Immanuel Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO
“Whenever what is finished comes, then what is partial will be brought to nothing.”
INI + AMEN.
Faith trusts Jesus. Faith looks to Him alone and not what we do or our own love. Apart from Christ we are blind. Without Him we’re nothing. No Jesus, no faith. Faith alone saves because faith is trust that Jesus alone saves you by His death and resurrection.
Faith isn’t perfected by your love. Faith doesn’t save you because love for your neighbor is also present. Trusting Jesus, your Savior, alone saves you and makes you right with God. He is all in all, not you and not your love. Otherwise you’d have something to boast in—your love.
((3. True love is seen in Jesus.))
Apart from Christ and without Him we’re blind. Not only blind to faith, but also blind to love. No Jesus, no love. Jesus is love. Jesus is “what is perfect,” what is “complete.” He “accomplished all that was written through the prophets.” He Good-Friday-ed it. On the cross, in His death, “It is finished,” just like He said. Completed. Done. Accounts with God settled and balanced. No debt. “Love does not keep a record of wrong.”
That’s love. That’s Jesus. He is love. To love is to die. To die for others and to die to self. “Love doesn’t seek its own things.” That’s who Jesus is and what He does for you. That’s His Good Friday. His cross. He opens our eyes, through trusting Him, to see love, to see Him. He is all in all. He’s your Savior, your Light, and even your Love. He “bears all things, endures all things” for you. He “never fails” you—rose from the dead.
((2. Jesus places you into His love.))
Christ, your all in all, has saved you. He’s gifted you the Holy Spirit in His Word and Gifts: His preaching, Baptism, Body and Blood, and forgiveness. He’s brought into Himself, into His own selfless love for you, and He’s set you loose to make you all in all for others in this life. Jesus is your eternal all in all. You’re a daily all in all for those around you. Them first, not you. Their needs, not yours. No breaks. No end. Only death for you. Life for them. “Love never falls,” never fails. It doesn’t stop.
That’s the sort of love Jesus puts you into. That’s the sort of love Jesus works through you. But we are partial. That’s our love for others. We fail. We come up short. We love in word, but not in deed and truth. We’re “resentful,” or more literally, we “keep a record of wrong.” We hold grudges. We remember. We don’t forgive. We tally. Keep score. Set up benchmarks for if we can love and serve others. Even with small things. We see. We know. We know who helps out, we know who lets us down, who puts how much in—time, effort, money. We determine if it’s enough.
We suffer for a little bit. Especially for those closest to us, but there’s always a breaking point. We’re aren’t truly “patient” or “long suffering.” So, how long do you serve? How long do you suffer? How long do you bear with those around you in kindness? Until you die and are with Jesus. That’s love. To love is to die. To die for others and to die to yourself. That’s Jesus’ love for you. He would make it His love through you, too.
Love isn’t selfish. That’s sin. Sin is selfishness. Sin is caring for yourself first. Love “doesn’t seek it’s own things.” Love is selfless. Turned completely outward for the other, for those around you. Everyone around you. It starts in your home and moves outward from there to everyone else.
((1. Jesus gives us His true, selfless love.))
Our partial loves needs to be brought to nothing. In fact, our love is already nothing! That’s why we run short. We try and make it on our own. We put in the effort, and what do we have to show for it? We want something to show for it! What we want is something to boast in. We’re like the disciples. Jesus is around us, but we don’t understand. “We see in a mirror dimly.”
So, what’s to be done? Give up? Just keep going the way we’re going? Running short on love, tempers running short, being rude, unkind, ungenerous? That’s sinful, selfish, blindness. That’s to walk away from your Savior, your Light, your Love. That’s not only a life apart from those around you, but it’s a life that’s apart from Jesus, too.
But He doesn’t want that. He already suffered all things for you, poured out all that is Him for you. Selflessly, freely, fully. How long did He suffer? Till He was dead. Then He rose! “Love never fails.” He gives Himself to you—all of Himself. His life, His death, His love. He gives you “no record of wrong.”
His body “bore all things, endured all things.” Not just suffering, crucifixion, and death, but He bore in His body all your sins, even your partial love. He gives this body to you, along with the selfless blood He shed. He would pour into you, through His body and His blood, not only His forgiveness, not only new life, but He pours into you His selfless life and love for you so that it would overflow to everyone, and I mean everyone, around you.
If we pass up on the Sacrament, we pass up on His love. It’s one of the reasons we go to the Sacrament: “So I can learn from [Jesus] to love God and my neighbor.” His love doesn’t fail. He is Love, after all. He’s your all in all, and He would be all in all to your neighbor through you.
To love is to die. Die for others. Die to yourself. That’s Jesus for you. That’s Jesus through you, too. No Jesus. No love. No Jesus. No faith, either. Faith trusts Him alone. He is your eternal all in all, because even if you “gave away all that you have” bit by bit to those around you, even if “you delivered up your body to be burned,” you wouldn’t “be owed” or gain anything. If you’re loving for something, then it’s not love, it’s sin.
But Jesus is love. He’s accomplished it all. Finished everything. Bore everything, endured everything. All sins and partial love. He Good-Friday-ed it. He Good-Fridays you. Accounts with God settled and balanced. Accounts with those around you the same way. No debt. “Love does not keep a record of wrong.” Jesus for you, for all.
His body and blood pour into you forgiveness, salvation, light, and love. There His love for you and those around you is delivered to you. Not partial, but full and all. He’s your all in all, your love. We need His selflessness poured into us every day, every week, every chance we can get! Because we’re partial until we die, but through His body and blood we not only have His finished, Good-Friday-ed love and forgiveness for our daily lives, but we have His promise of resurrection to eternal life. Yes, “we now see in a mirror dimly,” but His body and blood promise: “then face to face.”
INI + AMEN.