Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Sermon for 5/5/13 Is It a Vision or Is It Real?

Sermon Is It a Vision or Is It Real?

We know in part and we prophesy in part
When Jesus calls us to him in that last day we will know fully
For now we have partial understanding
How to deal with that?

1) Jesus uses circumstances, including the Scripture, people, job opportunities, all sorts of circumstances to call us to the place where he wishes to use us.
Compare Paul and his decision to go to Macedonia – his perceiving the call brought the Gospel into Europe. What did he do there? The same things he would have been doing wherever he was. God used him in his circumstances to bring the Gospel to those people.

2) Sometimes Jesus gives us a vision that we don’t fully understand.
heavenly blessing
the nature of eternal life
his mercy shown upon us as we receive the Sacrament
the great patience he has
his forgiving nature
the way he gathers all sorts of people from all sorts of walks of life to make one body

We might understand some of it but probably not all. For instance, in Revelation, when we read about final judgment, notice that those whose names are written in the book of life, everyone who is trusting in Jesus, those people are perfectly safe. All who are trusting in Jesus receive his blessing, life, protection, comfort, joy. Do we understand? Not at all. We face struggles and trials every day. But he has given us his blessing. What of the end of the world?

build a case for amillennialism? at least guard the public nature of the resurrection and the security we can have that Jesus has called his people and they will not be in danger.

3) Whether it is a vision, a highly symbolic passage of Scripture, or a bold promise of Jesus, we still need to accept it by faith, trusting the Lord. Jesus tells us to pray in his name, trusting his promises and that he will care for us.
We don’t pray like we should.
We wonder if Jesus’ promises are true.
We wonder if we are really forgiven when we confess our sins.
We trust the Word of God but then we look for security and affirmation somewhere else.
We wonder if Jesus is really there for us.

As we turn our attention to communion, I remind you that, as Dr. Martin Luther said, every time we come for communion it’s a time of our confirmation. We confirm our faith. We are reminded that Jesus gave himself for us. And we remind ourselves and our neighbors that we believe that, that we confess Jesus is present, that Jesus is the one who forgives us all our sins. Is it a vision? Is it a difficult teaching? Is it a promise that we don’t fully understand? Yes, all of the Lord’s mercy is somehow difficult to see in this life. But it doesn’t mean it is not real. In fact, it’s so real that we can’t see it clearly. It’s so brilliant that it would blind us to look at the reality of Christ face to face. So we know in part and we prophesy in part, we see through a mirror dimly. It’s ever so real. Jesus has given himself for us. He calls people from all nations to himself. He promises to care for us in a way we could never care for ourselves. And he gives us that care by giving us his name, his authority, his blessing, that if we ask in his name it will be done for us. Thanks be to God.

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