S-1187 6SOE/3C 5/09/10 Hymns (O) #5; S #459; L.S. #387; 199; 308; (C) #47
Texts: Acts 16:9-15; Revelation 21:9-14, 21-27; John 16:23-33
Theme: “Ask Me!” (John 16:23-24)
Question: “Is it easy for you to ask?”
SOLI DEO GLORIA, Armour, SD
Faithful followers of the Savior, Christ is Risen! He is Risen Indeed! Alleluia! The text for The Sixth Sunday of Easter is from the Gospel lesson: “In that day you will ask nothing of Me. Truly, truly, I say to you whatever you ask of the Father in My name He will give it to you. Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.” (John 16:23-24).
Introduction: In Nomine IESU
People of God, chosen and beloved when Robert Schuller wanted to build the Crystal Cathedral he asked people to donate money. 18 people came forward and each donated $1.000.000 for this project. Robert was able to pay for the building all at once. One of the donors was an LCMS woman. When our Synod personnel found out that she donated a $1.000.000 they went to her and asked, “Why didn’t you give the money to our Church body, we could have used it?” She said, “You never asked me; he did!” You never asked.
A father was looking out through the kitchen window and to his amazement he saw his 6 years old son attempting to move a huge bolder. The father went out to see what was going on. He asked his son, “What are you trying to do Joe?” the son responded, “I am trying to move this big rock.” The father then said, “Son, use all your power.” The son pushed and pushed but to no avail. The father said, “Son, use all your power.” The boy anchored his legs and with all of his might, pushed and pushed and again the bolder didn’t even budge. The father looked at him again and said, “Son, I told you use all your power.” The boy in frustration said, “Dad, I have tried, but I can’t. I don’t have enough power to move it.” With that the father smiled and said, “Son, you didn’t ask me.” PAUSE.
My beloved and His beloved, today, our victorious and resurrected Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ tells us in these few words that as His beloved children we can ask the heavenly father for what we need, and He will grant it for Jesus’ sake. This is how the Savior put it: “I say to you whatever you ask of the Father in My name He will give it to you. Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.” With these words we are invited to come to the Father through Jesus and ask of Him whatever is on our hearts.
The problem is that we don’t for two reasons: 1. Pride and 2. Arrogance. Just like the young son in our story, we let pride get in the way and try to do it alone. Or we attempt to go to God only when things are rough. We say to ourselves, we don’t want to bother God, He has so many others pleading to Him. We don’t want to acknowledge that we need His help because that means we are weak. That is nothing but foolish PRIDE and ARROGANCE. How mistaken we are. We limit God and place Him in a box as if He is to be bothered only when we can’t do it ourselves. At times we think we can’t come to Him because we are afraid He is going to be mad at us or turn us down. We think we have been so bad that we can’t or shouldn’t pray to Him. How tragic that we permit the devil to keep us away from praying and asking the Father for what we need.
Jesus taught His disciples then and today’s disciples that we can come to the Father only through Him. We can come to His Throne of Mercy because Jesus bids and invites us to do so. But we don’t listen. We don’t always go to the Father in prayers because we want to be independent and do things our own way. On top of that what right do I have to do this?
Please picture yourself before heaven’s door. You have a request to make of the heavenly Father. You knock, and He opens it. “Lord,” you begin, “I’m so and so, and I’ve come to request such and such.” The words are barely off your tongue when He shuts the door in your face. What else could you expect? What right do sinners have to approach a holy, just and righteous God, much less to make demands on Him?
You pick yourself up and try again. Once more you knock. And once more the door opens. “Lord,” you pray, “I’m Your redeemed and forgiven child. See, I wear the robe of righteousness woven by Your Son on the loom of the cross. The stains on this robe are real; that’s His blood that covers my sins. He has told me that He has made me Your forgiven, beloved and chosen child and that whatever I ask in His name, you will give to me.”
Now the door is opened wide, the Father’s arms reach out. Lovingly He lifts me up on His knees. Tenderly He encourages me to speak. Why is it that I, an unworthy sinner, can come to God at all with my prayers? It’s because of my victorious and risen Christ. Before the Father’s throne He points to His love that paid for my sins and His grace that made me a believer. And then He pleads that God hears my prayers for His sake. So it is possible for me in Jesus’ name, ONLY because of Jesus’ full payment for my sins, to come to God and find a loving Father who will both hear and answer all such prayers.
You and I can do the same because we are His beloved and chosen children. Walk with me through the corridor of God’s Holy Word and learn from the many that came to Him and asked of Him…
God’s people of Israel languished in the oppression of Egypt. They cried out to the God of their Fathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. In answer, Yahweh sent Moses to deliver them through the water of the Red Sea and the barren landscape of the desert all the way to the Promised Land. Then it was Elijah at Mt. Carmel. God’s prophet stood in combat with the followers of the brazen Baal. It was a battle to the death. And when Elijah cried out, fire descended and completely consumed the soaked sacrifice, the wood and even the stone to show that He is mighty powerful God! A Gentile woman with a demon possessed child came crying out. Jesus ignores her. But faith pleaded for even the crumbs that fall from the Master’s Table. That day, that woman of faith but not of Abraham not only received the crumbs, she feasted on the grace that freed her child from the hell of possession.
We dare not forget about the thief hanging right next to Jesus. Realizing He will meet His maker soon, cried out to the Lord, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your Kingdom,” and Jesus promised Him “Today, you will be with Me in Paradise!” PAUSE.
Even our Lord Jesus asked. As we enter the Garden of Gethsemane, we hear Jesus praying to the Father of all compassion and mercy, that if there was any other way that the CUP of suffering would pass from Him. Yet, as the Son asks the Father, there was no other way. That cross would come. It would come for Jesus so that it wouldn’t come for us!
Each of these examples and 10 times more are there to show us clearly that this God, the One that Jesus offers to us in this text, is there for us to cry out to. He is the One that has willingly gone to Hell and back so that we do not have to. In light of this, there is nothing which we can’t approach the Father to ask. We don’t get to come because of what we have done or accomplished. No, we CAN come simply because He has come near to us to open the way.
Faithful followers of the Savior, what is it that besets you today? Is there something that oppresses you? Is there an uncertainty that plagues your life and your future? Jesus says: “ASK ME!” Is there something out there that drives you to fear and makes it almost impossible to trust in the very One who sent Jesus? ASK! Is there a life that is lying out in front of you with decisions and opportunities that leaves you wondering which direction to turn? ASK! Do you have friends and loved ones who don’t know, or worse, don’t care that Jesus wants to be their Lord and Savior? ASK! There isn’t anything off limits for our asking. Our Lord promises to hear us. And when we ask, He promises to answer.
Now, we may not like the answer. For every time we pray like Elijah, the Syro-Phonecian woman, or the thief on the cross God answers. There are times when the answer sounds very much like the answer that Jesus heard in Gethsemane. Yet, in every case, when God’s people ask, God answers. His answers are there for our good. He won’t give us anything that isn’t good for us. And at the same time, what He does give us WILL BE good for us!
There is nothing that brings God’s people more joy than knowing that our Lord hears and answers His people when they pray in the name of Jesus! The time has come for each one of us to stop foolishly bearing the burdens of life that are not meant to be borne by us alone! ASK! This is not merely an invitation, but a great privilege and a blessing. NOT to ASK is to lack trust in the very One who gives this very blessed invitation. Today our joy is full. Full of trust that not only cries out to our Lord but KNOWS that when we ASK in Jesus’ name, He answers.
My beloved and chosen people of God, for the sake of Him who said: “Ask Me!” and by the power of the Holy Spirit, Stop your straining. Start asking. Stop your fretting. Start asking! Stop your worrying! Start Asking. And we do, the all merciful and compassionate Father will answer for the sake of Christ! AMEN.
Now the peace of God…