March 29, 2023

Online Worship for Midweek Advent Service 3,29,23

Passage: 1 John 3:1
Service Type:

Sermon for Midweek Lenten Service – The Good Shepherd #6
St. Peter - Iron River ● Calvary - Marquette
Soli Deo Gloria

Grace be unto you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus, the Christ. Amen.

1 John 3:1 (NKJV)
Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God (and so we are)! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.

In the Name of Jesus, the Christ,
In Him we are Children of God and heirs,
Dear Fellow Redeemed in His Precious Blood –

They are different, but each one of us has one. Priebe, Goodman, Greve, Houle, Knutson, Liubakka, Heikkila, Schaller...each of us has a surname. In some cases, we were born into it; in others, we took it up when we were married. A new surname can be obtained through adoption or simply by legally changing one’s name. Most of us were born or married into our surnames.

Whatever your surname by faith you are also Christians. As Christians, you are part of a family. None of you chose or decided to become Christians. In many cases, you were adopted into the body of Christ by baptism, by means of which you were spiritually born again and united to Christ. Our parents brought many of us to be baptized. Others came to be Christians when the Spirit of God worked through the written or spoken Word of God. We didn’t decide to be married into this family; the decision was God’s.

We are often proud of our family surname. We sometimes want to know about those who came before us who died before we were born.

Are we proud to be Christians? Do we appreciate what has been done for us to make us God’s Children. If there is any season of the church year that should help us to appreciate what it took to make us God’s’s the Lenten Season. We see in Lent exactly what God gave up to make us members of His Family.

We conclude our Midweek Lenten Meditations this Lenten Season by being reminded that the Good Shepherd lay down His life to make us His own...forever.

Sanctify us by your truth, O Lord, Your Word is Truth. Amen.


They were a series of animated educational videos that aired from 1973-1984 on Saturday mornings; and they were called ‘Schoolhouse Rock.’ Since I faithfully watched ‘Saturday Morning Cartoons’ during that period, I remember many of them. There was ‘a bill sitting on capital hill’ trying to explain how our government works. One taught that ‘a noun is a person, place or thing.’ One taught about conjunctions, entitled ‘conjunction junction.’

What does this jog down memory lane have to do with our sermon text? When I began work on the text, I thought about one of those Schoolhouse Rock videos, the one entitled, ‘Interjections.’ I expected to find that the word ‘Behold’ was one of those ‘interjections’ something meant to draw our attention, like saying, “Hey!”

What I found was not an interjection, but a verb, in particular an imperative verb. The Schoolhouse Rock video on verbs taught me that a verb describes what is happening.’ Its purpose isn’t merely to get our attention, but to call upon us to look at something, like me tapping you on the shoulder and pointing at something and saying:

“Look! All of you, stop what you are doing, get your faces out of your phones and look!”

Which, of course, begs the question, “Look...AT WHAT?”

Now very often when someone says, “Look!” We can tell whether the thing is good or bad, novel or extraordinary by the way that they speak or the look in their eyes.

 “Look!”—can mean, ‘Oh no.’ If given with wide eyes and a flat expression it can mean, “The gig is up, our goose is cooked.” If this were a text relating God’s Law then the ‘Look’ would be that kind of expression. The fact of the matter is that by birth and nature we are not in the family of God, not welcome relatives, but enemies and outsiders. We are born that way.

When the Apostle Paul wrote to the Christians in Ephesus, he reminded them of what they had been before they were told what Jesus did for them (Ephesians 2:12, EHV):

“...remember that at that time you were separated from Christ, excluded from the citizenship of Israel, and foreigners to the covenants of the promise. You were without hope and without God in the world.”

This is our status on earth by birth and nature. If God does not intervene and present His Son and what He has done to us then all that is left for us is to wait until the Judge returns and the gavel drops and our eternal sentence in Hell is handed down.

 “Look!” – can also mean, “Oh, Yes! Wow!” If given with bright eyes and a smile...’Look!’ can point to something ranging from good, to great, to priceless. In this case, it’s priceless. This isn’t a law text pointing out our sin. It’s a Gospel text that points out God’s amazing love for us. what?
“...what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us...”

We are called upon to look at the kind of love having been given to us by God the Father. It’s an extraordinary kind of love to say the least. It’s not like the kind of love between brothers or siblings...a love that ebbs and flows. It’s not a physical kind of love. It’s a love of understanding and purpose; a love that looked at our need and provided it without thought of the cost.

This is a love given to us...despite who we were and what we deserved. This isn’t a love lavished because of some kindness on our part. In fact, God lavished this love upon us before we were even a glint in our father’s eye, at a time when we could only be enemies of God.

Once more the Apostle Paul bears witness to this amazing love in writing to the Roman Christians (5:8-11, NKJV):

“8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. 10 For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. 11 And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.” the Cross, for there we see the kind of love God has for us.

For some people the season of lent is a time to deprive oneself, to give something up. I suppose that It’s possible to ‘give something up’ in a godly way, but generally speaking the things that are ‘given up’ are frivolous at best.

Let’s be honest, it’s not especially difficult or painful to give up chocolate or caffeine or some other food or drink for 40 days. In the end, it really doesn’t really do anything for give us something we can talk or boast about as having accomplished.

God’s Love for us involved His giving up something... that we really can’t fathom. God has blessed me with a wife and four beautiful children, three of them sons. God’s blessed me with daughters in law and a son in law. God has blessed me with grandchildren, five of them boys. I love them all.

I would never...I could never give one of them up...period.
I would rather die myself to protect them.

But GOD sent His one and only Son into flesh and blood to die – not for friends, but enemies. GOD’s love sacrificed His perfect, sinless, innocent Son for wretched guilty sinners who deserved nothing good.

Why did God do this...allow this to happen to His beloved Son?

It was...
that we should be called children of God

God’s Love devised this plan to adopt us into His Family. He did this so that we could dwell in a room in His House. He did this so that we could be counted as His Children with full rights and privileges. He did this because He wanted to hear and answer our prayers. He did this so that we could take up His Name to pray, praise and give thanks.

 I’m a Schaller because God blessed my parent’s love.
I’m a Christian because God sent His Son to die for me and then His Spirit to make it so. He did the same for you.

He did this so that we should be CALLED children of God...not on a temporary basis but for time and for eternity.

I’ve been called many things in life...a few of them good, most of them bad. We aren’t only called children of God, by faith in Jesus the Christ...THAT IS WHAT WE ARE. Children of God and heirs with Christ, beneficiaries of His completed work on Calvary.

Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.

The World doesn’t see us for who we are by faith in Christ...whatever. It doesn’t matter to me so much about what the world sees when it looks upon me. It matters much more that God looks upon me as a child and heir. I don’t need the world to point to me and say, “Look!”

Instead, I long to hear Jesus say to me (Matthew 25:34):

“Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.”

Blessed are the sons of God, They are bo’t with Christ’s own blood;
They are ransomed from the grave, Life eternal they shall have:
With them numbered may we be Here and in eternity.

They are justified by grace, They enjoy the Savior’s peace;
All their sins are washed away, They shall stand in God’s great Day:
With them numbered may we be Here and in eternity.

They are lights upon the earth, Children of a heavenly birth;
One with God, with Jesus one; Glory is in them begun:
With them numbered may we be Here and in eternity.

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