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Psalm 30 - Closed Captioned Sermon

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[ congregation singing the end of a hymn ] Grace and Mercy, and Peace are all yours from our living Lord Jesus Christ, Amen. God's Word for His people is Psalm 30. It's printed for you responsively in your bulletin. I'll read verses 3 and a couple verses after that... "Oh Lord, you brought me up from the grave; you spared me from going down into the pit. Sing to the Lord, you saints of His; praise His Holy name. For His anger lasts only a moment, but His favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning. When I felt secure I said, 'I will never be shaken.' O Lord, when you favored me, you made my mountains stand firm; but when you hid your face I was dismayed. To you, O Lord, I called; to the Lord, I cried for mercy..." This is God's Word. Dear believers in the risen Jesus... How do you think that Jesus looked that day when He first appeared to the people who had been following Him so closely. How do you think that He appeared to His close friends when they first saw Him? How would YOU have looked after all the beating, after all the bleeding, after all the battering and brutality? Have you ever been in a fight or had surgery, or just had a hard work-out, you know that your muscles are the most sore, not immediately afterwards but after about a day and a half. And though Jesus was in the grave on three calendar days - Friday, Saturday, Sunday... it really only amounted to about thirty-six hours... 6:00 Friday to before Dawn, before 6:00, on Sunday. I think I'd be limping, to say the least! Stitches don't come out that soon when you've been cut. If the person was alive I think that they'd be limping, changing bandages, and just needing to stay in bed while they heal. But we don't have any of that do we, from Jesus? Because, Jesus did not "recover" from death; Jesus ROSE from the dead. When a person dies, no matter how good the mortician, no matter how good the make-up, the person never looks like they did when they were alive. The muscles contract and relax just right so that you don't have somebody who in their body looks like they did when they were alive and well. And that was the image of Jesus that His followers had etched in their minds, seemingly forever. How could they forget their friend strung up on a cross, His face writhing in pain and then suddenly limp as they buried Him, and He looked as dead as anyone else who has died. For Him NOT to be limping, for Him NOT to have any bandages or scars except for the five that He held on to just to prove that He really had been crucified. To look healthy...that was astonishing. Mary was so astonished she didn't even recognize Jesus. He was standing right in front of her. And two other women, they couldn't tell who the man was that greeted them on the road until his voice that they recognized gave him away. The people who first heard reports of Jesus alive said, "that's nonsense!" And they couldn't believe it either. Even though they knew what the scriptures had said - as our Gospel lesson revealed to us today - It wasn't because Jesus looked any different that they didn't recognize Him, it was that He looked SO NORMAL that they were amazed. That they had a hard time believing that this was the same man who had been crucified that very weekend. The bottom line of course though is that it matters very little, doesn't it, how Jesus looked? He was dead, and then He wasn't! Perhaps of more importance to you today is not how Jesus looked, but how His disciples looked when it dawned on them that Jesus was alive. They had heard Jesus say that He was going to be killed and that then He was going to be raised to life. And they knew - they had learned - from little on all those Old Testament prophecies people with the names like Job and Daniel, and David, who said very very clearly that Jesus was going to "sleep in the dust of death" and then be brought to life. They believed in the resurrection from the dead. And yet, they still thought the first reports of Jesus to be nonsense. When they saw it for themselves, they didn't handle it like people who knew what was going on. They were over-joyed one moment and then they doubted the next. One flat out refused to believe that Jesus was alive until he could verify it with his own hands. And it seems that Jesus' disciples went from looking like funeral goers, to deer with the headlights shined on them, to wives whose husbands have just made it home from the war. The bottom-line is, of course, that they looked like ANYONE who believes in Jesus. And what makes that question so important to us today, "What do believers look like?", is the fact that Jesus had said earlier, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live even though he dies." [ John 11:25 ] Jesus' resurrection does you very little good if you don't believe it. You cannot be saved, you cannot be sure that ANYTHING good will happen after YOU die if you do not believe that Jesus has risen from the dead. If he can't, you can't. Jesus' messenger Paul wrote, "If Christ has not been raised your faith is futile. You are still in your sins." [ 1 Corinthians 15:17 ] All the fuss over Jesus and church is a waste of time if you don't believe it. Because without the resurrection, the Christian Faith is really no different than any other set of rules to live by, except that maybe if you really follow them you have MORE guilt than the average person. You have MORE inconveniences. You have MORE troubles in life, and LESS when God wants you to be happy and here's how to make it happen. You also have your own struggle to believe, don't you? You don't like to admit it, but you doubt. You have said, many of you, publicly; "I am a Christian. I believe in Jesus." And yet, you don't always believe that do you? You struggle to. People might think if you actually admitted it that you were strange or that you were weak if you admitted your doubts. And so you don't want to come out and say it. You want nothing more than to believe... more. And yet you can't. Not always. So, you ask the question, "How did Jesus' disciples look?" When what you're REALLY asking is, "How do I know that I believe?" It's a question believers have always asked. Even a thousand years before Jesus' resurrection, King David, - one of the most famous and one of the strongest ( you could argue) COMMITTED believers - asked the question in the words we read a couple times today. Tell me if this doesn't sound familiar to you and to your own experience: "When I felt secure I said, 'I will never be shaken'. O Lord, when you favored me you made my mountains stand firm. But when you hid your face, I was dismayed." [ Psalm 30: 7 ] Simone Weil was a Jewish thinker born in France, who lived during World War Two and nearly starved to death running away from the Germans. Her way of looking at the world was very simple: She said there are two forces in this world; one is gravity, and the other is Grace. Gravity is that force in which one large object attracts other objects to itself until it becomes larger. And, the gravity that it has to bring other objects to itself gets greater and even out of control. The larger the object gets, the more of the universe it is able to attract to itself, and so it enlarges itself without limit. And the same thing goes on in human beings, doesn't it? Think of the human soul as water; YOUR soul, YOUR heart as water. Water has no power to go up, only down. And the more water joins with other water, the stronger its downward force gets. It gains more force for keeping its own power and heading in that same direction. And now, apply that to human beings: The more that MY thoughts gravitate towards MY self, the more I swell with pride. Or, sometimes, the more I swell with self pity. Either way there's only one direction for my water to go and that is down - away from God. The more my thoughts are about myself the more I'm only happy when other people meet MY expectations for them. And the more I'm only happy when I achieve MY goals, that I set for myself. And that includes the question, "How do I know that I believe?" The more I ask, "How do I know that I believe?" the farther away from God I get, and the less sure I become. The more I think about myself the more things I find that look like unbelief. The more evidence I find that I doubt, the more I look at myself and the more reasons I find that I ought to be apart from God forever. I see that my best attempts to be a good person that God demands fall WAY short of what He demands. Water at the bottom of the well has no power to climb the rope; only to rot the rope and eventually work its way father into the ground. "Lord you brought me up from the grave. You spared me from going down to the pit. For His anger lasts only a moment but His favor lasts a lifetime." David says in reflection. Notice what changed here. It's NOT how God looked to David, but how God looked AT David. This is real faith. The heart of faith concerns itself no so much with, "Well, what's in my heart?" as it does, "Well, what's in God's heart?" In God's heart we see an anger. An anger that we deserve directed towards us; a killing anger, an eternally condemning anger, but an anger we're told that lasts only a lifetime. And why? Because of His Grace; the opposite of our gravity. We see an anger that lasts only a moment because of His favor that lasts a lifetime. It's a good thing that we hear that anger, that we feel that anger, that we realize our need for God because if we don't we never look to Him for any help. We would never look to Him for what we need to live forever. But in God's heart we see how He made that happen. God himself, Jesus Christ, climbed down into the well. And He got wet with our sin, with our shame, with our sorrows, with our death. And, He had a stainless-steel bucket with Him. Water cannot hurt a stainless-steel bucket. In this bucket of Jesus' resurrection, he scoops US up, and He lifts US out of the well. He does something for us that we could never do for ourselves; He lifts US out of the well. He lifts us out of this world. He stops us from going down further, and He uses us: He uses us to water the world with words of His Mercy. "My heart sings to you and will not be silent, O Lord my God. I will give you thanks forever." [ Psalm 30: 11-12 ] What is in the heart of God? "He was delivered over to death for our sins and raised to life for our justification." [ Romans 4:25 ] "How does Jesus look?", is not nearly as important a question as "How does Jesus look at you?" And answer is the same as what He's always said, "not guilty". His death was the price, and His resurrection was the proof. So, what difference does the resurrection then make? Well it makes all the difference in the world to you. It changes how YOU look. It changes how YOU look at the world. This is NOT my home. Happiness here is NOT my mission in life. Happiness in the next is, and so I'm going to make every effort to make the things that ensure my eternal life in the next - - God's Word - the most important thing to me... repenting of my sins, and not letting them grow, the most important thing I can do... ...to help others see that the only way out of this pit is Jesus. The resurrection of Jesus changes how you look at every decision you make in this life that comes your way. Do you want to know if you have faith? Do you want to know if you're growing in your faith? Ask yourself this: How much am I asking, "What does God want me to do?" versus "How much am I asking what do I want?" And the more one person asks, "What does God want me to do?" "What does God want me to think?" "How does God like my attitude?" The more you are growing in your faith. AND you will find- even though it seems you're not in control - You're at peace and you're happy because someone much smarter and stronger and sweeter than you is in control. The bottom line is that Jesus' resurrection changes YOU. Jesus' resurrection changes you because it changes how you look at God. You believe. This is His Word.

Video Details

Duration: 18 minutes and 7 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
Producer: Redeemer Ev. Lutheran Church, Yakima WA
Director: John Shoosmith
Views: 166
Posted by: redeemeryakima on Apr 21, 2009

Pastor Timothy Schwartz ( WELS ) delivering a sermon at Redeemer Ev. Lutheran Church in Yakima, WA. This and other media are closed-captioned on our website www.redeemeryakima.org .

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