Sermons

Rogate (Jn 16:23–30)

May 21, 2017
Bethlehem Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO
Immanuel Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO

Alleluia! Jesus Christ is risen!

HE IS RISEN INDEED! ALLELUIA!

INI + AMEN.

The Lord delivers on His promises. He dies. He rises. He lives and reigns with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. He delivers the benefits of His fulfilled promises: forgiveness of sins, new life, eternal salvation—delivered in Baptism, Absolution, and the Supper.

The life we have in Jesus can only be had by being firmly, continually, even weekly, planted and rooted in His life-bestowing Gifts and Word. We will only blossom in faith and love through Him, the Vine. Only when we are steeped in Him and His love, delivered in reading and studying His Word, will we actually have love for others.

The implanted Word blossoms not just in the fruit of love for those around us, but more importantly it blossoms, bears fruit in our faith toward God. This blossoming fruit can be seen, or rather heard, in a simple way: prayer.

((3. How can you pray?))

So, how can someone like you pray? Well, you should be praying. Christ commands it, and He is prayer’s source. It’s not an option. Just like reading or studying His Word or receiving His Gifts isn’t optional. He commands these things, and He also commands us to pray. He commands it because He attaches this sweetest promise: He promises to listen and deliver what’s best according to your prayer.

So, how can someone like you pray? Well, it’s not based on you at all. Your heavenly Father doesn’t listen and give because you’re so good. Your heavenly Father doesn’t stop His ears because you’re so bad. He doesn’t just listen to the Peters and Pauls, who are just so holy. He listens because He’s promised to. He will and does listen to you in spite of you.

So, how can someone like you pray? It’s all because of Jesus. It’s why we always pray: “through Jesus Christ, our Lord.” As Christ calls us to do: “Ask the Father in My Name.” It’s because, as we sang in the introit: The LORD, Yahweh, has redeemed His servant Jacob! He redeemed you in the death of His Son, redeemed you from your doubting Him and His love, from your lack of love for others, and from your lack of prayer. You, even someone like you, can always turn to Him in prayer: because of Jesus alone.

((2. How do you pray?))

So, how do you pray? Well, the Lord’s in the business not just of commanding and demanding things, but He gives what’s needed to do what He commands.

But, how do you pray? Well, the best prayers, Jesus’ prayers, are in the Scriptures. That’s the Psalms! Through the Psalms He prays, and, being baptized into Him, they’re your prayers, too. You can’t say anything wrong when you use God’s own prayers to pray!

So, how do you pray? Of course, with the Lord’s Prayer. We just it in our hymn, today, but to summarize it again:

[[Excerpts from Luther’s House Sermon for Rogate]]

In…“Hallowed be Thy Name,” we pray for the Gospel, for all faithful pastors, [and] against…all [who would] blaspheme and profane the name of God, [by false teaching or unbelief.]

In…“Thy kingdom come,” we pray that the devil’s kingdom…[would] perish. We’re asking God to establish His kingdom…in all men by means of His Word.

In…“Thy will be done,” we pray that every act of [our] will that opposes God’s will might be thwarted.

We [then] pray for…all that we need to support this life, [and] that God would bless everyone in [their] callings and graciously preserve [them] from every misfortune.

[We then pray] that God would be gracious to us, turn from us His wrath, and help us to live at peace with one another, ready to forgive one another.

[Sixth petition:] we pray that God would help all distressed hearts…and relieve them through His Word.

[Finally,] we pray for that blessed moment when God by His grace will deliver us from this vale of tears.

[[End Luther]]

((1. Why are you heard?))

So, why are you heard? It’s all because of Jesus. Jesus alone gives you access to the Father. Jesus alone delivers the Spirit, who also intercedes for you. His death FOR YOU alone gains all this. Because He rose from the dead, “the bars from heaven’s high portals fell.” (LSB 464:4) You have a gracious Father in heaven. He loves you. In His eternal Son Jesus, you see His tender and fatherly heart. Your prayers are heard by Him, you’re “the apple of His eye,” He holds you in His heart all because of Jesus, as Jesus Himself promised today, “The Father Himself loves you because you have loved Me and believed that I came from God.”

Why are you heard? You’re His child! The Father loves His children. You are His baptized child. You trust Jesus, His Son, who died and rose FOR YOU. You are in His Son by your baptism, so you, too, are a son and heir. And “which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone?…If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!” He gives more than bread to His children: He makes you blood-brother with His Son in the body and blood of the Supper “which is given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.” Being His child, then, He hears your prayers and delivers.

How can someone like you pray? How do you pray? Why are you heard? It all boils down to this:

YOU HAVE THE FATHER’S EAR AND HEART BECAUSE OF JESUS ALONE.

He died for you. He rose for you. He baptized you. He absolves you. He delivers to you His body and blood. Jesus’ work alone makes you worthy. Jesus’ own Word, His prayers, become our prayers, and they ring true in your heavenly Father’s ears. He hears them. He grants them according to His good and gracious will, which is found in Jesus alone!

His fatherly heart is open to you; His gracious ears are open, too. Rooted and planted in Jesus’ Word, in His Gifts, we blossom in faith and love. Steeped in Jesus’ love, delivered in His Scriptures, your prayers ascend to your Father as a pleasing aroma. He grants them, as any father would, and He grants them because of Jesus alone.

Alleluia! Jesus Christ is risen!

HE IS RISEN INDEED! ALLELUIA!

INI + AMEN.

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