"The Lord of Life Brings The Dead To Life In Christ!" 1 Kings 17:17-24

Series: The Apostles' Creed

October 02, 2022
Rev. Nathan J. Rusert

The Third Article: Sanctification I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Christian church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen. What does this mean? I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him; but the Holy Spirit has called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith. In the same way He calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian church on earth, and keeps it with Jesus Christ in the one true faith. In this Christian church He daily and richly forgives all my sins and the sins of all believers. On the Last Day He will raise me and all the dead, and give eternal life to me and all believers in Christ. This is most certainly true. Brought from death to life by the Lord and Giver of Life through the Word of Christ Jesus! Sermon Text: 1 Kings 17:17-24. Sermon Theme: "The Lord Brings The Dead to Life in Christ!" preached for the 16th Sunday After Trinity, 2-October-2022 at Emmanuel Lutheran Church, Tell City, IN by Rev. Nathan J. Rusert.

Episode Notes

The Sixteenth Sunday After Trinity                               2-October-2022
Sermon Text: 1 Kings 17:17-24
Sermon Theme: “The Lord of Life Brings The Dead To Life In Christ!” by Rev. Nathan J. Rusert.

I.N.R.I. Romans 5:12 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned— Driving through the Midwest to a funeral on Friday for a 99 year old saint. Death is everywhere. Once living green fields are brown and dead. The plants are dead their fruit a loving gift of our Creator to feed us follows them - the harvest has come. Death swallows all. Try, as we may, to deny or ignore the fact - 100 out of 100 people die. Barring the dawn Judgment Day all of us here this morning will die.
      Death is not a friend. It is not the solution to life’s problems. It isn’t a contraceptive to dispose of human life once we’ve broken our Creator’s good and gracious will by abusing His gift of sex and procreation by taking it out of the bonds of His estate of marriage. Death isn’t mercy to those suffering mental or physical illness. There is no “right to choose” death. You cannot avoid it. Death is the last enemy all of us Created by God and born of Adam face.
      Death rips apart families and burdens us with grief. A widowed mother’s grief at the death of her only son, is what two of our Scripture readings appointed for today record. A mother’s grief for her dead children is severe. She refuses to be comforted, for they are no more. Once death robs us a mother of the child she carried and bore in her heart all that is left is the funeral, tears, and grieving.
    A corpse cannot move, it must be carried to the cemetery by others. Wisely we purchase a grave plot for our body and appoint pall bears to carry our lifeless bodies to be planted in the dust from which they came. A corpse needs to be buried for it decomposes rapidly filling the air with the stench of death and spreading disease and death to others if not properly buried.
      Physical death is only a sign of spiritual death. All men conceived and born of Adam are spiritual corpses from the moment of conception. Scripture is clear, Psalms 51:5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me. And again, Ecclesiastes 7:20 For there is not a just man on earth who does good And does not sin.” The only wages sin has ever paid out is death. Spiritual death. Physical death. Far from having a free will in spiritual matters, we are chained by Satan’s lies and our sin leading only to death and hell. We were by nature the walking dead, under God’s just wrath, as we followed the course of this world calling ‘good’ - ‘evil’ and ‘evil’ - ‘good.’ Physical death is obvious to our physical senses. When vital signs cease death has come. Spiritual death - original sin- can only be recognized through God’s Word - The Truth of the Holy Bible.
      Facing the certainty of our death - learn well, “The Lord of Life Brings The Dead to Life in Christ!”
      Christ’s Church is never present without Christ’s Cross. Last Sunday we learned the second article of The Faith. Today we learn of the Lord and Giver of Life - God the Holy Spirit - who sanctifies us - makes sinners holy through the Holy Christian Church - the Church militant in this world - a community of saints; wherein He showers us with the forgiveness of sins; and brings us out of our grave in the resurrection of our bodies to the Church Triumphant in life everlasting. (LSB pg. 323. 3rd Art. W.D.T.M? 1st para.)
      Going to church will kill you. The Church drew near to a starving family in Zarephath. Elijah the preacher came with Christ’s life sustaining Word of Promise. The widow’s household is blessed with bread from heaven. Then the cross comes. (I Kings 17:17) Death robs the widow of her only son, while the church was in her house.(I Kings 17:18) Grieving she blames God’s prophet and the Word he preaches. Going to church kills you - that is the old adam’s sinful spirituality within you. The deception that you can be your ‘own god.’ The lie that you have ‘a spark of divinity within your heart.’ Satan’s whisper that you can ‘choose your own path to God the Father.’
      The Spirit of Truth shatters our delusional imprisonment by Satan’s spiritual deceptions. The Truth of God’s Holy Law brings our sins to remembrance, killing the illusion of making a decision to follow Jesus. Dead things don’t make decisions - they only rot. “I believe..that I cannot believe.” Here my ego dies, the idol I call “ME” is shattered and exposed as a deadly demonic deception. Here I confess that even my own “reason” a Gift of My Creator - has been completely taken captive by sin, chained by Satan, enslaved by the fear of death. Romans 8:7-8 For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God's law; indeed, it cannot. (8) Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.” Spiritual corpses have no strength - I cannot earn God’s forgiveness and favor by my self-chosen good deeds.
      History records, Genesis 2:7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.” Adam was dead and dusty, until our Creator whose Hand formed him, stooped down and breathed His life giving Spirit into his nostrils. We were dead in our trespasses and sins until God the Holy Spirit breathed into our spiritual dead corpses the breathe of life - calling us by the Gospel - making us alive in Christ Jesus - bringing us to God the Father by water saying, “I baptize you, in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” Going to Church kills the old dead you, that a new man, created in the image of Christ Jesus, may arise making you a new creation, a beloved child of the Heavenly Father - within Christ’s Church.
      The Church is more than a building. (LSB pg. 323. 3rd Art. W.D.T.M? 1st & 2nd para.). (I Kings 17:19-20) We are brought as spiritual dead sons into Christ’s Church. God the Holy Spirit takes us up into Christ’s room. Lays us on His bed in the cave at Nazareth as He is born to rescue sinful mankind. On His bed in Joseph of Arimathea’s tomb where He rested after once and for accomplishing our salvation. God the Holy Spirit doesn’t make us alive in Christ and leave us to wander in this world alone. He places us into Christ’s Church. What is the Church? Dr. Martin Luther confessed, “For, thank God, [to-day] a child seven years old knows what the Church is, namely, the holy believers and lambs who hear the voice of their Shepherd. For the children pray thus: I believe in one holy [catholic or] Christian Church. 3 This holiness does not consist in albs, tonsures, long gowns, and other of their ceremonies devised by them beyond Holy Scripture, but in the Word of God and true faith.” (S.A.Art.XXII). God the Holy Spirit gathers the Church around Christ’s Word is purely preached and His Sacraments are administered according to His Command.  
    God the Holy Spirit calls the Church through the preaching of the Gospel. He enlightens her with Christ’s pure doctrine. He sanctifies her by Christ’s gifts of baptism, absolution, Gospel preaching, and His holy supper. He teaches her to pray the Savior’s Words - ‘Our Father...’. He does this in the whole Christian Church on earth...He actively works through the means of grace - Word and Sacrament - which connect our dying world to our crucified and risen Lord and King Christ Jesus. The Spirit of Truth keeps the Church in the One True Faith - as we confess there is “One Holy Christian and Apostolic Church.” It isn’t a denomination of Christianity - but “The One True Faith” rooted in Christ Jesus - from whom the whole family in heaven and on earth is named. The Church in this world is hidden - Word breathed, Holy Spirit given, True Faith in Christ is a matter of the heart. The Lord knows those who are His own - we cannot see the thoughts and intents of another’s heart.
    We can see the marks of the Church. Where the Gospel is preached and the Sacraments are administered - there God the Holy Spirit is active and Christ’s Church is present - even if only two or three gather around Christ Jesus in His Word.. (I Kings 17:21-24). Elijah stretches himself out three times upon the lifeless corpse of the widow’s son pleading with the Lord of Life to restore his life to him. (LSB pg. 323. 3rd Art. W.D.T.M? 1st - 3rd para.) Holy Spirit given faith in Christ is hidden, but it never exists in secret. God the Holy Spirit makes us alive in Christ Jesus and gathers us together in His body. We come to Church - because we are dead sinners - here we are made alive in Christ through the forgiveness of sins. Daily and richly the Spirit of Truth washes us forgiven in the blood of Christ. Believers know two great truths - one is that they are great sinners, the other - Jesus is a greater Savior of sinners. We don’t come into Christ’s Church to do God a favor, but so that the Lord of Life may makes us alive together in Christ Jesus - working forgiveness of sins, rescuing us from death and the devil, and gifting us with the certainty of eternal salvation - in Word, water, bread, and wine.
      The city was called “Beautiful” or “Nain” but it was an ugly procession leaving town for the cemetery. A widow mourned the death of her only son. Suddenly the march to the grave is stopped. Christ Jesus speaks His Word of comfort - “do not weep.” Then our Creator in our skin breathes forth the Life Giving Spirit through His Word, “Young man, I say to you, arise.” Jesus ruins another funeral and robs the grave of its prey.
 (LSB pg. 323. 3rd Art. W.D.T.M?) God the Holy Spirit - the Lord and Giver of Life makes you alive in Christ Jesus - in baptism - in Gospel preaching- in forgiveness spoken and fed you. This is all a precursor to the Last Day. Our baptism isn’t completed when we die, nor when our lifeless corpse is planted into the earth - God’s garden - it will be completed on the Last Day. When our corruptible flesh will be raise incorruptible, our mortal flesh will be raise immortal, our natural bodies will be raised spiritual bodies - that is these bodies freed from sin to dwell in the presence of our God and Father through Jesus Christ in this creation forever freed from Satan, sin, corruption and death.
    The Lord and Giver of Life sustains us in this sure and certain hope. The last confession we make before the body of our loved ones is planted into the earth at the cemetery committal is: Allelluia! Christ is risen.: He is risen indeed. Alleluia!” Then we go forth in peace, knowing we shall be together again in these bodies that God the Holy Spirit has sanctified through Christ to be His Holy Temples. Now and eternally. Amen.

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