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04-18-21

Easter 3, April 18, 2021

“Resurrection Affirmation” Text: Acts 3:11–21

  • This is Peter’s 1st miracle
  • Then text is how Peter explains the miracle
  • The focus of the explanation is the reason for Easter – Jesus!
  • Remember that immediately after Jesus died, the disciples thought the crucifixion meant that Jesus had failed. In Luke 24, that is precisely why the two men are traveling from Jerusalem to Emmaus. 
  • Peter’s speech focuses particularly on the fact that “God glorified his servant Jesus” (v. 13)!!
  • The resurrection worked!! There is now NO MEMORY of sin in Christ!!
  • Unfortunately, the message of sins forgiven in Christ DOES need Re-Affirmation – we forget the wrong things!
  • Samuel was instrumental in the rise of the Davidic monarchy which culminated in Christ. 
  • He anointed David asking (1 Sam 16:13). 
  • All the prophets who followed, not just those who uttered the well-known “Messianic prophecies,” spoke of Christ (cf. also Luke 24:25–27).
  • Peter sees in Jesus the living link between the Old and New Testaments. 
  • Peter interprets the noun zera, “seed, offspring,” as a reference to the individual Jesus, just as Paul does in Gal 3:16. 
  • Jesus was God at Creation (the one by whom all things were made)
  • Jesus is the source of the blessing promised five times in Genesis (12:3; 18:18; 22:18; 26:4; 28:14; Acts 3:25 quotes Gen 22:18).
  • Peter speaks a penetrating condemnation, using three phrases that hit home. 
  • “You handed him over [paredōkate]. . . . 
  • You disowned [ērnēsasthe] the Holy and Righteous One. . . . 
  • You killed the author of life [ton . . . archēgon tēs zōēs apekteinate].” 
  • At the same time, he holds out the implicit Gospel in the lame man’s healing: “By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong” (v 16). 
  • Our text opens in the “portico called Solomon’s,” 
  • where John’s Gospel records that similar crowds had recently gathered around Jesus himself to ask if he was indeed the Christ (Jn 10:22–24). 
  • Immediately Peter redirects everyone’s attention away from the apostles as pious individuals and toward Christ, in whose name the man was made well (v 16).
  • The lame man is a small restoration that anticipates the one Christ will bring when he comes again.
  • Peter gives his testimony as an eyewitness of this fact that Christ is Risen!
  • Peter now answers the question about who healed the lame man. 
  • Jesus did! 
  • Peter heads off complete despair in his hearers; they acted in ignorance (as did their rulers). This echoes Jesus’ word from the cross “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Lk 23:34).
  • The people’s ignorance apparently extends even to the Scriptures many of them presumed to know. 
  • The death and resurrection of Jesus were foretold there, and what God had spoken by the prophets he has also faithfully fulfilled. 
  • It is not too late, Peter assures them, to repent.
  • Turning to God in repentance will bring kairoi anapsuxeōs. The NIV translates this phrase as “times of refreshing.” 
  • “Spiritual strengthening and invigoration that gives comfort”
  • Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees. Say to those who have an anxious heart, “Be strong; fear not! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God. He will come and save you.” Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; then shall the lame man leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute sing for joy. (Is 35:3–6b)
  • This is the “Resurrection Affirmation”

04-11-21

Easter 2, April 11, 2021

A Resurrection Nickname

Text: Acts 4:32–37

  • What is the “nickname” you would like to have remembered of your life and faith?
  • Unity of the Church: Heart + Soul = ONE vs. False Heart + Satanic Soul
  • Community of Generosity: Money + Stuff = OWN vs Mine + Ours
  • Core Identity = the Resurrection vs A Social Club with benefits
  • Core Reality = “No one in need” fulfillment of prophecy; no poor, no disenfranchised, no ethnic division vs A mirror of the fallen world
  • Luke singles out Barnabas as an example of such faith and generosity. He is described as a Levite. It is a curious detail given the context. 
  • The Levites were traditionally without land. 
  • As the one tribe set apart for service in the temple, the Levites were given no particular inheritance in Canaan but relied upon the tithe of the other tribes to provide them with cities to live in and fields to tend. 
  • Thus, it seems like a remarkable reversal for Barnabas the Levite to be the benefactor rather than the beneficiary. 
  • But when we read why the Levites were not given land, it is perhaps not that odd: “You shall have no inheritance in their land, neither shall you have any portion among them. I am your portion and your inheritance among the people of Israel” (Nm 18:20). 
  • I am your portion and your inheritance… beautiful… a future found in God. That’s Easter. That’s actually believing in “the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come.”
  • Barnabas’s giving of the field flows from the response and reality of the power and grace of the resurrection, which is encouraging to the Early Church.
  • It is important to note here what the apostles don’t pray for. 
  • They don’t pray that the Sanhedrin be punished; 
  • they don’t ask for protection; 
  • they don’t ask to be spared from further hardship. 
  • They don’t pray for a change in politics
  • They don’t even pray for sweeping moral change!
  • All they plead for is the gift to speak boldly the Word, the Gospel of Christ, despite any real threats of persecution!
  •  Their only concern was that the kingdom of God should spread, and if God helped them to keep sounding forth the Word, all would be well!
  • How important it is also for our congregation to be faithful to the Lord Jesus and his Word. 
  • The focus becomes how the resurrection changed people: Peter, Thomas, Paul, and Barnabas. Meeting the risen Jesus, or hearing the powerful proclamation of the resurrection, is a grace experience for each of these men. Power and grace still flow from that resurrection proclamation into the lives of those hearing that message again and anew.
  • Barnabas gives us a powerful example of one who does so because “he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith” (Acts 11:24).
  • Barnabas is mentioned numerous times in Acts and in Paul’s letters. 
  • He welcomes Paul when others remained suspicious of him (Acts 9:26–27). 
  • He is a missionary (Acts 13:1–3). 
  • He is involved in the Jerusalem council (Acts 15:1–6, 12, 22). 
  • He stands with John Mark when Paul doesn’t want much to do with him (Acts 15:36–39). 
  • His encouraging nature comes through in each. 
  • To give the resurrection the prominent place in Barnabas’s life, these two events (giving the field, speaking well of Paul) become examples of how Jesus’ resurrection nicknamed him from Joseph of Cyprus to Barnabas, the “son of encouragement.”
  • We get a nickname like Barnabas when we 
  • encourage others with our words and we encourage others with our generosity.
  • He was an encourager. 
  • He built people up. 
  • He gave of himself to take care of others. 
  • He supported those who were all alone. 
  • You know who else was encouraged? Those in the church who watched Barnabas do this. They were encouraged that someone would be so generous. They saw that what they had wasn’t their own either but was the Lord’s gift to them. 
  • What a great nickname! Barnabas, the encourager. Now that’s a nickname all of us could have. All of us can be encouragers, just like Joseph from Cyprus. Call me Barnabas. 
  • Let’s all be Encouragers with Words and Generosity.
  • Christ is risen He is risen indeed Alleluia. Amen.
  • Easter—by definition—turns everything on its head. And it seems that what Luke gives us is a glimpse into what life can look like when you actually believe in “the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come.” It is a striking picture of fellowship and community— 
  • “no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own,” (Acts 4:32)
  • But lest we get caught up in utopian visions, remember that this passage comes on the heels of violent threats and impending persecution. The rulers and elders of Israel, who, alongside the “Gentiles,” had “raged against the Lord and his Anointed,” were now turning their wrath against those who testified to the resurrection of Jesus.
  • “Putting to death the uncertainty of tomorrow, the resurrection frees us to love lavishly, even recklessly, today.” By Erik Herrmann
  • NOT “communal or cult” but GENEROSITY with a focus on legacy giving and stewardship of time, talents and treasures.
  • GENEROSITY flows from:

04-11-21 Video

Worship materials for the weekend of Aprill 11:

https://stjohnsmarysville.360unite.com/news

04-04-21

Easter Sunday

We Are Going Home Isaiah 55:6–13

“Indeed you will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and the hills before you will break forth into singing, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.” (Isaiah 55:12)

  • The chapter begins with the renewal of people (Isaiah 55:1–3) and ends with the renewal of all creation (vv. 12–13). 
  • It is time to sing! 

“The Lamb who was slain has begun His reign! Alleluia!” (LSB, p. 155). 

  • The Crucified One is now risen, indeed! 
  • What does it all mean? We are going home!
  • Home! The very word evokes feelings of love and laughter, security and serenity, warmth and welcome. It means mom and dad, fun and games, good food, deep sleep. “Home, home on the range.” “When Johnnie comes marching home.” But a little girl from Kansas says it best, “There’s no place like home!”
  • Easter means we are going home!
  • Let’s unpack this promise.
  • Isaiah, writing in the eighth century BC, addresses Israelites living in Babylon in the sixth century BC. And these exiles are far away from home. A terrible reality called Babylon was a fire-breathing monster that devastated everything. In 587, the empire decided once and for all to destroy Jerusalem, described in the Babylonian archives as “a rebellious city, hurtful to kings and provinces, and a place of rebellion from ancient times” (Ezra 4:15).
  • Now in refugee camps, Judeans are stuck in a land with canals and ziggurats and the Tigris and Euphrates rivers and the Ishtar Gate and the detestable statue of Marduk. 
  • Judah and Jerusalem and the Jordan have been replaced by the building projects of Nabopolassar and his son Nebuchadnezzar. 
  • Judeans have no king, no temple, no royal city, no land, no sacrifice, no hope, and no future. Oh God! “There’s no place like home!”
  • The exiles are far away from home but, more pressing, they are far away from the Father. Just like the prodigal son, Israelites demanded their fair share of the inheritance, set off for a distant country, and squandered it all on wild living. 
  • The list is long and ugly: enticing Baal worship, seductive Assyrian astral deities, perverting justice and righteousness, worthless worship, false faith. On August 19, 587 BC Jerusalem was destroyed.
  • Some of us are far away from home but, more pressing, all of us are far away from the Father. It’s the way we operate. We are, again, right here, just now, stuck in an exile of our own making. We demand our fair share of the inheritance and set off for distant, seductive, deadly lights. We sell our baptismal promises—for what? Duplicitous lives, empty relationships, and inflated egos. Then Satan plants his foot on our necks and shouts, “God is finished with you!”
  • The phrases here are indiscriminate, does not distinguish between good ways and bad ways, just ways of human kind!
  • If you don't recognize the importance to your life of the word realize at least the coming danger of ignoring it and hope that motivates you!
  • The key doesn't lie in my seeking but in the fact that God can be found!
  • God speaks to exiles! Isaiah 55:12, “For you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall break forth into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.”
  • Israel’s history seemed closed and controlled by hopeless Babylonian imperial policy, to the shock and surprise of everyone the Lord stirs up His messiah Cyrus who defeats Babylon and then releases (releases!) the exiles. 
  • A Servant is wounded for our transgressions and crushed for our iniquities. The punishment that brought us peace was upon Him and by His wounds (by His wounds!) we are healed. The climax of Isaiah’s program in chapters 40–55 is God’s promise to bring the exiles home.
  • Standing behind this promise is God’s almighty Word. Earlier Isaiah wrote, “The word of our God stands forever” (40:8). Now the Lord promises that this same Word will never return empty. God said it. That settles it. Faith believes it!
  • In Bethlehem this powerful Word took on flesh and blood, and He has a heart. Jesus knows the bitter pain of exile. He was far away from home (“Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay His head” [Luke 9:58]); but, more pressing, He was far away from the Father. Jesus was betrayed, spit upon, and scourged. Stretched out upon the cross, He cries out, “My God, My God. Why have You forsaken Me?” (Matthew 27:46). It was the day the music died.
  • Yet bodily raised on the third day, the song—check that—the grand symphony of celebration, rocks on (John 1:4; 6:35; 10:10; 11:25; 14:6; 20:31)!
  • Easter means we are going home! Because Jesus lives, we, too, shall live. Because Jesus rose, we, too, shall rise on the last day. And He will take us home, to the New Jerusalem, where there will be no pain, no tears, no cancer, no sickness, no depression, no death, no end!
  • Jesus promises, “In My Father’s house there is plenty of room! if it were not so, I would have told you” (John 14:2). 
  • The robe and sandals are ready, and so is the ring. The price is paid, the party prepared, the sacrifice complete, and the Father has rehearsed His lines, “This son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost but now he is found” (Luke 15:24).
  • “For you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall break forth into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands” (Isaiah 55:12).
  • And our response? We “join in the hymn of all creation . . . For the Lamb who was slain has begun His reign” (LSB, p. 155). We sing an endless and deathless Hallelujah. Why? Because We are going home! Amen.

04-04-21 Video

Worship materials for the weekend of April 4th:

https://stjohnsmarysville.360unite.com/news

 

03-28-21

Palm Sunday

Isaiah 49:1–6

 “You are My Servant . . . in whom I will display My beauty.” (Isaiah 49:3)

  • In chapter 9, Isaiah also writes about this Servant: “For to us a child is born, to us a Son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder, and His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (v. 6). And in chapter 11: “There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit” (v. 1). And in Isaiah 11:6: “A little child shall lead them.”
  • A son who has just been born, a shoot from a stump, a branch from roots, and a little child. Who gets excited about these kinds of things? Who gets excited about a penny? Isaiah does.
  • How about us? Not so much. Most of the time, you and I ignore what is little, small, and insignificant. 
  • We spend most of our life looking for twenties, fifties, and hundred dollar bills. 
  • Who wants pennies? Rioght now the school kids do!! After LSW!
  • We want the big bucks, the big time, the big league. Lord, make me a glistening black stallion in daily parades!
  • We dream about landing the big job with the big bonus with the big office in the big building. 
  • We want a big house, a big yard, a big car, a big boat. 
  • Powerful forces, in our world and in our hearts, drive us to be all about B-I-G. Big.
  • Hear me out on this. There is nothing wrong with wanting to succeed, to do a good job, or to be successful. 
  • The danger comes, though, when we become obsessed and consumed with “big” to the point that we begin to despise small things, small lives, small days, small people, and small jobs. 
  • Many “small” people protect their own turf, delight in the latest gossip, and belittle others to prop up their small little lives—but not Isaiah. 
  • He stands in a long line of believers who revel in finding just a penny. 
  • All Moses had was a staff, and this conquered a kingdom. 
  • Giddy-up, git-along Gideon defeated the Midianite hoards with three hundred Abiezerites who lapped water like dogs. 
  • And a sling and a stone were all David needed to kill Goliath.
  • The most awesome person in this long line of penny finders is Jesus (Mark 12:42). 
  • He found great pleasure in five loaves of barley bread and two small fish. 
  • The Savior once said, “The kingdom of God is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest seed you plant in the ground” (Matthew 13:31). 
  • Passing through Jericho on the way to Jerusalem, Jesus picked out little Zachaeus and said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham” (Luke 19:9). 
  • And then these words for the ages: “Let the little children come to Me and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these” (Matthew 19:14).
  • “My FAVORITE egg is empty just like Jesus’ tomb!” 
  •  “You are My Servant . . . in whom I will display My beauty” (Isaiah 49:3). 
  • God didn’t send an NBA all-star, 
  • a polished politician, 
  • an investment banker, 
  • a cracker-jack attorney, 
  • a successful general,
  • or a high-profile actor. 
  • No. He sent a Servant! And most people missed it!
  • But through this Servant, God says, “I will display My beauty.”
  • To display His beauty, it would have to get ugly—really, really ugly. In Isaiah 49:7, we learn that the Servant will be “deeply despised, abhorred by the nation.” 
  • In Isaiah 50, we learn that the Servant will give His back to those who beat Him and His cheeks to those who pull out His beard (v. 6). 
  • In chapter 52, the Servant’s appearance will be so marred that people will be appalled at Him; His form will be disfigured behind human likeness (v. 14). 
  • And in Isaiah 53:2: “He had no form or majesty that we should look at Him, and no beauty that we should desire Him.”
  • It was on Good Friday that God’s beauty was on display, ironically, through an ugly and horrific crucifixion. Look again. Blood and spit are caked to His cheeks. His lips are cracked and swollen. His enemies revile Him. His friends forsake Him. And He hangs there alone, in three hours of God-forsaken darkness.
  • What’s beautiful about that? I’ll tell you . . . .
  • Jesus did it all to find a penny. He suffered, bled, and died to find and cherish you.
  • Who gets excited about a penny?
  • I get excited about THIS ONE 
  • In 1871, Jeannette Threlfall composed a hymn for Palm Sunday, calling it “Hosanna, Loud Hosanna” (LSB 443). Stanzas 1 and 2 describe how children (children, not adults; the adults were looking for something BIG to conquer Rome) responded during Christ’s procession into Jerusalem, while stanza 3 invites everyone to sing—that is, everyone who gets excited about a penny. 
  • “ ‘Hosanna in the highest!’ That ancient song we sing; For Christ is our Redeemer, The Lord of heav’n our King. Oh, may we ever praise Him With heart and life and voice And in His blissful presence Eternally rejoice!” Don’t miss it! Amen.

03-28-21 Video

 

Worship materials for the weekend of March 28th:

https://stjohnsmarysville.360unite.com/news

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