Monday, April 21, 2014

Easter Monday

Christ the Lord is Risen Today, Alleluia – Lutheran Service Book #463
Mathew 28:5-7; 1 Corinthians 5A:7-8; John 1:29; Romans 6:9

Christ the Lord is ris’n today; Alleluia!
Christians, hasten on your way; Alleluia!
Offer praise with love replete, Alleluia!
At the paschal victim’s feet. Alleluia!

How different life is, now and in the future, when we grasp and share the victory of our glorious Lord.  By His resurrection, we are assured of deliverance from and victory over the death that sin brings. To accomplish this, Jesus truly was dead. The message of Lent and Holy Week reminds us Jesus died for us. Christ’s resurrection is God’s endorsement of His sacrifice (Romans 4:25) Thus the resurrection is the basis for our deliverance from sin, (Ephesians 1:7) for the new life with the Father, (Ephesians 2:1, 4-6) and for power to live new lives. (Romans 6:4)

O God, in the paschal feast You restore all creation. Continue to send Your heavenly gifts upon Your people that they may walk in perfect freedom and receive eternal life; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.[1]

[1] Lutheran Service Book, Collect for Easter Monday © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Easter Sunday

Christ has Arisen, Alleluia – Lutheran Service Book #466             
Matthew 28:5-7; 1 Corinthians 15:55-57

Christ has arisen, alleluia
Rejoice and praise Him, alleluia
For our Redeemer burst from the tomb,
Even from death, dispelling its gloom
Let us sing praise to Him with endless joy;
Death’s fearful sting He has come to destroy.
Our sin forgiving, alleluia!
Jesus is living, alleluia!

After the women learned that Jesus was risen, their lives were never again the same. We too have problems. We still need direction in life. We now have meaning and hope for life. We cling to God’s promises in the trials of life. Of ourselves we are already dead spiritually. Yet in Christ there is new hope and new life. 

Almighty God, through Your only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ, You overcame death and opened to us the gate of everlasting life. We humbly pray that we may live before You in righteousness and purity forever; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Almighty God the Father, through Your only-begotten Son Jesus Christ You have overcome death and opened the gate of everlasting life to us. Grant that we, who celebrate with joy the day of our Lord’s resurrection, may be raised from the death of sin by Your life-giving Spirit; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.[1]

[1] Lutheran Service Book, Collects for Easter © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis


20 April 2014
John 20:1-9
Christ is Risen!

O God, for our redemption You gave Your only-begotten Son to the death of the cross and by His glorious resurrection delivered us from the power of the enemy. Grant that all our sin may be drowned by daily repentance and that day by day we may arise to live before You in righteousness and purity forever.

He is Risen! He is Risen indeed! Alleluia! The resurrection Jesus Christ is the cornerstone of our faith. St. Paul would remind us, “And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished.  If in Christ we have hope[a] in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied. But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep”. -1 Corinthians 15:17-20

1.       Faith looks at the evidence.
A.      Mary had the evidence but drew the wrong conclusion.
B.      Peter and John had the evidence but were blinded by overwhelming emotion.   –v.9
C.      You have conclusive evidence.
1         The Old Testament prophecies. “For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption.”[1]  “Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him; he has put him to grief; [a] when his soul makes an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities.”[2]
2         The predictions of Christ Himself. “ .”[3]  “See, we are going up to Jerusalem. And the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn him to death 19 and deliver him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified, and he will be raised on the third day.” “[4]
3         The testimony of the angel at the open grave. “Why seek the living amongst the dead? He is not here. He is risen! Remember how He told you while He was in Galilee? The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified, and on the third day be raised again.”[5]
4         The testimony of Jesus’ enemies. “But if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You might even be found opposing God!”[6]
5         The post-resurrection appearances of Jesus. In our Gospel lesson, Peter and John ran to the tomb.[7] He appeared to the twelve when the doors were shut.[8] On the road to Emmaus[9] St. Paul will remind us, “He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.  Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep.  Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles.  Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me.”[10]

The evidence of Christ’s resurrection is overwhelming. Faith rejoices in this.

2.       Faith rejoices in the consequences.
A.      Jesus indeed is the Son of God. “Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.[11]
B.      Jesus is with us as our living Lord. “Teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” [12]
C.      The Father has accepted the sacrifice of Christ. “Who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.” [13]
D.      Christ’s resurrection is the pledge of our resurrection. “But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep.” -1Corithians 15:20

What treasures there are for us in the empty tomb! “Thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”[14]

Biblical Source:
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.

[1] Psalm 16:10
[2] Isaiah 53:10-11
[3] John 2:19;
[4] Matthew 20:18-19
[5] Luke 24:6-7
[6] Acts 5:39
[7] John 20:11-18
[8] John 20:19-31
[9] Luke 24:13-35
[10] 1 Corinthians 15:4-8
[11] John 2:19
[12] Matthew 28:20
[13] Romans 4:25
[14] 1 Corinthians 15:57

Easter Sunrise

 Easter Dawn
20 April 2014
Colossians 3:1-4
New Life

Almighty God, through Your only-begotten Son Jesus Christ, You overcame death and opened for us the gate of everlasting life. We humbly pray that we may live before You in righteousness and purity forever; through the same Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and rules with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  – Collect for Easter Sunrise, Lutheran Service Book, © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis.

Jesus lives!  The promise for you is this – “Because I live” Jesus reminds us, “you will live also!” –John 14:19 You have been given a wonderful promise of new life. Not just in a physical, earthly way. But in a higher, heavenly way. The life you live in Christ is to be lived at the highest level.

1.       We have died to sin. “For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.  –Colossians 3:3
A.      Your sinful nature was buried with Christ in baptism. “Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.” –Romans 6:3-4
1.       Since we are not yet rid of sin in our bodies, we continue to feel the effect of sin.
a.       We may become preoccupied with things earthly – making money, acquiring things, getting ahead. These in themselves are not bad. They only become stumbling blocks for us if they become our chief priority.
b.      Our minds may dwell on evil rather than on good – and envying, lusting, and coveting.
c.       We sometimes forget that evil thoughts, as the ancient collect for the 2nd Sunday in Lent puts it, “assaults and hurts the soul.”
2.       Yet we can consider ourselves dead to sin. “So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.” –Romans 6:11
B.      Christ’s power is available to us to put down sin in our bodies.
1         The same power that He displayed in His resurrection, He now uses fully at the Father’s right hand. As the living, ascended Lord, He gives us power to live on a higher level.
2         We do not have to set our minds “on things that are on earth.” (v.2) Nor do we have to occupy our minds with what is sensual and mean. Rather we can think on those things that age good, right, noble, and true.  Yes, our thoughts are important. Terribly important. “As a man thinks within himself, so he is.” –Proverbs 23:7

2.       We have been raised with Christ.
A.      We were made spiritually alive in our baptism.
1.       We live through faith in the forgiveness of sins. Christ’s resurrection guarantees this. “Having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. 13 And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the circumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses,” –Colossians 2:12-13
2.       We are now sensitive to God’s towards toward us.
B.      Our life is hid with Christ. “For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.”   –Colossians 3:3
1.       Christ is withdrawn from the world of sense, yet He is with us always
2.       It is a mystery that we can be in Christ and He in us. Yet this is now your reality.
3.       Christ in us draws us to Himself and enables us to think His own thoughts. “Do not be conformed to this world, [a] but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what the will of God is, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:2
C.      Our life will be manifested when Christ appears. “When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” –Colossians 3:4
1.       Our living Lord will come again. Then we shall be like Him in glory.
2.       Our life in Christ will have perfect bodily expression. But someone will ask, ‘How are the dead raised? With what kind of body do they come?’ What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power.” -1 Corinthians 15:35,42,43

Life in Christ makes for heavenly-minded living. Continue to live with your sight heavenward.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Good Friday

 G. Friday
18 April 2014
John 19:30

“When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.”

O God, creator of heaven and earth, grant that as the crucified body of Your dear Son, was laid in the tomb and rested on the Sabbath, so we may await with Him the coming of the third day, and rise with Him to newness of life. – Collect for Holy Saturday, Lutheran Service Book © Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis

We are Easter people! Even on a night as this! You can be confident in this – In the midst of death, you possess life. Death is not a topic most try to avoid. Many are fearful as they think about the death of other as well as their own death. But tonight death cannot be avoided. Tonight we are brought face to face with an awesome fact – Jesus died! What happened on the first Good Friday is incredible.

The incredible death of Jesus Christ

1. His death was real.

        A. We cannot fathom how the God-man, Jesu Christ could die. Yet His spirit left His body.
    B. His body hung lifeless. His lips no longer spoke. His eyes no longer saw. His ears no longer heard.

2.  His death was voluntary.
A. Death comes to us become of something – illness, accident, bodily deterioration.
B. But Jesus came to death, giving up His spirit when He was ready to. With full possession of His                   faculties. In full control. “I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch                  them out of my hand.” (John 10:18) He died only when He had accomplished all things. Jesus prayed            in His High Priestly prayer, “(Father,) I glorified You on earth, having accomplished the work that You          gave Me to do.” (John 17:4)  He died only when He had finished the atonement.

3. His death was the death of death itself.
A. He took on Himself the penalty for your sin. This is what caused His death. “For God has done                    what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful               flesh and for sin, [a] He condemned sin in the flesh.” (Romans 8:3)
B. Death could not hold Him. He was sinless. He has made perfect atonement for sin. “We were buried             therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the           glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.”  (Romans 6:4) “We know that Christ, being           raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over Him.” (Romans 6:9)

4. His death means life.
A. Death is now but a “shadow.” Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will                fear no evil, (Psalm 23:4)
1. It’s a former menacing power.
2. It is not a step into the unknown.
     a. “I shall not die, but I shall live, and recount the deeds of the LORD.” (Psalm 118:17)
     b. “Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with                        the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 5:8)
B. Death is now the avenue to God’s presence. It is eternal bliss.  “Death is swallowed up in victory.” “But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 15:54c, 57)

What an incredible death! Because Jesus died, “It is not death to die.” The sting of death has been removed. We can live well – and died well.

Good Friday

Sing, My Tongue, the Glorious Battle – Lutheran Service Book #454
Psalm 99:1-2; Isaiah 52:9-10; Galatians 4:4; John 19:30

Sing, my tongue, the glorious battle;
Sing the ending o the fray.
Now above the cross, the trophy.
Sounds the loud triumphant lay;
Tell how Christ, the world’s redeemer,
As a victim won the day.

The Father sent His Son to be a woman's son. He emptied His home so He could send a redeemer to your home. He did it so we could be His children — not step children, but real children, with full rights. So He could not only be God, but so he could be God, our heavenly Father. This Friday is Good because the Father has done His best work on this day.

Good Friday – Isaiah 52:13 to 53:12 – The suffering and glory of the servant Christ

The Antiphon: O Lord, be not far off; O my Strength, come quickly to help me. – Psalm 22:19

Almighty God, we beseech Thee, graciously to behold this Thy family, for which our Lord Jesus Christ was contented to be betrayed and given up into the hands of wicked men and to suffer death upon the cross.[1]

[1] The Lutheran Hymnal, Collect for Good Friday © 1941 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis

Thursday, April 17, 2014

M Thursday

M. Thursday
17 April 2014
John 13:1-17
He loved them to the end

Jesus kept loving His disciples. He loved them. Despite their self-seeking ways. Even though He knew one of when would betray Him. Even though was conscious of soon entering the glory from which He had come. He performed for His disciples, even for His betrayer, the menial service of foot washing. In that selfless act. He showed His love in all the beauty of its perfection.

He loved them to the end.

1.       It is a love that makes us clean.
A.      The foot washing portrayed Christ’s loving work of spiritual cleaning.  . (v.10)
1.       Peter did not understand the real significance of this act of love. “He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, do you wash my feet?” Jesus answered him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.” Peter said to him, “You shall never wash my feet.” (Vv.6-8a.)
2.       Though justified by faith and thus purified from sin, we still daily sin much.
a.       We are still living outside of Eden.
b.      Flesh and blood led us into evil.
c.       We need daily cleansing from daily defilement.
B.      If our feet are not washed, we have no part inn Jesus.  If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.” (v.8b)
1.       We confess we need to have our feet washed when we pray daily, “Forgive us our trespasses.”
2.       He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us. (1 John 1:9)
3.       We have a part in all that Jesus earned for us by His suffering and death.

We are daily made clean all over. The love Jesus showed in washing His disciples’ feet does not fail us either.

2.       It is a love that makes us humble.

A.      The foot washing provides us a pattern for humble service. “When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am.  If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. (Vv.12-15)
1.       Christ’s act is a picture of His voluntary humiliation whereby He stooped to save. “who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant,[a] being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” (Philippians 2:6-8)
2.       But literally washing one another’s feet will not bring us any nearer to the mind of Christ. 
3.       We follow Christ’s example when we bear one another’s burdens. .” (Galatians 6:2)
a.       We are concerned for their physical comfort.
b.      We aim to secure their spiritual and moral cleansing.
B.      The love of Jesus enables us to “wash one another’s feet.”
1.       That love transforms our hearts so that we get rid of arrogance, envy, and anger.
2.       That love guides us in a spirit of lowliness and helpfulness.

Blessed are we when we let the unfailing love of Jesus move us to imitate Him. “ .” (v.17)

The love of Jesus will not fail. He who washed His disciples’ feet will cleanse us daily and empower us to humble service.
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