Nov 10, 2019 – Child of Death / Child of Life
In Jesus’ answer to the Sadducees about the resurrection in the gospel lesson, He gives us some bold and profound things to consider. Look at verses 35 – 36 and read those verses with me please. “But those who are considered worthy of taking part in that age and in the resurrection from the dead will neither marry nor be given in marriage, 36 and they can no longer die; for they are like the angels. They are God’s children, since they are children of the resurrection.”
There are at least three things that Jesus teaches us in those two sentences. 1 That there is resurrection from the dead. 2 That there are angels and that people in heaven share with angels, immortality. And 3 the resurrection life is proof of being God’s child.
So, consider this; what difference does what Jesus says here about the resurrection make to you? What difference does knowing that you have new life, eternal life, life forever with God, as His child, make in your day? Let me suggest a few things.
One is that you’re no longer tethered to the things of this earth. They can no longer bind your heart and mind when you know that what you are and what you have in Christ is eternal and that what surrounds you here and now is only temporary. All the stuff of this earth is ours only for a short time and sometimes people put to much value on it.
Like this guy out where I lived in southern California. He was driving down the road in his bright red convertible BMW when suddenly an earthquake hit and split-open the road he was driving on. His sports car was swallowed into the ground. The man jumped out in time to save his life, but before he could get completely away the car rolled over and cut off his left arm. As he sat on the ground looking into the pit, he cried, “Oh no, my car! My car!” A man passing by stopped and said, “How can you be crying about your car? You just lost your arm!” In shock, the man looked down where his arm should be and said, “Oh no, my Rolex! My Rolex!”
That’s a guy who had his mind too focused on the things of this earth. So, one difference by knowing you’re a child of the resurrection makes is, that you’re no longer enslaved by the things of this earth.
Another thing is that you have the presence of God in your life right now. By His grace through faith in the work of Jesus dying on the cross and rising to new life again, you are now the possession of God . And that doesn’t just affect you – you are transformed by that because it is from God. The sermon title says child of death / child of life. That is, you.
Because of your baptism you were made a child of death as St Paul says in Romans 6:4 “We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.” And according to this same verse, baptism grants us new life. And again, in today’s gospel lesson as we said, the resurrection life shows us to be children of God, children of life. As God’s children He is always, always with us.
Most of you know that my father died when I was 18. But to this day my dad is with me. I’m still his son and not a day goes by that I don’t remember that.
The same is true with our heavenly father. Just as my dad is always with me, because I’m his son, so also God is always with me because, by right of baptism into Jesus Christ I was made a child of God. And so are you.
Ok so, let’s recap, so far, you know that you are a child of God (meaning a child of life) and a child of the resurrection, therefore you have the presence of the God of heaven in your life; and,,, you are no longer tied to the things of this earth. Now to the third thing, that the resurrection can make a difference to in our daily life.
You have, each day, in your possession the weapons you need to resist temptation to sin that comes your way. That is extraordinary power! You have the power to resist temptation! Remember that temptation is not sin! Temptation is not the same thing as sin. Temptation can lead you to sin, but temptation is not the same as sin. Don’t confuse those two.
Temptation has only the power you let it have. But remember, being free of the claims this world tries to put on you and, also having God’s presence in your life, by those two things, you have been given the strength required to put up a fight against the temptation to sin. Like it says, temptation is everywhere but so is God! Now here is one real benefit of having eternal life isn’t it? This can truly impact your day.
But for some reason people try to minimize the impact of God in their life. We like temptation. We can even invite it. That way we think we have an excuse when we ‘fall’ into sin. People try to hold back the tide of transformation that comes with the presence of God in a person’s daily life. Even Moses in the Old Testament lesson today shows us this.
Look at the two questions Moses asked God when God called him and did him the favor of telling him exactly what God wanted him to do. First Moses protested that he was of no account in the eyes of the pharaoh – the mighty king of Egypt.
And what was God’s answer? I will be with you. It’s as though God is saying that His presence alone in Moses life is all that Moses needs. It’s God’s being with Moses that will allow Moses to accomplish what God has called him to do, regardless of who Moses must face. Up to and including pharaoh.
So he struck out asking God about pharaoh. Then Moses takes another tack and asks God to explain who Moses should tell the nation of Israel it is that sent this outcast and murderer to them to lead them away from pharaoh. And again God answers Moses. And He does so by giving Moses the most powerful thing He can. He tells Moses His name. The name that is the most holy. Moses is told to say, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’
That leaves Moses with no more excuses. He cannot resist the power of the great I Am. God promises to be with Moses when he comes before both pharaoh and his kingdom and before the nation of Israel.
There is no one Moses will encounter in doing the work God has called him to do, either a pharaoh of this world, or the people of Moses own nation of Israel, no one, who can remove God’s presence from him because he has God’s own high and holy name. And with giving Moses this name, this identity, God is making clear that how and why Moses acts is only under the transformative power of the true God of all creation.
Holding back God’s power to transform us by His presence is not something Moses could do, nor is it a part of who we are at Zion Lutheran Church. According to our mission statement we are here doing what? Hearing, Sharing and Living the Gospel, right. We do that because we are transformed by the presence of God in our daily life through the name of God’s only begotten son, Jesus Christ. We don’t want to limit that transformation and power of our Heavenly Father’s gift to us of His holy presence within us to resist temptation.
One of the popular notions of our day is that it doesn’t matter which god you worship, as long as you sincerely worship some god. That’s like telling the sky diver: “It doesn’t matter what you stuff in that parachute pack on your back, as long as you sincerely stuff something back there.” Or the scuba diver: “It doesn’t matter what kind of gas you fill your scuba tank with, as long as you sincerely fill it with some kind of gas.” A proper parachute for the skydiver and the right gas for the scuba diver are essential for survival. The right presence of the only true God: our creator Triune God- Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, His presence in us by grace through faith alone, is the presence that matters. His presence is the only one that leads to life eternal. Many very sincere and very religious people today blindly seek after false gods, to their eternal destruction.
That is not us. We have had the One true God explode our lives open by granting us the guarantee of eternal life in the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ. That guarantee can’t be taken from us or be denied to us by anyone or anything on this earth, just like Moses. Jesus Christ, by His death and especially by His resurrection, is the guarantee of that promise of God to us.
And that comes to the world in no other God or any other way than through the name of Jesus. Being a child of the resurrection is a spur to our mission of sharing the Gospel. Knowing that resurrection power transforms, and brings us God’s presence and gives us power over temptation, don’t we want others to know and have that also? Yes, we do.
The power of the resurrection is for everyone to have. In fact, it is already theirs, they just need to learn that. Without someone telling them, they will not have what you have, life now and life everlasting.
Let me suggest this, try sharing John 3:16 in a very personal way. When it says, ‘for God so loved the world’, try replacing ‘the world’ with the persons name. Try it here right now with someone sitting next to you. Turn to them and take the sermon notes you have and where the underlines are with the word, NAME in it, say John 3:16 to them putting their name in the places indicated. Try it now.
“For God so loved Name that he gave his one and only Son, that Name who believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
It’s wonderful to hear that the holy God of all creation loves you by name. I’m not suggesting you go down the street and do this with strangers. But you might find you can adapt it and it’s something you can do in quiet moments with a friend or loved one who needs to hear for their life what you know to be true in your life. You don’t have to get the quote exactly word for word, but use their name and let them know why God loves them as you know He loves you.
You know that you are child of death and a child of life. You know you are no longer tethered to this world and that the power of the resurrection is yours through the blood and in the name of Jesus Christ. You have been transformed by Christ, go and share that; in Jesus name. Amen.
Sermon #1053 Rev. Thomas A. Rhodes, Pastor – Zion Lutheran Church, Bolivar, MO
Old Testament Reading Exodus 3:1-15
3 Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. 2 There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. 3 So Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up.”
4 When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, “Moses! Moses!”
And Moses said, “Here I am.”
5 “Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” 6 Then he said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.” At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God.
7 The Lord said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. 8 So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey—the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. 9 And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them. 10 So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.”
11 But Moses said to God, “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”
12 And God said, “I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain.” 13 Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?”
14 God said to Moses, “I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I am has sent me to you.’”
15 God also said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites, ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob—has sent me to you.’
“This is my name forever, the name by which I am to be remembered from generation to generation.
Epistle Reading 2 Thessalonians 2:1-17
2 Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers, 2 not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by some prophecy, report or letter supposed to have come from us, saying that the day of the Lord has already come. 3 Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. 4 He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.
5 Don’t you remember that when I was with you I used to tell you these things? 6 And now you know what is holding him back, so that he may be revealed at the proper time. 7 For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way. 8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming. 9 The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, 10 and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.11 For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie 12 and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.
13 But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers loved by the Lord, because from the beginning God chose you to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth. 14 He called you to this through our gospel, that you might share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
15 So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter.
16 May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, 17 encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.
Holy Gospel Luke 20:27-40
27 Some of the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to Jesus with a question. 28 “Teacher,” they said, “Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies and leaves a wife but no children, the man must marry the widow and raise up offspring for his brother. 29 Now there were seven brothers. The first one married a woman and died childless. 30 The second 31 and then the third married her, and in the same way the seven died, leaving no children. 32 Finally, the woman died too. 33 Now then, at the resurrection whose wife will she be, since the seven were married to her?” 34 Jesus replied, “The people of this age marry and are given in marriage. 35 But those who are considered worthy of taking part in the age to come and in the resurrection from the dead will neither marry nor be given in marriage, 36 and they can no longer die; for they are like the angels. They are God’s children, since they are children of the resurrection. 37 But in the account of the burning bush, even Moses showed that the dead rise, for he calls the Lord ‘the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ 38 He is not the God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive.” 39 Some of the teachers of the law responded, “Well said, teacher!” 40 And no one dared to ask him any more questions.