Sermon 5-13-2018

May 15, 2018

Summary

Exaudi ☩ 1 Peter 4:7-14; John 15:26-16:4

This past Thursday was forty days since Easter, since the angel said to the women, “He is risen. He is not here.” It is on that fortieth day since our Lord rose from the dead, that we celebrate Jesus’ ascension into heaven, where He is now seated at the right hand of the Father, living and reigning over heaven and earth, ordering our days and our deeds according to His peace. Having ascended into heaven, we now look forward to Jesus’ second coming, when He will come again to judge the quick and the dead; when He will raise up our bodies which are asleep in the grave, taking us to be where He is in the mansions known as heaven, where we will wear the crown of life and the robes of righteousness.

We await Jesus’ second coming, when He will come again to judge the quick and the dead. We await Jesus’ coming again. We await His judgement. And as we await, we give thanks for the fulfillment of His promise to send the Holy Spirit to us, that we would be comforted, strengthened and have the sure and certain hope of the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and the life of the world to come in heaven. THe Holy Spirit is the Comforter. He is the One who answers us when we cry  out for help, in our time of need. The Holy Spirit is the One who says, “Seek My face.” And we respond, “Your face, Lord, we do seek.” We seek His face, because it shines graciously upon us, and we are at peace.   

Because we have received the Holy Spirit, as a gift on the day we were baptized, we are prepared for Jesus’ second coming and the day of judgment. The Lord is our Light and our Salvation; we shall not be afraid. The Lord is the Stronghold of our life; we shall not be afraid of anyone or anything. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth, and the truth that He proclaims is the Way, the Truth and the Life that is Jesus Christ. We do not see the Holy Spirit, we see the face of Jesus. When the Holy Spirit speaks, it is not his words that are spoken, but the words of Jesus. For the Comforter, Jesus says, will testify of Me. The Holy Spirit says, “Seek My face”, what He is saying, is to “Seek Jesus.”        

Today is Exaudi Sunday. Exaudi is the Latin word meaning, “Hear me.” That is our prayer today and every day, until our Lord comes again. “Hear me, O Lord. Hear my cry for mercy. Hear my cry for grace. Help me in my time of need. Strengthen me. Comfort me. Lift me up. Be not far from me. Deliver me from my enemies, that they would have no power over me.” These are the prayers that we cry out to our Lord, at all times demanding that He hear us. We cry out with all boldness and confidence, knowing that He will hear us and answer us. He does all things for our good. We know that the Lord gives and the Lord takes away, blessed be the name of the Lord.

We know this is true, because the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, has told us, and He does not lie. He has made this comforting truth known to us in the words and works of Jesus. That is why we read, mark, learn and inwardly digest the Words of Holy Scripture, for in them in forgiveness, life and salvation. That is why we ponder and meditate upon the Words of the BIble, for in them we see God, in them we hear God, in them we are called, gathered, enlightened, sanctified, and kept with Jesus Christ in the one true faith.    

St. Peter warns us in his epistle for today, “The end of all things is at hand.” Those are words of warning. They are words of warning, because we need to ask ourselves the questions: Are we prepared? Do we fear, love and trust God above all things? Do we realize our unworthiness before God? Have we repented and believed the Gospel of Jesus? Do we love our neighbor as we love ourselves? Have we repented of our sins to those whom we have sinned against? Have we forgiven the sins of those who sin against us?

St. Peter encourages us in his epistle for today, “The end of all things is at hand.” Those are words of comfort and hope. We are comforted, because we regularly hear preaching and teaching, keeping God’s name holy among us. We have hope, because we hold the Word of God sacred and gladly hear it and learn it. We are encouraged, because we know that the Word of God is taught in all its truth and purity among us, and we, as children of God, lead holy lives according to it. We are prepared, because of what the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, does to us and for us. By the power of the Holy Spirit, we are kept in faith toward God and in love toward our neighbor. Jesus has sent the Holy Spirit to us, to keep us from falling away. It is the Holy Spirit, who fulfills the great commission of baptizing all nations, teaching us to obey everything Jesus has commanded us, assuring us that Jesus is with us always, never leaving us or forsaking us.  

St. Peter encourages us in his epistle for today, “The end of all things is at hand.” This means that our suffering and pain will come to an end. Our suffering and pain are only for a little while. We will weep and we will suffer pain, but our sorrow will be turned to joy. Our sorrow and pain will end because Jesus will come again to take us to be where He is. That is why we gather around Jesus’ altar this morning, to be fed with the Bread of Life and the Cup of Salvation, to be strengthened and blessed by the very face of Jesus which shines upon us. In our eating and drinking the very body and blood of Jesus, as we do every Lord’s Day, our suffering comes to an end because we are made to lie down in green pastures beside still waters. Because of Jesus, our cup runs over, goodness and mercy follow us all the days of our life and we will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. We are prepared for Jesus’ second coming. We look forward to the end of all things, because we know that then Jesus will come to make all things new.

“Hear me, O Lord. Hear my cry for mercy. Hear my cry for grace. Help me in my time of need. Strengthen me. Comfort me. Lift me up. Be not far from me. Deliver me from my enemies, that they would have no power over me.” These are the prayers that we cry out to our Lord, at all times demanding that He hear us. And if we do not gather here in Jesus’ presence, where He calls us to be, we will not be strengthened by the Holy Spirit, who guides us into all truth, who points us again and again to the works and words of Jesus. And if we do not see the face of Jesus, we will not cry out with all boldness and confidence, knowing that Jesus will hear us and answer us. We will forget the gifts of our baptism, and we will remain in despair and hardship. We will forget that Jesus does all things for our good, and there will be no joy in us. We will fall out of faith, and when Jesus comes again to judge the quick and the dead, we will be afraid. We will depend on ourselves and our own feeble excuses. And Jesus will say, “I do not know you. Depart from me you who are cursed.”

But because the Holy Spirit guides us into all truth, we are not afraid. This morning, we see the glorious face of Jesus, in the words of forgiveness and life that He speaks to us. This morning, the glorious face of Jesus shines upon us in the bread and wine, the very body and blood that He gives us to eat and drink. This morning, we are blessed by the loving hand of a Savior, who richly and daily provides for us, gathering us around His holy throne and altar, to be with all the saints and angels in heaven and on earth. This morning, we rejoice, we give thank, and we sing. This morning, Jesus says to us, “Come unto Me, all you who are weak and weary, and I will give you rest.” Jesus says those words to us today, as we gather in His presence. And Jesus will say those words to us on the Last Day, when He comes to judge the quick and dead, and takes us to be where He is in heaven. Amen.