Sermon — Pr, Tony Sikora — Keeping it all:  Faith, Words and Love

In the Name X of Jesus.  AMEN!  Our text is from John 14:23-31.

Beloved in the Lord,

Love Jesus means loving His Word

Steadfast Sermons GraphicThe goal of our salvation, the aim, the objective, the end is that we may be where Jesus is – forever and ever and ever.  Where Jesus is there is life for He has come not judge the world, but that the world through Him might be saved from sin and from death.  Jesus has come that we may have life and have it more abundantly.  That life He gives is His own for the life of the world, for you and me and August baptized this morning and John and Katherine, Kate and Alec confirmed in the faith – for the world means for all.

Thus when Jesus speaks our text this morning He speaks in answer to a question just before our text.  “Lord, how is that you will manifest yourself to us and not to the world?”   Because salvation is to be wherever Jesus is forever and ever and ever, the question asks about how one can know where Jesus is for us and where He is not.  The question therefore is about Jesus manifestation of His presence to His people, for His people, to give His people life, abundant life, good life, His life.

Jesus then answers . . . “If anyone loves me He will keep my Word and My Father will love Him and we will come to him and make our home with Him.”  When Jesus speaks of “anyone who loves me” He is speaking of those who believe, those who in their heart confess Jesus as Lord, those who follow where He goes and long to be wherever He is forever and ever and ever.  He is speaking of His baptized, His Christians, His church – you!  And so the baptized, all who would be called Christian and true members of His Church will keep Jesus’ Word.  Jesus’ Word manifests Jesus to His disciples.  Where the Word of Jesus is believed, taught, and confessed rightly there is Jesus manifesting Himself to His own.  Thus He is there in the waters of baptism. He is there in the word of forgiveness in absolution. He is there in the supper with His true body and His true blood, and He is in our midst wherever two or more gather in His Name.

Not keeping the Word is not Loving Jesus

Loving Jesus where He has promised to be is the fruit of faith.  Faith goes where the Word is because faith finds the speaker of that Word – faith finds Jesus and love for Jesus is enkindled in the heart.  Faith receives from Jesus – forgiveness of sins, life and salvation, and then is active in Love.  Faith expresses itself in love.  The problem is – we Christians get confused because faith in Christ saves us and love does not.  The confusion results in us believing, teaching and confessing faith in Christ and then ignoring the love that is to flow from faith – love toward Jesus first and then showing my love for Jesus as I love neighbor according to His Word.  While denying it with our lips we all too often take the attitude in our hearts and in our lives that Jesus loves me this I know so . . . I can live anyway I want to.  I’m forgiven!  I can break traffic laws – I’m forgiven!  I can be rude because – I’m forgiven!  I can sleep around or live in sin because I’m forgiven!  I can smoke this, drink that, covet these, hate those – I’m forgiven!  I can indulge, I can spoil.  I can coddle and comfort and keep instead of serve, suffer and share.  I’m forgiven.  And to that St. Paul says, “shall we continue in sin that grace may abound all the more?  CERTAINLY NOT!

Beloved, living anyway you want really means you want live in sin.  Wanting to live in sin is wanting to live apart from the Word of Jesus.  Living apart from the word of Jesus is not loving Jesus and its not loving your neighbor it is – pure and simple – loving yourself.  Not keeping the Word of Jesus is loving yourself.  Ignoring what Jesus says about your sin is loving yourself!

Love flows from faith.  If you love Jesus that love will flow from faith in Jesus.  Your trust and heart will seek to be in accord, in harmony, with the word of Jesus as it is revealed in the bible – not as you might think, suppose, or feel Jesus would want for you.  If you love yourself what kind of faith is it flowing from? Loving self is flowing from faith in self.  Faith in yourself will damn you to hell because such a faith in self is trusting and keeping your own words, your own understanding, your own life.  And the bible clearly teaches that there is no life in yourself.   Jesus says in relation to His own flesh and blood, “Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood you have no life in you.”  In other words there is no life in your own flesh or your own blood.  No life in you means there is only death.

If you want to live, the way you want to live should be the way Jesus teaches you to live as He teaches in His Word.  If the way you want to live is not the way Jesus teaches in His Word– it is not keeping the words of Jesus and evidence of not loving Jesus.  Not loving Jesus flows from not believing.  Therefore repent and believe the Gospel!  A new life begins with a new heart which then creates a new love.

 Jesus life for your life

And the gospel is plain and simple.  The gospel is not you. The gospel is Jesus.  It is not Jesus first. It’s not Jesus and.  It’s not Jesus with.  Jesus is not your co-pilot. Jesus is not your guru.  Jesus is not your buddy, your best friend, or your pal who helps you figure it out on your own. The gospel is Jesus only – Jesus only for you.  Until Jesus is the only one for you, Jesus cannot be with you, in you, or near you.  That means before Jesus will bless your marriage, before Jesus will give you strength in suffering, before Jesus will comfort you with encouraging words, one must be redeemed by His blood.   There is life, good life, eternal life, only in the blood of Jesus.  Only the blood of Jesus atones for sin.  Only the blood of Jesus redeems sinners from the curse of death. Only the blood of Jesus washes every spot, stain and blemish from the works of our flesh and the depravity our hearts. It is in the blood of Jesus we Christians are baptized.  It is the blood of Jesus we Christians drink. It is the blood of Jesus that is sprinkled upon us every time we hear the message of the cross.  It is the blood of Jesus which covers over our sins. The blood of Jesus justifies us.  The blood of Jesus seals God’s covenant with us. The blood of Jesus gives us life, His life, eternal life the good life!  And the blood is on us because Jesus has given it all on the cross!  The blood is on us because Jesus has suffered it all on the cross and Jesus is risen from the dead on the third day.  Thus the Word of Jesus manifests the blood of Jesus for us and for our salvation.  THIS IS HOW JESUS MANIFESTS HIMSELF TO US AND NOT TO THE WORLD!

Peace I leave you

This is why the world is anxious, worrisome, angry, rude, hateful, spiteful, fearful, lonely, depressed, despairing, grasping for anything or anyone who will offer them some sort of peace.  The world, the people you and I run into every day of every week, is lost in themselves and it terrifies them.  They have no peace because they do not have Jesus.  Jesus does not manifest Himself to the world.  He manifests Himself to you.  Thus Jesus gives you peace.  “Peace I leave you, my peace I give to you, not as the world gives do I give to you.”

The world seeks to give peace by not fighting, by tolerance, by accepting anyone and everything under the sun – which only increases their turmoil.  Tolerance and acceptance of sin do not give peace – life only become worse because there is no life in sin.  Jesus will never ever tolerate or accept sin because it is totally and completely contrary to His very essence.  Nor should you ever tolerate or accept sin in yourself. It is completely contrary to the revealed will of our Heavenly Father and it is completely contrary to the new man regenerated within you by the power of the Holy Spirit through your baptism into Christ.  You are a new creation!  You are a blood bought child of God.  You are forgiven!  Therefore find your life, your good life, your eternal life in the life of Jesus that comes to you through His Word.  If you believe in Jesus you will love Jesus.  Anyone who loves Jesus will keep His Word.  Do not be one who loves the world, your own life or your sin.  But, as St. Paul says, “Put on the Lord Jesus and make no provision for the flesh, gratifying its desires”  (Romans 13:14).

Rise! Let us be going from Here!

Beloved in the Lord, the goal, the aim, the end of our salvation is that we who are called by His Name may be where Jesus is.  Jesus is not in the world for you. Don’t look there – you won’t find Him.  Jesus is not out there, over there, in your feelings, your experiences or your imagination.  Jesus is for you only in His Word and Sacraments.  And His Word and Sacraments are found only in His Church.  In Christ’s Church, in this place gathered around the Word and Sacraments we hear Jesus speaking Himself to us, washing us, and feeding us with His divine life.  He teaches us what love is by giving us His own.  He teaches us how to love Him and how to love one another by calling out our sin, shining the light on our hearts and holding up God’s commandments that we may see who we are when we are without Him. Teaching us he changes us.    Changing us means that He changes our heart. And a changed heart, a redeemed heart, a forgiven heart will love what Jesus loves and will suffer anything and everything – even death – rather than forsake love’s object.

So the question is:  Who and what do you love?  God grant you the faith to be where Jesus is and therefore love the right things forever and ever and ever.  AMEN!

 

The peace of God which surpasses all understanding keep your heart and mind through faith in Christ Jesus.  AMEN!

About Norm Fisher

Norm was raised in the UCC in Connecticut, and like many fell away from the church after high school. With this background he saw it primarily as a service organization. On the miracle of his first child he came back to the church. On moving to Texas a few years later he found a home in Lutheranism when he was invited to a confessional church a half-hour away by our new neighbors.

He is one of those people who found a like mind in computers while in Middle School and has been programming ever since. He's responsible for many websites, including the Book of Concord, LCMSsermons.com, and several other sites.

He has served the church in various positions, including financial secretary, sunday school teacher, elder, PTF board member, and choir member.

More of his work can be found at KNFA.net.

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