Sermons

Easter 6C (Jn 16:23–33)

May 1, 2016
Immanuel Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO
Bethlehem Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO

Alleluia! Jesus Christ is risen!

HE IS RISEN INDEED! ALLELUIA!

INI + AMEN.

(5. Oops!: We think our works determine access to God.)

How many of us in the past few days did something nice for someone else? How many of us lent a helping hand? Did the dishes? Mowed the lawn? Did your homework? Did a good job at work? Now, how many of us had other things going on? How many of us talked about someone behind their back? Got angry with someone? Were lazy? Didn’t love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength? Didn’t love your neighbor as yourself? Didn’t forgive your neighbor as you would like to be forgiven? Looked at what you shouldn’t? Said, thought, or did things which you’re ashamed of? Now, who’s got access to God? What makes it so you can approach God? Is it that you’ve got a little bit more in your nice column instead of the naughty column? A little bit more good to weigh out the bad? It’s a sad thing. When it comes to our access to God, to pray to Him, to ask Him for things, we think our works are the determining factor. Don’t think so? Well, what if you sinned—bad? Maybe did it again? Again? … Again? Can you approach God freely and clearly?

(4. Ugh!: We think bane and blessing confess our standing.)

It’s worse than that though. What if the doctor diagnoses you with cancer? Your father with Alzheimer’s? There’s a car wreck? A divorce? An accident? A death? Now, what about a promotion? A birth? A new job? A good harvest? Is all of that, whether good or bad, just stuff that happens? You see, the problem is that we look to things in our life all the time and think that will tell us what our standing is with God, whether or not we’re on His good side or bad side. When things are good and our bank account’s full, retirement’s set, we’ve got our health, and the car’s running great too, we think we’re on God’s good side. But when the hail totals the car, the doctor has bad news, or there’s a phone call in the middle of the night, when the back account’s a little low, or retirement gets pushed off again and again and again, we think we’re on God’s bad side. That we’ve done something. It’s sad really. We think good things and bad things tell us whether or not we have access to God.

Well, I’ve got news for you dear Christian, good news, a Gospel Word for you today! Good works, sins don’t enter into it. The crosses that you bear and the blessings you get don’t let you know whether or not you’re on God’s naughty or nice list—as if He had such a thing! Listen to Jesus’ Word today, “Take heart; I have overcome the world.” That’s right!

(3. Aha!:) JESUS HAS OVERCOME THE WORLD FOR YOU.

(2. Whee!: This means we have access.)

This is the best news ever because this means you do have access. We all do! It all rests on Christ. Every. Last. Bit. He’s overcome the world and so nothing for you or for me except free, unadulterated access to the Father. He bypassed good works, doing the best works in your place: He died for your sins. Your bad deeds can’t lock you out. What bad deeds? Jesus took care of them all. He died for your sins. All your sins. Every. Last. One. Erased by the blood of Jesus Christ. Blessings flow from His pierced side. Burdens will come, but because of Him they can’t keep you down. He rose! You will rise too. There was an empty tomb, and now you have access to the Father. This is why our prayers end “through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives…” He did it all. For you. Faith grasps it. Believes it. Trusts it. That’s just what faith does. In Christ you have a loving heavenly Father because of what Christ has done for you. As He says, “the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me and have believed that I came from God.”

(1. Yeah!: In Christ we have eternal access.)

This access that Christ gives by overcoming the world for you isn’t temporary. It’s eternal and everlasting. His resurrection means the struggles of this life won’t keep you down. He will raise you up. He overcame death and the grave after all. It’s an inheritance that’s “imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you.” Sealed upon you at your baptism. That’s when this was delivered to you. Yes, Christ overcame the world with His cross, death, and empty tomb, but He delivered it to you there. We have access. Christ overcame sin, death, and grave. Those good works of His did this for us—won us access. His death paid for our bad works. Eternal blessings are His, and He gives them to you. This access is eternal as it says in Revelation: “I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb.”

Access to the Father now. Access to Him and the Lamb and the Spirit forever. All because JESUS HAS OVERCOME THE WORLD FOR YOU.

Alleluia! Jesus Christ is risen!

HE IS RISEN INDEED! ALLELUIA!

INI + AMEN.

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