March 1, 2023

Online Worship for Midweek Lenten Service, March 1, 2023

Passage: Titus 2:13-14
Service Type:

Sermon for Midweek Lenten Worship – Wednesday March 1, 2023
Calvary/Marquette and St. Peter/Stambaugh ● Soli Deo Gloria

Grace to you and peace from Him who is and who was and who is to come...and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth. To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. (Revelation 1:4a, 5, 6b, NKJV)

Titus 2:13–14 (NKJV)
13 looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.

In the Name of Jesus, the Christ,
Who redeemed us from slavery to sin,
Who redeemed us to serve our Savior God,
Dear Fellow Redeemed by His own shed blood –

Our English language is in an almost constant state of change. The Oxford English Dictionary, widely considered the authority, adds between 500 and 1,500 new words or phrases every March, June, September and December each year.

They don’t just add new words, but also change or modify the meaning of established words based on usage. The word ‘sick’ for example used to mean ‘to suffer from a physical illness’; but today it can mean ‘great’ or ‘very good’, as in: “Did you see that car? It was sick!”

So how would you define the word, ‘redeem’? Honestly, we don’t use the word much outside of the church. When we do it has a slightly different meaning than it does in the Bible. It used to be that certain businesses offered special coupons that could be exchanged or ‘redeemed’ for a product or for a reduced price. But getting a box of cereal for a dollar less than its listed price really doesn’t compare well to the New Testament use of the word ‘redeem.’

In the New Testament the word redeem was used in much more serious situations that we don’t ever see today. The word redeem frequently meant to set free a captured person by paying the price or ransom demanded. Since ‘kidnapping’ still happens today, we do understand that the price paid to free a kidnapped person is called a ransom.
The resulting freedom is called being redeemed. Clearly, this is far more serious than getting Captain Crunch for less than two bucks!

In the New Testament, the word is used of paying for the release of a slave. We don’t buy and sell other human beings as slaves in our country today, so there is a disconnect for us. It was different on the Island of Crete.

This afternoon/evening we continue our Lenten Meditations with Titus 2:13-14. These words confirm that Martin Luther’s Explanation of the Apostles Creed is truly biblical: “He purchased and won me.” May God the Holy Spirit bless this and each of our meditations. Amen.


What is a human being worth? Today there are different answers to that question.

There are some who reduce the value of a human being to the six core elements making up the human body: oxygen, carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, calcium and phosphorus. If all these elements could be harvested and sold, then a human being would be worth about $585.

There are still others who seem to think very little of human life. If the child growing within his mother isn’t wanted, that life can be forfeit without consequence. How old and where the human being is located determines its value for some people today. For some, the value of a human being is determined by whether it’s wanted or not.

It’s not really a shock to find that sinful human beings value other human beings in a different way.

On the other hand, God gives life to every human being and declares that He values every human being. The Scripture declares that God wants every human being to be saved and to come to know Jesus as savior (cf. 1 Timothy 2:4). So, if a human being rejects God’s gift of eternal life by faith in His there any other way to get to heaven? Do any of us have anything that is of sufficient value to pay to set someone else free from sin and from eternal death?

We won’t answer the question with human opinion...but God’s Word. The Lord Jesus, the Son of God, once asked a couple of related questions and in essence answered our question. The answer to the questions that Jesus asks are clear form the way they are asked (Matthew 16:26):

“For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?”

The implied answer to both of these questions is: ‘nothing’, ‘nada’, ‘zip’, ‘zilch’...whichever you prefer. What good is it to obtain all the money in the world and perhaps even own the whole world...yet lose one’s own soul? It’s NO good at all. What can a person give in exchange for his own soul? Can we buy a ‘get out of hell free card’? Nope. We are sinners and the best we have to offer is tainted and rotten. We have nothing of value to give in exchange for our souls to deliver ourselves from our own sin and its consequence.

Actually, the answer is stated rather matter-of-factly in Psalm 49:7, when it says:

“None of them (that’s us, human beings) can by any means redeem his brother, Nor give to God a ransom for him...”

There are things we have and value...but none of them are of sufficient value to God to purchase freedom for another from the consequence of sin or deliver them from death. Even if you save every single penny you ever earn for your whole can’t buy freedom for you or any other.

Which is why the declaration that Jesus is coming to judge the living and the dead...ought to rightly scare us to death. When we compare our lives to the flawless demands of God’s Law, we see that we are slaves to sin, shackled to death and owned by Satan who first tempted our kind.

Nevertheless, we are told here that Jesus Christ:

“...gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us
from every lawless deed

Let’s start with the word toward the front of the 14th verse – ‘might.’ In our usage today the word ‘might’ is sometimes equivalent to ‘maybe’...not exactly a word of certainty. Don’t be concerned with the word ‘might.’ It isn’t intended to say that Jesus gave himself to ‘maybe’ or ‘possibly’ redeem us. In fact, the imperfect tense can be translated ‘that He should redeem us.’ This isn’t a possibility or’s a certainty.

It’s certain because Jesus didn’t only pay – part – of the price. He didn’t only pay for original sin, but for all sin, to set us free from EVERY lawless deed, from every broken law, from every rebellion and sin against God.
It is exactly as Martin Luther later wrote in His explanation of the 2nd Article of the Apostles’ Creed, “He purchased and won me.”

“Wait. Hold up, Pastor. I thought you said that no man can give to God a ransom for sin.” I did say that...but Jesus wasn’t a sinful man at all, but a perfect one. There is good reason why we confess that Jesus was ‘conceived by the Holy Spirit of the Virgin Mary.’ It was the only way that the Holy Son of God could enter our fallen race, the human race.

Moreover, Jesus wasn’t only a man, but also God, the Son of God. If Jesus had only been a man, even a perfect man, the shedding of His Blood couldn’t atone for EVERY lawless deed, for EVERY human sin. It’s the fact that Jesus was also the Unique, one of a kind Son of God is what made His Sacrifice...of priceless value to God for sin.

So, you see, Jesus didn’t offer gold or silver or anything else that we human beings place value upon to redeem us from sin and its consequence, death. It says rather simply that Jesus gave Himself, his body and his blood, his very life to completely and totally pay the sin debt of every man, woman and child that has ever and will ever live for all time.

He paid the price to purchase our release and to win us from sin, from death and from Satan’s power over us. He paid the price to purchase our release from all sins, from death and from Satan’s power over us. He has by that sacrifice cleansed --
... for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.

Jesus paid the ultimate price to both purchase our release and to cleanse us to be His own people. We are no longer slaves to sin, bound to death. We are no longer under the power of Satan. Our sinful nature was put to death with Christ. We still struggle with temptation and sin but daily confess those sins and by faith stand as the people of God, cleansed in the blood of Christ.

We are no longer to live as zealous sinners, but zealots for what pleases God. We are Jesus’ people and Jesus’ spokespeople. God help us that we do not taint our message by downplaying the seriousness of sin.

Finally, it’s because Jesus gave Himself to purchase our release from sin, death and Satan, that we are unafraid of His Return, of His Appearing in Glory...because He’s not coming back to judge us but to take us body and soul with him to heaven and to the new heavens and new earth.

Let’s back up a verse and take the whole glorious message together:

13 looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.

When your conscience troubles you and points out your to mind that Jesus purchased and won you from all sin, death and the power of the giving his body and shedding his blood. He did it because He loves you and His love has placed value upon you.

When you struggle to live as a child of God...return to the foot of the cross. He loved you and gave Himself for you. He has work for you to do for Him.

When you shudder at the thought of the Judgment...remember that Jesus is both judge and savior. He died with you in mind to redeem you, to purchase and win you from sin and from fear of death and the judgment.

My guilt, O Father, Thou hast laid On Christ, Thy Son, my Savior.
Lord Jesus, Thou my debt hast paid and gained for me God’s favor.
O Holy Shost, Thou Fount of grace, The good in me to Thee I trace;
In faith do Thou preserve me (TLH 375:5)


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