Showing posts from May, 2016

Sermon on John 14:23-31, for Pentecost and Confirmation Day, "A Welcome Home for God"

Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father, and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen. In our reading John today Jesus is answering a question—so to better understand the answer, we need to know the question! In John 14:22, just before our reading starts, Judas the son of James—not Judas Iscariot, asks this question: “ Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world?” It’s the only recorded words we have from this second Judas. Jesus’ answer begins our reading: “ If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father’s, who sent me.” So Jesus’ answer is that the way He shows Himself to us and not to the world, is by making His home or dwelling place with believers, and creating in them a love and obedience toward God. Just think of what this means! God is going to ma

Sermon on Revelation 22:1-20, for the 7th Sunday of Easter, "Tree of Life"

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. Last week in Revelation we focused especially on the heavenly city of the New Jerusalem. Today, in chapter 22, the holy city is still prominent, but new images dominate. One is the Tree of Life. In the midst of the city on either side of the river of the water of life, stands the Tree of Life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit for each month, and having leaves that are for the healing of the nations. The Tree of Life takes us all the way back to the very beginning of the Bible, with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, where a river flows out of the garden and waters it. Many trees grew in that garden, but two were particularly important—the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. So having the Tree of Life appear in the very last chapter of the Bible, is an obvious “bookend” that brings us full circle from the very beginning. To see the saints of God in heaven gaining access to the Tree of

Sermon on Revelation 21:9-27, for the 6th Sunday of Easter, "New Jerusalem"

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. As we have been surveying the book of Revelation these past weeks, you’ve probably noticed that it is a very visually descriptive book. John witnessed glorious visions of heaven and earth, all of which he was instructed to write down. Sometimes the descriptions seem to flow like a stream of consciousness, as though John were grasping at a multitude of images to try to relate what he was seeing. Things too glorious and wonderful to fully put into words. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then thousands of words fall short to describe the glory. But, on the other hand, we shouldn’t think that John was grasping at straws and at a loss for what to say. On the contrary, inspired and directed by the Holy Spirit, John’s descriptions are highly intentional and specific. They borrow from and point us back to many rich Biblical pictures and prophecies, found in the Old and New Testament. Today’s chapter, Revelat