Photo by Suzanne D. Williams on Unsplash
Bethlehem Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO
Immanuel Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO
Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not been revealed yet. We know that when He is revealed we will be like Him, because we will see Him as He is.
Alleluia! Jesus Christ is risen!
He is risen indeed! Alleluia!
That’s what is. That’s true. Jesus is alive. He was dead, but now He’s not. That’s our hope, that’s our faith, that’s Christianity. Jesus was crucified, He died, and then He came back to life on the third day. Those aren’t empty words. That’s what real and true. It’s real and true now, and it’s real and true forever.
There’s something else that’s equally as true. It’s real. It’s about you. And they’re not just empty words. Like when we say something’s true, even though we all know it’s not, or when we say something that’s not true, even though it is, or even when we says something that’s not true, even though we know it’s not! Like when we call people nice or kind or rude or mean or whatever else. Obituaries are full of that sort of talk.
You are called something by God, and you aren’t just called it. It’s what you are. It’s real and true. It’s true now. It’s true forever. It really is. It’s just that we live in the “not yet.” It’s true—we just don’t see it, yet. It’s real—we just don’t live it, yet. It’s a fact, even though we don’t believe it, yet.
So, what’s this all about? Well,
YOU REALLY ARE GOD’S BELOVED CHILD NOW AND FOREVER.
((I. It doesn’t look like it right now.))
That’s what true. It just doesn’t look like it right now. There’s all sorts of reasons why. Just look at…well, us. John’s completely right: “what we will be has not been revealed yet.” What’s revealed to us now, what we’re all aware of is how we act, how we don’t measure up, how we still act like children in so many ways. We get angry over silly things. We hold grudges. We fight over what’s ours and what’s obviously not theirs. We’re short, rude, self-centered. We grow older, but we don’t grow up.
But it’s not just ourselves. It’s the world, too. There’s, of course, the trouble Christians all over the world face in a world that’s hostile to our Christian faith, that Jesus has died and risen for the world. “The reason it doesn’t know us is that it does not know Him.” Yes, Jesus Himself says today, “You will have sorrow, but the world will rejoice.” Not only in killing Jesus, but in going after those who hope in Him.
But the world isn’t just that. Look at our lives: does it look like we’re children of God? Would God’s children have all sorts of messes and tragedies and pains and sicknesses and deaths? To our eyes it doesn’t look like we’re God’s children. We really do have sorrows. We can pray like the Israelites did in Isaiah 40: “My way is hidden from the LORD, And my just claim is passed over by my God.”
When it comes to what piles up in our lives: our screw ups, our mistakes, our sins, the mess we have at home, the stress we have at work, the worries of the world, the sickness, pain, death—when we add all that up, our eyes and hearts and consciences confess one thing: we aren’t children of God.
Repent of that. Repent of trying to manipulate your life and situation. Repent of looking to your life and what you do or experience. He’s God; you’re not. But that’s good news, because what He says goes. What He says isn’t empty. What He says is true and real. Whether it’s bringing the stars out by number or what He calls you. He calls you is child, and so that’s what you are. YOU REALLY ARE GOD’S BELOVED CHILD NOW AND FOREVER.
(II. But it really is true right now and even forever.))
That’s how God loves you. He loves you in the death of His Son, Jesus. He loves you in raising Him from the dead. He loves you by calling you the same thing He called Jesus: “My beloved Son, with whom I am very pleased.” That’s His gift in Holy Baptism. Apart from the font, you’re not His child. Without water and the Word He has no claim on you, He’s not marked you as His own. Without that you’re not in Jesus, you’re just you forever.
But that’s not you. Because at the Holy Font, the Father made you His child. That’s the sort of love God has for you, and if that’s what He calls you, then that’s exactly what you are. Not “will be” His child. No, ARE His child. Baptized child, and no one can take that from you.
Because of that you’re pure—pure in Him, pure in Jesus. It’s only ever in Jesus. Jesus makes you pure and holy. He does it at the font, sure, but He does it in His other Gifts too—His Word and His body and blood. By trusting in Jesus, what He’s done for you—dying, rising, baptizing, communing—you’re pure like Him. You really are.
You don’t see it now. Now you see trouble and sin and death, but it’s really true now. One day you’ll see. You’ll see it with your own eyes. You’ll see Him face to face. When you see Him, just as He is, you’ll be just like Him: pure and holy forever. You won’t just believe it. You’ll see it. Even though it’s true now. It’s true forever. You just don’t see it yet. But you will someday soon.
Jesus is alive. He was dead, but now He’s not. That’s our hope, that’s our faith, that’s Christianity. That Jesus was crucified, He died, and then He came back to life on the third day. Those aren’t empty words. That’s what real and true. It’s real and true now, and it’s real and true forever.
YOU REALLY ARE GOD’S BELOVED CHILD NOW AND FOREVER. That’s real and true and certain forever. Jesus made sure of that: cross, empty tomb, font, and altar. That’s how sure and certain it is. Yes, you can’t see it now. All you can see is the troubles of this life, but our confidence isn’t in what we can see. We only have hope in one person: Jesus. He purifies you. Your faith in Him receives that gift from Him. He makes you a child of His Father: Baptism, Word, Body and Blood.
Without Him, without Jesus, without His Gifts, you’re just you forever. But in and through Him, you’re a child of God. A child who’s loved. Loved now. Loved forever. Why? Because of Jesus. And because of Jesus YOU REALLY ARE GOD’S BELOVED CHILD NOW AND FOREVER.
Alleluia! Jesus Christ is risen!
He is risen indeed! Alleluia!
INI + AMEN.