisdom of the world known by the cliché, “It’s
not what you know, but who you know”?
1. Business deals are made on the back nine,
2. promotions approved over martinis.
3. It’s all about contacts, networking.
4. Is that how life and eternal life works?
D. People certainly think the afterlife works on the basis of what we do,
our hard work.
E. “Just get a job!” is something I have heard people say to those who are
hungry and homeless.
1. That saying also seems to apply to those who are spiritually “poor”.
2. Just get a job!
A. People, in their pride and arrogance:
1. think having enough good works,
2. sincerity,
3. and personal suffering
4. will tip the scales in one’s favor to pay off the enormous debt of sin.
B. But our cause is more lost than that of poor Sisyphus, who for eternity
the Greek gods forced him to roll a boulder to at least near the top of the
hill before it always rolled back.
F. Instead, it is truly “not what you know, but who you know.”
1. “For us fights the valiant One, Whom God Himself elected” (LSB 656:2 A
Mighty Fortress is our God).
2. Our salvation is not found in what we know:
3. our hard work
4. and study
5. and best efforts
6. but in who we know, our Savior, Lord, Redeemer, and King, Jesus, who was
crucified but is risen from the dead (Matthew 28:5–6).
1. “Long live the king!” is a subjunctive, a wish.
A. “And all the people shouted, ‘Long live the king!’ ” (1 Samuel 10:24).
1. This acclamation is made at the accession of a new king to the throne.
2. From King Saul to King George, this is a common expression.
3. It’s an awkward sentence, though—“Long live the king.”
4. The verb “live” is in the subjunctive mood—unusual usage in modern
5. The subjunctive expresses wishes, desires, and conditional statements.
B. A nation wishes its king will live long.
1. Stability in national leadership is usually desirable.
2. There’s very little worse than a quick succession of governments and the
uncertainty that follows.
3. As the king goes, so goes the nation.
4. When the king dies young, the nation is left in turmoil.
5. We’ve seen all of these realities played out in our Lenten and Holy Week
series on the good kings of Judah.
2. It reminds us that the end of all kings is still death.
A. Now that we’re at the end of Matthew’s Gospel, it pays to return to the
beginning to see how we got to this point.
1. The first chapter of Matthew begins with a genealogy of Jesus.
2. In the middle of the genealogy are the generations of the kings of
3. For example:
Matthew 1:8 (NASB95)
8 “Asa was the father of Jehoshaphat, Jehoshaphat the father of Joram, and
Joram the father of Uzziah” and so on.
A. This is a stark reminder that one king follows another as life and death
take their turns.
B. Reading this might bring to mind the salutation, “The king is dead. Long
live the king!”
B. Likewise, the structure of the Books of Chronicles in the Old Testament
is very clear.
1. Whenever a king dies, there is a burial story and then the beginning of
the next reign.
2. The key facts are how old the king was when he took the throne and how
many years he lived.
3. Whether the reign was long or short, you could be sure that one king
would die and another take his place.
4. “The king is dead. Long live the king!”
C. The other thing written at the beginning of each king’s reign concerns
the faithfulness of the monarch.
1. Usually he either followed or abandoned the ways of his father David.
2. The point is that the king had a large influence over the direction of
the nation.
3. A good king like David or Josiah led the nation in righteousness, but a
bad king like Manasseh led the nation into evil.
4. The blessings or punishments visited on the king inevitably fell on the
people also.
D. A lesson we continually learn from history, ancient or modern, is
written in Psalm 146:
Psalm 146:3–4 (NASB95)
3Do not trust in princes, In mortal man, in whom there is no salvation.
4His spirit departs, he returns to the earth; In that very day his thoughts
E. Although we often look to political rulers for deliverance, there is no
salvation in them.
1. They live and die as ordinary people do.
2. Even the best leaders of men see their plans perish when their breath
3. Even if the king is wonderful, his successor might undo everything he
4. We see that in the constant cycle of repairing the temple and then
plundering it throughout Judah’s history.
5. As King Solomon foretold in Ecclesiastes, a king cannot control how his
children will rule.
6. If Solomon could have only known that his son Rehoboam would split the
kingdom in two by his tyranny!
7. In the end, the only difference between one of the great kings of Judah
and any peasant in the land is the size and place of the tomb.
F. Verse 3 of the hymn “Praise the Almighty” declares:
Blessèd, oh, blessèd are they forever
Whose help is from the Lord Most High,
Whom from salvation can nothing sever,
And who in hope to Christ draw nigh.
To all who trust in Him, our Lord
Will aid and counsel now afford.
Alleluia, alleluia!
3. But for once, the King is dead. Long live the same King!
A. The King is dead.
1. Long live the King!
2. There is one king in history who breaks this mold.
3. He came from a line of kings, but was not born in a palace.
4. Instead, the angel Gabriel announced his birth to his mother, saying:
Luke 1:32 (NASB95)
32“He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the
Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David;
5. An angel also visited Joseph, the son of David, proclaiming that:
Matthew 1:21 (NASB95)
21“She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save
His people from their sins.”
6. This one was hailed as King by Magi from the east.
7. He was christened as King with the Holy Spirit at his Baptism in the
8. Peter says in Acts that:
Acts 10:37–39 (NASB95)
37you yourselves know the thing which took place throughout all Judea,
starting from Galilee, after the baptism which John proclaimed.
38“You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit
and with power, and how He went about doing good and healing all who were
oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.
39“We are witnesses of all the things He did both in the land of the Jews
and in Jerusalem. They also put Him to death by hanging Him on a cross.
9. Nathanael recognized Jesus as King of Israel early on.
10. As Jesus went through the land conquering the kingdom of darkness,
preaching the coming kingdom of God, and restoring creation, the crowds
would have made him king.
11. Indeed, when Jesus entered Jerusalem on a donkey, the crowds cried out:
John 12:12–13 (NASB95)
12On the next day the large crowd who had come to the feast, when they
heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem,
13took the branches of the palm trees and went out to meet Him, and began
the King of Israel.”
12. But the crowd’s reaction, especially after the feeding of the five
thousand, was based only on his power.
13. They thought anyone who could feed them for free would be a great king.
14. Free food and no taxes sounded great, then as now.
B. Instead, the only crown Jesus ever wore was made of thorns, not gold.
1. The only purple robe he wore was stripped off after he was mocked.
2. The inscription of his kingdom was posted on a cross:
3. “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.”
4. So the day of his coronation was the day of his death.
5. That was not a long life for the king—certainly the shortest reign of
any king of Judah.
6. The King is dead.
C. Long live the King!
1. This morning we celebrate the only King to succeed himself.
D. The King of Kings Lives Forever.
4. That makes him so different from every other king.
A. The Son of Man, who lived without so much as a pillow to call his own,
was buried in a rich man’s tomb.
1. He had a reservation at a brand new tomb with a garden view.
2. The owner no doubt expected that to be a long-term stay, but Jesus left
after just three days and two nights.
B. So Jesus proved to be different from all the kings before him.
1. To begin, he kept his word more than any of his ancestors.
2. He said he would suffer and die and rise on the third day; that’s
exactly what he did.
3. You can put your trust in this Son of Man, because there is salvation
only in Him and in no one else!
C. Further, even as his Spirit departed, his plans were accomplished.
1. He left nothing undone; it is finished.
A. The sixth word or saying that Jesus spoke from the cross was the single
Greek word tetelestai which means “It is finished.”
B. Papyri receipts for taxes have been recovered with the word tetelestai
written across them, meaning “paid in full.”
C. This word on Jesus’ lips was significant.
D. When He said, “It is finished” (not “I am finished”), He meant His
redemptive work was completed.
E. He had been made sin for people (2 Corinthians 5:21) and had suffered
the penalty of God’s justice which sin deserved.
F. Even in the moment of His death, Jesus remained the One who gave up His
life (cf. John 10:11, 14, 17–18).
G. He bowed His head (giving His seventh saying:
Luke 23:46 (NASB95)
46And Jesus, crying out with a loud voice, said, “Father, INTO YOUR HANDS I
COMMIT MY SPIRIT.” Having said this, He breathed His last.
H. This differs from the normal process in death by crucifixion in which
the life-spirit would ebb away and then the head would slump forward.
Edwin A. Blum, “John,” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of
the Scriptures, ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck, vol. 2 (Wheaton, IL:
Victor Books, 1985), 340.
2. His life’s work of saving his people through the forgiveness of sins
culminated in his death for the sin of the world.
A. His plans didn’t perish in the tomb but were completed in his
resurrection on the third day.
B. As his own successor, he didn’t pass on his kingdom to sons.
C. He ascended to the heavenly throne as Lord of all.
D. As it is written:
Ephesians 1:18–23 (NASB95)
18I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will
know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of
His inheritance in the saints,
19and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe.
These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might
20which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and
seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places,
21far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name
that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.
22And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head
over all things to the church,
23which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.
D. The Son of David is surely an unusual king.
1. He didn’t wage war against neighboring kingdoms.
2. He didn’t build a temple, palace, or city walls.
3. He didn’t preside over a booming economy.
4. Instead, his mission was healing and justice.
5. The mission of the Lord Jesus is summarized in Psalm 146:
Psalm 146:7–9 (NASB95)
7 [He] Who executes justice for the oppressed; Who gives food to the
hungry. The LORD sets the prisoners free.
8The LORD opens the eyes of the blind; The LORD raises up those who are
bowed down; The LORD loves the righteous;
9The LORD protects the strangers; He supports the fatherless and the widow,
But He thwarts the way of the wicked.
6. These words are reflected in Luke 4 as Jesus began his public ministry:
Luke 4:18–19 (NASB95)
E. His victory was greater than all the kings of Judah because it was won
over the last and greatest enemy—death.
1. This was won through the forgiveness of sins, which robbed death of its
2. His life of love changed the way his people live, and his death changed
the way his people die.
3. In his kingdom is freedom and life.
4. In his kingdom there is fullness of joy; at his right hand are pleasures
F. Unlike with the kings of Judah, his people are not located in one
1. His are the saints, as Paul declares in 1 Corinthians 1 when he says:
1 Corinthians 1:2 (NASB95)
2To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who have been
sanctified in Christ Jesus, saints by calling, with all who in every place
call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours:
2. His sheep listen to his voice and follow him.
3. His people live the blessed life, receiving all blessings with
persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life.
4. He leads his people in all righteousness, a righteousness not of
ourselves but which he has fulfilled with His death and resurrection.
G. So Jesus Christ, as John wrote in Revelation, is:
Revelation 1:5 (NASB95)
5and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead,
and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To Him who loves us and released
us from our sins by His blood—
H. The cycle of anointing a new king and wishing he will be better than the
previous is over.
1. He is the King of kings and Lord of lords; he is here, and he isn’t
going anywhere.
I. Not only that, but he has made his people kings.
1. St. Paul writes:
1 Corinthians 6:2 (NASB95)
2Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? If the world is
judged by you, are you not competent to constitute the smallest law courts?
2. And in Revelation we hear that in the new Jerusalem God’s servants will
reign forever and ever.
3. The beginning of Psalm 146 reads:
Psalm 146:1–2 (NASB95)
1Praise the LORD! Praise the LORD, O my soul!
2I will praise the LORD while I live; I will sing praises to my God while I
have my being.
J. We have a long time to sing those praises because, like our King, we
also live forever.
1. Hallelujah!
5. So we can drop the subjunctive: “Long lives the King!”
A. There is good news today: we can drop the subjunctive.
1. We will change the expression this glorious morning.
2. Instead of “Long live the king”, it is “Long lives the King!”
3. No more wishing, desiring, hoping.
4. Put it in the indicative mood.
5. Declare it; say it’s true because it is!
6. “Long lives the King!”
Psalm 146:10 (NASB95)
10The LORD will reign forever, Your God, O Zion, to all generations. Praise
the LORD!
B. This is news of inexpressible joy.
1. As he rules, so goes his kingdom.
2. The fortune of his kingdom is completely dependent on her King.
3. And so we have a kingdom with peace and stability under our Lord Jesus
4. For the Son of David was pierced for our transgressions and has ascended
to the throne, that we:
5. “may be His own and live under Him in His kingdom and serve Him in
everlasting righteousness, innocence, and blessedness, just as He is risen
from the dead, lives and reigns to all eternity” (SC, Second Article).


A. May the words of Revelation, chapters 19 and 11 be our words not only
for today, but for every day:
Revelation 19:6–7 (NASB95)
6Then I heard something like the voice of a great multitude and like the
sound of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, saying,
“Hallelujah! For the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns.
7“Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of
the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready.”
Revelation 11:15 (NASB95)
15Then the seventh angel sounded; and there were loud voices in heaven,
saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of
His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever.”
B. Alleluia! Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia! Amen.
C. Let us pray:
LSB 797:4-5 Praise the Almighty
Penitent sinners, for mercy crying,
Pardon and peace from Him obtain;
Ever the wants of the poor supplying,
Their faithful God He will remain.
He helps His children in distress,
The widows and the fatherless.
Alleluia, alleluia!
Praise, all you people, the name so holy
Of Him who does such wondrous things!
All that has being, to praise Him solely,
With happy heart its amen sings.
Children of God, with angel host
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost!
Alleluia, alleluia! Amen.
Text: Public domain
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.
F. Alleluia! Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia! Amen.


Sermon for Easter Sunrise 04.09.23 “After the end”

Easter Sunrise 2023

Text: Ezekiel 37:1–14, 24–28

Theme: After the end

A. In the Name of the Father…Amen.
B. Ezekiel 37:1-14 serves as our sermon text for this morning, which reads
as follows:
Ezekiel 37:1–14 (NASB95)
1The hand of the LORD was upon me, and He brought me out by the Spirit of
the LORD and set me down in the middle of the valley; and it was full of
2He caused me to pass among them round about, and behold, there were very
many on the surface of the valley; and lo, they were very dry.
3He said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” And I answered, “O Lord
GOD, You know.”
4Again He said to me, “Prophesy over these bones and say to them, ‘O dry
bones, hear the word of the LORD.’
5“Thus says the Lord GOD to these bones, ‘Behold, I will cause breath to
enter you that you may come to life.
6‘I will put sinews on you, make flesh grow back on you, cover you with
skin and put breath in you that you may come alive; and you will know that
I am the LORD.’ ”
7So I prophesied as I was commanded; and as I prophesied, there was a
noise, and behold, a rattling; and the bones came together, bone to its
8And I looked, and behold, sinews were on them, and flesh grew and skin
covered them; but there was no breath in them.
9Then He said to me, “Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, son of man, and say
to the breath, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD, “Come from the four winds, O
breath, and breathe on these slain, that they come to life.” ’ ”
10So I prophesied as He commanded me, and the breath came into them, and
they came to life and stood on their feet, an exceedingly great army.
11Then He said to me, “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of
Israel; behold, they say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope has
perished. We are completely cut off.’
12“Therefore prophesy and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD, “Behold, I
will open your graves and cause you to come up out of your graves, My
people; and I will bring you into the land of Israel.
13“Then you will know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves
and caused you to come up out of your graves, My people.
14“I will put My Spirit within you and you will come to life, and I will
place you on your own land. Then you will know that I, the LORD, have
spoken and done it,” declares the LORD.’ ”
This is the Word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.
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:
LSB 459:1 Christ Is Arisen
Christ is arisen
From the grave’s dark prison.
So let our joy rise full and free;
Christ our comfort true will be. Alleluia! Amen.

E. Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia! Amen.
1. All good things must come to an end.
A. All good things must come to an end.
1. There were many good kings of Judah, and the kingdom of Judah lasted for
2. There were also many bad kings.
3. But one thing that all the kings—whether good or bad—had in common was
4. From David to Zedekiah, the last king, the good and the bad, the king
and the commoner, they all meet in the grave.
2. The end for Judah and her kings was dead, nothing but dry bones.
A. This morning, we hear about what came after the last kings: exile in
1. There the prophet Ezekiel sees a vision, a valley of dry bones.
2. It symbolizes the complete destruction of the kingdom of Judah, the
whole house of Israel.
3. All that was left was bones, and those were very dry and lifeless.
4. Judah had abandoned the Lord, and he had visited his wrath on them.
5. Judah had refused to hear the prophets:
a. preferring to stone them instead,
b. throw them in pits,
c. and otherwise mistreat them,
d. and now Judah herself has no voice with which to call on God
B. The end had come.
1. The end of the kings,
2. the end of the temple,
3. the end of Israel itself.
4. So what does the future hold?
5. The people were in exile,
6. Jerusalem was now in ruins, with nothing even to go back to.
7. What could possibly redeem this situation?
3. Only the Creator of life can renew them.
A. New life is not found in dry bones.
1. Only the direct action of the Creator can bring renewal amid death.
2. The life-giving Spirit of God must breathe into them as the Word of God
a. “Prophesy, Son of Man, that these might live.”
4. But the Son of David did rise with new life.
A. The prophet Ezekiel speaks of a renewal of the kingdom.
1. And the people of Judah did return to Jerusalem.
2. They did rebuild:
a. the city,
b. her walls,
c. and the temple of the Lord.
3. Many thought this return was the fulfillment of Ezekiel’s vision.
4. But it was never the same.
a. The temple wasn’t the same;
b. the kingdom wasn’t the same.
5. Israel was constantly overrun by competing empires vying for global
6. Eventually, the greatest empire in history would conquer.
7. So-called kings would rule in Jerusalem, but Herod was only a puppet and
only questionably Jewish, certainly not of the house of David.
B. When the Son of David did come, he was rejected by his own people and
handed over to the Romans for death.
1. As he said:
a. “It is finished” (John 19:30), he gave up the Spirit and breathed his
2. But this Son of David, who said:
a. “I am the resurrection and the life” (John 11:25), could not see
b. The bones of Jesus were not broken and never dried.
c. He burst the tomb and brought life and immortality to light.
C. The Word of God made flesh tasted death and conquered death to speak
life again to his people.
1. The dry, lifeless bones of Israel are knit together into the Body of
Christ by the Word of his power and the Spirit of the living God.
D. The prophecy of Ezekiel would not be fulfilled until the Son of David
reigned and united God’s people back into one flock.
E. The Son of David Gives Us Life without End.
5. So our life in Christ will never come to an end.
A. No earthly thing will last forever.
1. But the kingdom of Jesus is not of this world, as he told Pontius
2. The life we now have is not of the flesh, but of the Spirit.
3. The flesh will die, but our bodies are destined to be resurrected in
4. As we have believed in this life in Jesus, the Lamb of God who takes
away your sin and mine, we will live forever in the sanctuary of the Lord
and his presence.
5. We will forever live in the covenant of peace he has made by his blood.
B. We can be sure of one thing this Easter morning:
1. the best thing in the world will last forever.
2. The Son of David is our great king, and the life he gives will never
come to an end. Amen.
F. Let us pray:
LSB 457:2-3 Christ is arisen
Were Christ not arisen,
Then death were still our prison.
Now, with Him to life restored,
We praise the Father of our Lord. Alleluia!

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!
Now let our joy rise full and free;
Christ our comfort true will be. Alleluia! Amen.
Text: © 1969 Concordia Publishing House. Used by permission: LSB Hymn
License no. 110000247
G. The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, guard your hearts
and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.
H. In the Name of the Father…Amen.


Sermon for Good Friday 04.07.23 “Worst. Best. King. Ever.: Manasseh”

Good Friday 2023
Text: 2 Chronicles 33:1–20
Theme: Worst. Best, King. Ever.: Manasseh
Hymns: LSB 449/450, 452

A. In the Name of the Father…Amen.
B. 2 Chronicles 33:1-20 serves as our sermon text for this evening, which
reads as follows:
2 Chronicles 33:1–20 (NASB95)
1Manasseh was twelve years old when he became king, and he reigned
fifty-five years in Jerusalem.
2He did evil in the sight of the LORD according to the abominations of the
nations whom the LORD dispossessed before the sons of Israel.
3For he rebuilt the high places which Hezekiah his father had broken down;
he also erected altars for the Baals and made Asherim, and worshiped all
the host of heaven and served them.
4He built altars in the house of the LORD of which the LORD had said, “My
name shall be in Jerusalem forever.”
5For he built altars for all the host of heaven in the two courts of the
house of the LORD.
6He made his sons pass through the fire in the valley of Ben-hinnom; and he
practiced witchcraft, used divination, practiced sorcery and dealt with
mediums and spiritists. He did much evil in the sight of the LORD,
provoking Him to anger.
7Then he put the carved image of the idol which he had made in the house of
God, of which God had said to David and to Solomon his son, “In this house
and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen from all the tribes of Israel, I will
put My name forever;
8and I will not again remove the foot of Israel from the land which I have
appointed for your fathers, if only they will observe to do all that I have
commanded them according to all the law, the statutes and the ordinances
given through Moses.”
9Thus Manasseh misled Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to do more
evil than the nations whom the LORD destroyed before the sons of Israel.
10The LORD spoke to Manasseh and his people, but they paid no attention.
11Therefore the LORD brought the commanders of the army of the king of
Assyria against them, and they captured Manasseh with hooks, bound him with
bronze chains and took him to Babylon.
12When he was in distress, he entreated the LORD his God and humbled
himself greatly before the God of his fathers.
13When he prayed to Him, He was moved by his entreaty and heard his
supplication, and brought him again to Jerusalem to his kingdom. Then
Manasseh knew that the LORD was God.
14Now after this he built the outer wall of the city of David on the west
side of Gihon, in the valley, even to the entrance of the Fish Gate; and he
encircled the Ophel with it and made it very high. Then he put army
commanders in all the fortified cities of Judah.
15He also removed the foreign gods and the idol from the house of the LORD,
as well as all the altars which he had built on the mountain of the house
of the LORD and in Jerusalem, and he threw them outside the city.
16He set up the altar of the LORD and sacrificed peace offerings and thank
offerings on it; and he ordered Judah to serve the LORD God of Israel.
17Nevertheless the people still sacrificed in the high places, although
only to the LORD their God.
18Now the rest of the acts of Manasseh even his prayer to his God, and the
words of the seers who spoke to him in the name of the LORD God of Israel,
behold, they are among the records of the kings of Israel.
19His prayer also and how God was entreated by him, and all his sin, his
unfaithfulness, and the sites on which he built high places and erected the
Asherim and the carved images, before he humbled himself, behold, they are
written in the records of the Hozai.
20So Manasseh slept with his fathers, and they buried him in his own house.
And Amon his son became king in his place.
This is the Word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.
C. Grace, mercy, and peace be to you from God our heavenly Father through
our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
D. Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, let us pray:
LSB 452:1-2 O Perfect Life of Love
O perfect life of love!
All, all, is finished now,
All that He left His throne above
To do for us below.

No work is left undone
Of all the Father willed;
His toil, His sorrows, one by one,
The Scriptures have fulfilled.


A. During this Lenten season, we have considered the good kings of Judah.
1. Week after week we saw that their reigns have been superseded by the
glorious reign of Jesus Christ, the Son of David.
2. Each of those kings was a sinner, but insofar as they ruled with justice
and led the people in righteousness, our great King, Jesus Christ, is their
perfect fulfillment.
1. Manasseh was the WORST king of Judah.
A. Tonight, we will not consider one of the good kings of Judah.
1. Instead, we turn our attention to King Manasseh, the WORST. KING. EVER.
2. Most of the kings in Chronicles are described as either following in the
ways of David or abandoning them.
B. For example, there was King Jehoram, who was said to have followed the
ways of wicked Ahab, his father-in-law.
C. However, Manasseh gets special treatment:
2 Chronicles 33:2–3 (NASB95)
2He did evil in the sight of the LORD according to the abominations of the
nations whom the LORD dispossessed before the sons of Israel.
3For he rebuilt the high places which Hezekiah his father had broken down;
he also erected altars for the Baals and made Asherim, and worshiped all
the host of heaven and served them.
1. His deeds are not compared to David or Solomon.
2. They are not even compared to the evil kings of Israel.
3. Manasseh is compared to the pagan Canaanites, Hittites, Hivites,
Perizzites, Girgashites, Amorites, and Jebusites (cf Joshua 3:10).
4. Judah under Manasseh returned to the state of wickedness, which
prevailed before the conquest of Joshua and the planting of Israel in the
Promised Land.
5. And he compares poorly:
2 Chronicles 33:9 (NASB95)
9Thus Manasseh misled Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to do more
evil than the nations whom the LORD destroyed before the sons of Israel.
2. He shed innocent blood and destroyed the kingdom.
A. For most of his fifty-five years as king, Manasseh gave the ultimate
example of unrighteousness.
1. Manasseh’s greatest hits include erecting altars to the Baals and
Asheroth, which Hezekiah had torn down.
2. He worshiped the host of heaven—the sun, moon, and stars.
3. He defiled the temple, which Hezekiah had cleansed, erecting altars to
the heavenly hosts even in the temple.
4. Yes, in the very place where the Lord’s name was to be worshiped were
pagan altars.
5. He consulted sorcerers and necromancers.
6. He even offered up his own children as burnt offerings.
7. In 2 Kings, it is written that:
2 Kings 21:16 (NASB95)
16Moreover, Manasseh shed very much innocent blood until he had filled
Jerusalem from one end to another; besides his sin with which he made Judah
sin, in doing evil in the sight of the LORD.
8. What more could Manasseh have done to provoke the Lord God of Israel to
B. Therefore the army of the Assyrians was brought to capture Manasseh.
1. They put a fish hook in his nose and led him away bound in chains.
2. That is, he was treated like a wild animal that needed to be subdued.
3. He was wounded and humiliated by foreigners.
4. King Manasseh lost everything, even as the kingdom was about to collapse.
3. But when Manasseh repented, God’s great mercy moved him to forgive.
A. At this lowest point, far away in Babylon, the king of Judah humbled
himself before the God of his fathers.
1. In a foreign land, he finally prayed to the God of Israel for help.
2. Manasseh repented of his sins and sought the Lord’s favor.
3. By what can only be called a miracle of God worked in his pagan captors,
he was returned to Judah.
4. He restored God’s altar.
5. However, for the people of Judah, it was much too late.
6. The wicked influences on them had been too strong for too long.
7. We read in the next chapter (2 Chronicles 34) that the judgment of God
will not depart from Judah:
2 Chronicles 34:24–25 (NASB95)
24thus says the LORD, “Behold, I am bringing evil on this place and on its
inhabitants, even all the curses written in the book which they have read
in the presence of the king of Judah.
25“Because they have forsaken Me and have burned incense to other gods,
that they might provoke Me to anger with all the works of their hands;
therefore My wrath will be poured out on this place and it shall not be
quenched.” ’
8. Jerusalem and the temple will be destroyed.
B. But what about King Manasseh?
1. God was moved by his prayer!
2. What could move God so?
3. Was it his beautifully constructed prayer or earnest words?
4. Perhaps Manasseh promised to God something extraordinary to make up for
his sins? Of course not.
5. There’s nothing that could make up for the great sins of Manasseh.
6. The mercy of God simply flows freely for the repentant.
7. No matter what the sin, no matter when the repentance, the mercy of God
is very great.
8. This mercy flowed equally for both David and Manasseh at the ends of
their reigns.
4. For even the most grievous sins are forgiven in the Son of Manasseh.
A. Yet satisfaction must be made.
1. Only one perfect sacrifice would atone for the sins of Manasseh.
2. Manasseh had nothing of that caliber to bring to God.
3. There weren’t enough bulls or goats in all of Judah or even the world to
pay for his iniquities.
B. Indeed, only a perfect sacrifice would atone for our sins.
1. Perhaps our sins are not as public as Manasseh’s, but there is nothing
we can offer to God either to atone for our sins.
2. None of the blood of beasts could wash away the stain of our sin.
3. The prayer of Manasseh is not our hope.
C. Instead, we look only to Jesus, for:
1. The Son of Manasseh Shed Innocent Blood for Our Sins.
D. The Son of Manasseh offered that perfect sacrifice, not for his sins,
but ours.
1. He was the one true Innocent.
2. Yes, the Son of God was tempted, as all men are, but did not sin.
3. Still, the sin of the world was put on his shoulders—great sin which
weighs us down and brings us low.
E. The Son of Manasseh shed his blood to pay for the sin of the world.
1. For children offered up to Baal or the sun god.
2. For the blood of children killed in warfare.
3. For children’s lives who were snuffed out before birth for our
4. For children who starve because of our indifference.
F. The precious blood of Jesus was spilled for innocent Jewish blood shed
by Manasseh.
1. For Jewish blood spilled by Hitler and the German Nazis.
2. For the many wicked anti-Semites throughout history.
G. The blood of Christ poured out for the thief on the cross.
1. For white-collar thieves of millions of dollars from unsuspecting folks.
2. For common thieves who cheat on taxes or timecards.
H. The blood of God was sprinkled on idols that were set up in the temple
of the Almighty.
1. For pagans who worship earth and heaven rather than the Creator.
2. For idolaters who worship money and success and forget about the Giver
of all good things.
I. The Son of David rode into Jerusalem with great expectation.
1. But soon he was bound and led into the headquarters of a foreign
2. There the King of the Jews was mocked and bled from wounds on that
sacred head.
3. Though he sought relief from his Father, praying earnestly that the cup
be taken from him, it was the will of God that he suffer for the sins of
Manasseh and us.
4. It was the right time for the sin of the world to be taken away.
5. The hour had come for the Son of Man to be lifted up and glorified.
6. Jesus now would bear the title “King of the Jews” while hanging on a
5. Jesus is the BEST king and established the kingdom.
A. After the sacrifice of his Son, God restored the temple.
1. The temple in Jerusalem has been permanently removed, both the temple of
Solomon and Herod’s temple.
2. But the temple of Jesus’ body is alive and well.
3. In that temple, Jesus continues to offer us forgiveness through his body
and blood as found in His holy supper.
4. And we continue to worship in the name of Jesus our Lord.


A. The Son of Manasseh is the BEST. KING. EVER.
1. Not only does he lead his people in righteousness, but he accomplished
righteousness for us.
2. Whatever our sins,
3. however long we’ve been distant from his body,
4. however close we are to death,
A. Jesus’ sacrifice has moved God to mercy.
B. The King of Judah has established an eternal kingdom of righteousness
through the forgiveness of sins.
B. On this holy day, let us pray to our Father through the great King Jesus
Christ, confidently believing that he is moved with mercy by the
sacrificial death of the Son of Manasseh, our Lord and Savior. Amen.
C. Let us pray:
LSB 452:6-7 O Perfect life of love
In ev’ry time of need,
Before the judgment throne,
Thy work, O Lamb of God, I’ll plead,
Thy merits, not mine own.

Yet work, O Lord, in me
As Thou for me hast wrought;
And let my love the answer be
To grace Thy love has brought.
Text: Public domain
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.


Sermon for Maundy Thursday 04.06.23 “Prepared food: Hezekiah”

Maundy Thursday 2023
Text: 2 Chronicles 30:1–5, 10–13, 22b–27
Theme: Prepared food: Hezekiah
Hymns: LSB 445, 617

A. In the Name of the Father…Amen.
B. Portions of 2 Chronicles 30 serve as our sermon text for this evening,
which reads as follows:
2 Chronicles 30:1–5, 10-13, 22b-27 (NASB95)
1Now Hezekiah sent to all Israel and Judah and wrote letters also to
Ephraim and Manasseh, that they should come to the house of the LORD at
Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover to the LORD God of Israel.
2For the king and his princes and all the assembly in Jerusalem had decided
to celebrate the Passover in the second month,
3since they could not celebrate it at that time, because the priests had
not consecrated themselves in sufficient numbers, nor had the people been
gathered to Jerusalem.
4Thus the thing was right in the sight of the king and all the assembly.
5So they established a decree to circulate a proclamation throughout all
Israel from Beersheba even to Dan, that they should come to celebrate the
Passover to the LORD God of Israel at Jerusalem. For they had not
celebrated it in great numbers as it was prescribed…
10So the couriers passed from city to city through the country of Ephraim
and Manasseh, and as far as Zebulun, but they laughed them to scorn and
mocked them.
11Nevertheless some men of Asher, Manasseh and Zebulun humbled themselves
and came to Jerusalem.
12The hand of God was also on Judah to give them one heart to do what the
king and the princes commanded by the word of the LORD.
13Now many people were gathered at Jerusalem to celebrate the Feast of
Unleavened Bread in the second month, a very large assembly…
22Then Hezekiah spoke encouragingly to all the Levites who showed good
insight in the things of the LORD. So they ate for the appointed seven
days, sacrificing peace offerings and giving thanks to the LORD God of
their fathers.
23Then the whole assembly decided to celebrate the feast another seven
days, so they celebrated the seven days with joy.
24For Hezekiah king of Judah had contributed to the assembly 1,000 bulls
and 7,000 sheep, and the princes had contributed to the assembly 1,000
bulls and 10,000 sheep; and a large number of priests consecrated
25All the assembly of Judah rejoiced, with the priests and the Levites and
all the assembly that came from Israel, both the sojourners who came from
the land of Israel and those living in Judah.
26So there was great joy in Jerusalem, because there was nothing like this
in Jerusalem since the days of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel.
27Then the Levitical priests arose and blessed the people; and their voice
was heard and their prayer came to His holy dwelling place, to heaven.
This is the Word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.
C. Grace, mercy, and peace be yours from God our heavenly Father through
our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
D. Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, let us pray:
LSB 445:1 When You Woke That Thursday Morning
When You woke that Thursday morning,
Savior, teacher, faithful friend,
Thoughts of self and safety scorning,
Knowing how the day would end;
Lamb of God, foretold for ages,
Now at last the hour had come
When but One could pay sin’s wages:
You assumed their dreadful sum. Amen.


A. Tonight we begin the three-day journey which traces our Lord’s exodus as
he led his people from death to life through the depths of the earth.
1. The memorial each year of the Israelite exodus from Egypt was celebrated
by God’s people in the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread.
1. Hezekiah sought to celebrate the Passover after years of neglect.
A. Unfortunately, the Judeans did not always remember the mighty acts of
God as they had been instructed.
B. King Hezekiah took the throne after his father Ahaz.
C. For sixteen years, Ahaz reigned and led the people in all sorts of
abominations, acts which were hallmarks of the pagan people whom the Lord
had driven out in the days of Joshua.
D. Ahaz suffered military defeat and humiliation from all sides.
E. Yet the Scripture says:
2 Chronicles 28:22 (NASB95)
22Now in the time of his distress this same King Ahaz became yet more
unfaithful to the LORD.
F. Even with disaster crashing around him, this could not bring Ahaz back
to God and, in fact, he plundered the house of the Lord and shut up its
G. So Hezekiah began his reign and:
2 Chronicles 29:2 (NASB95)
2He did right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his father
David had done.
H. Right at the beginning of his reign, Hezekiah began to cleanse the
temple and restore the service of the house of the Lord.
I. Immediately, King Hezekiah sought to celebrate the Passover.
2. Political and religious issues prevented and postponed the gathering.
A. The invitation was sent to all Israel and Judah to come to Jerusalem and
celebrate the Passover.
1. However, there were political and religious difficulties that would
delay the celebration and prevent the full gathering of the twelve tribes.
B. Although Hezekiah invited all Israel, the northern ten tribes had been a
separate kingdom for centuries.
1. They had been at war for most of that time, even during the previous
administration of Ahaz.
2. Moreover, they rejected Jerusalem as the central place for the worship
of the Lord.
3. They had set up high places and altars for themselves so they didn’t
need to travel to Judah and Jerusalem.
4. Hezekiah’s messengers were therefore rejected by most of the people in
2 Chronicles 30:10 (NASB95)
10So the couriers passed from city to city through the country of Ephraim
and Manasseh, and as far as Zebulun, but they laughed them to scorn and
mocked them.
5. Some men from the north humbled themselves and came, but this would not
be the reunion of Israel that Hezekiah desired.
C. Moreover, this Passover was going to be uniquely delayed.
1. Hezekiah and the princes took counsel to keep the feast one month late
because not enough priests were consecrated!
2. Even though it is written in Numbers, chapter 9, that an individual who
is ritually unclean or on a trip can celebrate the Passover in the second
month, this had never applied to the whole people before.
3. And so, it would be like celebrating Christmas in January or the Fourth
of July in August.
D. Remember, Ahaz had closed the temple, so the Judeans hadn’t been
celebrating the Passover every year as they were commanded by the Lord.
1. But Hezekiah was eager to hold this feast, so all the preparations were
hastily made.
2. Even so, many people, especially the northerners who came, were ritually
3. Yet God gave the people one heart to celebrate the feast.
A. Yet God was evidently pleased by this worship and passed over the
irregularity of the ceremonies, giving his grace freely.
2 Chronicles 30:12 (NASB95)
12The hand of God was also on Judah to give them one heart to do what the
king and the princes commanded by the word of the LORD.
B. Even those who came unclean were pardoned by God and healed.
C. This was a Passover unique in the history of Judah.
1. The assembly rejoiced greatly as in the days of Solomon, and the prayers
of the Levites were heard not only in the temple but in the Lord’s
habitation in heaven.
2. The mighty acts of God’s salvation once again were put in as the central
focus as the Judeans, their Israelite brothers, and the sojourners in the
land worshiped the one God of heaven and earth who had brought them out of
the land of Egypt.
4. The Son of Hezekiah gathers his people around his body and blood.
A. King Hezekiah certainly led the nation to a great revival of faith at
this time.
1. However, despite his efforts to follow David, his father, Hezekiah’s
reforms were short-lived.
2. When Hezekiah’s son Manasseh took the throne, he led Judah into
degradation and the destruction of Judah, Jerusalem, and the temple.
3. This is the natural cycle of the rulers of earth.
B. The greater Son of Hezekiah will have to do more.
1. Instead of thousands of bulls and sheep, the Son of Man offers his blood
as a ransom for many.
2. His flesh is offered up as the Passover Lamb.
3. He is the consecrated priest, wholly by means of himself.
4. In fact, Jesus was defiled by the priests’ standard because he entered
Pilate’s headquarters
John 18:28 (NASB95)
28Then they led Jesus from Caiaphas into the Praetorium, and it was early;
and they themselves did not enter into the Praetorium so that they would
not be defiled, but might eat the Passover.
C. However, it was not an outward purity that mattered.
1. It was his purity as the unblemished Lamb of God.
2. The Son of Hezekiah didn’t need to delay a month to be ready; he was
consecrated by the Spirit of the Father to save his people from their sins.
D. So as the hour drew near for Jesus to give his life, he also celebrated
the Passover.
Luke 22:15 (NASB95)
15And He said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with
you before I suffer;
E. Although he sent Peter and John to prepare the meal, it was clear that
Jesus had already done the preparation.
1. And certainly it is Jesus who offers his body and blood to them (and us)
for the forgiveness of sins.
F. In this last meal before our Lord’s death, Jesus changed the Passover
1. It would no longer be a memorial day and feast to recall the final
plague and exodus from Egypt.
2. Instead, Jesus says:
Luke 22:19 (NASB95)
19And when He had taken some bread and given thanks, He broke it and gave
it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in
remembrance of Me.”
3. It is the Son of Man who goes according to the plan of God and frees the
people of God.
G. The Son of David gathers his flock from the whole world even as his
sacrifice pays for the sin of the world.
1. His invitation goes beyond Jerusalem.
2. His invitation goes beyond Judea.
3. His invitation to this sacrificial feast goes beyond even Samaria, the
limit of Hezekiah’s couriers.
4. Yes, Jesus sends his invitation beyond Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria
even to the ends of the earth so that the nations and kings of nations will
come to worship him on the throne.
5. He will feed them with the bread of life.
H. Like what happened to Hezekiah, however, Jesus’ invitation is not
received by all men.
1. Jesus was mocked and scorned also—not by the Samaritans, but by the
2. The King came to Judah, to the temple in Jerusalem itself, and his own
did not receive him.
3. Yet in great mercy his invitation spreads near and far, to you and your
children, to slave and free.
4. His glory has been made known to the nations, and:
John 1:12 (NASB95)
12But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children
of God, even to those who believe in His name,
5. So a multitude from every nation and tribe is indeed gathered into one
family tonight.
6. With one heart, this family is cleansed by the Spirit of God, worshiping
the one Father who is over all, through all, and in all.
I. The Son of God invites us to worship, not in earthly Jerusalem, but in
Spirit and truth.
1. The earthly Jerusalem is a physical and historical place.
2. But true worship happens wherever two or three gather in the name of
Christ Jesus, our Lord.
3. The Passover is celebrated wherever Jesus’ flesh is eaten and his blood
is drunk for eternal life in the Son of Man.
J. Our King and our Lord prepares the table often in the presence of our
1. As he directed the disciples to the place the Passover would be prepared
that holy night in Jerusalem, he has also prepared the feast tonight.
2. And he is not content to give us this Passover remembrance once a year,
but at least every week.
3. As we do this often, we remember not the Passover and exodus from Egypt,
but the Messiah, who gives us freedom and life by his blood.
4. As we do this often, we proclaim the Lord’s death and wait for his
return in glory.
5. Jesus is eager that we eat at his table.
A. While our prayers mingle with the prayers of the saints around the world
tonight and ascend to our Father in heaven, it is the Lord who descends and
enters our mouths to bless us.
B. The Son of Hezekiah Has Prepared the Passover Celebration for Us.


A. Jesus may seem as if he is in no hurry for his final return on the
1. But the Lord is definitely eager to come into our presence in the
2. So we hasten to his Passover.
3. Hurry up!
4. The salvation of God is at hand.
5. Come to his table; it is prepared.
6. Come soon and come often.
B. Whether you’ve been to Communion every other week year after year or
whether you’ve been away for many years like the Judeans in Hezekiah’s day,
let us rejoice tonight.
1. With the Church around the world and in one heart, we receive the
blessings of the Lord. Amen.
C. Let us pray:
LSB 445:4 When You Woke That Thursday Morning
One in faith, in love united,
All one body, You the head,
When we meet, by You invited,
You are with us, as You said.
One with You and one another
In a unity sublime,
See in us Your sister, brother,
One in ev’ry place and time. Amen.
Text: © 1991 Concordia Publishing House. Used by permission: LSB Hymn
License no. 110000247
D. The peace of God, which transcends all understanding, guard your hearts
and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.
E. In the Name of the Father…Amen.


Sermon for 03.29.23 “Our last hope: Josiah”

Lenten Midweek 6

Text: 2 Chronicles 34:1–3; 35:20–27
Theme: Our last hope: Josiah
Psalm 30; Revelation 21:1–6b; Luke 23:26–31
Hymns: LSB 436, 532

A. In the Name of the Father…Amen.

B. The reading from 2 Chronicles 34-35 serves as our sermon text for this

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:
1. Holy God, I carry the burdens of words spoken that I wish I had not; of
acts done in anger or pride that I wish I could undo.
2. I hold grudges for a long time, and I do not reconcile with those from
whom I am estranged.
3. Forgive me.
4. Forgive those words and deeds and inactions that cause You and others
5. Restore me, renew me, and give me the strength, courage, and love I need
to be Your gracious child and effective witness.
6. In the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, I pray.
7. Amen.


A. This is our final Lenten midweek service, and we turn to Josiah, the
last of the good kings of Judah.
1. Over the previous fifty-seven years, Judah had suffered under two of the
worst kings she ever had.
2. The first was Manasseh, who reigned fifty-five years and was succeeded
by his son Amon for two years.
3. Amon was assassinated, and his son Josiah was made king.

B. Fifty-seven years of worshiping idols and an ever-weakening kingdom took
its toll on Judah.
1. Imagine for a moment if since 1966 our nation had been led by
persecutors of Christianity.
2. The faithful remnant remained, but it was very weak.
3. Several generations had passed without regular celebration of Christmas
or Easter and teaching of the Bible.
4. Instead, they were accustomed to worshiping sports or spending time or
communing with nature.
5. The church was again in disrepair; this is what always accompanied long
periods of faithlessness.

A. Josiah was Judah’s last hope.

A. At this time, the boy Josiah, just eight years old, began to reign.

A. 2 Chronicles 34:2 (NASB95)
2He did right in the sight of the LORD, and walked in the ways of his
father David and did not turn aside to the right or to the left.

B. Even as a boy of sixteen, he sought the God of David.

C. Josiah’s reign began in the chaos of an assassination and foreign
enemies on every side.

D. Could Josiah stave off the destruction of Judah and lead the people back
into glory?

E. It sure seemed that he was the last hope of Judah.

B. But Josiah died opposing God’s Word.

A. At the age of twenty-six, Josiah began to repair the house of the Lord
again, as his faithful ancestors had done.

A. As the carpenters and builders were working, amid the clutter, Hilkiah
the priest found the Book of the Law, the Torah of Moses.
B. This book, more precious than all the money that was found in the
temple, was brought to King Josiah.

B. And so it was that the people of Judah were reminded of the great
promises and curses of the Mosaic covenant.

A. There was a renewal of faith as all the people, great and small, heard
the words of the Book of the Covenant.
B. There was repentance and turning away from idols.
C. There was a renewal of the covenant as Josiah kept a Passover in
D. It is written that:
1. 2 Chronicles 35:18 (NASB95)
18There had not been celebrated a Passover like it in Israel since the days
of Samuel the prophet; nor had any of the kings of Israel celebrated such a
Passover as Josiah did with the priests, the Levites, all Judah and Israel
who were present, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem.
E. But hanging over the reign of King Josiah was the word of the prophetess
Huldah, who had prophesied impending disaster, only delayed until the death
of Josiah.

C. Not long after this, Josiah, the king who was given God’s Word, was
confronted with a very worldly problem.
1. Pharaoh Neco of Egypt was marching his army north through Judah in order
to fight further north at the Euphrates River, probably against the newly
expanded kingdom of Babylon.
2. We don’t know exactly why Josiah opposed it, but there are many possible
3. It’s unsettling for any government to have foreign troops travel through
its land.
4. Whatever the motivation, Josiah was disturbed and went out with an army
to meet Neco.
5. Remember, Neco was not intending to fight Judah.
6. But Josiah sought to pick a fight with Neco.
7. Neco was headed north to fight at Carchemish.
8. In fact, Neco apparently had the command of God for this mission and
declared as much to Josiah.
9. In a remarkable exchange:
A. 2 Chronicles 35:21–22 (NASB95)
21But Neco sent messengers to him, saying, “What have we to do with each
other, O King of Judah? I am not coming against you today but against the
house with which I am at war, and God has ordered me to hurry. Stop for
your own sake from interfering with God who is with me, so that He will not
destroy you.”
22However, Josiah would not turn away from him, but disguised himself in
order to make war with him; nor did he listen to the words of Neco from the
mouth of God, but came to make war on the plain of Megiddo.

D. Nevertheless King Josiah couldn’t resist interfering in international
politics and was determined to fight Pharaoh Neco.
1. So Josiah was found opposed to God’s Word, spoken by Neco, one of the
most unlikely prophets of Scripture.
2. It’s clear that Josiah knew he was doing wrong, because he did not call
on God and go into battle leading his forces.
3. Instead, he disguised himself, as wicked king Ahab of Israel had done
many years before.
4. He was trying to oppose Egypt without having to do so publicly.
5. But King Josiah was not disguised from God, and an arrow hit and
mortally wounded him.
6. The arrow, a long-range weapon, was not aimed at the king, but found him
by God’s will.
7. And so the words of Pharoah Neco were fulfilled as King Josiah was
destroyed in the valley of Megiddo.

E. Thus the last hope of Judah had fallen in an unnecessary war with a king
acting by God’s command.
1. Josiah’s son Jehoahaz reigned in his place for only three months until
the Egyptians installed a puppet king, that is Jehoiakim.
2. Soon Babylon invaded and set up one of its own puppet kings with
3. One thing led to another, and Jerusalem and the temple were destroyed,
the chosen people exiled.
4. The prophecies of Huldah, Isaiah, and Jeremiah were all fulfilled.

C. Now what hope is there when a good king dies?

A. While the future was unknown, it was clear at Josiah’s death that the
kingdom of Judah would never be the same.
1. The glory days were now gone, and foreigners would have the upper hand
in the land of David.
2. Thus the death of Josiah was a time of weeping and lamentation.
3. Weeping for a good king whose death was untimely and unnecessary.
4. Weeping for a lost nation whose future was certainly a shadow of her
5. This weeping would continue for at least two hundred years.
6. With the lament of Jeremiah and others by men and women singing, the
Judeans continued to mourn the death of their king and his kingdom.

B. King Josiah was a good king—truly a great king.
1. But even his righteous repentance and sacrifices were unable to stop the
destruction of the kingdom.
2. After all, what good is a king if he can only give his people peace
until his death and then comes the end?
3. What hope is there when all that a man works for is passed on to the
next generation, who sees its destruction?

D. The Son of Josiah died fulfilling God’s Word.

A. One generation follows another, and this pattern continues.
1. So it was that the Son of Josiah came to a wicked and sinful generation.
2. The kingdom of God was at hand, but there was much opposition to it.
3. The faithful had been prepared by the prophet John the Baptist.
4. He called the people of God to repentance in the Judean wilderness by
the Jordan.
5. So the Son of God brought out the Torah and Prophets while teaching in
the temple, synagogues, and countryside.

B. Moreover, the Son of David suffered according to the Word of God.
1. Jesus often taught that the Son of Man must suffer and die and be raised
2. So the Son of David entered Jerusalem when he knew that it meant certain
3. It wasn’t just a matter of divine foreknowledge.
4. His disciples noted closely that the chief priests, scribes, and
Pharisees had been eager to stone him for months.
5. Jesus wasn’t going for a coronation but an assassination!

C. Yet Jesus would not be deterred.
1. The Son of Josiah would not disguise himself or hide from the enemy like
Josiah or Ahab had done.
2. He taught openly in the temple.
3. He confronted false teachers wherever they opposed God’s Word.
4. It was instead his enemies who sought the cover of darkness to hide
their evil deeds.
5. Out of fear of the crowds, the chief priests took Jesus into custody in
the dead of night.
6. By morning, the Son of God was stripped of his clothes and hung bare
under the sign, which read, “This is the King of the Jews.”

D. While the crowds called for blood, the faithful women wept and lamented,
as St. Luke recorded.
1. On Sunday morning, St. John tells of Mary Magdalene weeping at the empty
tomb for her deceased Lord and his body that was nowhere to be found.
2. Fear gripped this would-be king’s followers.
3. He was the one they had hoped would redeem Israel.
4. Now he was dead and gone, and the future was bleak indeed.
5. It would be forty years later, but their Lord had told them that
Jerusalem and the temple therein would be destroyed.
6. The nation they loved would once more be a relic of past glory.

E. So now Jesus is Israel’s last hope.
1. So it was that the last hope for Israel hung on a cross.
A. Not shot accidentally by archers but knowingly nailed to the tree.
B. The sign proclaimed what their hearts refused to believe: that Jesus is
the king of the Jews.
C. And the world rejoiced at the death of this innocent man.
D. Wicked men had opposed God’s Word and violent men took the kingdom by
E. Meanwhile, his followers wept and lamented.

B. But this is not the end, for The Son of Josiah Has Turned Our Mourning
into Joy.


A. What Jesus knew, what the disciples and the women could not believe, was
that the path to an eternal kingdom went through the cross.
1. Only by suffering death could death be overcome.
2. With our sins forgiven, we can follow our Savior into life, where
weeping is no more and sorrow is turned to dancing.

B. The reign of this Son of David was incredibly short by earthly
1. He was marked for death, already sentenced to death when he was crowned
2. But there would be no successor, because Jesus is the only king to
succeed himself at death.
3. So we no longer mourn King Josiah; we do not mourn the destruction of
the temple or Jerusalem, whether the first or second time.
4. Those things we do not need!
5. Our King lives eternally, and his kingdom is all around us.
6. In him, in our resurrected Lord, we have all the hope we will ever need.
7. Whether devils fill Armageddon or fear grips our hearts, we need only to
look to the cross.
8. There we see the power of God and his King, our Lord and Savior.

C. When we turn to the cross, our sorrow is turned to joy because the
eternal King says:
1. John 16:22–24 (NASB95)
22“Therefore you too have grief now; but I will see you again, and your
heart will rejoice, and no one will take your joy away from you.
23“In that day you will not question Me about anything. Truly, truly, I say
to you, if you ask the Father for anything in My name, He will give it to
24“Until now you have asked for nothing in My name; ask and you will
receive, so that your joy may be made full.
B. Amen.

D. Let us pray:
1. Holy God, I admit to You that all is not right – in my heart and in my
world, I look to the darkness and not to the light.
2. I look for what is broken, and not at what is being mended.
3. I look to criticize and not to praise.
4. I look at myself and not at You.
5. Turn me around so that I look at the possibility, at hope, at promise,
at grace, at healing, at Your love.
6. This I pray in the strong name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy
Spirit. Amen.

E. The peace of God, which transcends all understanding, guard your hearts
and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.

F. In the Name of the Father…Amen.


Sermon for 03.26.23 “We don’t deserve it”

Lent 5, March 26, 2023
Text: Romans 8:1–11
Theme: We don’t deserve it
Other Lessons: Ezekiel 37:1–14; Psalm 130; John 11:1–45 (46–53) or John
11:17–27, 38–53

A. In the Name of the Father…Amen.
B. The Epistle lesson from Romans 8 serves as our sermon text for this
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:
Ø LSB 430:1 My Song Is Love Unknown
My song is love unknown,
My Savior’s love to me,
Love to the loveless shown
That they might lovely be.
Oh, who am I
That for my sake
My Lord should take
Frail flesh and die?
Text: Public domain

A. If you are a condemned person, you are officially declared “guilty” of
your actions and your sentence awaits.
1. Throughout history, many criminals were not only condemned and declared
guilty but were also put to death for their misdeeds.
2. They were:
A. hung,
B. shot,
C. gassed,
D. electrocuted,
E. injected,
F. and more.
3. However, the death penalty has over time been increasingly debated.
4. One reason some have argued against the practice is that some people,
after being put to death, were found actually to be innocent, or at least
not worthy of such extreme punishment.
B. Well, more than talking about the government bearing the sword in Romans
13:4, Paul talks about the guilt of man according to his sin.
1. He says that no one is found innocent.
2. In fact, just before our Epistle lesson, in Romans 7, he makes it very
clear that even with our best intentions, we can’t be free from sin.
3. He writes:
A. Romans 7:15 (NASB95)
15For 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.
B. Romans 7:18 (NASB95)
18For 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.
C. Romans 7:24 (NASB95)
24Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?
4. Paul makes it clear.
A. We are not a lot different before God than those on death row are before
B. We are guilty, every one of us!
C. All of us!
D. There are no exceptions!
E. There is no way for us to work our way out of sin.
C. But the beauty and joy of this letter is in what comes next.
1. Paul asks:
A. Romans 7:24 (NASB95)
24Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?
Romans 7:25 (NASB95)
25Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand
I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my
flesh the law of sin.
2. The answer lies in a Savior from the outside, a Rescuer.
A. Jesus is that Savior; he was sent to bail us out.
B. At the very end of chapter 7, we read Paul rejoicing in this fact,
1. “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (7:25).
C. And not only that!
1. Because of this rescue, Paul begins chapter 8 with the following
A. Romans 8:1 (NASB95)
1Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
D. That’s right.
1. In Jesus, you’re not guilty.
2. In Jesus, you’re taken off of death row.
3. In Jesus, you can be at peace.
4. In Jesus, There Is No Condemnation.
E. Why?
1. Jesus Christ came to be our substitute and because He came to be our
substitute, we now live by the Spirit.
I. In Jesus, There Is No Condemnation, because Jesus Christ came to be our
A. The purpose of Jesus’ coming to earth was to live as our substitute
under the Law.
1. In a very real way, Jesus came to take our sentence onto himself.
2. He came to do our jail time, to receive the guilty verdict and pay for
our sins with his own life.
3. When Paul says there is no condemnation for those who are “in Christ,”
he is referring to Jesus’ role as our ransom for sin and our union with him
in Holy Baptism.
4. As our ransom, Jesus was the payment offered to God for our sin.
5. Peter says it this way:
A. 1 Peter 1:18–19 (NASB95)
18knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or
gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers,
19but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood
of Christ.
B. Here we might remember the Old Testament sacrificial system with all of
its ceremony and frequency.
1. Day after day, week after week, the priests of old were to offer
sacrifices to the Lord.
2. Why?
3. The writer to the Hebrews declares:
A. Hebrews 9:22 (NASB95)
22And according to the Law, one may almost say, all things are cleansed
with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.
4. The priests were to sacrifice the appropriate animal for the atonement
of the people’s sins.
5. They were to trust the Word of the Lord and to see in that sacrifice was
their forgiveness.
C. Probably more than any other, we recall the sacrifice of the lamb.
1. Let us reflect on the first what happened on that first Passover for the
Israelites while in Exodus.
2. On that night, the sacrifice of a lamb was central, and again each year
it was a substitutionary sacrifice and a foreshadowing of what was to come.
3. This is why when John the Baptist came on the scene he looked at Jesus
and cried out:
A. John 1:29 (NASB95)
29The next day he saw Jesus coming to him and said, “Behold, the Lamb of
God who takes away the sin of the world!
4. When John spotted Jesus, he looked upon the real and greater substitute
for sin who would ultimately win forgiveness for the world by taking our
place under the Law and dying as a sacrificial offering, not by a noose or
a gun shot or electric shock but by death on a cross as was prophesied of
5. With the shedding of his blood, however, there indeed is forgiveness,
and that forgiveness leads to life for mankind!
D. Not only did Jesus become our sin-bearer, but in Romans chapter 6, Paul
makes clear that Jesus’ substitutionary work on our behalf leads to
Baptism, which unites us to Christ.
1. In Romans 6:3–5, we read:
A. Romans 6:3–5 (NASB95)
3Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus
have been baptized into His death?
4Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that
as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we
too might walk in newness of life.
5For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death,
certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection,
E. This language helps us understand the “in Christ” language of verse 1 of
our text.
1. How is it that is there no condemnation for you?
2. By having union with Christ.
3. As our substitute, Jesus died in order to win for us forgiveness of
4. Additionally, as our substitute, through Baptism, he clothes us with
himself and grants us the gift and indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
5. So, Jesus has not only taken our punishment upon himself, but he has
also remade us and joined us to himself as a fruit of his substitutionary
work applied through Baptism and faith.
6. Paul says in verse 2 of our text:
A. Romans 8:2 (NASB95)
2For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from
the law of sin and of death.
B. Because of Christ, you are not condemned; you are free.
C. Because of Christ, you are not alone, but the Holy Spirit dwells in you
F. Remember Barabbas?
1. The Bible says Barabbas was a “notorious prisoner” locked away because
of robbery and murder (Matthew 27:16).
2. On that infamous day, Barabbas and Jesus stood before the people.
3. Pilate asked:
A. “What do you want me to do with them?”
B. Of Barabbas, they said, “Let him go!”
C. Of Jesus, they said, “Let him be crucified!”
D. Mark says it this way:
1. Mark 15:15 (NASB95)
15Wishing to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas for them, and
after having Jesus scourged, he handed Him over to be crucified.
E. Have you ever cringed at Barabbas, at his guilt and his newfound
F. Well, even as Jesus took Barabbas’s place, he has taken yours and mine
as well.
II. In Jesus, There Is No Condemnation and we now live by the Spirit.
A. During Lent, we recall that Jesus took our place on death row.
1. He:
A. opened our jail cell,
B. let us out,
C. and, most amazingly, entered himself.
2. While we rejoice in Jesus for taking our place, we also rejoice in
something else.
3. Not only did he serve us as substitute, he gave us the Holy Spirit as
gift and blessing.
4. The Holy Spirit helps us to suppress the flesh and to live beyond the
moment as children of God and heirs of heaven.
5. That’s the second reason there is no condemnation for us in Christ
Jesus—because we now live by the Spirit.
B. Unique to the Book of Romans and the entire Scriptures is chapter 8 and
its distinction between “life by the Spirit” and “life by the flesh.”
1. Apart from Christ, we are darkness.
2. Our lives are motivated by fleshly desires, and as such we have no hope
of heaven.
3. However, with forgiveness won by Christ and his life offered in our
place as substitute, the Holy Spirit is now given to make us holy and to
give new direction to our lives.
4. Paul writes of this in verses 3–4:
A. Romans 8:3–4 (NASB95)
3For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did:
sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for
sin, He condemned sin in the flesh,
4so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not
walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
5. As those who have escaped condemnation, we find that:
A. our state of being,
B. our perspective in life,
C. and our manner of life have all been changed.
6. Paul speaks of this change throughout the rest of Romans chapter 8, the
final verses of our text and the verses following, as “living by the
Spirit.” He makes four points to explain what this “living by the Spirit”
A. First, when we live by the Spirit, we live with confidence in our
resurrection. Paul says in verses 10–11:
Romans 8:10–11 (NASB95)
10If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the
spirit is alive because of righteousness.
11But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He
who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal
bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.
1. In union with the Holy Spirit, you cannot be condemned.
2. When the Father sees you in union with the Holy Spirit, he sees Christ
in you, a child of God.
3. This reminds us of the Beatitudes of Matthew 5.
4. Line after line, we read:
A. “Blessed are you, blessed are you, blessed are you.”
B. In this discourse, no one is blessed because of being perfect, nor
blessed by being engaged in some extraordinary activity.
C. The blessed are blessed due to their present condition of faith in the
Lord and presence of the Holy Spirit.
D. Those who are blessed by this union look forward to the day of the
resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come.
B. Second, when we live by the Spirit, we live with the confidence that we
have been made:
1. “sons of God” (8:14).
2. Jesus teaches us to pray “Our Father” for a reason.
3. He wants us to know and believe that he came to earth not just to be our
Savior, but also our Brother.
4. So we sing with joy the hymn, “God’s Own Child I Gladly Say It” (LSB
5. Paul teaches in verse 15 that the Holy Spirit leads us to cry out to God
in a childlike way, saying:
A. “Abba! Father!”
B. We can call out to our heavenly Father in confidence.
C. Having this relationship, though our flesh continues to assault us with
temptation, we ought to remind ourselves over and over again that we indeed
are heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ.
D. This is why Luther encourages Christians to wake up in the morning, make
the sign of the holy cross, and say, “In the name of the Father and of the
Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.”
E. He says this so that we might remember who we are, or better yet, whose
we are.
F. That we might recall our Baptism into Christ and that the Holy Spirit
has brought us into the family of God.
C. Third when we live by the Spirit, we look forward to the future glory of
1. In verse 18, Paul shares a familiar and comforting message:
A. Romans 8:18 (NASB95)
18For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to
be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.
B. Life by the Spirit looks forward to heaven.
C. The earth with its lusts, pleasures, temptations, sickness, vanity, and
general brokenness due to sin is not our final destination.
D. Paul makes clear that the earth is groaning and laboring like a woman
experiencing birth pangs—and that things here are just plain wrong.
E. By the Spirit, we can understand the present circumstance and patiently
await our final goal and future hope.
F. How important this is to know!
G. Because heaven has been made secure by Christ our Redeemer, we can truly
say these words:
H. Romans 8:28 (NASB95)
28And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those
who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
D. Finally, when we live by the Spirit, we realize that nothing can
separate us from the love of God.
1. Quite possibly the most comforting portion of chapter 8 is Paul’s
listing of all the things that cannot separate us from the love of Christ
when we live by the Holy Spirit. Paul writes:
2. Romans 8:35 (NASB95)
35Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or
distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
Romans 8:37–39 (NASB95)
37But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved
38For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor
principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers,
39nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to
separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
C. Truly “life by the Spirit” is a different life from living “life by the
1. It is:
A. A life lived free from fear,
B. a life with rich identity,
C. a life of confidence in the future,
D. and a life certain of God’s love.
E. These are not themes that typically exist for people living on death row!
D. When Paul said:
1. Romans 8:1 (NASB95)
1Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
2. he meant it . . . and much, much more!
3. As we meditate on the words of Scripture this Fifth Sunday in Lent and
soon come to Holy Week, we should consider what it means that Jesus was
willingly condemned in order to set us free.
4. Not only did he gladly take our punishment upon himself, he graciously
gave us the Holy Spirit and made us victors forever in his name.

A. He’d squandered everything.
1. His father had been so good to him, so generous, advancing him his
inheritance in cold, hard cash, and he’d blown it all on wild living.
2. As he trudged back from the far country toward his father’s house, he
knew what was coming.
3. He knew what he deserved:
A. “I told you so!
B. You had your chance.
C. Now you’re on your own.”
4. But no, that is not what happened!
5. Dad comes running out to meet him!
6. Not a harsh word.
7. Not a well-deserved judgment.
8. Instead he hosts a party and showers good graces on this, his lost son!
B. The parable of the prodigal son is a wonderful reminder of grace and
undeserved mercy, as Paul describes in Romans 8.
1. By Christ’s sacrifice for us:
A. Romans 8:1 (NASB95)
1Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
2. With humble thanks and a great sense of peace, we reenter the Father’s
household as dearly loved and redeemed children. Amen.
C. Let us pray:

Ø LSB 430:7 My Song Is Love Unknown
Here might I stay and sing,
No story so divine!
Never was love, dear King,
Never was grief like Thine.
This is my friend,
In whose sweet praise
I all my days
Could gladly spend!” (LSB 430:7) Amen.
D. The peace of God, which transcends all understanding, guard your hearts
and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.

E. In the Name of the Father…Amen.