Bethlehem Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO
Immanuel Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO
INI + AMEN.
All eyes on the Lord. That’s faith. That’s what it means to trust Him. All eyes, all ears on Him, His Word, and His Gifts. Holy Baptism! There trust in Him is given, there is being “born from above,” there “born of water and of the Spirit,” as Jesus says. That’s John 3, Nicodemus at night stuff. That was last week: Holy Trinity Sunday.
But all eyes on the Lord, trusting in Him, His Holy Baptism—that’s also this week. (Very much this morning—Luke Nickolas!) But that’s rich man and Lazarus stuff, too. Trust isn’t only what your eyes are on, but also your heart, your soul, your mind—your everything, really. All that is you toward the Lord—Him and His Word and His Gifts alone. That’s 1st Commandment trust in Him. But trust can also be off. Whatever you trust in is your god. Whatever you’re most afraid of loosing, of having torn down and taken away, of being without—that, too, is your god.
((2. Our eyes turn toward other things than the Lord.))
The eyes of the rich man were on his things, his fine and fancy clothing, his feasting. His god was his food, his clothing, his gated house, his many things. He feasted upon and enjoyed his god every day. He saw Lazarus, too. He was at his gate! How could he not see him? Lazarus had none of that, had no one but the dogs. Clearly God had abandoned Lazarus, and was very much for the rich man! That’s what the rich man’s eyes told him. But the rich man’s god that he wore and ate and drank was nothing but dust and ashes. Soon he would become just like his god. Dead. Ashes. Worse than that! Separated from the living, life-giving God in hell.
Of ourselves we have rich man eyes. We ruin—run!—this text. We turn it into obedience and reward. As if the rich man’s problem was that he didn’t help Lazarus. If he’d done that, he wouldn’t have ended up in hell. Right? “You had your good things,” Abraham says. So that must mean if he had given Lazarus something, he wouldn’t have ended up in hell. No, that’s not it at all!
Now, this doesn’t we mean we don’t love our neighbor. But loving those around you for some sort of reward, either in the eyes of others or God or ourselves, or loving those around you out of fear of being punished here or hereafter—that sort of love is self love. No, we should love those who are daily in our lives, and those who should maybe be in our daily lives, and we should love them for their own sake.
But our rich man eyes. We think what happens in life is a sign of how God feels toward us. When things are going great, we think everything is great with the Lord. Obviously He’s more than okay with us because we have more than enough. So thought the rich man. If things go bad or even from bad to worse, you might think God’s unhappy with you because of what’s happened. So thought the rich man.
So often what we enjoy everyday, what we most take pictures of, what we’re afraid of loosing the most, or despair of having lost, those things are no longer gifts but gods. All eyes on the Lord. For His eyes are on you.
((1. The Lord’s eyes are toward you in salvation and steadfast love.))
Here the heart of our text. The Lord looking upon you is not a scary thing. For Him to turn His back on you and leave you with your false gods, now that’s scary. No, His eyes are toward you in salvation and steadfast love.
He does His salvation. The eternal Son of God, Salvation Himself, Jesus the Christ suffers. He does it for everyone. For the wealthy rich men and the poor Lazaruses of the world. All your sins, all your trusting in other things besides the Lord are heaped up on Him, credited to His account. He becomes rich in sins for you. His Father turned His eyes away from Him, forsook His Son, for you. The Father gave what was most dear to Him for you. The Son dies for you, for all. The Lord does His steadfast love. He resurrects His Son. He won’t “let His Holy One see corruption.” The Son comes back to life from the dead. He did that for you, too.
That’s all we’ve got. Nothing else. There’s nothing but what Jesus has done for us—His death and resurrection. It’s what the Bible’s all about. “Moses and the Prophets,” to whom we must listen—they testify that Jesus would die and rise. To want something else from the Bible besides (obedience or whatever) is unfaith, is to have trust that is off, trust not in the Lord.
There’s nothing but what our Lord does and gives to us—death and resurrection. A life-long dying to sin and rising to new, Holy-Spirit-filled life and Holy-Sprit-filled trust worked in Holy Baptism. There you have a name before God. He knows you by name even as He gave you His name in the water and word. You could reject that name, live before God on your terms not His, live apart from Him, His Word, His Gifts, and you’d be nameless, unknown—like the rich man. But, by your Baptism, God knows you by name, no matter what happens to you in this life, just like Lazarus.
You have the Lord’s Lazarus promise there. His steadfast love promise. A promise and a Jesus upon which your faith is built. A promise to take you to Himself, to resurrect you on the Last Day. That’s the Lord doing salvation and steadfast love: raising the dead. You!
[THE LORD’S SALVATION AND STEADFAST LOVE IS THE RESURRECTION OF THE BODY—HIS SON’S AND YOURS.]
All eyes on the Lord. That’s faith. That’s what it mans to trust Him. But trust can also be off. Whatever you trust in is your god.
The rich man had his food, his clothing, his gated house, his many things. He feasted upon and enjoyed his god every day. But the rich man’s god that he wore and ate and drank was nothing but dust and ashes. Soon he would become just like his god. Dead. Ashes. Worse than that! Separated from the living, life-giving God in hell.
Of ourselves we have rich man eyes. So often the things gifted from God for daily life are not longer gifts but gods. He’d let you have them. Let you live a pretty good life. Dust. Ashes.
Yet He looks upon you with steadfast love and salvation. He does steadfast love and salvation! He becomes rich in your sins, dying for them, that you might become rich with His righteousness.
All eyes, all ears on the Lord Jesus and His Word! His Gifts give what He says. You are clothed with Him, His death and resurrection, His righteousness. You, too, Luke Nickolas. Eating and drinking of His body and His blood, soon you will be like your God. Alive. Resurrected from your casket on the Last Day. With the eyes you have now you’ll see Him. Forever seeing your living, life-giving God, Jesus, the eternal Son of the Father. As we sang in our introit: “[O Lord,] I have trusted in Your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in Your salvation.”
INI + AMEN.