All Saints’ Day
“Hope in Jesus”
November 5, 2017
Sermon Text: 1 John 3:1-3
Grace, mercy and peace be unto you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.
Dear Fellow Saints in Christ,
The power to direct thoughts… to direct hearts and minds… is held by many. Not that they possess such power equally or that they all wield the same masterfully, but it is nevertheless frequently employed in our day and age as it has been in all of the days past.
And we could easily use up the precious time we have this morning considering all of the wrong ways, evil ways, diabolic ways in which thoughts have been misdirected… all of the ways hearts and minds have been led astray. But we are not about to do that. Not today. Not this most blessed and holy day in the life of the Christian Church. Not on All Saints’ Day.
Instead for a few minutes, let us consider the powerful words of one of the Lord’s apostles… words which direct our thoughts, our hearts and minds to truly something wonderful, something precious and divine… to an eternal truth that is sure and certain… that which will never change.
The Apostle declares, “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.” (1 John 3:1)
See! See with truly spiritual eyes. See with completely regenerated and renewed hearts and minds that which is yours by faith… that which was given to you as a precious gift in Holy Baptism.
See… and marvel. See not only “what love,” but “what kind of love” the Father has given to us. It is the kind of love where the Father offers up His only begotten Son… His pure, perfect and holy Son whom He loves to a degree and a measure that we cannot begin to comprehend as the one perfect sacrifice for the likes of us and all the world… poor miserable sinners, wretched sinners, the whole lot of us.
God the Father, gave His Son, Jesus Christ, to suffer like no other, bearing the sins of all others… and to taste death, feel the full sting of death that we may never have to. He who was our perfect substitute… and amazingly… He… Jesus… was willing to do so.
There… on the cross… that is where St. John is pointing you… where God’s Word is pointing you to look… and to see… “what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.”
Children of God, redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ.
Children of God, made so all because of the love of our Heavenly Father and that of His Son.
Children of God, declared so by the very breath of God… His divine in-spiration as He breathed this very fact to his servant to write and to do so unequivocally.
“See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.” Those last four words are so comforting and refreshing. Children of God… and so you are! So I am!
My friends, the devil, this world and our own weak flesh are always trying to get us to believe otherwise… getting us to question God’s love for us… getting us to wonder about our status and relationship to God Almighty… the God and only God of this universe… the Alpha and the Omega.
And that is why… again and again… throughout our sojourn here on earth, the Spirit reminds us… is always reminding us in Word and Sacrament that we are God’s own… His children… His chosen… the elect… His precious saints and that no one, nothing… neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39)
This is our hope in Jesus. And there… [the cross]… is our guarantee… sure and certain… of what is now… and what will soon be. And so it is that we have every reason to rejoice… every reason to be filled with gladness instead of sadness while we are still on this side of eternity… while we are still part of the Church Militant and fight the good fight of faith. We do so always knowing that we are children of the heavenly Father… that He has covered us with His wings, protecting us and seeing to all of our needs of body, soul and mind. There is absolutely no reason to worry or fret… absolutely no reason!
Instead, we have every reason to rejoice… every reason to be filled with gladness because of what awaits us in eternity. You heard what St. John said. “Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.” (1 John 3:2)
We shall see our dear Lord Jesus Christ in all of His glory. Let that sink in for a moment. We will see, finally see, our Savior as John saw Him on the Mount of Transfiguration and as this apostle was also given the great honor and privilege of seeing Him, the very Lamb of God, in the glory of heaven itself.
And look who stands before the Father and the Son in glory. It is all of the faithful throughout time… all of God’s children… “a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” (Revelation 7:9-10)
This multitude clothed in white includes all of the faithful who have gone on before us. It includes those children of God whom God lovingly has already received into heaven. It includes those who entered eternal bliss only knowing and experiencing life in the womb of their mother. It includes those who were in this world for just a few days, years, decades… as well as those who fell asleep in Jesus after a long life. It includes husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, brothers and sisters… all whom by grace alone, through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone… are among the heavenly throng… who blend their voices with angels and archangels in giving unceasing praise to our heavenly Father, and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.
Make no mistake about it, dear brothers and sisters, all because of the living and alive faith that is in you, among the multitude too many to count, there you shall surely be. In heaven… standing before your Triune God. You and all who have come out of the great tribulation otherwise known as our time here on earth. You and all who wear the robe of righteous… the robe made white in the blood of the Lamb.
Our hope is in this Lamb. It is in Jesus. And it is sure and certain… that which is now and what shall soon be. To God alone be the glory! Amen!
May the peace of God which surpasses all understanding, guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus, unto life everlasting. Amen.
“Hope in Jesus” 11/5/17 The Rev. Mark H. Hein, St. Paul’s Ev. Lutheran Church, Lockport, IL