S-1497 7SOE/3B 5/17/2015 Hymns: (O) #205; (S) # 201; (C) #54
Texts: Acts 1:12-26; 1 John 5:9-15; John 17:11-19
Theme: “Life in His Son” (1 John 5:11-12)
Question: “Do you cherish the gift of life?”
Faithful followers of the Savior, Christ is Risen! He is Risen indeed! Alleluia! The text for The Final Sunday of Easter is from the Epistle reading: “And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life” (1 John 5:11-12).
Beloved children of the heavenly Father, this past Friday (5/15) about 11 in the morning Randy Baan Hofman from B & H Tree Service came over to the parsonage to cut a diseased tree. I stopped him before he cut the tree and said, “I wished you didn’t have to take it down for a while. There is a robin’s nest with chicks in it.” He suggested that before he would cut the tree down, he would remove the nest to the next tree and perhaps the mother would be able to hear the chicks.
After the tree was cut down and removed, the mother returned with a worm in her beak. For a little over an hour she moved from one location to the other in search of her nest and babies. She was adamant about feeding and caring for her little ones. 2 hours had gone by and she was still searching. She even landed about 3 feet from the nest but wasn’t able to find it. By 6 in the evening she was still looking for the nest in order to care and feed her babies.
Saturday morning, she was right next to where the tree stood and she would look up and move a little and come again to the same spot. How precious is that! For over 24 hours this mother is looking, searching, trying and attempting to get to her babies to provide for and protect them.
Then it dawned on me that even creation speaks of the love of God towards His children. If you remember the words of my opening statement! “Beloved children of the heavenly Father,” and that is what we are. In the waters of Baptism Christ has put on us His indelible mark for time and eternity. In the mighty waters of Baptism He washed away our sins, gave us the gift of Holy Spirit and the garment of salvation. Every day, the Savior is on a mission to provide, protect and fulfill His promises for us. PAUSE.
The text from 1 John speaks specifically to the care the Savior provided for His first century followers, for whom John wrote, and for every generation since; including us. In this text, John, the last living disciple of the original 12 who walked with the Savior while He was on earth shares with us this glorious and blessed truth.
John, in his message to his little children (his church—saints) tells us this blessed fact: That if we have the Son we have eternal life. If we don’t have the Son, we don’t have life. This is a promise that life is in Jesus Christ alone. Two portions of the Word that illuminates this blessed truth: John 14:6, “Jesus said, I Am the Way, I Am the Truth and I Am the Life, NO one comes to the Father except through Me!” “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12)
This is the eternal truth that in Christ there is life eternal. Just as the robin knew that she was the life-line for her little chicks, Jesus also knows that He is the life-line for all of humanity. That is why He came to earth as an infant. That is why He lived the perfect life. That is why He endured suffering and shame and eventually hanged on a cursed tree for the sins of the world—including yours and mine.
That is why the Holy Spirit works for us to know that Jesus is our life-line to the Father. He provides for us life in this world and the world to come. He gives us His Word to hear, study, and learn, and He gives us His living body and blood to nurture us and strengthen our faith. PAUSE.
The disciple John brings this truth to us in this text with two golden nuggets.
He tells us of the first golden nugget as His Testimony: “And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.” John is making a public confession that He was an eye witness to the events that took Jesus to Golgotha, grave and Ascension. He is testifying that Jesus suffered the punishment of hell on the cross for all humanity. John testifies that he was with the Savior, in the Upper Room at His bosom, in Gethsemane not far away from Jesus, in the court yard very close to His Savior and finally on that dark and dreary Friday beneath the cross with the mother of Jesus. But he was also a witness to His resurrection from the dead, His many appearances through the 40 days and then His Ascension into heaven.
And the second golden nugget is the Promise. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life” John, this e bold evangelist, declares emphatically that if you have a personal relationship with Jesus you have life eternal. Without the Son you have nothing. Just like those chicks in the nest without their mother they would die but with her by their side they will live and thrive.
Likewise for us His followers today we need Jesus to survive and thrive. Without His care and compassion, without His love and life, we have no way of entering the Promised Land for which He Ascended into heaven to prepare for us. In Him there is life and salvation. Without Him there is death and destruction.
That is why the Holy Spirit continually seeks to gather us in the Lord’s house. That is why the author to the Hebrews was moved to write: “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near” (Heb. 10:23-25).
Beloved children of the heavenly Father this house of worship is the nest Christ has established to feed, care for, protect and provide for our bodily and spiritual needs. In this house of worship we learn of the benefits that Christ offers us. In this house of worship we receive from His hands of mercy the blessings He desires to give us. In this house of worship we are safe, secure and stable against the attacks of the devil.
The devil is always attempting to destroy our relationship with Jesus. He strives to distract us from hearing the living Word. He seeks ways to take us away from the comfort of the loving hands of the Savior.
This same apostle in his 3rd book gives this warning that we should heed: “For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh. Such a one is the deceiver and the antichrist. Watch yourselves, so that you may not lose what we have worked for, but may win a full reward. Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting, for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works” (2 John 7-11).
Children of the heavenly Father, remember the robin who for a little over 24 hours kept coming back to find her chicks? On a far grander scale the Savior stands by calling you to hear and heed His Words of mercy and grace. He never gives up. He daily offers you forgiveness and grace for the journey. He daily opens His arms to welcome you back no matter how long it has been since you have talked or visited with Hi.
Here today, faithful followers of the Savior take to heart the truth of this glorious testimony of John: that if you have Christ, you have eternal life. This is your life and it is through His Son Alone. Amen.
Now the peace…
SOLI DEO GLORIA