Friday, September 9, 2011

“For Your Sake” (1 Peter 1:17-19)

S-1251 3rd SOE/3A 05/08/11, (O) 193, (S) #210, L.S. # 458; #201; #194; (C) # 189

Text: Acts 2:14, 36-41; 1 Peter 1:17-25; 2—24; Luke 24:13-35

Theme: “For Your Sake” (1 Peter 1:17-19)

Question: “Have you done something special just because?”


Faithful followers of the Savior, Christ is Risen! He is risen indeed! The text for our 3rd Sunday of Easter is from the Epistle lesson: “And if you call on Him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile, knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot” (1 Peter 1:17-19).

In Nomini Iesu Most Beloved,

There are those Sundays when it is tough to preach. Peter preaches on Pentecost and 3,000 are added to the church. Peter goes on in our Epistle to tell us that it is not with silver or gold, but His precious blood, which He knew He would pour out from before the time when He hung the stars in the heavens - and all this, the Savior would do for your sake! Peter goes on to differentiate between the perishable and the imperishable seed! You are now born anew from imperishable seed. Wow! If that was all I had to preach - wow! But add to that the dialog, the encounter, the personal touch of Jesus with the two Emmaus disciples…, on Easter Sunday... and you have something so incredible that it is LIFE itself.

Do you notice a pattern with Jesus after the resurrection? He appears through locked doors, two men who knew Him before do not recognize Him when all of a sudden, as they walk, He appears out of seemingly nowhere. We have a need, and, voila! He is there. Well guess what? You have a need today, and voila! He is here... for your sake! Oh, they didn’t recognize Him in the way He revealed Himself from before the Cross. Peter doesn’t recognize Him with the catch of fish in John 21. We can no longer walk with Him in the same manner we can walk with a flesh and blood friend. But in the means He has given, He is more surely and certainly with you, for your sake!

How foolish and slow of heart we can be to believe all that the prophets have spoken. Even today, we still want sings and wonders. Just this past week while sitting with my cousin, he asked me, “Nabil, how do I know that the Scriptures are true? How do I even know that God exists? A sign would be nice.” But we have the signs and wonders revealed in the Word of the Living God. We have the prophet’s Words written for our learning and for our sake. It is a sure Word and not words like a politician would mouth, not a promise that is hastily spoken, but Words that echo the Creative Force of Him who by this same Word was able to use Peter’s stammering tongue to convert 3,000 souls through one sermon.. He does not give us words of flash and polish, like silver and gold, which tarnish and perish, but His Eternal Word that speaks newness of life into doubting, hurting, lonely, broken hearts. This is a Word that is spoken... for your sake!

Sometimes it’s easy to take the Word of God for granted. How many Bibles do you have in your home? How accessible is the Word on the Internet? Yet we seek hope in lowered interest rates, in sales at the local stores, yes, in all those things that moth and rust may destroy and where thief and robber can break in to steal. We find hope in the words of other men and women, their writings and their wisdom.

Be certain of this, I am pointing the finger at you, knowing I have three fingers pointed directly at my own heart. Yes, I am slow of heart to believe all that the Prophets have spoken... and still speak. What they speak is how Jesus is the Christ. They speak how He had to suffer, and die on the Cross and in that enter into His glory!

Notice what it means to enter into His glory! It is to hang on your cross. It is to die in your place. It is to suffer hell for you. It is to go through death to life that has no ending... and has no sorrow... and has no loss... to life that is both eternal and perfect. All this is yours now. This Jesus who was crucified and risen has entered into His glory so that you, too, would enter into His glory! That Glory is your eternal life.

Now it is interesting that in v. 34 of our Gospel we have the words of the Emmaus disciples saying the Lord has appeared to Simon! By that they mean: Peter. The very disciple who denied Jesus three times before the cock crowed (Luke 22:60-62). This is Resurrection night, the same night when Jesus appears behind the locked doors to the disciples. In our text, the Emmaus disciples tell in v. 24 how “some with us (Peter and John) went to the tomb and found everything as the women said, ‘but Him they did not see.’” If we go back to v. 12 of this text we find that Peter runs to the tomb and finds the linen cloths lying there. It is a sign that brings faith, just as with finding Jesus wrapped in the same cloths at His birth (Luke 2:12, and this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.) The cloths as they are found bring faith. When the Emmaus disciples arrive back at the Upper Room, they confirm that Peter’s search for the Risen Savior is true. It is this sight without seeing that is our faith. The Words of God in the Prophets bring us life and light and the love of God. This is for your sake! Are you like Peter, a doubter, and even a denier? Good! You are also one to whom He has appeared, in the same signs, in the same swaddles, that is, in the Word and Words of Holy Scripture.

Yes, beginning with Moses and the Prophets, He tells us, just as He did the Emmaus Disciples, just as He did Peter (whose preaching tells us that God has done all this for your sake!)... For your sake all of this is done. PAUSE.

On this day when we observe Mother’s Day, we realize that many of the sacrifices mother make is for the sake of their family. The late night waiting for their children to come home is done for your sake. The cooking, cleaning and caring is all done for your sake. Their love is poured out for your sake. Their prayers lifted up before the Throne of Grace is for your sake.

But as much as a mother’s love moves her to do the things she does for her family’s sake, the Savior does even more for His own family—He permits us to stand in the presence of the Holy God and speak words of forgiveness and mercy, all for the sake of Christ. Before the Throne of Grace, we see the payments for sins made by the holy, innocent, precious blood of Christ all for your sake. And that same Savior pleads before His Father in heaven for YOUR sake. All of this, He does for you beloved in the Lord. Today, as the Savior on that first Easter night opened the eyes and hearts of the disciples, He also now tells you... all the Scriptures are all and always only about Him and His love for you, a lost and condemned creature, and one who He has purchased and won, not with silver or gold, but with His precious blood and innocent death, that you would be His own and live under Him in His Kingdom and serve Him in everlasting righteous innocence and blessedness, just as He is risen from the dead and lives and reigns to all eternity. This is most certainly true...for your sake! Amen!

Now the peace…

Soli Deo Gloria

No comments: