Online Worship for Trinity Eleven, Sunday August 28, 2022
Sermon for Trinity Eleven – Sunday August 28, 2022
Calvary/Marquette ● Soli Deo Gloria
God’s Grace, mercy and peace are yours in abundance, for you have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit to be sprinkled with the blood of Jesus Christ. Amen.
1 Peter 1:22-25
22Since you have purified your souls by obeying the truth, resulting in sincere brotherly love, love one another constantly from a pure heart. 23For you have been born again, not from perishable seed but from imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. 24For: All flesh is like grass, and all its glory is like a flower of the field. The grass withers, and the flower falls, 25but the word of the Lord endures forever.
And this is the word that was preached to you. ***
In the Name of Jesus, the Christ,
Who is the ultimate example of love,
Whose love our love should emulate,
Dear Fellow Redeemed in His Blood –
It’s a sad truth, one with which we can relate. It’s an expression sung by many an artist down through the ages. Its essence is this: “You don’t know what you have until it’s gone.” We tend to take things for granted until suddenly they are lost to us.
I can always call and talk to Dad on the phone...until he passes and then I can’t anymore.
I can always finish that job tomorrow...until you awaken sick and weak.
The Apostle Peter also wanted his readers to appreciate all that had been done for them, in them, and for what purpose. We have all been born of earthly fathers, but that birth is of earthly, perishable seed. The life we have received through our earthly fathers is a fleeting thing because we are born of perishable, mortal seed.
As a result, human beings are compared to grass – we last but a short time. We grow up and wither. Our glory is the same. The things that we accomplish in this life are like blossoms in a field of wildflowers, they last a short time, fall away and are forgotten. Still, we focus on these things and miss them when they are gone.
Don’t misunderstand. What our earthly fathers have given us is beautiful...but fleeting. The things we accomplish in life are for the most part truly insignificant, and their glory will not last any more than the pretty flowers that grow up in the garden during the summer.
On the other hand, what our God has done for us in Christ is greater and its glory is eternal. We have been cleansed by faith in God’s Love in Christ. We are enabled by Him to love one another without pretense, with a love of action and purpose. This love in us we trace back to God’s Love for us, proclaimed, related to us in both Word and Sacrament.
May God the Holy Spirit bless our study of this Word of God making us certain of God’s cleansing of our souls and enabling us to show real love – nothing fake – to one another.
If this is ever to take place, the Holy Spirit will have to bring it about and therefore we pray: “Sanctify us by your Truth, O Lord, Your Word is Truth.” Amen.
It’s pretty obvious, I suppose, to anyone paying attention that I love my grandchildren. I’m a pushover, I admit it. Ask my wife. Ask my daughter. Jessica still marvels that I allow my grandchildren to do what I didn’t let them do -- pedal around in my childhood pedal car. I can tell you with all certainty that I do not love my grandchildren more than my children... but because of my children. I may express my love to each of them differently, but that doesn’t mean I love one more than the other.
It should be obvious that our Heavenly Father loves us. He may express his love to us differently day by day, but that doesn’t mean that He loves one of us over the other. It’s not something in us that makes Him love us, but something in Him, His Grace, His undeserved love.
It was God’s Love – His Undeserved Love that made plans to cleanse us of sin. God didn’t make that cleansing dependent upon us. He didn’t say: “If you do your best and keep my commandments then I will consider cleansing you of your sin.”
It’s a good thing too – because we’d be sunk – all of us. The fact of the matter is that we are corrupt human beings. From the youngest of us (including my grandchildren) to the oldest of us (including grandpa and grandma) we show our sinful hearts in word and deed every day.
We are naturally selfish. We look to our own needs and desires first before all else. Funny thing too -- the things that annoy us in other people...are in us...despite the fact that we deny it.
God sent His Son to do everything for us. When the time was right, God cleansed our souls of sin by causing us to be born again by faith in what Jesus had done. For some of us that rebirth took place at baptism. For others it took place when we heard the good news of what Jesus had done.
Whichever the case, this rebirth was brought about by the Holy Spirit through the Word of God. Which is why the Apostle Peter could say with confidence:
23For you have been born again, not from perishable seed but from imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.
The power is not found in you or in your parents, not in the pastor or the church water, but in the Word of God, which is described as both ‘living’ and ‘abiding.’ It’s a power that doesn’t go away. It’s a power that isn’t used up, but is still available to us in the Scriptures.
It’s the same power that enables us to love one another. It’s only because our souls have been purified -- by faith in Christ (here faith is pictured as obedience to God’s Word) – that the living and abiding result in us is to be – sincere, brotherly love.
We could all use a bit of that power...because with familiarity comes contempt. The better we get to know one another the quicker we are to assume we know what the other is thinking and to assume the worst about one another’s words and actions.
22Since you have purified your souls by obeying the truth,
resulting in sincere brotherly love,
We are to show love to one another – especially to our fellow believers. We are to love one another by being kind, tenderhearted and forgiving...because we have experienced the Love of God in Christ. This love that springs from the love of Jesus is described here as ‘sincere’—the word meaning without hypocrisy.
Our fallen nature is good at hypocrisy. Our sinful nature finds it easy to pretend, to go through the motions, to fake it. The love we have for one another is to be ‘sincere’ – literally: “without a mask.”
In the Greek, the word hypocrisy pictures an actor, a person who hid behind a mask. He wasn’t who or what he appeared to be.
Our love for one another as Christians is to be – without a mask – real, without pretense. On Maundy Thursday evening the Lord Jesus said to His disciples (John 13:34-35, ESV):
34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. 35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
As a result, the early church became known for that very thing. They shared with one another. They took care of the sick and the poor among them. They showed hospitality and generosity. They treated everyone with generosity and respect even people who didn’t rank high in society’s eyes.
It wasn’t their sole purpose – that was to be witnesses of Jesus – to proclaim His death and resurrection. It was just a part of following Jesus. They were just loving one another like Jesus said they should.
What do people see among the membership of Calvary? Do people see those who are willing to share, to take care of and visit the sick and aging. Do they see people who are hospitable and generous...or people who are in a hurry to clean up and go home? Do we treat everyone with the same love and respect?
Do they see people who love one another? Real love, sincere love, love without a mask is a choice...but one accomplished only by those who are joined to Jesus and His Word, the real source of power.
What’s is that real love - is not a feeling - but purposeful action.
22Since you have purified your souls by obeying the truth, resulting in sincere brotherly love, love one another constantly from a pure heart.
In my last year of seminary, I was married and so was one of my other two classmates. In Pastoral Theology Class (call it talking about what a Pastor should do in certain situations) we discussed marriage counselling. We didn’t know the first thing about marriage counselling, but the two of us who were married did delight in disqualifying our one unmarried classmate from the discussion.
“What do you know about marriage counselling...you aren’t even married!”
Well, some might wonder the same thing about Peter. He was a fisherman...how was he an authority on love? He was married, but that doesn’t make someone an authority on love. Nevertheless, the Spirit of God moved Peter to use two different words for love in a single verse.
He refers first to --
Sincere Brotherly Love – The word that’s used first pictures brotherly love, that of a sibling, here of a brother in faith. The same basic word is used in ‘Philadelphia’ the ‘city of brotherly love.’ In this case we are told, because we have been purified by faith that we can express brotherly love ‘sincerely’ (without a mask) toward one another. There is too much pretend, insincere, fake love in this world. ‘Fake Love’ doesn’t belong among Jesus’ people.
Now, when we are encouraged to actually love one another, a different word is used, a special word that pictures a different kind of love...one of action and purpose.
Understanding and Purpose Love – It’s easy to say, “I love you.” It’s not always so easy to prove it, to show it. The Love of Jesus for us is a love of understanding and purpose. When the Son of God saw our need, He didn’t just say, “I Love you!” He proved it. He took on human flesh and blood and lived and died and rose again for us. He saw our need and provided it.
Jesus’ love was a love of understanding and purpose, a love of action. When Jesus’ love is planted in our hearts it brings forth actual fruit, a love of action and purpose. We don’t ask, “What do I get in return?” “Who will pay me back?” It simply looks at the needs of others and provides.
The Love of Jesus, a love of action, of understanding and purpose – is the only thing that can change the hearts of people today. When people experience this kind of love, real love, and see it among us...they will notice. When those on the outside see us treat one another like people for whom Jesus died, they will be likely to ask:
“Where can I get that love?”
“Why do those people treat each other with such care?”
The single, simple answer...is Jesus.
Teach us the lesson Thou hast taught, To feel for those Thy blood hath bot, That every word and deed and tho’t may work a work for Thee.
All are redeemed, both far and wide, Since Thou, O Lord, for all hast died. Oh, teach us, whatsoever betide, To love them all in Thee.