Sermons

Elvenor Pralle Funeral (Jn 11:17–44)

Immanuel Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO

INI + AMEN.

Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes Him who sent Me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.”

That’s what Jesus does. He can’t not. With His Father, He created life. The Holy Spirit comes from Jesus and His Father, and the Spirit is the Lord and Giver of life. Life is a gift. It was never meant to be a temporary gift—live awhile, maybe a long while (91 years!), and then die.

That’s not the sort of gift the Lord wanted. But now that’s what we’ve got: sin and death. “Sin came into the world through [Adam], and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned,” as Paul says.

But the Lord upends all that. He can’t not. He gives life. Life isn’t temporary—never meant to be. But let me tell you what is temporary. Death. “Passing from death to life” is what the Lord Jesus gives. That’s His promise from John 5:24, and His promise in John 11, our Gospel reading, today. Death is and will be temporary. Not life. That’s eternal. It’s all because

JESUS DELIVERS LIFE TO THE DEAD. Continue reading

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Sermons

Stanley Krause Funeral (Mt 28:1–10; Rom 6:1–11)

Stanley Krause Funeral (Mt 28:1–10; Rom 6:1–11)

Bethlehem Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO

Alleluia! Jesus Christ is risen!
He is risen indeed! Alleluia!

INI + AMEN.

What’s most safe? Most full and meaningful? There’s the sights of all over the world. There’s the places and jobs. There’s the people around us: friends and family—or just everybody, if you never know a stranger. But any sort of safety and meaning that’s there is actually empty and vain.

They’re gifts—real gifts. But they’re gifts that the Lord gives to all people whether they want something to do with Him or not. Those sorts of “God the Father Almighty” gifts are a vain hope for blessing and security. It’s why you need soldiers and security guards and med techs and doctors, too. These gifts come and go. A life lived, a life ended.

What’s safe and secure, what’s meaningful isn’t a matter of what we like to hang our hats on. What’s most safe and most certain is what the Lord Jesus Himself says and does: “He’s risen, just as He said.” What’s most full and meaningful is so not because of what we think, but, again, because of what the Lord Jesus Himself says about that thing, what He does through it. What He says and does matters. He’s the Lord, after all. Not you.

So, what would He fill your life with? Not gifts that last only a lifetime and are forgotten after the next generation. What sort of Lord would He be if He did that? No, He would fill our lives with Gifts that endure beyond this life, Gifts that moth and rust cannot destroy, Gifts that cancer and death can’t take away.

And that’s what He does! We rejoice in one of those Gifts today. February 22, 1948. That Gift is why Stan’s casket most importantly is draped white, why this candle is lit, why we grieve in hope: Holy Baptism. Continue reading

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Sermons

Dick Crome Funeral (Gen 5:21–24; 1 Th 4:13–18; Mt 28:1–10)

November 9, 2017
Immanuel Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO

Alleluia! Jesus Christ is risen!
He is risen indeed! Alleluia!

INI + AMEN.

101 years, 6 months, and 28 days. Wow! 101 years, 6 months, and 28 days. Quite a bit longer than what we prayed in Psalm 90. There Moses teaches us that “the years of our life are seventy, or even by reason of strength eighty.” That’s what Moses says, and he lived to 120. Moses also recorded for us Enoch who lived 365 years. Enoch’s son, Methuselah, lived to be 969!

Death, even at the end of a long life, is not a part of the Lord’s original and eternal plan. A life no matter how long is always, in some sense, cut short.

Yet the Lord will use death for His purposes. Death gives way to life. Death brings with it the gifts of life. It’s the gateway to the Lord. Death must give way to the true way of things—life. It has to! Because

JESUS’ LIFE DESTROYS DEATH.

((I. Death is the status quo in this life.))

The Lord Jesus really does give blessings in this life. Great heavenly Father type gifts, all delivered only out of the Father’s great mercy and love in Jesus Christ. Such good gifts! Great gifts for Dick! 101 years, 6 months, and 28 days of gifts. A wife of just shy of 74 years. 4 sons. 10 grandchildren. 24 great grandchildren. Being able to truck until he was 83!

All good gifts, but we all know this day comes. We all know that what we are gifted with in this life and what we gift others with—all those heavenly Father, earthly gifts are temporary. Eventually moth, rust, death, and decay take everything. We can’t escape it. It’s inevitable, even after 101 years, 6 months, and 28 days. Death is the way of things in this life.

Sin does this. “The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.” “Those who sin die”—that’s what the Law says. That’s what the Lord Jesus Himself said to Adam, “On the day you eat, you shall surely die.” Since then, people have been dying, “because all sinned.” Caskets, cemeteries, our tears are all proof—death hurts, death stings, death is our last and great enemy. Death seems to destroy life.

((II. Life must be the true way of things though.))

But that’s not all. “Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!” Life must be the true way of things—not death! JESUS’ LIFE DESTROYS DEATH, after all. Not just the perfect life Jesus lived for Dick and for you, (that perfection counts for you, by the way), not just the death Jesus died for Dick and for you. No! Jesus came back to life. Jesus was always raising the dead, but Jesus coming back to life—it’s that life (His resurrection life) that truly destroys death.

Didn’t you hear the angel? “You seek Jesus who was crucified. He’s not here. He was raised just as He said.” Jesus came back to life. The angel rolled away the stone to show what Jesus had already done. Jesus was dead, and then He was out—tomb empty, Jesus gone. Then there He was—alive! “Greetings!,” He said, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.” They did see Him, just as He said.

Now, Jesus doesn’t just destroy His own death. That’d be a lame sort of Savior, and that’s not Jesus! No, He destroys all death. Death itself is meaningless. It’s a nap. A sleep. A sleep Jesus can and will awake people from. That’s the sort of resurrection life He gives. It’s the sort of life promised in Enoch. Enoch didn’t die. God took Him into eternal life with his body to show there would be a resurrection. And Jesus delivers that sort of life to each of you, and He certainly delivered it to Dick.

Yes, JESUS’ LIFE DESTROYS DEATH, and He makes sure He delivers that death-destroying life. He won’t leave us in need, in our greatest need, in our last hour of need all alone. He bends all creation to His purposes. The death-destroying, life-restoring waters of Baptism give us life, eternal life in the midst of death. There we receive Jesus’ resurrection robe of righteousness. No sin can keep us out of life: in Absolution heaven’s gates are flung wide open—no sin to keep them closed. So also the medicine of immortality—Jesus’ resurrected body and blood, which was given and shed for you—give you Jesus’ own promise, “I will resurrect you on the Last Day.”

All creation and time bent to deliver theses Gifts—the Gifts God truly cares about—eternal-life giving Gifts: to you, for you, for Dick, too. Baptized April 23, 1916. Absolution was delivered, body and blood delivered Monday. Preaching to remind Dick of his Baptism into Christ as he heard the Word and from our Epistle: “For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep.”

Death doesn’t destroy life. We think it does. But the truth is: JESUS’ LIFE DESTROYS DEATH. Jesus’ tomb is empty. Even as He blessed Dick with many gifts, He made sure that He delivered what Dick needed most of all: life. Dick was washed in the waters of life 101 years ago. The gates to eternal life were, once again, flung open for him Monday, and he was fed with eternal life in the body and blood of Jesus Monday, too. He entered Jesus’ no-more-death eternal life Tuesday.

Now, these Gifts weren’t just for Dick. They’re for you, too. Jesus bends all of time and creation to make sure you can receive them, so that you too can have life, eternal life. And because you have and trust and receive His Gifts, Jesus even uses death to His purposes to save you, to bring you to Himself. Now death is now the path to eternal life with Jesus. No scales, no tolls, no detours. There’s nothing else needed from us or from Dick. Jesus took care of everything. Absolutely everything! Death gives way to life. It has to! Jesus did so! His Gifts say so. In death “there you will see Me,” Jesus says. Face to face even as He will raise your body just like His is risen. JESUS’ LIFE DESTROYS DEATH, after all.

Alleluia! Jesus Christ is risen!
He is risen indeed! Alleluia!

INI + AMEN.

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Sermons

Walter Sears’ Funeral (Jn 10:17–18, 25b–30)

November 2, 2017
Bethlehem Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO

INI + AMEN.

Jesus knows His sheep. He knows Walt. He knows you, too—each one of you. And Jesus isn’t the sort to know someone, and then not do anything about it when that person’s in trouble. So Jesus, God Almighty, Son of the Father, does something. He can’t not! That’s the sort of Jesus He is. Jesus does something for Walt and for all His sheep—for you, too!

So, what does Jesus do? Well, He “gives them eternal life.” He’s God Himself, one with the Father, and so He can do that sort of thing. What happens when Jesus gives eternal life to His sheep? It’s simple, but amazing, but, more importantly, it’s comforting, especially on a day like today. So, what happens?

JESUS’ SHEEP NEVER PERISH. Continue reading

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