Sunday, May 16, 2021

1 John 5:6-12; The Seventh Sunday of Easter; 16-Apr-21;

1 John 5:6-12; The Seventh Sunday of Easter; 16-Apr-21; Life in Christ Lutheran Church, Grand Marais, MN; This is he who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ; not by the water only but by the water and the blood. And the Spirit is the one who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. For there are three that testify: the Spirit and the water and the blood; and these three agree. If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater, for this is the testimony of God that he has borne concerning his Son. Whoever believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself. Whoever does not believe God has made him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has borne concerning his Son. And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.” (1 John 5:6–12, ESV) (From the Lutheran Schools Week Chapel Talk, 2014, Grace and peace to you from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Today we are going to talk about a big Greek word: μαρτυρία! Martyria means to witness. In our text for today it is the word testify. Many of the Christian believers that have gone before us were so steadfast in their witness, their testimony, of Jesus and their belief in Him that they were killed for that witness. That is why we get the term “martyr” from that Greek word. A martyr is one who is killed for his or her witness or confession [of Jesus]. But we have a big problem. All of us have a sinful nature. That is a part of us that is affected by sin. We don't always do the things that God would have us do. We fall short of his expectations. We Christians call that part of us the old Adam. Our old Adam keeps us from being perfect witnesses of Jesus. Sometimes we bend the truth … and sometimes we tell outright lies about things or people. People are always influenced by their sinful nature when they speak. Sometimes we leave things out so that we won’t be persecuted or treated differently for the things we believe. We like to be popular, and we like it when people like us. We can’t be perfect, but we can be faithful. Why? God, The Holy Spirit creates faith in our hearts. He removes our heart of stone and replaces it with a new beating heart full of faith in Jesus. That faith attaches itself to Jesus and His Cross. Faith is trust that God has forgiven our sins because of Jesus death on the cross and his resurrection. It wants nothing but to be with Jesus and His greater testimony concerning truth and life. Christianity is all about faith in Jesus Christ for forgiveness. We fall short of God's commands, so we deserve punishment, but he forgives us because Jesus suffered and died on the cross in our place. He was punished for us. You might also think of faith as an investigator. The duty of your faith is, first and foremost, to receive the forgiveness of sins Jesus has earned by His death and Resurrection, and then to take that truth and make it known to other people. The Bible verse we are talking about says there are three, high-profile, top-shelf witnesses for faith: The Holy Spirit: he takes everything that Jesus did, his perfect life, his sacrificial death, and his resurrection, and he gives it all to you. The water: we call it Holy Baptism. Holy Baptism is where God's name is put onto a person with water. It is God's promise to a particular person that everything that Jesus did is given to the person who's baptized. Holy Baptism which uses plain water, is not plain water any longer because God's promises are stuck to it with God's name. And the final witness is the blood: also, in the Bible in the book of Hebrews it says that without the spilling of blood, there is no forgiveness of sins. What it means is that people are accountable for breaking God's laws. Breaking God's laws requires the death penalty. Someone has to be held responsible for sin. It's connected to the Lord's Supper, Holy Communion, which is our special meal hear in church. We eat bread and wine which are directly connected to Jesus body and his blood. The very same body and blood was shed for us on the cross. These three witnesses are strong. Every time we hear the Word of God, the Holy Spirit is active and present. Every time we see water, we can be reminded that God has washed away our sins, and that Jesus’ death and Resurrection are ours. Every time we eat the bread and wine of Holy Communion, we know that Jesus has shed His blood for the forgiveness of our sins. We know of the accounts about Jesus healing a blind man and how he believed in Jesus. We know about Jesus feeding 5000 people with five loaves and two fish. How Jesus takes care of us not only by feeding us, but especially by dying for us on the cross. We know about the Good Samaritan. He took care of the dying man on the side of the road who is beat up by robbers. This is exactly what Jesus does for us. He takes care of us. He forgives our sins. We also know about the lost son, called the Prodigal. He left his father and spent everything that he had. When he came back the father for gave him and reinstituted him into the family. It's what God does for us through Jesus Christ. That's forgiveness. We can be witnesses, or as the Bible verse says, we have the testimony. We have the message about what Jesus Christ has done. Jesus has planted His Word in our ears and created faith in our hearts. Remember that faith clings to Jesus’ Word and He remembers His promises. He is faithful, you can trust his promises. By His death on the Cross — today you are free from sin, and the punishment you deserve from God. Now we confess and we declare what we have heard because the Holy Spirit opens our lips and that confession pops right out. We cannot help but declare the truth of the Gospel that we have seen and heard. That's μαρτυρία, that's witness. Amen. The peace of God that passes all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.

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