Sermons

Leviticus 7:11–18

March 22, 2017
Bethlehem Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO

What is the benefit of this eating and drinking? These words, “Given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins,” show us that in the Sacrament forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation are given us through these words. For where there is forgiveness of sins, there is also life and salvation. (LSB 327)

INI + AMEN.

“Forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation.” Three different things listed in our Catechism, but they could all be said with one simple Hebrew word. שְׁל‫וֹם‬. Peace. Now, שְׁלוֹם does mean peace, but it’s so much more than that, too. שְׁלוֹם: wholeness, wellness, nothing is causing disruption between you and God, between you and your neighbor, or even within yourself. שְׁלוֹם. Peace.

So, is God at peace with you? Is He שְׁלוֹם? If, so how do you know? Can you bet the farm on whether or not God’s שְׁלוֹם with you? If He’s not, watch out! He’s not one to take that sort of thing lying down. He’s not one to let bygones be bygones. He doesn’t agree to disagree. Nope, He punishes “the children for the sins of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate Me,” He says. “He sentences all to judgment…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” He’s also able to deliver not just consequences in this life. No, we should fear Him because He “is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”

((2. Peace is secured through sacrifice.))

The Lord must make peace. He needs to repair the situation. He must create and restore שְׁלוֹם. He must secure our peace. If He doesn’t, we’ll be doomed. Because there’s nothing we can do, could do, or even would do to make peace. Sure, you could be a pretty nice guy, but that doesn’t do anything for your standing before God. Think about your life, your day to day life with those around you. There’s always something nice, something good that we can think of that should gain some standing with God—just a little bit. But all our best and finest works are nothing. As Isaiah tells us, “all our righteous deeds are like filthy rags.” Maybe you even thought of Isaiah. So, was that correct answer the thing you point to?

No, God must make peace. If He doesn’t do it, we’re doomed! He has! He does. Jesus does it—His blood, His sacrifice, His death. He secures our peace. “For it pleased the Father…by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.” He bears our sins. He bears that we are surrounded in the world and filled in ourselves with all sorts of desires and wants that are unclean and unspeakable. He even bears our “righteous deeds” and our “right” answers that we like to lift up.

We always say: “Well, God, I’ll just do better next time.” And on and on it goes. But the Lord short circuits any and all ideas of transaction. “If I do this, then God will do that. If I give this answer, I’ll get in good with God. If I do that good thing, then God will do this.” All that sort of talk is silenced at the cross, when Jesus, God most High, cried out, “It is finished,”—long before you were even born—and then in silence breathed His last. He did it, without even asking us.

((1. Peace is delivered through a meal.))

Your peace, your שְׁלוֹם, has been secured. How could it not be? How can God not be at peace with you, with me, with all of humanity? God Himself made peace. With His own blood and death, He secured it, and nothing can take it away. God’s empty tomb made sure of that.

But how do you know? In the here and the now, how do you know? Is it simply some mental exercise? Like, you agree that this is so? That you’ve made the proper response, felt the right feeling, given the correct answers to the questions, that you even have the Catechism memorized? Don’t get me wrong, right answers are good, feelings are a gift from God, and learning the Small Catechism by heart and continually meditating upon puts you into depths that take an entire lifetime to appreciate.

But if all that stuff, no matter how good, is what your knowing and trusting has to do with, well, then, your knowing and trusting of whether you’re at peace with God or not has a lot to do with you, and not much to do with God.

So, is God at peace with you or not? If so, how do you know? How would an Israelite know? Did He just suddenly feel at peace with the LORD? No! Yahweh delivered His peace to the Israelite and to his household, and we heard all about that in Leviticus 7. “The flesh of the sacrifice of his peace offerings for thanksgiving shall be eaten on the day of his offering.” Not only was the sacrifice made, but its effect was delivered, too! Peace was delivered through the meal.

So also you! Your peace was secured some 2,000 years ago, it’s delivered to you in the here and now! That’s how you know! These words, “Given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins,” show us that in the Sacrament forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation are given us through these words. For where there is forgiveness of sins, there is also life and salvation.

In the Lord’s body and blood, which you eat and drink at His Supper, you receive the Lord’s peace. The peace was made and secured “through the blood of His cross,” as Paul tells us, but that peace, that שְׁלוֹם is delivered through the very same thing: His body and blood “given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.”

Your forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation, your שְׁלוֹם, is a done deal. Jesus secured it through the blood of His cross. You can go to the bank on it, but only because it’s also been delivered to you through the same body and blood. When you eat a piece of bread and drink some wine, you get far more. You get Jesus’ very body and blood, “given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.”

You can get get a piece of the action, you can get more than a piece of the Lord’s שְׁלוֹם, His peace.

THE LORD’S HOLY MEAL GIVES YOU THE PEACE OF HIS SACRIFICE.

So, is God at peace with you? You bet your life. He secured it, but He also delivers it. His body and blood “given and shed for you” for your peace.

What is the benefit of this eating and drinking? These words, “Given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins,” show us that in the Sacrament forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation are given us through these words. For where there is forgiveness of sins, there is also life and salvation. (LSB 327)

INI + AMEN.

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