Online Worship for Transfiguration, Sunday February 27, 2022
Sermon for Transfiguration – Sunday February 27, 2022
Calvary/Marquette ● Soli Deo Gloria
Grace be unto you and peace from God our Father
and the Lord Jesus, the Christ. Amen.
2 Corinthians 4:3–6 (ESV)
3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. 4 In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 5 For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. 6 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
In the Name of Jesus, the Christ,
The only true light in a world of darkness,
Dear Fellow Redeemed in His Precious Blood –
It’s easy to get down...and to question this ministry. After all, our little group seems to get smaller every year. A family moves away. We have funerals every year and fewer members at Calvary.
We might begin to ask ourselves, “Are we doing something wrong?”
Radio Advertisements -- We’ve been on the radio many times, telling the community about what we are about. Still, no one comes saying: “I heard your advertisement on the radio, and I want to hear more about Jesus.”
Newspaper – We are on the church page in the Mining Journal. We have a Facebook page and a website. Anyone looking for a church can easily find us. Still, no one comes saying, “I read your article. I found your website. I want to know more about Jesus.”
Personal Evangelism -- We speak with friends and acquaintances; we invite them to worship with us. Still, few say, “Can you tell me more about Jesus?” It seems that people don’t seem to want to hear or to join Calvary.
Do we need to make some radical changes? Do we need another reformation? Do we need to change our message because...well...no one seems to want to hear it?
Actually, that would be the worst possible thing we could do. If your lamp doesn’t seem to be lighting the room like it did before, do you throw it away or check outlet and the bulb?
It isn’t the message of the Cross that needs to be replaced.
On this Transfiguration Sunday we find this encouragement in the 2nd Letter to the Corinthians: Don’t hide the Light...let it Shine! ...because our world of darkness still needs it. Don’t’ hide the light...let it shine! It’s the reason God has entrusted it to us.
May God the Holy Spirit light a fire under each one of us through this Word of God that we rejoice and share the Light of the World with others. Amen.
Transfiguration Sunday is the last Sunday in Epiphany and a precursor to the Lenten Season...and for good reason. During the season of Epiphany, we’ve been looking at just who this Jesus is. We’ve learned that He is the Son of God and we’ve witnessed his power in action while meditating upon the Seven Signs in John’s Gospel. It’s very important that we remember that Jesus is the Son of God during Lent because we will see Him lay aside His power and conceal His glory while laying down His life to pay for the sins of the world.
On Transfiguration Sunday we see Jesus’ Glory before He goes the way of the Cross. We hear how Jesus took three of His disciples up a mountain to pray and as he prayed His face and his clothing began to shine brightly.
This wasn’t the first time that someone’s face shone. The book of Exodus tells us that after Moses went up Mount Sinai to receive the Law on stone tablets from God, his face shone brightly reflecting God’s Glory...so brightly, in fact, that it frightened the Israelites. Moses put a veil over his face until the brightness faded away.
In the 3rd Chapter of this 2nd Letter to the Corinthians, the Apostle Paul compares the Glory of the Law with the Glory of the Gospel of Jesus. He explains that the glory of the law is like the shining face of Moses that faded away and was temporary...but the glory of the Gospel of Jesus does not fade away.
For this reason, he says, we should boldly speak the Gospel of Jesus, who perfectly kept the Law of God and fulfilled it. He explains that the reason why the Jews don’t believe in Jesus, is that the truth is hidden from them like the veil that once hid Moses’ face and the glory of God from the Israelites. The Glory of Christ is also hidden from many in our world today. We can help to change that...it’s why we are given this ministry...it’s why Calvary Lutheran Church exists.
Since the Glory of Christ is more glorious by far than the glory of the law...we are urged not to hide the light of the Gospel of Christ, but let it shine...because our world of darkness needs it.
3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. 4 In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
Why do some believe while others do not? It’s thought to be a mystery by some Christians...when it really shouldn’t be a mystery. In the parable of the Sower and the seed, our Savior Jesus went to great lengths to explain why some believe and others do not. Jesus pictured His Word as seed spread upon the ground. In some cases, Satan takes away the Word before it can put down roots. Some people believe but when trouble comes turn away from God. Some believe, but earthly things become more important and they turn away. Some do believe and bear fruit for God.
There are forces at work that seek to undermine the spread of God’s Word. Sometimes those who undermine the truth have come from within the church on earth. A Frenchman name John Calvin – declared that God is sovereign –what He wants to happen always happens. He concluded that if God wants someone to believe, then they will believe. Therefore, if someone doesn’t believe...it’s because God didn’t want them to believe and be saved.
This is an offense to the Word and Love of God! In the Scriptures we are taught simply (1 Timothy 2:3-4, ESV):
3 This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
If God wants everyone to hear and believe and be saved, then why do some hear and yet not believe? We find the simple answer here in the 2nd Letter to the Corinthians.
If the Good News of what Jesus has done is veiled or hidden...it is hidden from the unbelieving...those who are perishing. Who is the one who has hidden it from them? Is it God? NO! In their case...the god of this world has blinded their minds to keep them from seeing the glory of Christ, that He is, in fact, God.
Who is the ‘god of this world’? Well, he’s not a god at all, but a fallen angel called Satan or the Devil, whom many in this dark world idolize. It is his work and goal to hide the glory of the Lord Jesus from the world. He is very often successful, sometimes because those who have seen the light...are timid and afraid to speak up.
Why do we hide the light? Honestly, there are different reasons. Sometimes we are afraid about the consequences...people might make fun or think less of us. Sometimes we decide beforehand that it’s not going to work.
Don’t Hide the Light! Just because Satan has fitted those who do not believe with a veil, that doesn’t mean that the Spirit of God can’t change that. Just because Satan has blinded some...doesn’t mean that God in his mercy can’t enlighten them and show them the light!
Satan may be called ‘the god of this world’ but he’s just a created being, a fallen angel. The Creator Himself stands behind us, the one who spoke and this world was created. He is the one who sent His Son into this world to save sinners. He is the one who – by the Holy Spirit – can cast aside the veil.
Don’t Hide the Light! Don’t give up on the world! The Good News of what Jesus has done is what the Holy Spirit uses to convert, convince and enlighten sinners. This world of sinners is in darkness. God through His Word turns on the lights for sinners. He did it for Paul. He did it for you. He can do it for others.
Don’t hide the light of the Gospel because our world of darkness needs it. Jesus can overcome the darkness...He has in the past and still does today.
5 For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. 6 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
When I’m fishing by casting a lure...if I don’t have any success I change to a different lure. After all, I have a bunch of different styles and colors. I really don’t know why the fish aren’t biting...maybe there aren’t any fish where I’m fishing. It may be that the water is too murky and they don’t see my lure. It may be that they aren’t enticed by the lure. Maybe the lure I’m using only catches fishermen at the store. I don’t know if there really is a problem or not. I’m just impatient...so I make a change.
When we look at our congregation and see it dwindling and we don’t get the results we want...we are tempted to make a change. We really don’t know that there is a problem with what we are doing. It may be that the right people are hearing the message, but Satan is getting in the way of their coming to us. It may be that they are reading their Bibles and the Holy Spirit has lifted the veil...but they’ve been led to a different fellowship.
We don’t really know there is a problem...but become impatient and are tempted to change things up. We dare not change our message...for that would change our God-given purpose.
The Spirit of God reminds us here that when we leave this place and go out into the world, we do not consider ourselves ‘Lord, Leader or Master’...but remember that Jesus Christ is Lord. We follow His Word, His directions. He’s the one who says gives us our marching orders. He doesn’t say, “This is now Pastor Schaller’s church, do what he says.” He says things like (Matthew 28:19-20; Mark 16:15-16):
19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
“Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.
It isn’t just that Jesus is LORD...it’s also that we are servants of God and of one another. It’s sometimes said of congregations that “there are too many chiefs and not enough Indians”. In other words, it seems that there are more people who see themselves as ‘leaders’ than see themselves as ‘servants.’ Is that a problem here? Let’s remember that Jesus is the leader...and He leads and we serve. We follow His direction.
We are servants of God. God has removed our veils so that we see Jesus as the Savior of the world and our own Savior. He has done this so that we do the same for others by proclaiming the message that Jesus has lived, died and risen again to save us all.
Don’t Hide the Light – Let it Shine! Remember who entrusted us with this work!
It was the same God who said: “Let there be Light” and the sun, moon and stars were created. He has also enlightened our darkened hearts, so that we see God’s Glory...it’s in the face of Jesus Christ, who is Himself God.
God has entrusted us with the same power that enlightened us – the Good News of what Jesus has done – so that we let it shine...not cover it up. If that message could change a murderous Pharisee named Saul of Tarsus and remake him as the Apostle Paul and send him into the world to save sinners.... just think what it can do here if we just share it.
Don’t Hide the Light – Let it Shine! It’s the reason God has entrusted it to us. Do your part...speak of Christ...and God the Holy Spirit will do the rest.
Let us pray:
Give us lips to sing Thy glory, Tongues Thy mercy to proclaim, throats that shout the hope that fills us, Mouths to speak Thy holy name. Alleluia, alleluia! May the light which Thou does send Fill our songs with alleluias, Alleluias without end!
God the Father, light-creator, To Thee laud and honor be. To Thee, Light of Light begotten, Praise be sung eternally. Holy Spirit, light revealer, Glory, glory be to Thee. Mortals, angels, now and ever Praise the Holy Trinity!