Redeemer Lutheran Church Blog

Trinity VII, July 30, 2017 - St. Mark 8:1-9

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Posted: Saturday, July 29th, 2017 by Pastor Westgate

The Trinity Season teaches us to grow in Christian faith and love. We aren’t the way God wants us to be. He wants us to be pure and holy. He wants us to think of the needs of others far more than we think of our own. He wants us to think about Him far more than we think about our wants, which in the grand scheme of things aren’t all that great. He wants us to be sinless, selfless, His dear children who want nothing more than to please Him all the time.

But that’s not what we are, is it? We are sinful and selfish. Should He call us a name we might call a kid we don’t like? We find it very hard to please Him. It doesn’t help that so often we don’t want to please Him. We’re only happy when we’ve pleased ourselves, and unfortunately, pleasing ourselves often means doing the exact opposite of what God desires. Why? Because doing what pleases us either forgets God’s Word exists or pretends He doesn’t say what He does say so we can do as we please even when He says otherwise.

But was it supposed to be this way? Was Adam created by God to be at odds with God? Did God form Adam from the dust of the earth and breath life into him just so he could start rebel against his Creator immediately? Of course not! He was created in God’s image and likeness. He was created without sin. He knew good, but not evil. He was supposed to choose good, and he would have been confirmed in that goodness someday had he not chosen evil so quickly when Satan presented it to him.

But the devil presented evil to him. He told him God was holding out on him when He told him not to eat of that 1 tree. Never mind he didn’t need its fruit since he could eat from every other tree in that garden, so many he could have eaten from a different tree for every meal for a very long time! He who envied God’s throne got God’s creation to envy, and Adam died. His sinless body became corrupt. He could no longer hand down God’s image and likeness to his children. He would hand down his image of sin and death, and his descendants have been handing it down ever since.

God created us with both a body and a soul. He created us to live as body and soul forever. Sin destroyed that plan. Our souls are not meant to be free from our bodies. It is sin’s punishment that separates soul from body. Adam ate of the tree he wasn’t supposed to eat and he was separated from God. He presented himself to the devil to be a slave to uncleanness and lawlessness, and he presented not just himself but all his children, you and me, 100% of us.

He sold us into slavery to produce fruits, bad fruits, rotten fruits, the fruits of sin. Adam’s sin thoroughly corrupted us. We don’t like to think that way; we like to think we’re pretty good, but that’s not the case. We are sinners, and sinners sin. It’s what happens. Even when we try our hardest not to eat too much or think bad thoughts or have sinful desires, they still catch us, perhaps the very second we let our guard down. We are sinners. Our hearts and minds and souls sin, and our bodies sin right along with them.

So does Jesus want to cast off our bodies and be done with them forever? After all, Adam grabbed the fruit with his hand and couldn’t have taken it if he didn’t have a hand! But he never would have grabbed it if he didn’t sin first in his soul. So if Jesus wants to save your soul, he needs to also save your body. If He wants your soul to be holy, He must want your body to be holy too.

Our Lord does not just want to sanctify our souls. He wants to sanctify our bodies. Last week we learned God declared us holy when we were baptized. We received in Baptism’s waters the new righteousness, the righteousness that says, “I believe in Jesus Christ. Therefore my sins are forgiven.” Your sins are forgiven, and you are holy, without sin, in God’s sight.

That means your soul isn’t just forgiven, but your body is as well. If Jesus didn’t want to forgive the sins you commit with your body, He wouldn’t have become a human being and He wouldn’t have suffered physically. If He didn’t want your body to live forever, He would never have bothered to die and rise again. But He wanted to forgive and cleanse your body. Therefore He became man, lived a perfect life for you, died, and rose again.

This is also why He gives us The Sacraments. Have you ever thought about why Christianity is such an earthy religion? We have pictures all over, like crucifixes and stained glass windows and paraments with symbols on them. They’re all intended to teach us and our children about what we believe. But they can’t compare to God’s gifts to us that we call The Sacraments.

In Baptism, God takes some water that not too long before came out of the tap and later will be poured down the piscina. But He takes that water and unites it with His Word. What is that word? It’s nothing other than the strong Name of The Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. You are baptized into that name and the Word with the water works salvation. It rescues you from death and the devil, forgives your sins, and gives you right there everlasting life. It makes you holy, a dear child of God our Father, and gives you good and holy desires.

The Sacrament of The Altar is just a small wafer and a sip of wine. How can that do anything? They’re not nourishing you. And let’s be honest, sometimes the wafer gets stuck to the roof of your mouth. How can anything good come from them? Jesus promises the greatest good, because He has connected to them His Word and promise: “This is My Body. This is My Blood. Given for you. Shed for you. For the forgiveness of sins.”

That doesn’t just mean He died to forgive your sins. It means you receive here at the rail the fruits of His Passion. He died to forgive you. He died to give you life eternal. He bore your sin in His Body so that your body might be free of sin. You receive this Sacrament and He is giving you holiness and forgiveness and eternal life. He is physically promising to raise you from the dead.

That means we need not be afraid to come to the rail. This Sacrament is meant for sinners who are truly sorry for their sins. You need not worry if you’ve been good enough. None of us are ever good enough ever. Only Christ is good enough. He comes here with His Body and Blood to continue to make us good, to give us Himself, to sanctify us, to lead us to grow in faith towards God and love towards our neighbor. That’s sanctification. Jesus works it in us through His Spirit, and He uses His Sacrament to do that. He uses it to turn sinners into holy people.

So now He comes to feed you His people. He fed the 4000 because He cared for them. He cared for them because He is the Savior of our bodies, our Good Shepherd Who leads us body and soul to paradise. He is coming here to feed you, to lead you, body and soul, through the valley of the shadow of death unto the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting.

Categories: Pastor Westgate's Sermons

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