Sermons

Installation of The Rev. George F. Borghardt, III (Jn 20:19–23)

Immanuel Lutheran Church—Bossier City, LA || AUDIO

INI + AMEN.

What is Jesus doing?!? What’s the Lord Jesus up to? He’s up to something. On a day like today, you can’t miss it. You can’t miss…him! (Hot seat!) Jesus delivers, sends His man when and where He wants him. Can’t be any other way! Jesus is the Lord of the Church—the Holy Christian Church—not any of you, not me, not Pastor Borghardt. Not anyone is Lord of the Church except Jesus—Jesus alone. And you? You receive Jesus’ man as His man. 100% gift from Jesus: sent as the Father sent Jesus. Now, delivered. Soon, installed. Then your man, your Jesus man. He from Him. All to you and for you.

So, what’s the Lord Jesus all about? It’s really easy to figure out what Jesus is all about. Just hang on every Word. The Word of Jesus, the eternal Word of God. Where to listen? “If you forgive, they are forgiven,” He says. Where to look? It’s written all over Him. Printed, no, imprinted on His hands and side. Water and blood came from there. All three together: hands, water, blood. The signs of peace, and the deliverance of peace, too. (We’ll get there.) Three signs that deliver three words: “I forgive you.” Three signs (hands, water, blood). Three words (“I forgive you”). One man. The Jesus man, and in those three words from the one man, we hear and see all that Jesus is all about.

What’s the Lord Jesus doing? What’s He up to? What’s He all about?

YOUR SINS ARE FORGIVEN.

((I. That’s what Jesus is all about.))

That’s really and only what Jesus is all about. YOUR SINS ARE FORGIVEN. If it’s not, why did He die? Sin and its solution, sins and their absolution all hinge and hang at the same spot: the Crucified Jesus. God dying shows us what He’s really all about: YOUR SINS ARE FORGIVEN.

But there’s more, isn’t there?” Beware those three letters: “b,” “u,” “t.” “But”—the word of doubt, unfaith. Yes, Jesus died, but now you’ve got to get your act together. Yes, Jesus died, but now you’ve got to show Him you mean it, that you’re serious about Him. Yes, Jesus died, but, but, but, but…There’s no “but”! Those three letters deny the three words (“I forgive you”) and deny the three signs (hand, water, and blood).

There is something more than Jesus died. “And.” Gospel Word—always more! Jesus died and rose! That doesn’t take away from YOUR SINS ARE FORGIVEN. That’s full of His death for you and life again for you, too. “He was crucified for our transgressions and raised for our justification,” says Paul.

His death, God’s death shows it; His resurrection confirms it. His showing up in the upper room proved it, too. No “shape up or ship out,” from Jesus—“Peace be with you.” Cross, Grave, Upper Room show that Jesus is all about one thing: YOUR SINS ARE FORGIVEN.

((II. They’re hands-and-side forgiven.))

YOUR SINS ARE FORGIVEN. They’re hands-and-side forgiven. That’s what Jesus did to win your forgiveness, your peace. The only thing in the entire universe that could win forgiveness for you were those things. His hands and feet nailed to the cross. Shedding His blood. Giving His last breath. His pierced side. Blood and water flowing out. These are the signs of peace even after His resurrection: nail scarred hands, a pierced side—the blood and water source. “There are three that testify,” John says, “the Spirit and the water and the blood.” They testify, as Jesus does by showing hands and side to His disciples, that YOUR SINS ARE FORGIVEN. They’re hands-and-side forgiven.

((III. They’re from-the-pastor forgiven.))

That’s not all, though! Always more—“And!” (Gospel Word!) Your sins are Jesus-died-on-the-cross forgiven, AND they are from-the-pastor forgiven. That’s why we’re here today. To rejoice in Jesus’ gift to you: him, your new pastor.

So, why does Jesus say, “as the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you”? Why does He gift you with His man? Why does Jesus make pastors, why does He call them, send them, ordain them, install them? It comes down to three letters: “b,” “u,” “t.”

YOUR SINS ARE FORGIVEN, but… The Word of doubt, unfaith. “Jesus died and rose, yeah, but it can’t be for me. But I did this. But I keep messing up. But I have doubts. But I have sins. But I have done, watched, said, thought. But. But. But.”

“But” takes away the Gospel. It’s the devil’s favorite word. The Old Adam’s favorite word. BUT—that’s a Gospel “but”!—Jesus wants you to receive YOUR SINS ARE FORGIVEN. “If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven.” Can’t get around that. His men forgive you, just like Jesus wants it.

YOUR SINS ARE FORGIVEN. Water and Word from Him on the forehead. His hand upon your head, and you’ll hear him say the Absolution: “I forgive you.” At rail you’ll hear: “The body of Christ, given for you; the blood of Christ, shed for you.” Hand, water, blood. Three signs delivering the three words: “I forgive you.” The Holy Spirit’s in those signs and words. Unfaith and “but” can’t stop Jesus’ YOUR SINS ARE FORGIVEN. They’re from-the-pastor forgiven. Hand. Water. Blood.

What is Jesus doing? What’s the Lord Jesus up to? He’s up to something. On a day like today, you see that. You can’t miss…him! Jesus delivers His man, sends him when and where He wants him. Can’t be any other way! And you—you receive his man. 100% gift from Jesus: sent as the Father sent Jesus. Now, delivered. Soon, installed. Then your man, your Jesus man. He from Him. All to you and for you.

Hand, water, blood. Three signs that deliver the three words: “I forgive you.” Three signs. Three words. One man. The Jesus man. And in those three words from the one man, we hear and see all that Jesus is all about.

What’s Jesus doing? What’s He up to? What’s He all about?

YOUR SINS ARE FORGIVEN.

But don’t take my word for it. Take his. It’s why Jesus sent him.

INI + AMEN.

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