April 23, 2017

Pastor Bernt P. Tweit

Gospel Lesson; John 20:19-31

Epistle Lesson; 1 Peter 1:3-9

Sermon Text; Acts 2:14a,

                       Acts 2:22-32

Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice, and spoke loudly and clearly to them: “Men of Israel, hear these words! Jesus the Nazarene was a Man recommended to you by God with miracles, wonders, and signs that God did through Him among you, as you yourselves know. This Man, who was handed over by God's set plan and foreknowledge, you killed by having lawless men nail Him to a cross. He is the One God raised up by freeing Him from the agony of death, because death was not able to hold Him in its grip. “Indeed, David says concerning Him: I saw the Lord always before me. Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced. My flesh also will rest in hope, because you will not abandon my life to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay. You have made known to me the paths of life. You will fill me with joy in your presence. “Gentlemen, brothers, I can speak confidently to you about the patriarch David, that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. Since he was a prophet and knew that God had sworn to him with an oath that he would seat one of his descendants on his thrown, he saw what was coming and spoke about the resurrection of Christ, saying that He was neither abandoned to the grave nor did His flesh see decay.

“This Jesus is the One God has raised up. We are all witnesses of that.”

This is God's Word.

We are continuing to live in the afterglow of Easter, aren't we? Our text for today is a unique one, because technically, this happened on Pentecost. It was the sermon Peter preached on Pentecost, which happened fifty days after Easter. So, it is a little unique to look at it on the Sunday after Easter. And yet, it is a good one to look at, because twice in this sermon, Peter talks about how Jesus had risen from the dead. Here in his sermon we can see the boldness Peter had fifty days after Easter, in proclaiming Jesus had risen.

Contrast that with how Peter acted on Maundy Thursday evening, when the servant girl had come to him, and said, “You are one of His disciples. You know Him. You were with Him.”

Peter denied, when he said, “I don't know this Man. I don't know who you are talking about.”

Or, on that very first Easter evening, (from our Gospel Lesson for today), where do we find the disciples? In a room in the city of Jerusalem, with the doors locked. Why? Because they were afraid. They were filled with fear.

But now, fifty days after Easter, Peter and the disciples have no fear, anymore, and they want to boldly proclaim who Jesus is, and that He had risen from the dead.

In our text, which is this Pentecost Sermon, Peter lays out three ingredients of the Christian Faith. All of these things are important, because if you take one of these ingredients out, it is really not The Christian Faith, anymore.

Now, when you cook, and when you bake, it is proper to have the right ingredients, isn't it? Here is an example. (I want you to know this did not happen to my family. So, I don't want you to be wondering who this is referring to, because it is nobody in my family.)

There was once a young, married, lady who was having her family over for a meal. They were all visiting with each other in the Living Room, when she left to go to the kitchen to start preparing the supper. One of the things on the menu was mashed potatoes. She began by getting a pot out, and peeling the potatoes. She put the potatoes in the pot, and turned the stove back on. Then, she went back out into the Living Room to enjoy everybody's company.

Well, after a short period of time, the smoke detector started to go off, and smoke was billowing into the Living Room. Half of the family was running out the door, and the other half was running into the kitchen. They said, “What have you done?”

She had missed one key ingredient, when you are making mashed potatoes on the stove. That ingredient was water. She had forgotten to put water into the pot, and because of that, everything was upset, and it didn't end up being mashed potatoes.

With the Christian faith we need all of the key ingredients, which Peter lays out in our text for today. These are the key ingredients he talks about.

       -He is going to talk about the life of Jesus.

       -He is going to talk about the death of Jesus.

       -And, he is going to talk about the resurrection of Jesus.

If you take any of those ingredients out, it is not The Christian Faith. And so, it is important to make sure all of the ingredients are there.

       -Peter begins by talking about the life of Jesus. This is the only sentence from our text he uses, when he says, “You know about the miracles, wonders, and signs that Jesus of Nazareth did.”

He says no more about the life of Jesus than that. Those people had seen, with their own eyes, the life of Jesus. They had heard, with their own ears, about the life of Jesus. And, they had either seen, or heard Jesus had healed people who had leprosy. They had either seen, or heard Jesus had cured those people who had diseases, and He had even raised the dead. So, Peter didn't need to expound on that, fifty days after Easter, because they were living, seeing, and hearing about the life of Jesus.

Note the term Peter uses for Jesus. It is the very earthly term. His name - Jesus. And where He was from - Jesus of Nazareth.

But, this person who is living this life isn't just only a man. This is the God-Man who lived a perfect life for us. That is a key ingredient of The Christian Faith.

       -Peter goes on to give us the second key ingredient of The Christian Faith, and that is the death of Jesus. Here, Peter is very pointed when He says, “You killed Him by having Him nailed to the cross”. This is the death of Jesus. As Peter uses this very pointed term, he uses the plural pronoun, “You”. Not only is he referring to the people who heard that sermon on the very first Pentecost, but Peter is referring to us, as well.

“You killed Him by nailing Him to the cross.”

You see, scripture says, in the book of Ezekiel,

“The soul that sins is the one that will die.”

It is because of our sin, that Jesus was nailed to the tree, and Jesus needed to die for us.

This last Wednesday, the 10:00 a.m. Bible Study got reactivated, again. We took the Lenten Season off, but started to get back together, again Wednesday. They wanted to study the book of 1 Corinthians, so one of them, before Lent started, very wisely said, “When we come back after Easter, let's start with 1 Corinthians, chapter 15, because that is the Great Resurrection Chapter, in scripture, in which we focus on Jesus rising from the dead.”
So, we did that this last Wednesday.

During the course of the study, there were questions that came up. Somebody raised their hand, and asked this question. “Does the Mormon Church believe in infant baptism?”

The answer is, “No”.

Here is the reason the Mormon Church doesn't believe in infant baptism. They don't believe in “Original Sin”. They baptize their youth when they are eight years old, because they say it is when a child is eight years old, they come to an age of accountability, when they are responsible for their life, and actions.

Now, I see a number of you smiling, because you have kids, or grand-kids who are seven years old, or younger. I see a number of teachers here, too. We know kids can do wrong things, right? We know kids can get into trouble. That is why scripture teaches, and why we believe in “Original Sin. But, Peter is referring here to more than just “Original Sin”. He is referring to our “Actual Sins”, as well.

That is the reason why Jesus died.

       -He died to pay for “Original Sin”.

       -Jesus died to pay for our “Actual Sins”, as well.

For when we worry, and when we sin against God in thought, word, and deed, we need a remedy for sin.

Jesus' death is our remedy for sin.

During the course of this past week, I felt a tingling in my mouth. I knew what was coming. A canker sore was starting to form. Canker sores can be a little bothersome, can't they? A little troublesome. So, I got out my little, home, remedy kit. Many of you probably use it. Not really a kit, because it is just warm water, and salt. I took that, swished it in my mouth, and my mouth started to feel a whole lot better, with that remedy.

But, while I was here at work, during the course of the week, when I wasn't near salt. So, I wanted to try something else, and found out something that works, as well! It is yogurt. If you take yogurt, with live cultures in it. You should have seen me working on my sermon with yogurt in my gums! But, it was a nice and soothing remedy.

Well, as we have a “canker sore of sin”, either because of our “Original sin”, or “Actual Sin”, what is the remedy?

The remedy is

the death of Jesus,

which is the second key ingredient of The Christian Faith.

Before getting into the third, and last key ingredient of The Christian Faith, today Peter has us go back, and think about something King David wrote in Psalm 16. In our text for today, verses 25 to 28, it is just reiterating what Psalm 16, verses 8 through 11 says. In Psalm 16, who is David talking about? Well, he is starting to talk about himself, because he says, “My flesh also will rest in hope.” He is talking about how his life is going to come to an end. He is going to be placed in the grave, but it is only going to be temporary.

But, he goes on to say this.

“ will not abandon my life to the grave,

nor will you let your Holy One see decay.”

There David is not talking about himself, because his kingdom, as great as it was, only lasted 422 years. He was buried in the city of Jerusalem. I can almost see Peter, as he was getting to this part of his sermon, pointing to David's grave, King David's grave, and saying, “His body is there. His body has decayed. It is not referring to David, but it is referring to a descendent of David. It is referring to Jesus.”

       -He tells us about the third key ingredient of The Christian Faith. That is the resurrection of our Savior, Jesus from the grave.

“This Jesus is the One God has raised up.”

All three of those ingredients are needed.

       -The perfect life of Jesus.

       -The death of Jesus, to pay for sin. But also,

       -the resurrection of our Savior, Jesus, and that He has power over death.

One more illustration to share with you this morning, and that is this. Twice each month there is a Bible Class for the developmentally disabled, here at Holy Cross. It is our Jesus Cares Class. We get together two Saturdays each month. And, because of an event that was happening in the lobby, and the commons, over the weekend, we met in a different room than we usually meet in. Sometimes the students don't like change, so when we went to this room, one of the ladies had a big scowl on her face, because she didn't want to meet in that room. I told her, “I am going to bring a smile to your face, some time today.” It seemed as though her scowl got even more sever.

Well, as I was sharing my Bible Study with them, I shared with them the Children's Sermon I had from Easter Sunday. It was about Jonah and Jesus. Just as how Jonah was in the belly of the whale for three days, and three nights, so it would be Jesus who would be in the belly of the earth for three days. I said, “Jesus died on the cross on Good Friday to pay for our sin. But, what happened three days later?”

She raised her hand, and said, “He rose.” A big smile came on her face. It is the third key ingredient of The Christian faith. Not only did Jesus live a perfect life for us, not only did Jesus die on the cross to pay for our sin, but,

Jesus rose!

That can bring a big smile to our face, because with His resurrection, our sins are forgiven, eternal life in Heaven is ours, and because Jesus lives, we also will live.

Peter closes now with the purpose we have in life, because of those three key ingredients. Because of Jesus' life, because of His death, and because of His resurrection, we are witnesses of that. We have a purpose. There was probably somebody in your life who was influential in making sure you knew the three key ingredients of The Christian Faith. And now, you believe in Jesus, as your Savior. We have a purpose, don't we? That purpose is to be a witness, and to take the three key ingredients of The Christian Faith that we have come to know, and share those three key ingredients with other people - the life, the death, and the resurrection of Jesus.