Thursday, May 29, 2003


The Feast of the Lord’s Ascension
May 29, 2003
Luke 24:44-53

INTRODUCTION:  Picture in your mind the glorious Ascension of Jesus Christ. As He ascends into heaven in the presence of His disciples the conquering Savior lifts His hands to bless us. What would that say to us this night?

I.        Christ’s uplifted hands were nail-marked hands, which testified to His having suffered as the Scriptures had predicted. Jesus says in Vs. 46 of our text: “Thus it was written, that the Christ should suffer and rise again from the dead on the third day” All of the Scriptures have been fulfilled. Jesus has successfully completed every prophecy.

A.     The Scriptures make it clear that Christ suffered for our sins. 1 Peter 2:24 reminds us: “He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross that we might die to sin and live unto righteousness for by His stripes we are healed.” One righteous man completing one righteous and unselfish act completed your redemption in time and space.

B.     The Scriptures make it clear that He and He alone was able to suffer sin’s punishment for us. 1 Peter 1:18-19 remind us: “knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver and gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as a lamb, unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.”   Christ has accounted for all sin. There is not one sin left. He is the Lamb of God, which takes away the sins of the world. He is the world’s redeemer. He is our Savior and King.  

C.     Peter will say again in 1 Peter 3:18: “For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, in order that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but being made alive in the spirit...” When Christ died all sin died. When He arose triumphantly from the grave He gave us a guarantee of our eternal destiny. He now has gone to prepare a place for us. The glorious Ascension of Jesus Christ assures us that we have a destiny with Christ in glory.

Transition:  Jesus’ hands are lifted – lifted to bless us, lifted to remind us that we are the redeemed children of God.

II.     The nail scared hands of Jesus, lifted up tell us that He, the risen Lord, as made an effective sacrifice for sin.

A.     On the basis of His sacrifice and glorious resurrection the forgiveness of sins can now be proclaimed to all. In our text Jesus remind us in Vs. 47: ”...and that repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in His name to all the nations – beginning from Jerusalem” 

The New Testament church started in Jerusalem but they didn’t remain there. They went into Judea, Samaria and to the utter most regions of the earth proclaiming a simple message of Christ’s resurrection. Yet, it was a powerful message for it literally turned the world upside down.

B.     As you and I daily confess our sins, we can be sure that His sacrifice will cleans us from all sin. This is what we read in 1 John 1:7: “...but if we walk in the light as He Himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son, cleanses us from all sin.” This is a message the world still needs to hear. This is a message you and I need to hear each and every day. The blood of Jesus Christ has cleansed us from all sin.

CONCLUSION:  The Ascended Lord has accomplished for us the forgiveness of sins, life and salvation. In Jesus Christ all sin is forgiven period! In Jesus Christ all is well, all is well.  

Sunday, May 4, 2003

Confirmation 2003

Confirmation Sunday
May 4, 2003 
Psalm 27:1

The Lord is my light and my salvation – whom shall I fear – the Lord is the stronghold of my life of whom shall I be afraid? 

INTRODUCTION:  Today is May 4, 2003 the day of your confirmation. I find it significant and truly fitting that you should be confirmed on this particular day for as you well know this is the day in which we honor the memory of two fathers of American Lutheranism; F C D Wyneken and F H Husmann.

Wyneken is the man with whom we are quite familiar. He’s the pastor with the yellow pants. He is the father of American Home Missions. He was pastor of this congregation for five years and later served as the 2nd President of our Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod during the Civil War from this parish.

He was instrumental in securing mission dollars and mission minded people committing them to the American frontier. He played a significant role in establishing two seminaries within our national Church body. We have honored his memory by establishing one of the first consolidated Lutheran schools in our Synod in his name. 

Each of you will soon graduate from our Wyneken School. Yes, Alicia, Wyneken is the school where your father has taught for sixteen years and lest we forget, Nathan and Brandon, Wyneken married a Buuck!

Husmann might be a name you are not all too familiar with however he too is honored today. Husmann was elected the first secretary of our Synod one hundred six years ago. He was the pastor of St. John’s Bingen representing them at the signing of Synod’s charter in Chicago in 1847. Husmann was one of the first Lutheran missionaries to tread on American soil.

One of his responsibilities was to keep a diary of his activities. In that diary are the outlines of sermon, which he delivered in this area. He also recorded his activities as a pastor and the inner workings of the surrounding congregations. He writes extensively concerning our congregation. He helped us by establishing a particular parish practice. Someone once said: “You can spot a Lutheran five miles away!” well, it was Pr. Husmann who helped define American Lutheran practice.

While Husmann is closer connected to the Bingen congregation you have spent a considerable amount of time over the years at St. John’s during Wednesday morning chapel. I would venture to guess that we have averaged about 40 chapel serves each school year. Multiply that by 8 years and you have an estimated 320 chapel services which you have probably attended. Yes, May 4th is a significant day for St. John’s for St. Paul’s and for Zion congregation!  

May 4th is your day also. Between January 1988 (starting with Spencer) and July 1989 (concluding with Alicia)  - In roughly a year and a half there were a total of fourteen baptisms here at Zion. That’s an incredible number of baptisms for this parish! That is the time period in which you were baptized into Christ Jesus.

In 1989 alone there were a total of twenty-two baptisms! In the past fourteen years we have witnessed a phenomenal pattern of growth in this parish as whole families have come to make their home in Friedheim. Karly and Laura I didn’t have the privilege of baptizing you however you have come to this parish with your parents to make Friedheim a house of peace and a haven of rest for souls. Brett, Lydia, Joey, Cam and Sara we have literally watched you grow up among us. 

Today you confirm the faith into which you have been baptized. Today you affirm your faith in God alone while He pledges to you His commitment to you. We can be confident of this, “that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus”. {Philippians 1:6}

The verse you have selected for this important day is recorded in Psalm 27:1 It reads: The Lord is my light and my salvation – whom shall I fear – the Lord is the stronghold of my life of whom shall I be afraid?  Psalm 27:1

We need not fear –

I.        Because the Lord is the light of my salvation.

A.     Light. Throughout the Scriptures light is often used to symbolize well-being, contentment and peace. Proverbs 13:9 reminds us: “The light of the righteous shines brightly but the lamp of the wicked is snuffed out.”  Solomon further explains in Proverbs 4:18: “The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shining ever brighter till the full light of day.”  Psalm 43:3 tells us –“O send out Thy light and Thy truth, let them lead me; let them bring me to Thy holy hill, and to Thy dwelling places.”

There is joy and prosperity in knowing the Lord. With Him you will have all the guidance and protection you will ever need. When you say, “the Lord is my light” you are expressing confidence in Him as the source of your salvation.

B.     Psalm 3:8 reminds us: -“Salvation belongs to the LORD;” From the Lord comes deliverance. You can be confident that the Lord will continue to guide and direct you. The forgiveness of sins, life and salvation has all been given to you freely as a gift. What a joy it is to know that the Lord Jesus is the very source of your salvation.

Transition: The Lord Himself is the light of your salvation. He has promised to direct your life. We need not fear for He is near. He is your strength in every circumstance. With the Lord you can face any situation confidently. You do not need to be afraid.

II.     Because the Lord is the stronghold of my life.

A.     Psalm 9:9 tells us –“The LORD also will be a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble,” Notice how clearly we are told that it is the Lord who directs our life. He is the one who influences our life. He is the one who knows our future. In every circumstance He will be there for you; in times of great joy and especially in times of trouble. He will be there for you - you can count on Him. Remember David’s words in Psalm 46: “God is our refuge and strength, and ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear”

B.     David reminds us in Psalm 18:2 “The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.”

The Lord will give to you His unfailing strength, as He alone is our refuge strength. He has promised to deliver you from all harm and danger. We can be confident that we are safe and secure for He directs your life. Remember the last petition of Luther’s Morning and Evening Prayer. It sums up what David is driving at in your verse for today. “Into Thy hands I commit myself my body and soul and all things. Let Thy Holy Angel be with me, that the wicked foe may have no power over me” When you are safely in the Lord’s hands all is well. 

CONCLUSION:   Remember the things that we taught you, cling to that which is good and remember that the Savior walks with you every day. “The Lord is my light and my salvation – whom shall I fear – the Lord is the stronghold of my life of whom shall I be afraid?”