Dballa's Weblog




Luke 10:38-44
Proper 11

Philippians 1:2 (ESV) 2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

The garbage needs to go out, your child who is responsible for taking out the garbage is playing video games. Hmm the response after some patient responses, finally gets angry with the child who recently takes out the garbage.

Let me change the situation a little bit.

Your child is reading their Bible in their daily devotion. Do you side track your child to take out the garbage? Or do you sit with your child and read with them, afterwards then reminds them the garbage needs to go out.

I know the former is more realistic than the latter.

Would you pull your child away from Jesus? No.

What are your priorities?

Two Sisters one event 2 different responses. Help with the preparation or listen to Jesus.

What is more important. Without food you die, without Jesus you die eternally. I know spoke like a true Lutheran Pastor.

Time for everything,

Ecclesiastes 3:1–4(ESV) 1 For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: 2 a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; 3 a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; 4 a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

but we seem in today’s world to run out of time very quickly. We are told to set priorities.

The First Commandment

You shall have no other gods.

What does this mean? We should fear, love, and trust in God above all things.

The Third Commandment

Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.

What does this mean? We should fear and love God so that we do not despise preaching and His Word, but hold it sacred and gladly hear and learn it.

Notice the despise preaching and His Word hold it sacred and gladly hear and learn it.

Gladly hear. Think of it this way, on Sunday morning do you say, I have to go to church. On on Sunday do you say, Its Sunday morning, I get to go to church.

2 different viewpoints. The results may be the same, but is the heart glad to hear and learn it.

Don’t we all have the same priorities? No

Here is the Good news: The Word of God won’t be taken away. It will be there.

God’s Word will go out and at the moment it is available.

Isaiah 55:6 (ESV) 6 “Seek the LORD while he may be found; call upon him while he is near;

How long will it be available here, I dont’ know, but while it is available we get to hear it.

Amos 8:11 (ESV) 11 “Behold, the days are coming,” declares the Lord GOD, “when I will send a famine on the land— not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD.

What about Martha? Jesus didn’t exactly condemn her for not listening.

Luke 10:41–42 (ESV) 41 But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, 42 but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”

We are not going to beat up on Martha, because at the death of Lazareth, she has some important words.

John 11:21(ESV) 21 Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.

John 11:24(ESV) 24 Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.”

John 11:27(ESV) 27 She said to him, “Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.”

John 12:1–2(ESV) 1 Six days before the Passover, Jesus therefore came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. 2 So they gave a dinner for him there. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those reclining with Jesus at table.

Serving was not the problem, trying to take someone away from learning more about Jesus is the problem. Being overwhelmed with worry and anxiety is a problem.

Matthew 6:34 (ESV) 34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

There is going to be enough trouble.

Psalm 31:14 (ESV) 14 But I trust in you, O LORD; I say, “You are my God.”

The First Commandment

You shall have no other gods.

What does this mean? We should fear, love, and trust in God above all things.

As we are connected to Christ, we have more confidence that God is handling the things of this world. The same God who created this world, redeemed this world, is concern for you.

With Mary and Martha Jesus allowed both to serve in their own way. So we don’t allow the things of this world to pull us away from Christ, for we get to be with Jesus right here at Peace Lutheran Church. Amen.

Philippians 4:7 (ESV) 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.


Written by dballa

July 20, 2019 at 3:04 pm

Spiritual Starvation


Spiritual Starvation
Luke 10:1-20
Proper 9

The last week was a joy visiting with our oldest daughter as she competed in the Department of Defence Warrior Games. It didn’t matter if she medaled she did her best, made new friends and that is all that was expected. Of course there are people who are strongly success oriented that achieving a gold medal seems to be the only options

So Jesus sends out His disciples and you see a little of that success orientation as they report back that the Demons were driven out. But that wasn’t the expectation that Jesus sent them to accomplish. Their goal was to proclaim God’s Word.

Isn’t the extra in driving out the demons better than just preaching the word? No. Jesus rebuked them don’t rejoice that the demons were driven out, but that your names are written in the book of life. Keep in mind that your names written in the book of life is only accomplished by Jesus while the other is through you.

Jesus, Jesus only Jesus. Anything else including ourselves takes the focus away from Jesus.

As we struggle with these words of Jesus, consider Jesus own words in:

Matthew 7:22–23(ESV) 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

God’s Word is powerful in and of itself. You don’t add to its power, nor can you take away from its power.

Focusing on what you have done or are doing is not success, but spiritual starvation. Because it moves the focus from Jesus to your actions.

Here at Peace we keep the focus on what Jesus does for us through His Word And Sacraments. Yes, we can do programs like VBS , SS, Church Picnic, but we still proclaim that message of repentance for that is how our names are written in the book of life.

Other places may provide an abundance of programs and activities, where here at Peace we are a small church. Sometimes people ask what good does a small church have, when there are larger church with more programs and seem to be doing much much more. Jesus gives us the answer, it is about proclaiming God’s Word, not about the “Success”. So we proclaim God’s Word, for we need to realize that our focus on what we have that is Jesus, and not what we don’t have.

Just picture for a moment that the disciples came back, those that saw demons being driving out saying look at what we did, while heads seeming hanging low because they only shook the dust off their feet. Jesus now comes to the scene and says guys you both are wrong, no bragging about demons and no head hanging. You proclaimed Christ, and that is what it is all about.

The devil is actually trying to starve us spiritually. The devil accomplishes this by puffing up our attitude, look what I accomplished. i.e. expelling the demons. The devil also tries to get us to look at others and what they are doing and shaming us for not doing more. None of that here. Here at Peace it is all about Jesus and what Jesus accomplishes for us. Sure Jesus uses us as His tools to proclaim God’s message of forgiveness. But the response to that message is the work of the Holy Spirit not yours.

So what do we do? Continue to proclaim Christ’s forgiveness., for this is what we have received from Christ Himself, anything else is a distraction, which starves us from the real food.

How do we avoid Spiritual Starvation, What is that real food? Jesus Himself notes in

John 6:54–56(ESV) 54 Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.55 For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink.56 Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him.

Yes, here at Peace the focus is upon Jesus, God’s Word and Sacraments given for you.

Yes, my oldest daughter competed in the Warrior Games, where she built bonds with other athletes from other branches in the US Armed Forces and other countries, that is what makes the Warrior Games special. So likewise the we gather in Christian fellowship around the spiritual food of God Word and Sacraments, and that is what makes Peace, very very special. In His name Amen.

Written by dballa

July 6, 2019 at 1:46 pm

Posted in Daughters, Sermons

Undivided Unity

Undivided Unity
John 8:54-58
The Holy Trinity

Philippians 1:2(ESV) 2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

United We Stand, Divided We Fall. A popular saying, promoting unity or else. We see this in countries where the people are united, they are able to accomplish much. But when people are divided, very little is accomplished. It is not only true in our Country, State, family, and yes even in the church. At Peace Lutheran we are united with many congregations in the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, in doing so we can maintain seminaries, a publishing house, and overseas missions, whereas one congregation by ourselves cannot accomplish all that regardless how big we are.

But like all human institutions, there can be a cause that unites us, but there is also our self-serving desire that divides us, because we want things our own way.

In our Gospel reading for today, we see the Jewish leaders not wanting to acknowledge that Jesus is God. Jesus shows the unity He has with the Father, in that the Father glorifies Him. Jesus also stated that He existed before Abaraham. If you believe that Jesus is God there is no problem with what Jesus said. However, if you see Jesus as only a human being and not God, the idea of Jesus existence before Abraham is impossible.

The Jewish leaders self-serving attitude which lead them to reject Jesus as God’s Son, the messiah. But in the midst of all of this Jesus, second person of the Trinity, doesn’t give in to the self-serving ideas, instead, the very reason why God takes on flesh and blood is for Jesus to lay down His life for the restoration of all people. We have a God who is presented in three person, for your salvation. You don’t want to mess with the Unity of the Trinity, for in doing so like the Jewish leaders, you are dividing your own salvation.

This is the reason why the Athansain Creed is so important. Yes it is longer than the other creeds, yes it gets very granular, yes it needs to be explained and taught more so we have a better understanding of our God who is self-sacrificing instead of self-serving. But Like the Jewish Leaders if we think that we can fully comprehend everything there is to know and understand God, we will come up with the same conclusion the the Jewish leader did, to reject Jesus.

The mystery of the Holy Trinity is a mystery. What I mean by mystery is that some of it is beyond our comprehension, but this is how God reveals His unity in the Holy Scriptures.

So we trust in the Holy Scriptures, for they show us God’s salvation for us. Sola Scriptura, Scripture Alone, why well last week we celebrated Pentecost, when Jesus promised the Holy Spirit to the disciples. Through our history many people have asked why don’t we hear more about the Holy Spirit, it seem that Jesus gets all the attention. But notice what Jesus says about this.

John 15:26(ESV) 26 “But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me.

It is our attitude that demands more attention to the Holy Spirit, but the Holy Spirit is suppose to bear witness about Jesus. The Holy Spirit isn’t being cheated, for the Holy Spirit is God and God is unified. You may recall the only time in heaven when there was disunity.

Revelation 12:7–8(ESV) 7 Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon. And the dragon and his angels fought back, 8 but he was defeated, and there was no longer any place for them in heaven.

Unity in heaven was then fixed. Jesus notes that

Matthew 18:10(ESV) 10 “See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven.

The angels in heaven always see, will not rebel against the Holy Trinity.

But as the Jewish leaders rejected Jesus, yet tried to say they were following God of the scriptures. So we need the creeds, to keep our human ideas out while following what the Scriptures says about God. The creed especially the Athasian Creed reminds us that there is one God, but three persons. A Unity that is beyond our understanding, that cannot be divided.

Nor do we want that unity divided. Because United we stand divided we fall, if the unity of the Trinity was divided, our salvation our restoration is gone. We will fall into the eternal depths of hell.

And in this Trinity none is before or after another; none is greater or less than another;

but the whole three persons are coeternal with each other and coequal, so that in all things, as has been stated above, the Trinity in Unity and Unity in Trinity is to be worshiped.

Therefore, whoever desires to be saved must think thus about the Trinity.

Yes it is that important. But notice the next line.

But it is also necessary for everlasting salvation that one faithfully believe the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Yes it is all about Jesus. God who takes on our flesh and blood, fulfill the law for us, died on the cross to bring us forgiveness of sins. My favorite stump the confirmand question: On Good Friday did God die? Yes, Jesus died on the cross and Jesus is true God. The Father did not die on the cross nor did the Holy Spirit, only Jesus. Yes , the mystery of the Holy Trinity is a mystery, but this is the Christian faith, and as the last part of the Athasian Creed states,

This is the catholic faith; whoever does not believe it faithfully and firmly cannot be saved.

So we believe and teach Jesus is the Son of God, for this is God’s plan for our salvation. United we Stand, in the Undivided Unity. Amen.

Philippians 4:7(ESV) 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Written by dballa

June 15, 2019 at 2:34 pm

The Teacher

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The Teacher
The Day of Pentecost
June 9, 2019
John 14:26

Philippians 1:2(ESV) 2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Stain Glass covering the windows in the sanctuary have as their focus the life of Christ. We start with the birth, first miracle, the gathering, the miracles, raising of Lazareth, the empty tomb, but the last one which is also printed on your bulletin cover may surprise to be also be about Christ. Isn’t this about the Holy Spirit for you have the dove and the flame. Where is Christ in this picture? The stain glass is still all about Christ, because the Holy Spirit as represented by the dove and the flame is given to teach you about Christ.

Our Gospel reading Jesus said

John 14:26(ESV) 26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.

Notice the purpose of the Holy Spirit is to teach you and bring to your remembrance God’s Word.

The teacher is important, notice what Jesus spoke at the end of the Gospel of St. Matthew, before His ascension.

Matthew 28:19–20(ESV) 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, (how by) baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,20 (and by) teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

How do you make disciples, by baptism and teaching.

Why baptism?

Titus 3:5(ESV) 5 he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit,

Christ saves us, not be the works we do but by His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit.

But there is a problem in our lives. Sure we understand life-long learning, but while we are in school there is a strong emphasis, but upon graduation the life-long learning has a much easier and slower curriculum.

The Holy Spirit is to teach you and to help you recall the words of Christ, but our attitude may be a bit relaxed. For how many times do the events of life get in the way of our gathering to receive God’s Word and Sacraments, or attend Bible Study, or read daily devotions. You yes we have been instructed, but it seems we take an extended summer vacation or we feel that we are done after graduation. But confirmation is not graduate from the School of the Holy Spirit.

Because how long would you last as a Christian without the Holy Spirit pointing to Christ. Less than a second.

What did we learn in the 3rd Article of the Apostles’ Creed, Luther reminds us:

What does this mean?

I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him; but the Holy Spirit has called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith.

Without the Holy Spirit we would completely give in to the our old sinful nature the old flesh. We are studying this in the Sunday morning Bible Class in Romans, and we would not last one moment on our own without the Holy Spirit.

We hear these words in our ears, but our heart, our feelings, our flesh says to us I got this, all the while taking God’s Word and Sacraments for granted.

But hear the worlds of Jesus

Jesus again says of the Spirit in

John 16:8(ESV) 8 And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment:

Maybe I should put that on the electronic sign in front, Come to Peace Lutheran Church where you will be convicted of sin. Our sinful nature doesn’t want to hear those words and want to walk away and never come back. But when we realize that we are sinners, we realize how great God’s grace really is. We see the graciousness of Christ even more. This is how the Holy Spirit teaches us, yes by cutting to the heart so to speak, as what happen in our reading from Acts. Just a few verses after our reading ended:

Acts 2:37–38(ESV) 37 Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” 38 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Once the Holy Spirit convicts us of sin, cut to the heart, we realize that we need God’s grace, not just one moment a week, or one moment of the day, but we need God’s grace every moment of our lives and the Holy Spirit is the one who continues to call gather enlighten and keeps us in the true faith.

Yes, we need the Teacher, The Holy Sprit. Amen.

Philippians 4:7(ESV) 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Written by dballa

June 8, 2019 at 3:11 pm

Posted in Sermons

What is on Your Forehead?

What is on Your Forehead?
Revelation 22:4
Seventh Sunday of Easter
June 1, 2019

Philippians 1:2(ESV) 2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

After I run there is usually a quick evaluation. Was it is good run I ask myself? After I answer that question from a subjective viewpoint like how I felt it went, I answer the same question from an analytical viewpoint. Do the run achieve the numbers I was expecting to see like pace, heart rate and so on. I have about a half dozen numbers I check for the final overall evaluation of a good run. Saturday Morning’s run put one number before me that stuck out. And for some people that number would have ruined the run in their mind. Total Calories was the category with the answer being 666.

Revelation 13:18(ESV) 18 This calls for wisdom: let the one who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man, and his number is 666.

Notice it doesn’t say anything about run statics, nor about as one of our Lutheran churches had their street address was 666. The number is a number, I think Wikipedia, said it best 666 (six hundred [and] sixty-six) is the natural number following 665 and preceding 667. The committee who put together the Lutheran Service Book which has over 666 pages slotted the hymn “O Little Flock, Fear Not the Foe” as a important message to our superstition.


Revelation 14:9–10(ESV) 9 And another angel, a third, followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, 10 he also will drink the wine of God’s wrath, poured full strength into the cup of his anger, and he will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb.

Are you worshipping the Beast? Do you have 666 on your forehead or hand?

The First Commandment

You shall have no other gods.

What does this mean? We should fear, love, and trust in God above all things.

There is not need for fear of the mark of the best, instead we fear, love and trust in God above all things.

God who has put His own mark upon you.

In the reading from St. John’s Revelation, we again are given that glimpse of heaven.

Revelation 22:4(ESV) 4 They will see his face (referring to Christ the Lamb of God), and his name will be on their foreheads.

When was Christ’s name put on your forehead?

During Holy Baptism, the Pastor usually makes the sign of the Holy Cross upon the forehead and the heart of the one being baptized along with the water being applied to the forehead in the name of the father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

So what is on your forehead, does it make a difference? Actually yes, it makes a difference if the name of the Lamb of God, Christ is on your forehead, because it means that you are redeemed, you belong to Christ.

Mark 16:16(ESV) 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.

Baptism is God’s Promise for you. Not just when you were baptized, but for you everyday. Everyday we live as baptized Children bearing His name, remembering His promises, studying His Word.

It is interesting that when Moses gave the people

Deuteronomy 6:4–8(ESV) 4 “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lordis one. 5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. Frontlets between your eyes instead on the forehead Why so that they would always see God’s Word in front of them.

God’s Word and promises are that important, not just for Holy Baptism, Not just for one hour a week, but for everyday discussion.

So when others look at us, do they see us living as Baptized Children of God, living in peace, or do they see us living in fear of the things of this world, like 666, future of this world, worrying about the changes in the wind.

So we hear again the words of Jesus

John 16:33(ESV) 33 I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

So what is on your forehead?

Philippians 4:7(ESV) 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Written by dballa

June 1, 2019 at 2:14 pm

Posted in Sermons

The Shields of the Earth

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The Shields of the Earth
Psalm 47:9
Ascension of our Lord
May 30, 2019

Forty days after the resurrection we celebrate the Day of Ascension. The day in which Jesus ascends into heaven. But why celebrate that day? Would it not be an abandonment day in which Jesus leaves His disciples and humanity to struggle without Him? No, notice what Jesus does for the disciples in our Gospel reading:

Jesus opened their minds to understand the scriptures. Many people have read the Bible from cover to cover and do not believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God. Opening their minds is a beautiful gift of faith.

Jesus also sends them as witnesses to the things that had happened, while Jesus was with them.

Jesus also tell them to stay in the city until they are clothed with power from on high. It is like the disciples are soon going to be some sort of super hero. That day will be Pentecost, in 10 days, more about that in 2 Sundays, but there is also a connection of this power for today.

Let me add what the Psalm of the day notes, even though the Psalmist was hundred of years before Christ was born, the Psalmist wrote:

Psalm 47:5(ESV) 5 God has gone up with a shout, the Lord with the sound of a trumpet.


Psalm 47:8(ESV) 8 God reigns over the nations; God sits on his holy throne.

As the Creed we will say ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of the Father.

The Questions is this day abandonment day.

First of all we need to realize that God does what He says.

Matthew 28:20(ESV) 20 And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

That God can be in 2 or more places at the same time, even while we celebrate the Lord’s Supper, His true Body and Blood given and shed for you.

But it is the last line of the Psalm to which I want to focus on:

Psalm 47:9(ESV) 9 For the shields of the earth belong to God; he is highly exalted!

The Shields of the earth: that which protects the earth. Christ didn’t abandoned us, but is still preserving us. Ever since the creation, God is caring for the earth and for us.

The shields of the earth may also include people like law enforcement and military, as God uses the government to provide peace and security for the people. Like the fictional character of Captain America, protecting the people with his special abilities and invincible shield. But Christ really does use good government as a shield.

Augsburg Confession [1] Concerning public order and secular government it is taught that all political authority, orderly government, laws, and good order in the world are created and instituted by God. [2] and that Christians may without sin exercise political authority; be princes and judges; pass sentences and administer justice according to imperial and other existing laws; punish evildoers with the sword; wage just wars; serve as soldiers;

The shields of the earth may also include

Psalm 84:9(ESV) 9 Behold our shield, O God; look on the face of your anointed!

Wow the Psalmist points us to Christ, the anointed, the messiah

Also wherever Christ’s word is read, proclaimed, attached to water, bread and wine. Whereas the alb isn’t as colorful as the comic superheroes, but instead points back to Christ, who is the one who protects us through His Word and Sacrament. For Christ is our strength.

Ephesians 6:10–17(ESV) 10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,

Has Christ abandon us, no, Christ has and continues to deliver and protect us.

Psalm 18:2–3(ESV) 2 The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. 3 I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies.

In His Holy Name Amen.

Written by dballa

May 30, 2019 at 1:44 pm

Posted in Sermons

Keys of Death

Keys of Death Revelation 1:17-18 Second Sunday of Easter

Philippians 1:2(ESV) 2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

It is the Second Sunday of Easter, which is also the day we celebrate the rite of confirmation for four of our youth here at Peace. It is truly a blessing to be able to celebrate the Christian faith with those confirming their faith that was given to them when they were baptized. What do you say to Jr. Highers and other Christians on this day. You use the words of Jesus:

Revelation 1:17–18(ESV) 17 When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, “Fear not, I am the first and the last,18 and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.

Fear not, is always the best place to start. We have many fears, and the opening words of Jesus to St. John are perfect to us. Fear not. Death is on thing that many fear, but for the Christian, we realize that Christ Jesus has defeated sin, death and the devil, as we saw by celebrating His resurrection from the dead. So Jesus even names this to St. John.

I am the first and the last,18 and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore. It is always about Jesus. Jesus is eternal, the first and the last, Jesus is the living one, He died on Good Friday, and behold last Sunday we hear that He is living. Jesus reaffirms this Easter message as the reasoning why we should not fear. The icing on the cake so to speak is when

“I have the keys of Death and Hades”

Just like the prison guard or jailer has the keys to the prison, so also Christ Jesus has the keys of Death and Hades. Keys permit and deny access.

Isaiah 22:22(ESV) 22 And I will place on his shoulder the key of the house of David. He shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open.

Only Jesus can open and close death and hades. As Christians who believe in Christ JEsus death and resurrection, we have no fear of death and hades, because our savior is in control of them.

Christ Jesus having the keys of death and hades sounds a little unusual. We would think that Christ Jesus would have the keys to heaven and opening the doors to heaven for Christians. Something a little more positive.

But we dare not forget the initial default of our spirituality so to speak. After Adam and Eve sinned, we no longer belonged to God, but to Satan. So in

Genesis 3:15(ESV) 15 I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”

The promise of God is to make enemies between Satan and humanity as God says by putting enmity between you and the woman. Do by default, we were destined to hell. Good Friday broke that default as we see Jesus alive on that first Easter.

Since this was God’s plan of salvation Jesus was able to give away the keys of heaven. So who hold them now, you in one essence you do, since you are part of the church.

Matthew 16:18–20(ESV) 18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. (If I may add because Jesus is on control of death and hades) 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”20 Then he strictly charged the disciples to tell no one that he was the Christ.

The keys are not the property of Peter alone, but it given to the believers on Jesus Christ. Because what is what prompted Jesus is giving them. The confession of faith that Peter stated is the rock (the gift of Faith) that Jesus will use to build His church.

What was that confession of faith that Peter made? Matthew 16:16(ESV) 16 Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

This is the confession that Jesus is going to build His church, The keys of heaven, are given to all who make this confession, which is the Christian Church. So our confirmands have been instructed in this confession, that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, as taught in the Small Catechism of Martin Lutheran, will publicly confess this faith. The Christian Faith they were baptized into. The Christian Faith they were taught. The Christian Faith (through the Holy Spirit) that will continue to keep them, as Luther explains in the 3rd Article of the Apostle’s Creed

In the same way He calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian church on earth, and keeps it with Jesus Christ in the one true faith.

The Holy Spirit keeps us and these confirmands as Hebrews 10:25(ESV) 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

As we meet together here at Peace Lutheran Church we gather around Christ’s Word, Baptising people in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and celebrating the Lord’s Death until He comes with the celebration of the Lord’s Supper. All for the purpose as Jesus notes in Revelation 2:10(ESV) 10 Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.

So we fear nor, because we gather around the one who is the the first and the last,18 and the living one. The one who died, and is alive forevermore, the One who had the keys of Death and Hades.

In His Holy Name, Amen.

Philippians 4:7(ESV) 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Written by dballa

April 27, 2019 at 1:45 pm

Posted in Sermons