04 19 2020 The Rare Beauty of Faith
Good morning, and Welcome to our divine service on the second Sunday of Easter. And because it is still the Second Sunday of Easter. We still say to each other Christ is risen. He is risen indeed Alleluia. So let's begin our service now with our first song.
Where are you?
Because Jesus is not dead. But alive can enter God's presence this morning in the name of the father and of the son and of the holy spirit, it's a man. We know that Christ being raised from the dead will never die again. Death no longer has dominion over him Alleluia. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed hallelujah hallelujah. With these words of good news ringing in our ears. Let us prepare now to confess our sins.
Lord you were favorable to your land you were restored the fortunes of Jacob you forgave the iniquity of your people you covered all we are saying Show me your steadfast love O Lord and Grant me your salvation. Let us now confess our sins unto our gracious Lord will pause for a few moments of quiet for personal confession first.
Now we pray together. Almighty God in humility and with a repentant heart I come before you with shame and regret. I admit and confess my sinfulness. I have not lived up to my calling as you were Peaceable person. I have not done the good you demand and have not been the person you would have me be. I do repent and I'm truly sorry for my sins and thought word and deed. Have mercy on me merciful father for the sake of Jesus Christ your son forgive me all that needs your forgiving Grace. And with the power of the Holy Spirit direct me to serve you Faithfully all my days through Jesus Christ my Lord.
Your friend's got his promises merciful forgiveness to those repent of your sins and turn to him in confession. He will revive them and will speak peace to his people therefore in his stead and by his command I forgive you all your sins in the name of the father and of the son and of the holy spirit's I'm in. God keep you now in His Grace by the Holy Spirit Lead You In ways of peace and joy finally bring you to live with him forever through Jesus Christ Our Lord. I'm in thanks be to God. Are short of God's forgiveness weekend share with the peace of God with each other and say the Peace of the Lord be with you and also with you also with each other. butter spray
Almighty God grant that we who have celebrated the Lord's Resurrection made by your grace confess in our life and our conversation that Jesus is Lord and God through the same Jesus Christ your son. We pray who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit as one God now and forever.
The first reading for the Second Sunday of Easter comes from the book of Acts in chapter 5 beginning of verse 29. Peter and the apostles answered we must obey God rather than men. The god of our fathers raised Jesus whom you killed by hanging on a tree God exalted him at his right hand as leader and savior to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. We are witnesses to these things. And so is the holy spirit when God has given to those who obey him. When they heard that they were enraged and wanted to kill them. If I were seeing the council named Emilio a teacher of the law held in honor Pillow People stood up and gave orders to put them in outside for a little while. He said to them.
Picture what you want about to do with these men. Before these days Foo Fighters arrows claiming to be somebody and a number of men about 400 joint. Then he was killed and all that followed him with this person came to nothing. After him Judas the Galilean rose up in the days of the census Andrew some people away after him teacher Parish who followed him were scattered. So in the present case I tell you keep away from these men let them alone for if this plan or this undertaking is of man. It will fail. But if it is of god, you will not be able to overthrow them. You might even be found opposing God. I took his advice and when they call the apostles in they beat them and they charge them not to speak in the name of Jesus and they let them go. Then they left the presence of the council rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name. And every day in the temple and from house to house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ This Is The Word Of The Lord. Thanks be to God.
The second reading from the New Testament come from the first letter of Peter in chapter one getting the first three. He says he writes blessed be the God and father of our Lord Jesus Christ. According to his great Mercy. He has caused us to be born again to a Living Hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. To an inheritance that is imperishable. Undefiled and unfading kept in heaven for you Google by God's power are being guarded to Faith for a Salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. in this you rejoice don't know how for a little while if necessary. You have been grieved by various trials. Tested genuineness of your faith more precious than gold that perishes even though it's tested by fire may be found to result in praise and glory honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. You have seen him for you have not seen him you love him and you do not know how see him you believe in him. And you rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with Glory obtaining the outcome of your face. The salvation of your souls. This is the word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.
And the Gospel reading for today is taken from St. John's accounting chapter 28 verse 19. Glory To You O Lord On the evening of that day the first day of the week. This would be Easter Day itself. The doors being locked the disciples word for fear of the Jews. Jesus came and stood among them and said to them peace be with you. When he said there's he showed them his hands and his side. Disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again. Peace be with you. As the father has sent me even so I am sending you. Bring it said this he breathed on them and he said the Holy Spirit if you are forgiven if you withhold forgiveness from anyone it is withheld. Laura Thomas, one of the 12 call the twin was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him we have seen the Lord. But he said to them unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails placed my finger into the mark of the nails and place my hand and suicide. I will never believe. 8 Days Later which would be today his disciples were inside again and Thomas was with them and all the doors were locked and said peace be with you. 32nd Thomas what's your finger here and see my hands without your had placed it in my side. Do not disbelieve but Billy. Thomas answered him my Lord and my God, Jesus said to him have you believe because you have seen me blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe
how many other signs in the presence of his disciples which was not written in this book so that you may believe Jesus is the Christ the son of God and that by believing you may have life in his name. This is the gospel of the Lord. Praise to you o Christ.
Response to the reading of God's word. We confess together just started Christian faith as we find it in the Nicene Creed.
I believe in one God the Father Almighty maker of heaven and Earth and of all things visible and invisible and in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God begotten of his father before all worlds. God of God light of light very God of very God begotten not made being of one substance with the father by whom all things were made. Who for us men and for our Salvation came down from heaven and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the Virgin Mary and was made man.
It was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate. He suffered and was buried in the third day. He rose again according to the scriptures and ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of the father and he will come again with Glory the judge both the living and the dead whose kingdom will have no end and I believe in the Holy Spirit the Lord and Giver of Life for proceeds from the father and the son who is the father and the son together is worshipped and glorified who spoke by the prophets. No, I believe in one holy Christian and Apostolic church. I acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins. And I look for the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come on men cannot continue next song.
Grace mercy, and peace be to each of you from God our Father through Jesus Christ Our Living Lord and Savior a man. In a normal year when we're not isolated from each other and we're all coming to church today the Second Sunday after Easter the Second Sunday of Easter. Actually the attendance is usually much lower than regularly irregular Sunday and certainly much lower than Easter Sunday. So the good news that I have for you all today or watching is that the church today is just as full as it was last week 9 Easter because nobody's here at all. It's just like last week. Nobody was here with the exception of course of my wife and my daughter and my son-in-law who are working behind the scenes to I make these Services possible. So I do appreciate that and I apologize for my poor attempt at humor and I'll let's move on Canadian preparing for today I found myself torn about which path to go in terms of preaching from Lita The Gospel reading or from the epistle reading the second New Testament reading was very captivating to me because to talk a lot about the Peace of Christ in the mission of Christ and the spirit of Christ and the Forgiveness of Christ. And all that would be really great to focus on because it's really relevant in our kind of damage New World in which we find ourselves not only as individuals, but as a congregation has a group of Christians and that we very applicable. And be wonderful to wrestle with this whole idea that our district presidents been talking about for years is this thing called an Adaptive challenge is a challenge we face that forces us to adopt and how how would you doing that? I will never getting that so that that could be a really wonderful conversation that I would have enjoyed attending the New Testament from the first letter of Peter. Reading speaks to two people's hearts and Lives who are struggling to cope in this pandemic New World in which we find ourselves and in which we will continue to find ourselves for quite a while yet. That reading from Peter talks about Hope and power and joy and suffering and grief and trials and faith and even Glory. all those things that were talking about now and struggling with now and so anyway, I decided to go with it and decided to go with the New Testament reading from Peter because I like to try to speak a little bit today to the struggles that many of us are experiencing as we continue to navigate through this pandemic new world of ours. There was a real important analogy that is being made in the reading from Peter beat is making us a really important analogy by comparing something to gold. Gold of course is valuable. It's it's precious. We know that he knew that. Civilizations throughout history have known that kind of begs. The question of why why is gold so valuable in pressures that like everybody knows this. I believe it for two reasons. I believe gold is valuable and precious because it is rare and beautiful. It is the scarceness of gold at that gives it value. How little of it there is in the world. And then so does its beauty? Beauty gives gold its value as well. But what is it that makes gold beautiful, you know when you find gold in the earth. It doesn't look like it looks when you wear it. So, how is it then that gold become so beautiful that people value it so much. Well, it has to go to a furnace. Going through the furnace is what makes it beautiful because the furnace refines it. Remove the impurities that can be skimmed off and then as it cools, the gold is still malleable. I think it's a fancy word. It is still moldable. You can form it. You can shape it as it comes out of the furnace. books faith is like gold. That's the analogy in Peter. Faith is valuable and precious. like gold Why is that for the same reasons because faith is rare. And it is beautiful.
Think about that or let's think about that face is more scarce than we think. Face is not the same as being a church member. Faith is not the same as honey Bible knowledge. Throughout the course of time there have been all kinds of unbelievers that I've been church members. You can listen to them and find that out. You can watch how they live and see it. They may belong to a church. That doesn't mean they believe what the church believes or what it stands for or what Jesus said. Timberland
Obviously the most the most publicly literate being is God. He knows the Bible the best because you wrote it, but right below them some knowing what the Bible says having a really good Bible knowledge or Satan. and the demons none of them have faith. They just have a lot of Bible smarts. And it's a lot of people I'm afraid. You know, the Bible very well. I do not have faith. so faith is not the same as church membership face. Not the same as Bible knowledge. So, what is it?
Faithful how about may be functioning definition here? Is an actual trust in God's presence and Promises. You actually trust that.
Face is also than an actual dependence on God's presence and Promises. You depend on that you depend on him? Let's let's put it this way. Let's make a distinction people with faith don't believe in God. Show me sex with a believe in God that doesn't mean anything. people with faith believe God
see a difference between believing in God and believing God People who believe in God just sort of kind of acknowledge. Yeah, there is one. He's up there. people with Fades however, believe But God has said something and that what he has said applies to them. They believe God. And there's never been a lot of those even when churches were full of people who actually believe God. people believe in God So you sing praises rare? Today, of course, we can say that better. But faith has always been rare. Part of what makes it valuable and precious? It's all so beautiful. Number two. Take this beautiful. Why? Because it is the work of God himself. You did not come to Faith on your own you did not give birth to Faith or by yourself. God create face and you? God put face real face in you it did not come from within it came from without. From God and everything that God creates is beautiful. All you do is look at the world. Look at the creation. start acting weird now the question is how does God make your faith more beautiful?
Freddy he puts it into the furnace of Trials.
Think about that. Just like we do to Gold God does to us and to our face.
So that when we go through the furnace of grief and suffering our faith emerges on the other side refined. and purified ingenuine
when we go to the furnace of grief and suffering our faith emerges on the other side malleable mold oil reshapable if you will.
And God has been able to mold and shape our face after Jordan and skins off some of that the rubbish. And make it more into the image of Jesus his son.
Heat makes gold gold more beautiful to us.
suffering makes face more beautiful to God
That's how that works. That's the analogy.
Now what gives got the right to do this to us? What gives God the right to put us through the furnace of trial and suffering and grief?
Well, it's this face is more valuable to him. Then gold is to us. Think about that. Faith is more valuable and precious to God your faith. Then gold is valuable and precious to us. In fact to God the most important thing about us. The most important thing about you is the fact that he put into us. Is the Freddy Freddy put into you? That's the most valuable precious thing. How about you and about us? Nothing is more important to God in us or about us than our Eternal salvation, and it is only by face.
Then we receive that and then we're your pain. So therefore the most important thing about our faith. And that's what God's going after that's what God is refining and molding and that's why he's putting us sometimes into the furnace of trial and grief.
It is because of this value of our faith and the preciousness of our faith and because of what it obtains and receives from him for us or our Eternal salvation. This is the reason why Jesus came into this world. This is the reason why Jesus suffered. This is the reason why Jesus died. This is the reason why Jesus rose again. To bring us back to God forever to make that connection Jesus rebuilt the bridge to heaven. That's what his life and suffering and death and resurrection and roll about and Faith enables us then to cross that bridge. Jesus reported Faith crosses it by trusting him and by trusting his word and that is why faith is so valuable and precious. Nothing else can get us across that bridge. nothing
That's why our faith is so rare. and so beautiful
because it brings us to eternal life. Leonard Briggs eternal life to us
No. As your punishment got in processing that one more thing. As God refines and beautifies your face with trials and grief. It also does something else?
Peter says he's Shields you and he protect you with his divine power. He is not about to let you go. He is not about to let you go through that furnace alone. Just like in the Old Testament Daniels friends or not in the furnace alone.
He is with you. There. He is with you right there. He is holding you. He is supporting you. He is strengthening you he is giving you hope and even joy in the fire. in the furnace
and if this was a different church, and if I were a different Pastor I might be asking you questions, like don't you feel that don't you sense that?
But since this is a Lutheran church, and I'm a Lutheran Pastor. I'm going to say to you. It doesn't matter whether you feel it. It doesn't matter. What do you sense it? It's true and it's happening and God's doing that and God is there what do you sense it or feel it or not and Faith trust that.
This is how Faith Works Faith believes God face believes that you're not alone that he is there in the fire with you.
Holding you supporting you strengthening you and even giving you in the midst of your trials. Hope and joy.
and the Curious Thing is
put a reason why it does that is so others can see what you're going through. And they can see the difference. He makes in your life.
Just listen as you go through your trials your suffering in your grief. With the presence with the help with that support with the power and strength with the protection of God. Somebody around you was going to notice somebody around you was going to see somebody's going to ask you. How's that possible? How did you do that? How did you make it through? What was different, they're going to ask you? And then you'll be able to tell him. The difference in my life is Jesus Christ the difference in my life, and my suffering was the presence of God. The ability in my life to endure what's on the strength of God?
And then you will be his witness. You will be his mouthpiece and he will be glorified and he will be praised and exalted and maybe even after a time. He may even be believed in by someone else who has seen how you are handling this.
They want a piece of it.
God has made a Divine investment in you in your life. It is the life of his own son Jesus. It is the death of his own son Jesus. It is the resurrection of his own son Jesus and because of this Divine investment in your life, he is not about to let it go to waste he is not about to let it be wasted he is not about to let the life and the death and resurrection of his son for nothing in your life.
So he is very very concerned and focused and invested and interested in your face.
and on top of that God has God hasn't Eternal inheritance prepare for you. God has an eternal inheritance not a reward and internal inheritance. This is your destiny. This is your right. Do you have prepared and ready for you? And that is life in his presence?
He will not let anything ruin that for you.
He will only make you more ready for it. He will strengthen you he will uphold you even as he puts you through the furnace of trial and grief and suffering.
And because of these promises because of the things that God has said that Peter tells us that is why when we go to that furnace of trial and grief and so we can have real hope we can have a Living Hope like we just heard and we can have real Joy.
Not another happy happy trying to join but I teeth in the soul Joy.
That depends upon God and not trust his word. And that believes what he says. And that enables us to enjoy. Trials. Because of this rare beautiful gift that we have from God. quotes may help us this glory and praise and in Jesus name. Amen. will continue with the next song
At this point in the service, we would normally receive an offering so I just want to say again a few words by way of reminder that you're welcome to send in any offerings and donations either in snail mail via our website on our online giving platform that's on the web page in the upper right hand corner there. You'll see a clicking point for tides offerings and donations and I can also that will also come to us. So now at this point in time I invite you to pray
We pray today for the whole Christian Church. Let the peace of God made well upon it and that the spirit of God made work through it as Jesus has given and bestowed his spirit and with that Spirit a Living Hope and comfort and joy. Let your people experience that oh Lord, and if they do not experience that a lot them trust in your word and promise. Lord and your mercy hear our prayer we pray today for the nations of the world for the manor women, especially entrusted with their leadership the true and Lasting peace and Justice may be known around the globe. Lord and your mercy hear our prayer we pray today for this congregation as we are scattered for our guests who have joined us online that all of us may dwell together in the unity of Hope in the unity of Peace in the unity of faith. Lord and your mercy hear our prayer refrain today Lord for those who are actively keeping the peace both nearby locally and around the world in particular and especially we pray for the folks who are involved in our armed forces and then our Police Department's bless them and strengthen them guide them and protect them and their families. Lord and your mercy hear our prayer and we pray today for those whose lives are in need of a special measure of peace and comfort and even healing for those who are sick and hospitalized including those who are suffering from the virus and also those who are near and dear to our hearts as we mentioned them now either quietly or out loud.
We pray for those who are caring for the sick. We pray for those who are experiencing changes and challenges that includes the unemployed those whose businesses are suffering those who are relocating to new situations those who are in The Fragile populations. As each of us faces each new day. Lord in your mercy hear our prayer And for all the saints who are call to your Eternal presence. Oh Lord, we give you thanks. We pray you would grant that. We also may be blessed by the heritage of faith that they have less. She was in our time to guide us on our journey home as well Lord in your mercy. Hear our prayer all these things and all those other things that we forgot to mention today or don't know how to pray we bring before you and we ask of you in the words in the name first and in the words of your son Jesus who taught us Our Father who art in heaven Hallowed be thy name thy kingdom come thy will be done as it is in heaven on Earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us and lead us not into temptation. But Deliver Us from Evil for thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever