Monday, May 12, 2014

“Stand Up and Speak Out” (Acts 2:14a, 36) Main Street Living Sunday

S-1430 3SOE/3A 5/04/2014 Hymns: (O) #194; (S) #451; (C) #400

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

Theme: “Stand Up and Speak Out” (Acts 2:14a, 36) Main Street Living Sunday

Question: “How comfortable are you to speak out?” Armour, SD

Faithful followers of the Savior, Christ is Risen! He is Risen, indeed! Alleluia! The text for the 3rd Sunday of Easter is from the Acts: “But Peter, standing with the eleven, lifted up his voice and addressed them…Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified” (Acts 2:14a, 36).


We are still in the Easter season. Therefore, I say to you again, “Christ is Risen!” (waiting for their response. “He is Risen. Indeed. Alleluia!” You know beloved I never get tired of hearing and saying these words. For these words are life and salvation. These words are hope and joy. These words are commemoration and better yet celebration of the victory of what Christ has accomplished for us.

Today the Holy Spirit engages us to listen to the Pentecost Sermon preached by Peter, as he stood alongside the 11 Apostles and explained to all of those who heard his voice about the mighty victory of the Resurrection that Jesus procured. In essence, Peter was saying to the world then and us today, we are witnesses of the Resurrection. With this sermon, he launched the Church forward and by the grace of God 3000 souls were converted to be followers of the Nazarene. Talk about Church growth worked by the mighty power of the Word preached and proclaimed.

Let us remember that this sermon was delivered by a divinely-energized Peter, who now boldly warns those who several weeks earlier had taken part in the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus. He warns them that the day of the divine judgment is near, and yet he gives hope because there is still an opportunity for repentance, salvation and divine blessings. Let us listen well to these words, bearing in mind that thousands came to faith through this sermon. “But Peter, standing with the eleven, lifted up his voice and addressed them…Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified”

As Peter stood up and spoke out, the world was changed. The Spirit convicted the sinners, caused them to have penitent hearts, receive His forgiveness and turned away from the life they lived—serving themselves. Peter in this sermon was teaching them that the Rabbai has robbed the grave of its power. As the Savior stood in their midst, He gave them peace and filled their hearts with joy so that all of the 11 disciples consecrated their lives in standing up and speaking out about Jesus, who was put to death but rose again on the third day. PAUSE.

Here, in this place behind these closed doors, the Savior comes and gives us His peace. He also tells us that we are His witnesses to the ends of the earth. Witnessing is not only limited to speaking clever words on our part. Rather witnessing is telling what Jesus has done for us. Peter and the Disciples tell about it to anyone and everyone. Peter the fisherman who has become a fisher of men was dragged to the Gentile house of Cornelius. There, he as a Jew and Cornelius as Gentile were converted to be God’s spokespersons.

The disciples spoke boldly and traveled the world over. And today, we hear Peter again standing up and speaking out about the mighty power of the Resurrection to those who were standing before Him. Cost was not an issue but souls were. In the ministry of the Gospel the cost is not in dollars and cents; but in sinners, blind, dead and enemies of God; hearing the good and glorious news. Likewise, we speak with our lips and confess with our hearts, of what Christ has done for us—suffered in our place, died in our place, destroyed satan for us and rose to give us life eternal with Him in heaven.

Today, by the grace of God Main Street Living (MSL) is one of those voices that speak of the power of the Resurrection Christ has earned for sinners the world over. MSL is a voice of grace and goodness that tell those who are unable to be in the Lord’s house and those who don’t have any church affiliation that Christ is their hope and help; that Christ is their joy and blessing; that Christ is their only source of salvation and restoration.

Since 2001 MSL has been the medium by which the resurrection message been proclaimed to many homes in the tri-state area. For over 13 years the message of the crucified and risen Christ has been entering many homes, nursing-homes, hospitals, assisted living unites and hearts and speaking to them of the blessed news of Jesus’ victory over sin, death and the grave. Sunday after Sunday one of my colleagues stands up in the pulpit and speaks out the words of Law and Gospel and share with people, the message of grace and forgiveness.

In the blessings that Christ has given us we can be of help in participating in sharing the good news. Beginning right here in this church you can live your lives as the redeemed people of God. In this place you can give your offerings to spread the Gospel. You can pray for the ministry of the Lord and for MSL; and am so thankful that you have been doing so. PAUSE.

As you know, I just returned from St. Louis and Fort Wayne. While at both of the seminaries I witnessed and participated in the vicarage and Call Services. Over 100 vicars and 90 candidates were sent out to the mission field so that they can be God’s spokespersons in being resurrection proclaimers.

As I sat in the Lord’s house, I reflected upon the privilege and blessing the Lord has given me to be YOUR pastor and His proclaimer. I must admit that tears rolled down my cheeks at the honor the Savior has bestowed upon me. I wished I had always been a resurrection man telling all. But I haven’t always done so. I ask God and you to forgive me and help me be more faithful in my proclamation of His resurrection. After all, this is what the Savior has called us to be—men and women who would stand up and speak out of every blessing He has given and continues to give. PAUSE.

He was only 36 years old and was purchased on the auction block in 1852 in Charleston, South Carolina for $700.00. Grandison Harris was purchased by the Dean of the Medical College of Augusta, Georgia. His main job was to rob the Augusta’s black Cedar Grove Cemetery and bring the bodies back to school.

Night after night, Harris took his wagon, tools and robbed the graves. He became known as the “Resurrection Man.” For over 50 years he robbed graves so that the Medical students could learn new things about the body. For his work-he got $8.00 a month salary. At age 92 he died and was buried in the same cemetery.

Grandison Harris may have been nick named the “Resurrection Man.” But he wasn’t! He was only a robber hired to accomplish a job for a medical college. Jesus, on the other hand, wasn’t paid to rob a cemetery. He willingly paid with His dear life to free everyone from the clutches of the grave. Jesus indeed is “The Resurrection Man.” He is the ONLY One who ever robbed the grave of its power and became known as the One who rose from the grave and defeated death once and for all.

Like Peter, you and I have a golden opportunity to stand up and speak out about this “Resurrection Man” Jesus Christ. We have a blessed privilege to be his mouthpiece and servants. For there are still many people in this world who don’t know Him personally as Lord and God. Therefore, by the Spirit of Christ we stand up and speak out. We give of ourselves in time, talents, testimony and treasures for the spread of the Good News. Faithfully we support the ministries of Redeemer Lutheran Church and MSL with prayers and financial support—so the Gospel might speak to others as it has spoke to us.

My prayers for us as Easter people are that we stand up and speak out freely and joyfully about the “Resurrection Man”, Jesus Christ. May the Holy Spirit fill us with wisdom and vigor to speak always of His love that took Him to the cross and rose again from the grave. Therefore, I say it again, “Christ is Risen!” (wait for their response) Amen.

Now the peace…


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