Worship for Trinity Seven — No Online Worship, Microphone Failure
Sermon for Trinity Seven – Sunday July 31, 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 1:10-12 (EHV)
10The prophets, who prophesied about the grace that has come to you, searched and studied carefully concerning this salvation, 11trying to find out what person and what time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow. 12It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves, but you, when they wrote about these things. These are the things that have now been announced to you by those who preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. Even the angels long to look carefully into these things. ***
In the Name of Jesus, the Christ,
Dear Fellow Redeemed in His Blood –
Have you ever found yourself wide awake in the middle of the night and in sheer boredom turned on the television?
If you did, then you may have noticed that when there is no scheduled re-run of an old sitcom...the time is filled with wonder products being peddled by smiling salesmen in front of easily amazed studio audiences. These products are sometimes sold in the middle of the night because only in a sleep-deprived state would someone actually buy them. If you look at the wonder product after a good night’s sleep you may not be so impressed, and find that it isn’t really as good as it sounded.
In the first nine verses of this letter, the old grizzled fisherman has been trying to pick up our spirits by reminding us of what God has done for us and promised to us in Christ. God chose us in advance of our birth and purposed to separate us from sin and dedicate us to God. He made plans to cleanse us by the blood of His Son. After we were physically born into this world, God in baptism granted us a spiritual re-birth and then promised us an inheritance that is – undying, undefiled and unfading – which is also preserved in heaven for us. Moreover, God is protecting us through faith by His power until we finally and fully receive the whole package – tied up in a word – Salvation.
It sounds amazing – this Salvation. It’s a familiar word, one we’ve heard it before...but what is this Salvation and how does or did it come to be MY Salvation?
There are many false answers to that question offered by misinformed people in our world today. Some claim that we receive it by being a good person or by doing good things. Rather than discuss those faulty answers, this morning we ask: “How did Peter’s readers come to receive this Salvation?” The simple answer is that they heard the message that God planned to save them from their sins and death – and did -- through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.
So that’s the answer in a nutshell...but let’s get the details for ourselves from the 1st Letter of Peter. It’s almost as if the grizzled fisherman knew his readers would have questions, so he continues: Now, about that Salvation...its source is God, through the Prophets. Its power is the Spirit of Christ, the Holy Spirit coming in the message itself. Since we seek the instruction and guidance of the Spirit of Christ, we pray: “Sanctify us by your truth, O Lord, Your Word is Truth.” Amen.
What is Salvation? Well, the word itself means ‘deliverance or preservation’ and as you might guess it’s used in different ways. For example, it’s used of someone being rescued, preserved from danger and delivered from death...like someone might be in need of if their boat springs a leak out on Lake Superior. We’d all agree that such a person would need to be rescued, preserved from danger, delivered from drowning and death. They would need a kind of salvation.
“Great. So now I know what salvation means, but pastor: “I’m not in a boat that’s sprung a leak on Lake Superior, so why do I need deliverance or salvation?” Much of our world is unaware of the danger because it’s been told that nothing is wrong and everything is fine. There is a guy who sells boats with holes in them (named Satan) that has convinced most of the world that there is no danger. He’s a liar, but his own goose is already cooked and he wants to take down with him as many as he can.
The truth is that humankind’s boat started taking on water a long time ago when the first two people doubted God’s love for them and then disobeyed Him. It isn’t just their disobedience, every day we punch holes in our own boats by disobeying God’s Law and sinning against Him. We might try and bail the water, but it’s too late, the ship is going down.
There is only one person who has boat that won’t sink. God promised that he’d come along at the right time and bring salvation or rescue people whose boats are sinking (and that’s all of us). God told different men down through the ages about his plans and they were to tell others what He said. They were only mouthpieces or spokesman, because the message about the Savior didn’t come from them, but from God.
Peter tells us about the source of the promise and what those men given it did with it.
10The prophets, who prophesied about the grace that has come to you, searched and studied carefully concerning this salvation, 11trying to find out what person and what time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow.
God spoke to the Prophets and they prophesied – they told others what God had told them. If you want to read about what God told them you need only read the words they wrote in the Psalms (Psalm 22) and in books like Isaiah, Zechariah and Daniel.
In the New Testament you will find that the Apostles showed how those words were all about the Savior.
In fact, this was how the promise of the Savior came to the people scattered in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia and how they came to believe and be rescued themselves. There is no magic vitamin, no smoke and mirrors, no counting passages. The Spirit of God still today rescues human beings through the message of Jesus’ innocent life, all-sufficient sacrifice and glorious resurrection.
But the Prophets didn’t only speak the message given them. They also earnestly looked at the words that God had given them and made a careful search of them, examining them trying to find out who and when the Promised Savior would arise and come to save. They were themselves like men in a sinking boat, searching the horizon for the promised rescuer to come and save them.
It was by searching the Words that God had given them that they learned and expected that the Savior Himself would suffer (Isaiah 53:3-6) and die (Isaiah 53:9) – and that glory would follow (Isaiah 53:10-12)! They longed for those days and hoped that they would see them.
When the Savior appeared and went about rescuing people, He spoke privately to his students, saying words that the Prophets might have wept to hear (Luke 10:23b-24, EHV; cf. also John 8:56, Hebrews 11:13):
“Blessed are the eyes that see what you see! 24Indeed, I tell you that many prophets and kings wanted to see the things that you are seeing, yet did not see them, and to hear the things that you are hearing, yet did not hear them.”
Have you ever wondered to yourself as you are driving down the highway in an air-conditioned car to visit someone hundreds of miles away, “How would someone who lived 200 years ago react to get in a car and drive?” How would your great-grandparents respond to the advances in technology that we take for granted?
The Prophets earnestly studied the words given to them to fully understand what the Spirit of Christ had told them. We can pore over the fulfillment of their words. We can study the words of the Savior and witness through the Gospel writers the things which He has done and promised yet to do. The Prophets would sit patiently and listen for hours on end if we were able to tell them how their words were fulfilled.
Do we think of ourselves as blessed to be assured of our rescue on a weekly basis? Do we rejoice to read again the Scriptures which tell us things that we could never know without the record put down by the Prophets and Evangelists! Do we thank God daily for having revealed these things to us? Our joy isn’t what it should be...because we still have a fallen nature within.
Nevertheless, we long to receive our complete and total rescue, our full salvation. In the meantime, we pray most every Sunday, “Restore to me the joy of Your salvation; and uphold me with Your free spirit” (Offertory, TLH Pg. 12-13).
It was also revealed to the Prophets that they were serving future generations by proclaiming God’s promised rescue.
12It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves, but you, when they wrote about these things. These are the things that have now been announced to you by those who preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. Even the angels long to look carefully into these things. ***
“If you’ve heard one sermon, you’ve heard them all.” “It’s always the same message, over and over.” This is the criticism that some bring against Christian Pastors. There is a reason why a faithful Christian Pastor repeatedly returns to the Cross of Jesus and it’s not because we couldn’t talk about something else.
Many today have left behind the message of rescue from sin and eternal death through the death of Jesus and His glorious resurrection.
Some proclaim the ‘liberation gospel’ and offer supposed freedom from whatever you perceive as enslaving you.
Others proclaim the ‘social gospel’, promising food and clothing and extending life in this world.
Still others proclaim the ‘prosperity gospel’, declaring that God wants you to have any and everything that makes you happy. The problem is that offering freedom from earthly captors or attempting to fill earthly needs or making promises about earthly prosperity – doesn’t result in a rescue from sin and death, from the sinking boat in which we are stranded!
The Salvation in Christ, the real rescue proclaimed by the Prophets and offered in the Good News actually works a rescue that results in freedom from sin and from its consequence eternal death in hell. It’s why the Prophets studied the word they were given. It’s why the Apostles proclaimed Christ and His Resurrection from the dead. It is the power of God that results in eternal rescue from the sinking boat in which we are stranded.
Therefore, we proclaim Christ – His Cross and His Resurrection -- because by faith we agree with the Apostle Paul, who the Spirit of Christ moved to write (Romans 1:16, NKJV):
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ,
for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes...”
It is the same message that this same fisherman proclaimed 50 days after Jesus arose – on Pentecost -- concerning the suffering and death of Jesus and his glorious rising (cf. Acts 2:22-36). Was the message effective? Did it change hearts and lives? Did it offer, did it serve to rescue sinners?
It did and it still does. For there were among those assembled in Jerusalem people from...Pontus, Cappadocia and Asia...the region to which this letter is addressed, which Simon Peter had never visited.
No doubt they went home and like the prophets spoke the message they had been given and the Holy Spirit blessed the Word they proclaimed.
The power to change human hearts and lives comes from God the Holy Spirit and is transmitted to sinners in the Word whether proclaimed or attached to the Sacraments. This is how God gives and communicates His rescue to sinners. This is the salvation that we have been given to share with those in our city, county, state and country. It’s the only message that has power to give what it offers, for the power that works in it is the Spirit of God.
Moreover, in this Scripture the Holy Spirit reveals that the Angels of God long to do what the Prophets once did – to look carefully into the message that you have been given to share. But there is no time to wait...remember the boat is leaking; it’s going down and there is only one Savior. You know Him. He’s rescued you so that you may serve Him by sharing how He has rescued you.
Wash me and take away each stain; Let nothing of my sin remain.
For cleansing, tho’ it be thro’ pain, Christ Crucified, I come.
And then for work to do for Thee, Which shall so sweet a service be
That angels well might envy me, Christ Crucified, I come.