"The Bread of Heaven Sustains Us With His Life!" 1 Kings 17:8-16

Series: The Apostles' Creed

September 25, 2022
Rev. Nathan J. Rusert

The widow at Zarephath was down to her last meal. The Lord sent the prophet Elijah to be cared for by her. His Word blessed her meager supplies to sustain the prophet and her household until He sent rain. The Second Article of The Faith teaches us to trust in Jesus. Sermon Text: 1 Kings 17:8-16. Sermon Theme: "The Bread of Heaven Sustains Us With His Life!" Preached for the 15th Sunday After Trinity, 25-September-2022, at Emmanuel Lutheran Church, Tell City, Indiana by Rev. Nathan J. Rusert.

Episode Notes

The Fifteenth Sunday After Trinity                             25-September-2022
Sermon Text: 1 Kings 17:8-16
Sermon Theme: “The Bread of Heaven Sustains Us With His Life!” by Rev. Nathan J. Rusert

I.N.R.I. “Who is your master?” “Who is your God?” “A god means that from which we are to expect all good and to which we are to take refuge in all distress, so that to have a God is nothing else than to trust and believe Him from the [whole] heart; as I have often said that the confidence and faith of the heart alone make both God and an idol. 3 If your faith and trust be right, then is your god also true; and, on the other hand, if your trust be false and wrong, then you have not the true God; for these two belong together, faith and God. That now, I say, upon which you set your heart and put your trust is properly your god.” wrote Dr. Martin Luther in the Large Catechism. He simply was echoing our Lord Jesus, Matthew 6:24 "No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.
    Do you trust and believe in the one and only True God - the Triune God? Or do you look to a man made idol? Serve money, power, prestige, stuff? Worry is the worship that we give to idolizing false gods that can never sustain life or save us from death and the punishment of hell that our sinfulness pay out. Jesus lifts our eyes to see the Father’s loving hand in sustaining His creation. He feeds the birds. He clothes the wild flowers in beautiful raiment. If God the Father takes care of the smallest part of His creation, won’t He care for the crown of His creation - mankind? He sacrifices His only begotten Son to save you from all sin, death, and the power of Satan upon the cross - He cares for your eternity - don’t you think He cares and knows how to give you your daily bread?
    Drought griped the land of the northern ten tribes of Israel. It hadn’t rained for three years. Crops failed. Livestock died as streams dried up and the land became dust. None of this was caused by global climate change. The prophet Elijah prayed for the nation of Israel to be brought to repentance. The Lord answered the prophet’s prayer by withholding rain. The idols of their fertility gods of Baal and Asherah -could not bring rain - they did not control the weather - they were only figments of man’s Satan deceived imagination and sin darkened reason.
    The wilderness brook beside which the Lord had cared for Elijah as ravens fed him, now was dry. The Lord sends His prophet outside of the borders to Israel to Zarephath. He had commanded a widow there to feed the prophet - though she didn’t know it. She had heard God’s Word and promise of the Christ, the Messiah, the Bread of Life - and by the gracious work of God the Holy Spirit trusted in His Name. When the prophet asked, even though it was her last meal, she trusted God’s Word of promise and faith acted in love feeding the prophet first. She and her son would not die. Dear Christian learn well today: “The Bread of Heaven Sustains Us With His Life!”
      History records.(1 Kings 17:8-9) The Word of the Lord comes to Elijah. Who is this Word of the Lord? St. John confesses, John 1:1-3 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (2) He was in the beginning with God. (3) All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.” Far from being a disembodied voice the Word of the Lord is the second person of the Holy Trinity. Last Sunday we studied the First Article of The Faith. (LSB pg. 322, 2nd Article, Expl. 1st para.). The historically accurate record of Acts teaches, Acts 11:26 .... And the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.” Followers of Jesus were first known as a Jewish sect called “The Way.” On the night that Jesus would be betrayed and delivered to be crucified by the Roman procurator Pontius Pilate. Jesus taught His disciples, John 14:6-7 , "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. (7) "If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him." The name Christian was meant as a slur against the disciples of Jesus. They listened to His Word and followed Him in their lives - so the pagans mocked them as being “little christs.” St. Paul reminds us to do good to the “household of THE faith.” The Faith - is exclusively used of those who know, accept, and trust in Jesus of Nazareth as their Lord in the New Testament. It is never used of false religions and their empty idols which cannot save.
      What is the heart and center of Christianity? “Christ”- the pagans at Antioch understood what the Church confessed. Who is Christ Jesus? He is true God - eternally begotten of the Father from eternity. He did not consider it robbery to be equal with God. He is also True Man born of the Virgin Mary. The Triune God who created us from the dust of the ground - would not turn His back on mankind. Satan, an angel the Lord God created rebelled against his Creator - wanting to displace the God of Love. Satan, a liar and murderer from the beginning, spoke lying words to our first parents, led them away from the tree of life to rebel against their Creator also and eat of the tree of death - turning their backs of Life to become their own idols. Instead of abandoning mankind and damning creation to hell. The Word of the Lord came seeking camouflaged Adam and his wife - who were now chained by sin and hiding with Satan. He called them to repent - be honest that they had sinned - admit what they had done. He called them to know, accept, and trust in His Word of promise - war was declared against Satan, his murderous lies, sin, and death - the Seed of a woman alone would be born to crush Satan’s head and win victory for mankind. God’s only begotten Son - would take our humanity into the Godhead - He would become bone of our bone, flesh of our flesh - to rescue sinful mankind by His perfect life, sacrificial death, and triumphant resurrection from death.
    Jesus is True Man born of the Virgin Mary into human history. The Holy Bible isn’t a mythology, or fantasy - it is an historical document that begins with the beginning of history - creation - to the Bread of Life buying us back - or redeeming us. Jesus - the God/Man - isn’t just any Lord - He is “my” Lord. That “my” is the saving trust of the Faith. Let me explain it another way. Jesus was crucified, died under Pontius Pilate, was buried and three days later rose from the dead - that’s historical knowledge. Jesus was crucified for sinners and rose to declare sinners forgiven reconciled to their Father - that is Christianity. Jesus suffered and died for “my” and three days later rose again to declare me forgiven - that is salvation.
    History records, (1 Kings 17:10-12) The widow was preparing her last supper with her son - then starvation and death would claim them. They would eat and die. How could the Bread of Heaven sustain a family who had nothing? (LSB pg. 322, 2nd Article, Expl. 1st & 2nd para.) The eternally only begotten Son of God takes on our flesh by the power of the Holy Spirit through the angel Gabriel preaching God’s Word of Life. He enters human history in the days of Caesar Augustus while Quirinius was governing Syria. Extra biblical historical documents back up the historically accurate Gospel accounts. Jesus humbles Himself and comes in poverty - that He might make us rich.
    Jesus is “my Lord” for He has bought me back from “all sins” - not just the really bad sins in my life. He has purchased me from “death” by giving Himself into my death. He has won me back from Satan by triumphing over his lies and accusations upon the cross and then marching triumphant through hell - forever rending death by His physical resurrection. Jesus did this for me - “a lost and condemned creature.” I deserved only death and hell - in love He rescued me!
      (1 Kings 17:13-14) The Bread of Heaven spoke His life sustaining Word to this poor starving widow. He would save her and her son. He alone would sustain their life and the life of Elijah.  
      Jesus paid my price, your price in full - not with man made treasures of silver and gold. He poured out His own holy precious blood upon this world to reclaim us as His own. Eight days after His birth, He shed His holy blood as He was circumcised and placed under the Law for our sake. From the moment of His conception to death - He perfectly kept God’s Holy will - the Ten Commandments in all He thought, said, and did. He was the innocent Lamb of God on whom the sins of the world were laid. Though He was innocent - He took our place - upon the cross - suffering the hell and separation from God the Father us sinners deserved. Then He took the wages of our sin into Himself and laid down His life. As He preached, John 10:17-18 "Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. (18) No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father."
        Jesus, My Lord, My Shepherd - saves me to be His own. (1 Kings 17:15-16) The widow at Zarephath believes Christ’s promise and cares for His prophet. She and her son is sustained by His Word and promise.
(LSB pg. 322, 2nd Article, Expl. ) Why did Jesus take on our skin, life a perfect life, and suffer and die? Not for His own sake but “FOR YOU!” Here is the truth - either you belong to Christ Jesus or you are deceived and chained by Satan and his lies. There are no gray areas - no one comes to God the Father apart from Jesus’ flesh and blood.
        Christ Jesus has done all that in Him you might be His own tender lambs and sheep. He is Life - He wants you to live under Him in His kingdom. His Kingdom of Grace. Here He washes your sins away with His holy precious blood in baptism - clothing you with His everlasting righteousness. Here He speaks His forgiving Word freeing you from your sins. Here He places His living body and blood upon your lips in bread and wine - He gives you His life, His victory, His Home. Here He sustains you in His blessedness - forgiven He frees you from sin’s chains - crucified with Him you fight against the sins of the flesh - made a new creation in Christ - you are freed to lovingly serve your neighbor in your calling.
        How do you know that this is true? He is risen from the dead! He lives! True God/True Man - Your Lord - Your Savior to all eternity. He rules over all things in heaven and on earth for the sake of His Church - His family. He is coming again soon - to judge the living - Christians and bring them Home. To judge the dead - all who reject Jesus as their Lord and condemn them to spend eternity isolated with Satan in hell.
      Dear Christian - now is the day of your salvation! Cling to Jesus - the Bread of Heaven - let Him sustain you with His life. Amen.

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