Exaudi (Sunday after Ascension)
Audio
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Delivered By
Pr. Lovett
Delivered On
May 20, 2012
Central Passage
John 15:26 - 6:4
Description

 

+John 15:26 - 6:4+

In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit.

 

Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. We learn in the Small Catechism, by meditating on the Lord’s Prayer, that anyone who lives or teaches contrary to the Word of God profanes His name among us.
 
We understand this because we understand reputation. What we say should match what we do. If we say one thing and do another, we’re branded a liar and one who should not be listened to. Reputation is important. Which is why we tell our kids that they’d better not embarrass us in the restaurant or at church. We tell out teenage daughters who they can and cannot hang out with. We fill out resumes that make us shine like the brightness of the sun because reputation matters. We know this, too, because we tell others to put their money where there mouth is.
 
You say you love me: show me. You say you forgive me: prove it. Actions don’t really speak louder than words, but show me your faith apart from your works and I will show you my faith by my works.
 
If you believe God forgives you, forgive others the same way. If you believe that God counts no record of wrongs against you, count no record of wrongs against others. If you believe that God gathers you here to bless you, don’t neglect the gathering because something else came up. What is better than the blessing of God? Unless, of course, you don’t believe that the Lord blesses you in and by this holy convocation wherein He is active among His people. If you believe the Bible is the Word of God, don’t ignore the parts you don’t like. If you believe my forgiveness is God’s forgiveness, then come and get it.
 
Otherwise your faith and actions don’t mesh. That’s what a hypocrite is. And the world takes notice. How many people don’t want to attend the gathering of God – this thing we call church – because of the way we Christians treat each other and talk about each other Monday through Saturday? What we say and do matters. We are witnesses of the work and life of God.
 
A steward is one who has been entrusted with someone else’s belongings. We have been entrusted with the reputation of God. So our Lord says to let your good deeds shine before men so that they will give glory to your Father in heaven. We all know the saying that one bad apple spoils the bushel. You can ruin the witness of a life-time of good deeds with one wicked deed. This is St. Peter’s point. “Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.”
He is talking about this gathering.
 
You belong to God. He purchased you. What you do Monday through Saturday reflects on this here and now. What you say, what you do, where you go; they all bear witness to this gathering because this gathering is real life. Monday through Saturday is a shadow of real life. Your witness to who God is and what He’s done for you and the world begins with you attending this holy convocation wherein you seek and receive the Lord’s blessing.
 
Man is my reputation tarnished. I’ve lied. I’ve cheated. I’ve stolen. I’ve lusted. I’ve hated. I have acted as if I mattered most and as if God did not matter. I have held grudges and lied about my neighbor. I have ignored the plight of others because I don’t want to spend my money on their needs. I have been greedy. I have loathed my brothers and sisters in Christ. I am chief of all sinners, unworthy to be called a son of God or a friend of Jesus. Even if I have hidden most of it from the world and even from myself, I can hide nothing from God. He sees all things and knows all things. He judges the heart. He knows the will. I have not only sinned, I am a sinner.
Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud. Your face, Lord, do I seek; hide not your face from me! (Introit for Exaudi Sunday)
 
Here the Lord blesses and keeps you. Here He makes His face to shine upon you. Here the Lord vindicates His name and acts for the sake of His name. He is merciful and slow to anger, abounding in steadfast love. The Lord is your light and your salvation. He is the stronghold of your life. He teaches you His ways by gathering you to Himself to feed you with His word in bread and wine, pulpit and font. The Lord has put His name on you and He will vindicate the holiness of His great name.
 
Not by destroying you but by forgiving and receiving you; by making you holy. You and I, we have deserved what others say about us when they talk of our misdeeds and treacherous ways. Even if we have fooled them and ourselves, our deaths bear witness that we are sinners one and all.  But the Lord has borne our sins in His flesh and nailed them to the tree where they died. He has redeemed us from sin and death, from the devil and his hell, and has put His name on us. We are His. And He will save us. Not for our sakes will He save us, but for His name’s sake. Not because we have deserved salvation, but because He has promised it.
 
He has given His sign and seal as the pledge and promise of His salvation for you. He has washed you with His water and His word and feeds you the bread of heaven and you drink from His side the river of life. By this you bear witness that He is your Lord and that you are His people.
 
Come, O sons of God, and bear witness to the truth and mercy of God.
 
In Nomine Iesu
+ Amen +