Let us pray: Dear Savior, You have purchased our souls with Your blood and thereby made us a part of Your holy army of saints. As soldiers of the cross You have equipped us with mighty tools to battle evil: Your powerful Word of truth and Your life-changing sacraments. Today we ask that You re-energize us to do battle against the devil, the world, and our old sinful flesh so that Your name may be honored and countless souls saved. Amen
GRACE MERCY AND PEACE ARE YOURS FROM OUR GLORIOUS SAVIOR, JESUS CHRIST!
TEXT: John 14: 6: “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life; no one comes to the Father except through Me.”
Fellow Redeemed Sinners:
“You’re simply the best, better than all the rest!” When Tina Turner warbles those familiar words, she’s not referring to Jesus Christ. But, they certainly fit Him, don’t they? For who is better; who is kinder; who is filled with more compassion and mercy than Jesus? That’s right, no one. And since Jesus has given you and me all of His wonderful gifts, we’re very special, too. Yes,
WE’RE SIMPLY THE BEST!
You and I belong to the most exclusive organization on earth, and it is called: The Holy Christian Church. Our membership fee has been bought and paid for by Jesus. God’s eternal Son purchased Your soul. His blood shed for you on the cross was Your entrance into the Church and His gift of faith guaranteed it. What does that mean on a practical basis? Well, it means that your eternal future is secure. And it also means that you have been given the power to rise above the bankruptcy of materialism and consumeritis and attain real happiness.—Happiness hallmarked by love, thankfulness, and appreciation over countless blessings. In a restless world, we Christians possess rest for our souls. Rest that enables us to redefine our priorities and attain true inner contentment.
Christ says: “I am the Way.” Yes, He is the way to everlasting peace, confidence, and joy. Knowledge about God doesn’t come from merely looking at Spring daffodils. For daffodils wither and die. It doesn’t come from listening to the latest guru of some self-help theory, either. For the fads of popular psychology constantly change. No, in Jesus Christ we know that God has reached down from heaven and lifted us up. We know that God sacrificed Himself to save our souls. We know that in love He bridged the chasm separating us from Him. Yes, we know that Jesus has given us a gift impossible to attain on our own—holiness.—And from holiness comes the ultimate in self-esteem.
“I am the Truth!” That’s right. Christ is eternal truth in human form. Planet earth runs on various truths and unfortunately we often buy into them. The world operates on the premise that the ends justifies the means, that the person who has the most money is the happiest, and that we must live for the moment because that’s all there is. But, as Christians we know that those are false truths. We know that you cannot buy your children’s love or your spouses respect. We know that inner peace is attained only by clinging to Christ and in love following His guide for life. Do you want to be truly happy? Then work on actively obeying the 10 commandments while at the same time pleading the mercy of Christ when you fail. For if you do, guilt will recede because joy and thankfulness will dominate your heart. Yes, His truth will set you free!
“I am the Life!” The Bible says: “In Him we live, move, and have our very being.” Lately the major media has been touting the fact that death is a natural progression of life. Well, we know that that is only a half-truth. God did not create us to die, but to live! Sin brought death into this world. But sin was not part of God’s plan for us. Life, eternal life, was His plan. And He did the seemingly impossible to rectify the situation.—He rose to life, and beat back death, for us! Christians know what the future holds. It holds eternal life and endless joy with Christ in heaven. Yes, we’re the ultimate optimists, aren’t we? For us the best is yet to come! And armed with that truth, we can go about this business of living knowing that everything we do from raising our kids to respect God, to laboring to provide for their future and our own, to fearlessly speaking out against injustice and moral decay—we know that none of our work is for nought! In fact, the angels will recount and sing of the victories we attain here and now—all through the power of Christ’s forgiving love.
I hope you listened carefully today and took St. Peter’s words to heart when he spoke of you and me. Listen again to him telling you that: you’re simply the best. “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” Yes, we’re special. We’re eternally important. We’re God’s army, soldiers of the cross! And our weapons of warfare are: self-sacrificing love and the forgiveness of sins.
Most of you belong to a club, a business group, a team, or some other organization. You belong because you want to feel special. You want to belong to something that counts, something that makes a difference in life. Well, God’s Church is the ultimate in belonging. And as a member of His Kingdom through faith in the resurrected Lord, you have personal, direct access to God! As Jesus says: “No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
Most people in America say they believe in God, defined as some sort of higher power. But, those same people often ignore the commandments, mock Scriptural truth, and think that love and mercy are mere human ideals. You know better, my friends! You know from the depths of your souls that God has invested the best He has—His eternal love for His Son—in you! You know that Jesus has won a direct channel to God for you. You know that when you pray, He really does hear you. You know that His power really does protect you. You know that eternal life isn’t something just to be hoped for; no it is your living reality.
At the end of today’s lesson Jesus says: “I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.” Jesus has gone to heaven to be with the Father. But, He is not absent from this earth. No, He lives in and with and through each of you. You bear His seed, the seed of faith. And right here He promises that when you cultivate that seed and water it through the power of the Holy Spirit, great things, stupendous things, will occur! Yes, when you live not just for your own glory, but for His, eternal victories will be won. Eternal souls will be saved.
You’re simply the best! So live and share that fact in humility. You’re simply the best because the Best there is, Jesus, has made you what you are. So, hold your head up and savor God’s favor! Amen