Sermon for 01.15.22 “A most important question”

EPIPHANY 2, JANUARY 15, 2023 Text: John 1:29–42a Theme: A most important
question Other Lessons: Isaiah 49:1–7; Psalm 40:1–11; 1 Corinthians 1:1–9
A. In the Name of the Father…Amen. B. The Gospel lesson serves as our
sermon text for this morning. C. Grace, mercy, and peace be yours from God
our heavenly Father through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. D. Dear
brothers and sisters in Christ, let us pray: LSB 527:1 O Savior, Precious
Savior O Savior, precious Savior, Whom yet unseen we love; O name of might
and favor, All other names above, We worship Thee, we bless Thee, To Thee,
O Christ, we sing; We praise Thee and confess Thee, Our holy Lord and King.
Amen. Text: Public domain Introduction A. It’s difficult to determine which
of these two questions of Christ is the more important: 1. “What are you
seeking?” or 2. “Who do you say I am?” 3. The first comes early in Jesus’
earthly ministry and the second in the midst of his ministry. 4. One is
spoken to two who would then begin to follow him, and the other is spoken
to his disciples following years of discipleship. 5. One seems to be
applicable to life in general and the other to saving faith in particular.
6. Both are significant questions to be answered by every follower of
Christ. B. Today’s text draws our attention to the importance of Christ’s
first question, the one addressed to his would-be disciples: 1. “What Are
You Seeking?” C. The would-be disciples to whom Jesus directs this question
are actually already disciples of John the Baptist. 1. John’s original
crowds of hearers were certainly seeking something. A. By this point,
John’s call for repentance and Baptism had gathered a large following. 1.
John was all the buzz. A. He had devoted disciples hanging on his every
word. B. His message had struck a nerve. C. Hundreds, perhaps thousands,
were hearing his preaching and confessing their sins. 2. He was
accomplishing his mission: A. people were eager for the Savior! B. Many
were even asking whether John himself might be that Messiah. B. Then one
day, John turned every head away from himself and declared, “Behold, the
Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (verse 29). 1. There’s
the one whom you should follow: Jesus (verses 30–34). A. At Jesus’ Baptism,
the Holy Spirit as a dove had descended on Jesus as the signal to John. B.
Jesus would be much greater than John, for he was “before” John even though
he was the younger cousin. C. Announcing Jesus to be the Messiah was the
whole purpose of John’s ministry. 2. It was time! A. Jesus must increase.
B. John must decrease. Two of John’s disciples therefore leave John to
follow Jesus (verses 35–37). 3. One of them was Andrew; A. the other may
well have been the Gospel writer John himself. 4. This was entirely
appropriate, just as the Baptist intended. C. Faithful Jews had long been
seeking the Messiah for a very long time. 1. They were seeking a messiah
who: A. Would bring freedom from the oppressive Romans. B. Would restore
Jerusalem and Jewish power back to the Jews. C. Would heal sicknesses,
which were signs of God’s judgment. 2. They were seeking the Messiah all
right, A. They just did not know what kind of messiah they were looking
for. 3. Therefore the question must be asked: A. “What are you seeking?” 2.
In fact, all of humanity are seeking something— they just don’t know what.
A. Since most people don’t know what they’re really seeking, their best
worst guess is to seek it in four areas: 1. Power A. with power I can have
anything I want. B. If I have to step on people to get what I want, so be
it! 2. Wealth A. money, too, can buy almost anything, certainly plenty of
nice things I can name. B. Money can buy me love! 3. Knowledge A. it isn’t
just for knowledge’s sake, but to impress others, control others, solve the
world’s problems and my own. B. Look at how smart and enlightened I am! 4.
Popularity A. I like people to like me . . . B. and I like what certain
people can give me if they like me. C. It’s all about making and keeping
people happy! D. Therefore I must be a people pleaser! 5. But all of these
lead to a living death. B. Without knowing it, what most people are really
seeking is deliverance from sin and all its effects: 1. Seeking a sense of
identity A. sin confuses me as to my relationships with others and where I
fit into the big picture. 1. I am the center of the universe! 2. Seeking a
sense of security A. sin means I’m going to get sick, B. lose my vitality,
C. perhaps even lose my nest egg. D. Therefore: 1. I need to stay healthy
2. I need to amass as much wealth as possible E. But, finally, I’m going to
die. 3. Seeking meaning and purpose A. Since I’m going to die, what can
really come of anything I do? 1. Perhaps it’s best that I “eat, drink, and
be merry, for tomorrow I may die!” 3. What we’re really seeking, God
provides in the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world. A. God
calls us to repent of all those “best worst guesses”—which are really false
gods. 1. Power, A. The lust for power demands one get more power. 2. Wealth
A. The desire for wealth means I need to have more of it. B. I will also
need to safeguard my wealth. 3. Knowledge A. Knowledge is power! B. For who
doesn’t like a smart person? 4. Popularity. A. How can I be noticed unless
I am the most popular? B. Or as it was said during our college days: BMOC
(Big Man On Campus) 5. Confessing these to be false gods, sins against God
and one another, we realize that what we really seek is the One who can
take away sins. B. If we’re clear on what we’re seeking, we’ll see that
those two disciples are headed in the right direction (verses 38–39). Jesus
the Christ is the Anointed One of God bringing reconciliation with the
Father. Through his obedience, passion, death, and resurrection, he: 1.
Restores our identity as redeemed children of God A. with sin that
alienated me from God and others forgiven, B. I belong to him, which also
means I belong with others who are his. 2. Restores our security A. having
reconciled me to himself by removing my sin, B. God holds me securely,
while I live and when I die, whatever else may be uncertain. 3. Restores
our meaning and purpose A. since now death isn’t the end, my labors for
God’s kingdom have lasting, eternal value. C. Like Andrew, we go to tell
others of the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! (verses
40–42). 1. Bringing others also to know forgiveness and everlasting life A.
Therein is our purpose! B. Therein lies, dear brothers and sisters in
Christ, eternal value! Conclusion A. It was not that long ago that
congregations were offering “seeker services” in addition to their regular
or traditional services. 1. The thinking was that those who do not know
Christ can be attracted to a god that offers answers to their temporal
needs A. financial security, B. lasting relationships, C. and so on. B. In
reality, all Christian worship is a seeker service. 1. Our seeking in
worship is characterized by an attitude stated by the prophet Jeremiah: A.
“You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart”
(Jeremiah 29:13). 2. This attitude finds its source in our thirst for God
as expressed in Psalm 63: A. “O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you;
my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary
land where there is no water” (Psalm 63:1). 3. This seeking is commanded by
Christ in his words recorded in Luke 12: A. “Seek his kingdom, and these
things will be added to you” (Luke 12:31). 4. And seeking is motivated by
Jesus’ promise in Luke 11: A. “And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to
you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For
everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who
knocks it will be opened” (Luke 11:9–10). C. “What are you seeking?” Jesus
asked the two disciples of John who were following him (John 1:38). 1. And,
of course, the “what” is really a “who.” 2. May all of our worship be
seeker services! D. What are you seeking from Jesus? 1. Is deliverance from
all the effects of sin that which you seek? A. If it is, then that second
important question has become the one needs to be answered next. B. We need
the One who takes away our sin, the sin that causes the world and everyone
affected by it with so much suffering. C. But John has already answered
that question in our text, too, hasn’t he?! D. “Who do you say that I am?”
Jesus will later ask his disciples. E. And John answered: 1. Jesus is the
Lamb of God, who does exactly what we need. 2. He takes away the sin of the
world. Amen. E. Let us pray: LSB 512:7 At the Name of Jesus Glory then to
Jesus, Who, the Prince of light, To a world in darkness Brought the gift of
sight; Praise to God the Father; In the Spirit’s love Praise we all
together Him who reigns above. Amen. Text: Public domain F. The peace of
God, which transcends all understanding, guard your hearts and minds in
Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen. G. In the Name of the Father…Amen.