Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Jesus I will Ponder Now

If my sins give me alarm
And my conscience grieve me
Let Thy cross my fear disarm
Peace of conscience give me
Grant that I may trust in Thee
And Thy holy Passion
If His Son so loveth me
God must have compassion

Introduction: Today we begin a six week process of observing our Savior’s Passion, suffering and death during the discipline of Lent. Under the theme: “Jesus I will Ponder Now” we will focus on six aspects of the Savior’s Passion as rendered and presented in six beautiful Chorales – four of which were penned by Johan Sebastian Bach. It is my prayer that as we focus on Jesus’ suffering through Scripture and song we will grow in a deeper appreciation of what Jesus has won for us on the bloody and cruel cross of Calvary.

In the Gospel of Luke, chapter 18, Jesus explains to His disciples, “Then He took unto Him the twelve, and said unto them, ‘Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of Man shall be accomplished.” {V.31} As we consider Jesus’ Passion we observe His work in terms of sin and grace.

I. If my sins give me alarm and My conscience grieve me.

A. It is sin which causes us to be alarmed
1. Sin of commission –committed and done by
a. Thoughts
b. Words
c. Actions
2. Sins of omission
a. When we had opportunity to do good but failed.
b. When we could have prevented sin but failed to act or didn’t want to get involved, or the time was not convenient.
B. Our conscience is troubled when we consider past wrongs, failures, and the nagging question, “What will God do to me at the end of my days?”

Transition: How do we receive a clean conscience and peace of mind? Our hymn verse gives us a clear answer.

II. Let Thy cross, my fear disarm peace of conscience give me.

A. The cross of Christ disarms our fears.
1. At The cross the wrath of an offended God was poured out on Jesus Christ God’s own Son.
2. Paul puts it this way; “God was in Christ reconciling us to the Father not counting our sins against us…” 2 Corinthians 5:19
3. As Christ has taken our sin there is nothing for us to fear.
B. Peace of conscience is what Christ alone can give.
1. He gives us His peace – “Peace I leave thee, My peace I give thee…” -John 14:27
2. This is the only peace, which will sustain us – all other forms or attempts at peace - pale in comparison.

Transition: Christ suffered for us once for all. Yet the Devil will attempt to trip us up reminding us again and again of past failings. He will quote for us chapter and verse where we have sinned. That’s why we need a continued reminder of Christ’s work.

III. Grant that I may trust in Thee and Thy holy Passion.
A. All Jesus asks of us is to trust Him.
1. Trust is nothing more than another word for faith.
2. Faith is nothing more than taking God at His word.
B. We trust that what Christ accomplished at the cross is all that is needed to win for us salvation.
1. Jesus’ words: “It is finished!” says it all!
a. There is nothing left to be done. Jesus did it all at the cross.
b. Trusting in Jesus’ work and merit is what our faith must focus.

Transition: As we focus on what Jesus has done we learn an eternal truth – the love and compassion of Christ.

IV. If His Son so loveth me God must have compassion.
A. Smile - God loves you! Best summed up by Christ Himself in John 3:16-18
B. He has had compassion. The Passion of the Christ is motivated by the Father’s compassion for a fallen world. When He gave up His own Son He did the very best. The Father shows that;
1. He cares for us
2. He loves us
3. He sent us His own Son who redeemed this world to save us.

Conclusion: As we begin the discipline of Lent we focus on Jesus’ Passion. He has redeemed us lost and condemned creatures and has purchased and won us from sin, from death and from the power of the devil. A great and mighty wonder is to unfold during this Lenten season we watch in awe and wonderment.

Schnorr von Carolsfeld woodcuts © WELS used by permission for personal and congregational use.

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