Sermons

Lent 2 Midweek (5th Commandment)

Lent Midweek 2 (5th Commandment)

Bethlehem Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO

[[5th Commandment, p. 321]]

INI + AMEN.

“The Spirit” is “the Lord and Giver of life.” Life is a gift, a gift from the One who “hovered over the face of the waters,” fluttering over them, brooding like a bird so that those waters would produce light and life. That’s the Spirit’s job: to give life. To give, instill, “breathe” life into the dead and lifeless is what it means to be the “Lord and Giver of life.” And so it was that “Yahweh breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.”

The Spirit’s not alone: He “proceeds from the Father and the Son.” That Son, Jesus, is “the life of all the living,” as we sang earlier, and the Father sent Him in order “to bring life and immortality to light.” This is new life. Jesus is “the death of death, our foe.” His empty-grave, life-from-the-dead life is delivered to you: splashed on your forehead in the water, Spirit, and Word of your Holy Baptism.

The one who has given you new birth, the new life of Holy Baptism, is the One who created all life in the first place. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, who’s Yahweh, the living Lord God Himself, created that life and all that is as a gift. It’s a gift for you, too. If you’ve got life, that’s a gift; if you’ve got new life, that’s a gift, too!

YOUR LIFE AND YOUR NEW LIFE ARE A GIFT FROM THE LORD.

((I. Your life is a gift from the Lord.))

Life is a gift—1st Article of the Creed life, “maker of heaven and earth” life, “in the beginning” life. That’s what the 5th Commandment’s all about. To protect the gift of life is the Lord’s goal in the Commandment. Not just any life, though, your neighbor’s life. He cares for life, created it, sustains it. He also call us in our Baptisms to be givers and protectors of life. The Lord gifts life to your neighbor and gifts you to your neighbor to protect and defend that life.

But it’s not just life the Lord gives. Life doesn’t just spring up out of nowhere. He gives the means of life, too. So it makes sense that this Commandment is listed next. In the 4th Commandment, you have “father and mother,” and here the Lord protects the life that makes them “father and mother,” which, of course, is meant for marriage. (More on that Commandment next week.) But the Lord loves life, loves babies. It’s why He says, “Be fruitful and multiply.”

The Lord gifts the means of life. “See, I have given you every herb and tree that yields seed; to you it shall be for food.” “‘Of every tree in the garden you may freely eat,’ except, of course, the tree of knowledge, for ‘you shall surely die’ if you eat that one.” The Lord “opens His hand” and “gives food to every creature,” delivering “all that they need to support body and life,” as we pray in the 1st Article.

You, too! Yes, the Lord supplies you with life and what you need to support the gift of life He gave you, but, more importantly, more profoundly, you are the means of life for your neighbor. If they’re hungry, you give them food; thirsty, then drink; naked, then clothing. As James says, “If a brother or sister is naked and hungry, and you say, ‘Be warm and filled; depart in peace,’ but you don’t give them what they need”—that’s dead faith!

You are the means of life for those around you, to care for their physical needs. That’s cherishing the 5th Commandment. And because you are the Lord’s gift to them, to preserve their life, you certainly aren’t angry with them, either, wrathful. No, instead you love and forgive them. That’s also living faith and cherishing the 5th Commandment.

((II. Your new life is a gift from the Lord.))

All this flows out of your new life, which is also a gift from the Lord. Out in the world there is no new life, only dead works that are of some benefit in this life. But these horizontal works do not flow from the new life the Lord freely and abundantly showers upon us in His Word and Gifts. We take it all for granted: His Word, His Gifts, and especially the new life He alone supplies in the forgiveness of all our sins.

He really does supply us with His own life. He gives us new life. He died and rose, and He raises us from our “trespasses and sins,” resurrects us from that death. The Lord raised you in Holy Baptism. He holies you with His Word. You are grafted into the Son, bodied and blooded together with Him, for in the Supper of His body and blood He delivers to you His life, for, as the Catechism reminds us, “where there is forgiveness of sins, there is also [new] life and [eternal] salvation.” “Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood,” Jesus says, “abides in Me and I in Him, and I will resurrect Him on the Last Day.”

In the Water, Word, and Spirit of Holy Baptism you are a new creation. Jesus’ death and resurrection were delivered to you there, and now you “live a new life.” A new life of the Spirit in Jesus, rooted also in His body and blood given and shed for you, and now, as Paul says, “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me, and the life I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me.”

New life: water, Word, Spirit, body and blood.

YOUR LIFE AND YOUR NEW LIFE ARE A GIFT FROM THE LORD.

Life is a gift. Of course it is! The Lord created life and everything else as a gift. He gifts not just life, but the means of life, too. Parents for children. Food and clothing for “every physical need.” You’re that sort of gift, too! You are the means the Lord uses to preserve, sustain, help, and support your neighbor’s life. To cherish the 5th Commandment is to love those around you in such a way that—two things!—one, they aren’t destroyed by hunger, thirst, or any other physical need, and two, that they’re not destroyed by your anger or wrath. “Food, drink” all things needed for “body and life,” mercy, love, charity, and forgiveness—you are the Lord’s gift to deliver those things to your neighbor, whoever that is.

You don’t have to drum this up for yourself. The Lord delivers the new life, mercy, and forgiveness needed for the task. You’re not on your own. In many and various ways, Jesus delivers His life, new life to you. Separated from Him and His Gifts, you’re left with only 1st Article life. No love of Jesus there. His life is found only when you’re rooted in Him, grafted into His body and blood. Then He dwells in you and you in Him. That’s new life.

The One who has given you new birth, the new life of Holy Baptism is the One who created all life in the first place. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, who’s Yahweh, the living Lord God Himself, created that life and all that is as a gift. It’s a gift for you and a gift through you, too! From the Lord to you through your neighbor, to your neighbor through you. That’s the gift of life and new life.

[[5th Commandment, p. 321]]

If you’ve got life, that’s a gift; if you’ve got new life, that’s a gift, too! YOUR LIFE AND YOUR NEW LIFE ARE A GIFT FROM THE LORD. “Let each his lesson learn with care, and all the household well shall fare.”

INI + AMEN.

Standard

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s