"Christ's Hidden Kingdom!" John 15:26-16:4

Series: Easter 2023

May 21, 2023
Rev. Nathan J. Rusert

The world and our fallen flesh long for a kingdom we can see and a cross that is hidden or non-existent. King Jesus gives us a Kingdom we can't see and a cross that we see, feel, and experience daily. Sermon Text: John 15:26-16:4. Sermon Theme: "Christ's Hidden Kingdom!" Preached for Exaudi, The Sunday after the Ascension, 21-May-2023 at Emmanuel Lutheran Church, Tell City, Indiana LCMS, br Rev. Nathan J. Rusert.

Episode Notes

Exaudi, The Seventh Sunday of Easter                             21-May-2023
Sermon Text: John 15:26-16:4
Sermon Theme: “Christ’s Hidden Kingdom!” by Rev. Nathan J. Rusert

I.N.R.I. “A theologian sifted in Satan’s sieve.” The Latin inscription under a confessional Lutheran pastor’s portrait in the last parish he served. Born in 1607, two thirds of his life saw his nation torn apart by the thirty years war. Ruling dynasties raised armies to gain territory, consolidate power, and commercial profits. Romanism, Calvinism, Lutheranism contended for prominence in Germany. The battling armies supported themselves by looting farms, cities, and towns. During this time he lost his parental home.
      Married at forty and blessed with five children. He was called to serve a parish in Berlin. He was exiled from his parish for refusing to submit to his emperor’s Calvinistic faith forced on all his subjects. He would not compromise Christ’s Doctrine for a pastorate. He refused to use a Calvinistic liturgy which denied Christ’s real presence in the Lord’s Supper. Rev. Paul Gerhardt followed Christ Jesus taking up the cross given him. He buried four of his five children and his wife after illness consumed them. He suffered personal illness and poverty. Far from being embittered Paul Gerhardt boldly confessed his faith in hope in over 130 hymns he composed. Seventeen of his hymns are included in our Lutheran Service Book. “If God Himself Be For Me” is one of his beloved hymns. Sadly many of his hymns never made it into English hymnals because they have ten or more stanzas.
    Teach your children to cherish and sing Gerhardt’s hymns in your daily family devotions. They will sustain you in suffering and when the nation collapses around you. For they joyously confess: “Christ’s Hidden Kingdom!”
    Thursday evening we celebrated Christ’s Jesus’ ascension and enthronement at God’s right hand. King Jesus now fills all things as True God/ True Man. All authority, power, and rule are His in heaven and on earth. His Kingdom is an everlasting kingdom. On the night before He laid down His sinless life for all sinners upon the cross. Jesus promises, (Jn. 15:26-27) “If God Himself be for me!” Jesus Christ crucified is proof that God Himself is for you. He loved you fully giving His life to save you. Christ Jesus raised from the dead is proof that God the Father is for you. He loves you fully in His Son raising Him as proof that we are reconciled body and soul to our God and Father.  
    “The Helper” “The Comforter”“The Spirit of Truth” is sent by Jesus from God the Father. God the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son. His testimony is never about Himself. Where God the Holy Spirit is truly present the conversation is always about Jesus crucified for my sins and raised again to declare me forgiven, a beloved child of my heavenly Father.
  God the Holy Spirit brings us into Christ’s Kingdom through the Gospel. He gifts us with faith in the Gospel of holy baptism. He teaches us to know Jesus and the Father through His Word and sacrifice. He gives us a new heart accepting the truth that Jesus died for our sins. This alone is the foundation on which we build. His resurrection and ascension assures us that we are not abandoned in this world. God the Holy Spirit opens our lips to pray as we confess that “Christ Jesus is my splendor!”
    Join me singing stanzas 4-6 of #724. The apostles bear witness of Jesus. Through them the Spirit of Truth teaches us of Jesus. The Gospels are historically accurate narratives of salvation for sinners. The epistles are the apostolic writings of Jesus’ doctrine - not their own. All that they write is verbally inspired by God the Holy Spirit. Jesus has canceled our offenses. Delivers us from death. Cleansing our sin away by faith in Jesus - not by our works of love. It is pure gift.
    The Holy Spirit- Spirit of Truth stands opposed to Satan, the fallen angel, a liar and murderer from the beginning. Satan and his demonic hordes are spirits of the Lie. They love to masquerade as white devils, spiritual demons - taking our eyes off of Christ Jesus crucified and risen as the sure and certain hope of our salvation. They turn our eyes back in on what we must do to earn our own salvation. They might say, “Faith is fine, but it isn’t saving without love.” Or they might teach, “You need principals for successful living to live your best life now - not this preaching of the cross.” Or they whisper, “You don’t need to go to church, confess your sins and receive forgiveness - you are a good spiritual person worshiping God in nature.” Don’t believe their lies.
    Christ’s Rule brings opposition from the devil, the world, and your own sinful lazy flesh. Listen!(Jn 16:1-3) Satan and the world wield anti-Christian power and anti-Christian propaganda to persecute those who believe Jesus’ Word and lead holy lives trusting in Jesus alone to work forgiveness of sins, rescue from death and the devil, and give eternal salvation by grace through believing His Word of Promise.
      Satan often raises his greatest persecution through those who claim to know God. The disciples would be put out of the synagogues as false teachers of Jesus as the Messiah. Those who put them to death claimed they were doing God a service. Gerhardt suffered for faithfully confessing Christ, as many Lutheran pastors and parishioners have been put out of their parishes by false brothers and sisters. Where the Gospel is purely taught and believed - Satan will seek to cause quarrels tearing the congregation away from the preaching of Christ’s Word. Satan despises the forgiveness given in the sacraments. He will seek to corrupt and lead people away from the gifts given in baptism, absolution, and the Lord’s Supper. Cling to Christ Jesus as Satan accuses and feeds you a thousand plagues and crosses for confessing the truth.
    Christ’s Kingdom is hidden in His Word and Sacraments - the cross of suffering He calls us to bear following Him is not! Jesus calls, Luk 9:23-26 Then He said to them all, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. (24) For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it. (25) For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost? (26) For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, of him the Son of Man will be ashamed when He comes in His own glory, and in His Father's, and of the holy angels.” The Spirit of Truth through the pen of St. Paul testifies, 2Ti 3:12 Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.” Join me singing stanzas 7-9 of #724.
      The call to the cross echoed in your infant ears on the day of your baptism. It was the voice of your Good Shepherd, King Jesus, calling you to be His own. Filling you with His life in His Kingdom - the Church. Washing you innocent - forgiven through His living blood. Blessing you with His abiding presence through His Word. Clothing you with His robes of righteousness. In your baptism Jesus knit you into His own history - it became yours. You were crucified with Him dying to sin. You were raised with Him freed from death and the devil. His Home is yours - for He is preparing your place and will come finally to receive you unto Himself. Even now He is with you! Hidden in Word, water, bread, wine, and fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.
    Jesus tells His apostles.(Jn 16:4) When persecution comes the apostles were to cling to Jesus’ Living Word. He would draw closer to them in His Word than during His earthly ministry. How could this be? Listen! Joh 14:22-27 Judas (not Iscariot) said to Him, "Lord, how is it that You will manifest Yourself to us, and not to the world?" (23) Jesus answered and said to him, "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. (24) He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father's who sent Me. (25) "These things I have spoken to you while being present with you. (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 things that I said to you. (27) Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” King Jesus rules through His Word - it is Truth, Life, Salvation. He makes His Home in us by His Holy Spirit sanctifying our bodies to be His Temple. Nothing can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus! ” Join me singing stanza 10 #724. Amen.

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