March 30, 2008

The Living God is Present and Powerful - Mar 30, 2008

The portion of God’s living and powerful word which we consider this Sunday is taken from…

Joshua 3:7-17 (NIV)

7And the LORD said to Joshua, “Today I will begin to exalt you in the eyes of all Israel, so they may know that I am with you as I was with Moses. 8Tell the priests who carry the ark of the covenant: ‘When you reach the edge of the Jordan’s waters, go and stand in the river.’”

9Joshua said to the Israelites, “Come here and listen to the words of the LORD your God. 10This is how you will know that the living God is among you and that he will certainly drive out before you the Canaanites, Hittites, Hivites, Perizzites, Girgashites, Amorites and Jebusites. 11See, the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth will go into the Jordan ahead of you. 12Now then, choose twelve men from the tribes of Israel, one from each tribe. 13And as soon as the priests who carry the ark of the LORD—the Lord of all the earth—set foot in the Jordan, its waters flowing downstream will be cut off and stand up in a heap.”

14So when the people broke camp to cross the Jordan, the priests carrying the ark of the covenant went ahead of them. 15Now the Jordan is at flood stage all during harvest. Yet as soon as the priests who carried the ark reached the Jordan and their feet touched the water’s edge, 16the water from upstream stopped flowing. It piled up in a heap a great distance away, at a town called Adam in the vicinity of Zarethan, while the water flowing down to the Sea of the Arabah (the Salt Sea ) was completely cut off. So the people crossed over opposite Jericho. 17The priests who carried the ark of the covenant of the LORD stood firm on dry ground in the middle of the Jordan, while all Israel passed by until the whole nation had completed the crossing on dry ground.

This is the Word of God.

Grace and Peace be to you from God our Father, and from our Risen and Living Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

God told Joshua to select twelve men before they crossed into the promised land. If we read Joshua chapter 4, we find out that these twelve men were to be rock pickers.

As the people walked through the Jordan’s dry river bed, these twelve men were each to pick up a stone for their tribe and carry it to the other side. In the future this pile of twelve river stones would serve as a memorial.

Children would ask their parents, “What is this pile of stones here for?” And parents would reply, “When our people came here, God was with us. When the LORD’s Ark was carried before us, God opened the way – right through the flooded and raging river Jordan.”

These stones would be “memory stones”, reminding children that the Living God is present and powerful with His faithful people.

In our sermon meditation for today we will see the Living God exalt Joshua in the eyes of the people. We will see God’s power work as He predicts the impossible, and then does it, delivering His chosen nation through certain death into the place He had promised them.

The people had known that Moses was God’s man. He was the LORD’s chosen representative. Moses had led their nation out of slavery in Egypt, and had performed many miracles by the power of God. But now Moses was dead, and Joshua was leading the people.

As God had shown Moses to be His chosen leader through miraculous signs, now God would exalt Joshua in the eyes of the people with more miraculous signs. They would know that Joshua was God’s man through God’s powerful presence with him.

Sometimes the ministry of Moses overshadows the ministry of Joshua. But this should not be. As great as Moses was, he did not actually lead the people of Israel over the border and into the promised land of Canaan. God’s servant Joshua did that.

It is interesting to note that the name “Joshua” is a Hebrew name. When it is translated into Greek, it is pronounced, “Jesus”. Jesus and Joshua had much more in common than the same name. Joshua did what Moses could not - leading God’s people into the promised land. Jesus did what trying to keep Moses’ laws could not - Jesus took away the sins of the world, and opened the way into the promised land of forgiveness.

Jesus’ work of salvation was a grim and unglamorous work, un-flashy in the eyes of the people. But when that work was finished, God exalted Jesus by raising Him from the dead. God’s presence in the person of Jesus was often quiet, but always powerful. Father’s presence with Jesus was clearly revealed as He fulfilled the Father’s plan of salvation.

Like Jesus, and Joshua before Him, we also are God’s representatives to the world around us. By faith God is present with us. Through His simple and powerful Word we give our friends and neighbors the gift of sins forgiven through God’s suffering Son. This message is not flashy by the world’s standards, but is powerful all the same because in every proclamation of the Good News, God Himself is present. Because this is true, we are not ashamed of our simple message. As the apostle Paul declared,

16I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. 17For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.” (Romans 1:16-17 NIV).

Before leading them into the promised land, Joshua took the Israelite people aside and told them what God had commanded him to. He told them that the Living God was with them, and was now going to do what He had promised.

He was going to give them the land across the Jordan. He would go with them and drive out all the faithless nations that were living there currently. And to show the Israelites that He would be with them throughout their conquest of the land, God would open the way to the promised land before them in a miraculous way. The Jordan river, which was raging in its flood stage, would dry up before the symbol of God’s presence with His people – the Ark of the Covenant.

Joshua predicted the impossible, and God would deliver. Here we see another way in which Joshua foreshadowed Jesus. Before Jesus went to the cross and the tomb, He also predicted what seemed impossible. Jesus took His Twelve apostles aside and told them,

“…‘We are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written by the prophets about the Son of Man will be fulfilled. 32He will be handed over to the Gentiles. They will mock him, insult him, spit on him, flog him and kill him. 33On the third day he will rise again.’”(Luke 18:31-33 NIV).

In this way, Jesus told the apostles that God was about to do what He had promised to do. God was about to take away the sins of the world and lead sinners into the promised land of forgiveness and eternal life. God would later confirm Jesus’ work of salvation with a mighty sign. Jesus would die, but three days later God the Father would raise Him from the dead. All who trust in Jesus can therefore be sure, we are God’s people now, and He is with us.

Throughout the ages, God has told His people to believe what seems impossible.

In the first century congregation at Corinth God told His believers to expel one of the members from their fellowship because He was sinning against God by fornicating with His Father’s wife (1 Corinthians 5). God commanded them to show this man the seriousness of his sin against God by removing him from their group. Expelling a person from the group does not sound like the way to help someone. But it was God’s plan. And God’s plan is always right. It was obvious this man hadn’t repented of his sin.

The congregation listened to God’s command and expelled the wicked man from among them.

Then God did the impossible. He moved the unrepentant man to repent of his sin. Because of his repentance, the man’s sin was forgiven. He relationship with God was restored! In our earlier reading from second Corinthians we heard what the Corinthian Christians were to do as a result. By inspiration of the Holy Spirit the apostle Paul wrote,

6The punishment inflicted on him by the majority is sufficient for him. 7Now instead, you ought to forgive and comfort him, so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. 8I urge you, therefore, to reaffirm your love for him. 9The reason I wrote you was to see if you would stand the test and be obedient in everything.” (2 Corinthians 2:5-9 NIV).

The saving of this man’s soul was accomplished in a way that many Christians would shy away from. But it was God’s way, and HE worked through it. We must learn to do what God says, even when we think we know better. For the presence of God is powerful, and when we align our thinking with His, miracles happen.

When the Israelite people broke camp to cross the Jordan, they did so in obedience to God command. The priests carrying God’s Ark went to the raging river, and when their feet touched the water, the flooded river went dry.

The Jordan river backed up and all the people passed over where moments before safe passage was impossible. Little children skipped across the stones with wonder, knowing that their God was with them, and He was powerful. God was finally bringing Abraham’s children into the land He had promised to give them.

Here God has woven right into the fabric of ancient history, an amazing image of our salvation through Jesus Christ. In His narrative, the Holy Spirit chooses to include some details that might slip past us. Let’s look closer.

We are told that the Jordan river piled up in a heap a great distance up river, at a town called “Adam”. We are reminded that the raging river Jordan was bound for the Salt Sea. It is called the “Salt” sea because it has no outlet, and as the water evaporates it leaves all the salts and minerals there making it impossible for fish to live there.

Do you see the picture of sin and death that is here? Every human being from Adam on down through the ages has been born into sin, destined to be swept down stream into the waiting lake of eternal death. But God Himself has opened the way through the raging torrent of sin that would have swept us away through the Covenant of grace established by Jesus’ cross.

Every sinner who turns from their sin to Jesus finds that God is present and powerful to save. Every sinner who lets go of his sin and clings alone to Christ for forgiveness finds that The RIVER IS DRY! The WAY IS OPEN! The promised land of forgiveness and eternal life with God is open.

The Israelites made a pile of twelve stones to remember how God was with them when they passed over into the promised land.

Outside the Garden Tomb where Jesus’ dead body was laid, God also left a pile of stone. This stone reminds Christians that we can be confident that we have crossed over from death to life. That heavy stone door that was rolled away shows us the tomb is empty. The Savior is risen! And because He is in us, and we in Him, we too have risen and will rise.

We put eggs in our children’s Easter baskets, because the egg is a symbol of life. But I think we should put a single stone in each basket too. And when they ask us, “What is this stone for?” We can tell them, “It’s a memory stone. It reminds us that just as God opened the door of Jesus’ tomb, He has also opened the door to heaven because of what Jesus did.”

Dear Christians, the presence of the Living God is powerful. Through faith in our Risen Lord Jesus, the Living God is present with you.


The peace which comes from God, which far exceeds all our understanding will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

March 23, 2008

God Exceeds Our Expectations - Mar 23, 2008

This homily has been arranged on the basis of the resurrection accounts found in the following Scriptures: Matthew 28:1-10, Mark 16:1-8, Luke 24:1-12, John 20:1-10.

Grace and Peace be to you from God our Father, and from our Risen, Living and Powerful Savior, Jesus Christ.

On the first Easter Sunday, two disciples of Jesus decided to make the seven mile trip from Jerusalem to a little town named Emmaus. Along the way a stranger joined them. At first they were prevented from recognizing Him, but the Bible tells us that the stranger was actually Jesus risen from the dead.

As they walked, they talked about the terrible events that had just taken place in Jerusalem. The stranger surprised them when He asked them what they were talking about. They were astonished that this guy didn’t know what had happened. After all, it had shaken up the whole city!

In Luke 24 it says,

18One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, “Are you only a visitor to Jerusalem and do not know the things that have happened there in these days?”

19“What things?” he asked.

“About Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. 20The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; 21but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel” (Luke 24:18-21 NIV).

These disciples were sad because they had had such great expectations. They had seen Jesus perform miracles of healing, even raising a man named Lazarus from the dead! They had expected that soon Israel would be free from Caesar’s rule for good. They thought that Jesus had been sent from God to redeem the Jewish people from the rule of Rome.

But the Savior sent from God had not failed. He had come to set the people free alright, but not from the temporary rule of an earthly government. He had come to set them free from their sins, and to give the gift of eternal communion with God to all who believe.

As human beings, our attention is often drawn to the earthly and temporary. What we ask God to do, or expect Him to do is frequently insignificant next to what He actually does. In His great wisdom and power, God exceeds our expectations.

This is seen over and over in the accounts of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead. So, lets turn our thoughts to the events that took place in the early morning on the first Easter Sunday. May the Holy Spirit help our minds to see the greatness of God’s wisdom and power as we see Him exceed the expectations of everyone.

It was early in the morning. Still dark in fact. But Mary Magdalene had gotten up anyway. She and a group of women had made plans to visit the tomb of Jesus. Mary had seen Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus take the Master’s body from the cross. She had followed them to the little garden that was near the hill of crucifixion. She had seen them bearing the linens and the spices that they would use to wrap His body for burial. She had watched as they exited the tomb and rolled that massive stone in place that served as the tomb’s door.

No doubt they had done as good a job as they could in the short time before Sundown and the beginning of the day of rest. But Mary and the other women would make sure that nothing had been done too hastily. They had bought burial spices and made plans. They would ensure that their beloved Master’s body was honored properly with one last act of devotion.

They had spent so much time with Jesus. They had served Him, providing for His needs in any way they could while He was doing the work of His ministry. Mary Magdalene remembered all to well why she had followed Jesus from place to place. He had cast out seven demons that had possessed her. Such loving concern He had. Such power.

But He had not used that power at the end. And His end had come oh, so quickly. Betrayed. Imprisoned. Tried, condemned and crucified. All in less than twenty-four hours.

Grieving for a loved one was hard enough. It was made harder by how swiftly He had been taken from them. In a way, the women were going to the tomb for themselves. As hard as this last task might prove, it would help them to say goodbye.

They had expected a dead Jesus. But God smiled and gave them a resurrected Lord.

They had expected one last goodbye. But God smiled and showed them this was only the beginning.

As they approached the tomb in the early morning darkness, they had been talking quietly. But then one of the women had stopped and looked startled. How could they have forgotten! The door. Who would roll away the massive stone door from the mouth of the tomb?

At the entrance to the tomb there was a channel carved in the rock. In that channel was set a large flat stone that had been carved into a circle. With enough force applied, the stone would roll up the slight incline in the channel and allow entrance to the tomb. It wasn’t locked, but it was heavy. To heavy. Perhaps one of them would have to return to Jerusalem to fetch someone who could help. Mary Magdalene could make the trip if it came to that. She seemed to have enough energy this morning. The rest could wait if necessary.

The women didn’t know that the chief Priests and the Pharisees had spoken to Pilate the previous day. They had requested that guards be posted at the tomb. They thought the disciples might come steal His body away and claim that He had risen from the dead. Pilate had given them a guard of soldiers and had commanded them to seal the tomb with his own seal, so that any who broke that seal would know they would face the wrath of Rome. If the women had known about the guard, perhaps they would not have come.

But they would not see any soldiers at the tomb that day. For earlier that morning the soldiers had been startled. Below them the ground had begun to shake. Above them the sky had lit up as an angel in brilliant white descended from the sky. The angel hadn’t spoke a word to them, but setting his feet down on the earth, he had strode up to the door of the tomb and had calmly flicked the massive stone out of the track and flat onto its side. That done he had turned toward the path to Jerusalem and had sat down on the stone like he was waiting for someone.

When the soldiers had recovered enough of their senses to move again, they had moved on out of that place. Rome didn’t pay them enough to fight with angels. And it was clear that this angel wasn’t waiting to speak with them.

The soldiers had expected a rag-tag band of disciples to attempt an opening of this tomb. But God smiled, and sent a single mighty angel to show the world that Jesus needed no disciples to open His tomb. The risen Christ had left already.

Up the path the women had come in the hazy morning darkness. The sun was warming the horizon, but in the leafy garden it was still dim. But even in the early morning gloom the women noticed that something was not right up ahead. Where the tomb should have stood all white and solid, there loomed the dark, black hole of a doorway. And the stone was not neatly rolled up the channel and locked in place with a wedge – No! That massive stone was cast haphazardly on the ground in front of the tomb! Had Jesus’ enemies come here to desecrate His grave? Hadn’t His murder been enough?!

Running footsteps startled the women, and they turned to see Mary Magdalene striding back down the trail toward Jerusalem. Going for help no doubt. But the other women did not follow her. But nor would they merely stand and wait. Fear of what they might find could not keep them back from the door of the tomb. It beckoned to them. Their love for the Master pushed them forward. They must see what had been done.

But what they found inside the tomb did not horrify them, it puzzled them! The grave clothes were here, but Jesus’ body was gone. And as they stood there wondering what had happened, two men appeared in the tomb. Or at least they looked like men, sort of. They wore dazzling white robes. So dazzling was their appearance that the women were filled with fear! They melted to the ground in front of these two visitors, and as they did the visitors spoke:

“…Why do you look for the living among the dead?” (Luke 24:5 NIV).

“…Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay” (Matthew 28:5-6 NIV).

6He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: 7‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again’” (Luke 24:6-7 NIV)

7But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you’” (Mark 16:7 NIV).

When angels give you a message to deliver, you move quickly. And the women did. Exiting the crowded tomb, they hurried toward Jerusalem with both fear and great joy. Jesus was alive. Raised from the dead. The message had come from angels. The tomb was all open and empty. And the angels had said that they would see Jesus in Galilee like He had told them before! Oh, what else had He said that they had forgotten so quickly. The minds of the women raced along with their feet.

But around a corner their feet came to a halt. And no doubt every mouth opened in awe and every set of eyes widened, and their lips all curled into huge smiles. There in their path stood Jesus Himself. He greeted them as they fell at His feet in worship.

The women had expected the worst when they approached the broken open tomb. But God smiled and sent them two gentle angels to explain the mystery before them.

The women had then expected to see Jesus in Galilee, some 75 miles to the north. But Jesus smiled and met them before they even reached Jerusalem.

By this time, Mary Magdalene had reached Peter and John and told them what she had seen. The tomb was broken into, and no doubt some enemy had stolen Jesus’ body away. Winded and in fright she had said,

“…They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put Him!” (John 20:2 NIV).

Peter and John wasted no time. Leaving Mary to catch her breath, they left together, bound for the garden tomb. As they ran John’s stride outdistanced Peter’s putting John at the door to the tomb first. But stepping up to the shadowy door, John stopped. Looking into the tomb he saw the grave clothes lying there. Empty. Even though Jesus had told them of His coming death AND His resurrection to follow, John stood puzzled at door of the tomb. Perhaps Jesus’ words were finally coming back to Him,

“…We are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written by the prophets about the Son of Man will be fulfilled. 32He will be handed over to the Gentiles. They will mock him, insult him, spit on him, flog him and kill him. 33On the third day he will rise again” (Luke 18:31-33 NIV).

As Peter reached the entrance to the tomb he barged right past John. And there apart from the grave clothes Peter found the cloth that had been used to wrap Jesus’ head. But it was not cast aside in haste. It had been neatly folded like a person might fold a hand towel. It had been set aside like something that had served its short lived purpose and was now of little use.

Finally John entered the tomb and stood there with Peter.

No grave desecrators would have left things like this. They either would have fled with everything, or they would have left a mess. They certainly wouldn’t have folded the head cloth into a neat little square! Why they blew the door away and then carefully folded this little cloth was beyond explanation. Unless…

And there standing in the tomb, John new that it was true. The Master had risen, just as He had said He would.

Whatever John had expected to find, it was not this. A tomb was not the usual place to find life. Not the usual place to find a beginning. But God smiled when His Son finished suffering the punishment for the sins of the world. In the empty tomb of our Risen Savior, we find that God greatly exceeds our expectations.

For our daily sins of word, thought and deed with might well expect God’s judgment. But by God’s grace, and the work of the Holy Spirit in our hearts we are led to repent of these sins. And in Christ we find complete forgiveness. God greatly exceeds our expectations, and because He does we praise His holy and merciful name.

United to Christ Jesus through the powerful waters of baptism, and held together to Christ by faith, we are not only guaranteed newness of life after our earthly death, we are also given newness of life now.

“Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

5If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. 6For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin—7because anyone who has died has been freed from sin” (Romans 6:4-7 NIV).

By Christ’s suffering and death your sins have been atoned for. By faith you are raised from spiritual death, to life. Expect that God will raise you on the Last Day, and will place your gently by His side. But also expect that even in this, God will exceed your every expectation.

In Christ Jesus our Risen Savior, AMEN.

The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

-Pastor Caleb Schaller

March 21, 2008

The Word of Rest - Mar 21, 2008

For our sermon meditation on this Good Friday, we consider the last two words that Jesus spoke from the cross. These are found in John 19 and Luke 23.

John 19:30 (NKJV)

30So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!”...

Luke 23:46 (NIV)

46Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last.

Grace and Peace be to you from God our Father, and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

When I was finishing up my schooling at the Immanuel Lutheran Seminary, I was also working on a carpentry project that I had undertaken. Or, perhaps I should say that the project had undertaken me. I didn’t think that it was going to take as much time as it did, nor as much work.

It had started with the remaking of six small signs that had previously decorated our campus. Then, the project grew. It was suggested that some benches be made to put over the little signs. Since these benches would be around for a while, I searched out the best design that I could.

A lot of work went into crafting those benches. I only got four done before it was time to move here. There was planning, buying wood, making patterns, cutting shapes, sanding, fitting, gluing, clamping, more sanding and then finishing. And when it was all done, there was looking to be done.

I remember sitting on and looking at that first finished bench for a long time. It was all done. Nothing more was left to do. With the hard work over, I could rest and enjoy what I had made.

In our selection from God’s Word we heard Jesus declare that He had come to the end of His hard work, the hard work of suffering for our sins. He said, “It is finished.” And because it was finished, He then spoke what we might call, “The Word of Rest”. He said, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.”

How it must have filled Jesus will relief to finally be done. He had experienced all the pain and torment of an eternity in hell, millions of times over. Once for each sinner.

The Bible describes hell as a lake of fire that never goes out. A place where there is eternal existence, but where every moment is unwanted and filled with agony. In hell God’s goodness is not felt in any way.

This is what Jesus experienced in our place. Is it any wonder that He cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:45-46).

But that was over now. He had emptied the cup of God’s anger. He had felt the misery and horror of each punishment. And now His great work was finished.

As a carpenter, Jesus had created things on a workbench. But His greatest craftsmanship was fashioned on a cross. It was not an outwardly beautiful work, but it sure was practical. He had made salvation for every sinner. Forgiveness for each of us.

How it must have filled Jesus with joy to know the work was done. He understood what it meant for the sinners who stood at His feet, even if they didn’t.

How it must have filled Jesus with peace to once again enter into intimate communion with His Heavenly Father. No longer was the Father gone from His Son. No longer was Jesus forsaken.
Listen to the Son’s last word, He says,

Father, into your hands I commit my spirit…” (Luke 23:46 NIV).

Jesus knew that those same hands would now receive sinners in gentle forgiveness.

Note how there is absolutely no fear in the moment of Jesus’ death. No terror. No panic. He raises His voice to make it clear to everyone that He was leaving this world victoriously. Willingly giving His spirit to God the Father. Gladly breathing His last.

They had taunted Jesus by saying,

He trusted in God; let Him deliver Him now if He will have Him; for He said, ‘I am the Son of God.’” (Matthew 27:43 NKJV).

And now, at the right time, God did received the spirit of His beloved Son. With the hard work done, Jesus rested.

And because Jesus did our hard work for us, we can rest too.

Have you ever showed up somewhere with work in mind, only to find that someone else has already done it? Maybe the church cleaner from the last month got mixed up and made your work unnecessary. Maybe your errands took longer than expected, and rushing into the kitchen to get started making supper – you found that your spouse had already made it. This is what Jesus did. He got our work done before we could even get started. And that’s a good thing, because if we were to do the hard work of suffering for our own sins, it would literally take forever.

The peace that Jesus felt when He passed back into joyful communion with His Heavenly Father, that peace is also ours. For through Christ’s cross the sins that separated us from the Father have been taken away, and we can approach Him just like Jesus - without fear. We can approach God fearlessly in prayer and we can approach God fearlessly in death.

In Hebrews it says,

It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 10:31 NKJV).

But because of what happened on the first Good Friday, the fearful grip of the just and almighty God has become the gentle hands that receive our every care, our every concern, our every worry, our every prayer. And we pray confidently to our Heavenly Father knowing that,

He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:32 NIV).

We confess our every sin, and give over all our concerns to God in prayer. We do this knowing that He who took care of the big problem of sin, will be more than happy to handle the little problems of life.

And when it comes time for us to leave the problems and pains of life for good, we’ll be able to entrust our spirits to God with no fear, just like Jesus did.

When I got done making those benches for the ILC campus, it was nice to rest. But I wasn’t the only one who got to rest. Because the hard work was done, others were able to sit down and rest too.

Those benches will only last for a little while. Some of them have already had to be re-sealed. The Wisconsin winters and the summer sun will take it’s toll. Screws will work their way out and wood will give way to rot. What I spent so much time on will only give weary legs rest for a little while.

But the work Jesus did on the cross was no sad carpentry like mine. It was a spiritual work that will last forever. On the salvation that Jesus made, the world of sinners can rest together, all at once, and forever.

Because Jesus did the hard work for us, we can say with joy, “Father, in your hands I rest my spirit, now and forever.”


The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Closing Thought:

Earlier tonight we read Psalm 22 together. That Psalm is sometimes called the “Suffering Servant Psalm”. In it we heard the hard work of our salvation described. We might even call Psalm 22 the “Hard Work Psalm”.

But after hard work comes rest. And in Psalm 23 we see what the hard work of God’s suffering servant has accomplished: Our rest. Our comfort. Our eternal peace.

The work of the Suffering Servant made it possible for us to feel the tender embrace of the Good Shepherd. When you hear 23, remember 22.

March 19, 2008

Commandment Thursday - Mar 20, 2008

The readings that the following "sermon bites" are based off of are listed, but not printed below. It will be helpful to have your Bible in hand. If you don't have your Bible, but have the internet on hand, you might try using "".

thematic introduction

Good evening. Today is the day of the church year called, “Maundy Thursday”. The word “Maundy” comes from the Latin word, “Maude” or “Mandatum” which means “commandment”.

But the commandment that we speak of tonight is not one of the ten given by God through Moses. No, the commandment that we consider this Thursday is the one that was spoke by Jesus to His disciples in the upper room, on the night before He was crucified.

There Jesus gave His disciples the Lord’s Supper for the first time. There He also spoke these words,

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34-35 NKJV).


Almighty God, to whom all hearts are open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hidden: cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the indwelling of your Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love you and worthily praise your holy name, through Jesus Christ our Lord.

READ: John 13:1-17


He is the greatest man at the table. The Teacher. The miracle worker. The Son of God. Yet He gets up so that He might serve. He takes a basin of water and washes the feet of His students. His friends. His children by faith. By doing this He teaches them that being His disciple means learning to love others with acts of service.

8For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:8-10 NKJV).

Christians are people of faith. We believe that God loves us. We believe that God’s Son has saved us from hell. But our faith does not end there. Our faith comes full circle, is completed, each time we who know God’s love, love each other.

You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did.” (James 2:22 NIV).

To say that our works complete our salvation is wrong. Jesus completed our salvation on the cross. That’s what He meant when He said, “It is finished” (John 19:30). But to think that God’s ONLY purpose in bringing us to faith is to save us from hell, is also wrong.

“…we wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, 14who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good” (Titus 2:13-14).

Jesus speaks to you, dear Christians, “Love one another.”

READ: John 14:15-30


Jesus taught He loves the Father, by doing what the Father commanded. Jesus was born in a humble stable, in a little known town, to a set of ordinary parents. He lived a quiet life that was little noticed, until He turned thirty and began preaching.

He let Himself be betrayed into the hands of His enemies because that was God’s plan. He didn’t defend His innocence when He was on trial. He didn’t fight back when He was scourged. He carried a cross that wasn’t His own. He let the sins of the world slip onto His shoulders, and felt the punishment for our sins descend on Him like a storm.

Jesus’ obedience showed His love for His Heavenly Father, and His love for us.

In the same way, our obedience to Jesus, shows our love for Him. However, unlike Jesus’ obedience to the Father, the way we follow Jesus’ teachings is not perfect. We fail the test of perfect love with every sin we commit. The only way that Christians ever keep Jesus’ commands is through the Holy Spirit whom He has graciously sent into our hearts. Through the Spirit sent from Christ we learn to know true peace.

Jesus said,

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”(John 14:27 NIV).

The world gives only when we give first. Jesus doesn’t give like this. Jesus gives to us first. He has freely given us peace with God by taking our sins away.

Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God” (Ephesians 5:1-2 NIV).

Jesus loved us. Now we love Jesus.

READ: John 15:1-17


Ask a grape farmer what a branch needs to produce grapes and he might say, “Water, soil, and sunlight.” He probably wouldn’t point out the critical requirement Jesus did. In order for a branch to produce fruit, it has to be attached to the vine.

Jesus’ comparison is so simple, yet so profound. As it says in Hebrews,

“…without faith it is impossible to please God,” (Hebrews 11:6 NIV).

Jesus commanded His disciples to show their love for Him, by loving each other. Here Jesus reveals that this would be impossible if not for their connection to Him.

When a person is joined to Jesus, fruits of faith are produced. Good words and good actions are found. They might be some sickly looking fruit. Patience smaller than it should be. Shaky peace. Kindness tainted by a judgmental attitude. But imperfect fruit is still fruit. And where there is fruit, the Father Gardener prunes and tends so that more fruit will be produced.

Jesus told His disciples,

I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete” (John 15:11 NIV).

Jesus was happy to be connected to those disciples. Because He was, His sinless life was theirs. His life of obedience and love would flow into them, bringing growth, and fruit to their lives. Through this connection, their joy would be complete.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, you are clean because of the Word Jesus has spoke to you. Remain in Him and He will remain in you.

READ: John 16:17-33


Jesus’ love for His disciples is shown by His willing sacrifice. Jesus’ love for His disciples is also shown by the patience thoughtfulness He displays toward them here.

Jesus was about to begin the final leg of His journey to the cross. This would be the hardest part. But He does not sermonize about the suffering He is about to endure. Instead, Jesus warns His disciples that THEY are about to enter into a time of great sadness.

They had experienced the smiles and happiness of His joyful entry into Jerusalem. They had heard His masterful discourses silence the Pharisees and Sadducees. They had celebrated the Passover, and received a new meal that was greater than any they had celebrated in before. But soon, Jesus would be returning to the Father in a way that the disciples did not really expect, even though Christ had told them His death was coming a number of times before.

On the verge of their time of grief, Jesus comforts His disciples in advance. He tells them that He will see them again, they will rejoice, and no one will take away their joy. And with these words Jesus prepares them for every sorrow that they might ever face.

Jesus says,

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33 NIV).

After Jesus was raised from the dead, the disciples would be able to look back and say, “Our grief was but for a time, and was followed with unspeakable joy.” This could then be said through any time of trouble, “Our grief will be but for a time, and it WILL be followed by unspeakable joy. For just like then, we WILL see Him again.”

As Jesus’ disciples, we can say the same. We will have trouble in this world, but take heart, Jesus has overcome the world.

READ: John 17:1-5, 13-26


Paul wrote:

Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known” (2 Corinthians 13:12 NIV).

Though Jesus has taken away our spiritual blindness, allowing us to see Him as our Savior and God as our loving Father, we do not fully comprehend what it will mean to see God face to face.

What will it be like to behold Jesus arrayed in all the glory that He had before the world began? Will it be like the brightness of an ever exploding star? Will His glory shower over us like a warm blanket and a rushing hurricane all wrapped up in one?

What will it be like to feel the love of God with every bit of our being? Will it be like the embrace of a mother holding her newborn child for the first time? Will it be like the prodigal son’s father taking his lost son into his arms with complete forgiveness and eternal affection?

Like so many things in life, these things can only be known by experience. But that experience has begun for us, dear Christians. For Jesus has begun to reveal the Father to us, and will continue to do so, so that we may know what it means to SEE God and to be joined WITH Him in PERFECT unity.

This is why we join here to worship Jesus. This is why we ponder His every word together. He is God’s Son through whom the Father has revealed His love to us.

9This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins” (1 John 4:9-11 NIV).

March 15, 2008

Cheer for Our Hero - Mar 16, 2008

Cheer for Our Hero

Zechariah 9:9-10

Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, lowly and riding on a donkey, a colt, the foal of a donkey. I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim and the horse from Jerusalem; the battle bow shall be cut off. He shall speak peace to the nations; His dominion shall be 'from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth.

Dear fellow-redeemed:

It’s fourth down and two. Eight seconds remain on the game clock and your team is down by a field goal. It’s the biggest game of the season. The national championship is on the line. You’re sitting on the edge of the sofa cushion in front of the TV afraid to watch, yet at the same time, afraid even to blink. The quarterback steps up to the line of scrimmage, calls the signals, gets the ball, and throws a bullet down the sideline into the waiting arms of an open receiver—touchdown! You leap up, startle the dog, and cheer loudly enough for the neighbors to hear. The next day you proudly wear your official NFL team jersey with the winning quarterback’s name printed on it. His picture makes the front page of the newspaper, and a few weeks later he is signed to a new contract with a multimillion-dollar bonus. He is the popular topic of conversation and the hero of the moment.

We look up to and admire heroes for accomplishing great things which are far beyond our abilities. Yet those same heroes have their own limitations. The quarterback who wins one game may throw five interceptions the next. He may be paid millions of dollars to lead his team to a championship on Sunday, but he cannot lead us to victory over our real-life enemies and problems during the rest of the week.

But there is one hero who is different. He is overlooked and rejected by most people, but one Sunday cheering crowds lined the streets of Jerusalem to welcome Him. He was not paid millions of dollars to appear. Instead, He paid a price that cannot be calculated with money. He is greater than all other heroes combined, and He came for us. Therefore, the prophet says, “Rejoice and shout!” This is a hero to really cheer for!


Sometimes, however, we feel more like crying than cheering. The longer we live, the more we see the depressing effects of sin in the world. Unprovoked terrorist attacks kill or maim hundreds of people who are just going about their ordinary lives. Problems burden our own lives and families. It is not just sin around us. There is also sin within that drags us down. As Paul wrote, “The good that I want to do, I do not do; all the evil I do not want to do, I keep on doing” (Romans 7:19). What is there then to jump up and cheer about?

The Old Testament people of Zechariah’s time knew all about the reality of a sinful world. After decades of captivity, they came back to a city in ruins. Reconstructing the temple and building fortified walls with their meager resources seemed as hopeless as flying to the moon. Powerful enemies opposed every move, and they were still not free people, but subjects of the king of Persia.

Yet God told them: “Rejoice! Stand up and cheer! Your King is coming!” [v.9] Israel had many kings over its long history. Some were heroic like Saul, David, and Solomon. Others did far more harm than good. But this coming King would be different than any other. This one would be the King of kings!

He would not fit the typical profile of a king, however. The Jewish people were looking for a grand and glorious king in royal robes, leading an army, who would rule from a palace in Jerusalem. Many today look for a king like that who will make their earthly lives easier and match their own expectations.

But that is not whom the crowds were cheering on Palm Sunday. There was “no tramp of soldiers’ marching feet,” only a ragged band of disciples as an honor guard. Jesus did not enter the city wearing robes of royalty and riding on a prancing white stallion. He sat on an ordinary beast of burden which walked on a makeshift carpet of palm branches and clothes. We see presidents and other world leaders make far more impressive entrances than that.

Why cheer for such a humble king as Jesus? Because, though He is God Himself, “[He] did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant” (Philippians 2:6-7 NIV). Jesus’ humility is not a sign of weakness, but of love for us. He came not to be served, but to serve. Can you picture the CEO of a large corporation serving as a janitor? Can you imagine him taking the elevator from his top floor office to the basement, taking off his thousand-dollar suit, putting on coveralls, and picking up a mop and broom? Would the President as the Commander-in-Chief put on the uniform of an infantry soldier and fight in Iraq?

That is not going to happen, but what did happen is far more astonishing and awesome! God’s Son became man for us. That is cause to stand up and cheer, because it means He can sympathize with everything we face in life. He knows what it’s like to be lonely, tired, and discouraged. More than that, He did for us everything we could never do for ourselves. He kept the Law of God perfectly, just as God requires of us, so that we could receive His righteousness. “For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man they many will be made righteous” (Romans 5:19 NIV).

That same obedience led Him to Jerusalem to fight the battle we had lost. King David won countless victories over many powerful enemies, but he could not defeat sin. He was just as guilty as we are. He confessed in the Psalms: “My guilt has overwhelmed me like a burden too heavy to bear” (Psalm 38:4 NIV). We were like corpses on the battlefield, casualties of sin. King Jesus came to win the victory for us by laying down His own holy life in payment for sin.

The crowds would shout “Crucify him! Crucify him!” Pontius Pilate would give the order. The Jewish leaders would smile with smug satisfaction, and Satan would appear to get his way. But through it all, the King’s plans would be carried out. He would die as He said, but by death He would conquer, and by His resurrection on the third day He would show His victory to the whole world.

Stand up and cheer! We have a King to rejoice in. He is God, yet became man for us. He was rich, yet became poor for us. He is Lord of all, yet became the servant of all. He is holy, yet took on Himself all sin. He was crushed and defeated, and yet He won!


When your favorite team wins, you shout it out. For weeks afterwards, you talk about the perfect, last-second pass and the come-from-behind victory against all odds. And that’s just a game. We truly have something to really shout about in Jesus’ victory on the cross, because it brings us into His eternal kingdom. We are citizens of two kingdoms. As citizens of the United States we have rights, privileges, and security. However, as citizens of Jesus’ kingdom, we have even greater spiritual blessings.

First of all, Christ’s kingdom is not restricted to a specific territory on earth. Jesus assured Pilate that He was no threat to the Roman Empire. He told the Pharisees: “The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:20-21 NIV). The kingdom is the Lord ruling in our hearts by faith.

The great benefit of that kingdom is peace. There is no need for an army or weapons. “I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim and the horse from Jerusalem, and the battle bow shall be cut off.” [v.10] There will always be wars and rumors of wars as long as the earth stands, but there is always perfect peace in God’s kingdom, because the decisive battle has already been fought and won once and for all. Sin is paid for, the devil is defeated, and there is peace between sinners and God. God promises, “Never again will an oppressor overrun my people, for now I am keeping watch!” (Zechariah 9:8 NIV).

That is something to shout about! No matter what is going on around us, we have peace through Christ. No matter how dangerous or uncertain the situation, we have peace with God and from that, the peace of knowing that the Lord will be us wherever we are to protect us with His holy angels, and to ensure that all things serve for our eternal well-being.

When sickness, money concerns, or other worries make you feel anything but peaceful, remember you still have that peace of God which passes all understanding. It doesn’t depend on our feelings. It is an objective, unchanging fact through Jesus’ life-saving death. No matter how hectic things become, you can be sure that all is well between you and God. He is not angry with you, because all His anger against your sin was taken out on Jesus. You can confess your sins, receive His free and full forgiveness, and count on His help in every trial. “Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea” (Psalm 46:2 NIV).

Christ’s kingdom is something to shout about, but how often do we actually do it? We are good at shouting the praises of our favorite sports team, but what about telling the news of our Savior King? The Lord urges, “Go and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:20). At the beginning of many Palm Sunday services worshipers walk into the sanctuary carrying palms and singing the Lord’s praises. May we keep on walking and praising!

May we walk over to the unchurched neighbor’s house and speak of our loving King. May we walk over to the person troubled by guilt or groping for some kind of hope and direction, and share the peace through Christ. May we walk into the lives of others, and be ready to forgive as freely as the Lord has forgiven us. May we, through our mission offerings, shout the praises of the King even in places we cannot personally set foot. May we walk through every day of our lives with hosannas in our hearts and praises on our lips. Cheer for our Hero, for He is the King of kings who has won the victory and given it to us! Amen.

Now He who bore for mortals’ sake
The cross and all its pains,
And chose a servant’s form to take,
The King of glory reigns.
Hosanna to the Savior’s name
Till heaven’s rafters ring,
And all the ransomed host proclaim:
“Behold, behold your King!”

(Worship Supplement 2000 - 725:4)

—Pastor Michael M. Eichstadt

March 12, 2008

The Word of Triumph - Mar 12, 2008

Grace and Peace be to you from God our Father, and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

There are some tasks in life that never seem to get finished. They get DONE from time to time, but never really FINISHED. When I was a kid, it was cleaning my room. Now that I’m older, it’s cleaning my room… and taking out the garbage… and changing the oil… and countless other tasks that I get done from time to time, but I never really get finished with.

Other tasks are different. They not only get finished for good, some even have long lasting effects when they’re finished.

Take for instance, the digging of the Panama Canal. Previous to the building of the Panama Canal, ships traveling from New York to San Francisco had to travel 14,000 miles down around the tip of South America. It was a long and dangerous journey. But when the Panama Canal was trenched, the journey got 8,000 miles shorter and suddenly became much safer.

Or think about the great wall of China. It was a huge task, but once it was finished, it provided China with a lasting defense against invasion from the north.

The great wall of China and the Panama Canal are two tasks that didn’t just get “done”, they got FINISHED. And their completion brought long lasting benefits.

In our meditation for tonight we’re going to read the sixth thing that Jesus said from the cross. What He said was, “It is finished.” The task Jesus had finished had been amazingly difficult. The task Jesus had finished had eternally lasting effects. For these two reasons, we don’t just call this word, “The Word of Completion”, we call this statement of Jesus, “The Word of Triumph.”

John 19:30 (NKJV)

So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.

These are the words of God.

In English, Jesus’ statement of triumph is expressed with three words, “It – is – finished”. But in the original Greek it was just one word, “Tetelestai”. And that one word was in what is called the “perfect” tense.

Now I’m sure that Greek lessons make a lot of you fall asleep, but stay awake for this one. It’s remarkable.

You know how I said that some tasks have lasting effects when they’re completed? Well, the Greek “perfect” tense was designed to express this idea. In the Greek language action words are placed in the “perfect” tense in order to express “completed action with ongoing results”.

To help us remember this, our Greek professor would draw this symbol over Greek words that were in the “perfect” tense:




The vertical line stood for the action that was completed. The little arrow that extended out from line stood for the ongoing results of that completed action.

Jesus said, “It is finished!” in the perfect tense. He wasn’t just saying, “I’m glad my pains are coming to an end.” He wasn’t saying, “I’m about to die.” By using this word in the perfect tense, Jesus was saying, “Something just got finished here, and there are lasting results because it.”

So what was it that Jesus finished as He gave up His Spirit and died on the cross of Calvary? I’d answer that in two ways. Every prophesy was fulfilled and every punishment for sin was suffered, that’s what was finished.

First of all, every prophesy about the Savior from the Old Testament that Jesus could have fulfilled by this point, He had fulfilled. There were still some yet to come. God’s prophets had foretold that the Savior would rise from the dead, obviously, that would be fulfilled later. But everything that He could do to this point had been finished.

In a way, it was as if Jesus was speaking to His Heavenly Father when He said, “It is finished.” “Each and every prophecy Father, they are finished. They are fulfilled.”

Jesus had once told His disciples,

“…My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work.” (John 4:34 NKJV).

On another occasion Jesus told them,

“…I have a baptism to undergo, and how distressed I am until it is completed!” (Luke 12:50 NIV).

The work of the Father was the work of saving sinners from Hell. That work was accomplished by a Baptism of suffering – the Baptism of pain and anguish that God’s Son felt while being crucified.

From nine in the morning to three in the after noon. For six hours Jesus hung spiked, hand and foot, to a rough Roman cross. And during this time He was tortured for each and every sin that you and I have done, or ever will do.

He felt the just punishment for every murder, every rape, every theft, every lie, every adultery and every covetous thought. Every time a person misused the name of God, Jesus was declared guilty of it. Every time a person ignored and abused the Word of God, Jesus was declared guilty of it. Every time something other than God was worshiped, Jesus became guilty of it.

In his second letter to the Corinthians, Paul wrote,

For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Corinthians 5:21 NKJV).

Note, Paul doesn’t say that God made Him who knew no sin to be “a sinner” for us. No, Paul says, God made Him who knew no sin to be “sin” for us. Since all the sins that had ever been committed were wiped onto Jesus, you might as well just call Him “Sin”.

Because all mankind’s sins were placed on Jesus, all God’s wrath fell on Him. And only after the full cup of God’s fiery anger was poured out on Jesus, only after that did Jesus say, “It is finished.”

A man named Besser once described it like this,

“The Savior turned His gaze from the first sinner to the last, and behold, He saw no one for whose guilt He had not atoned, no one for whom He had not won forgiveness and peace” (“The Gospels”, Ylvisaker 749).

“It is finished”, was spoken in the “perfect” tense.




The completed action was the work of saving sinners. The ongoing results are forgiveness, peace and eternal life for all who trust in Jesus.

When sinners hear the story of Jesus, we are offered a gift from Jesus’ own hand. And when He gives us the gift of forgiveness He says, “It is finished. It doesn’t need batteries. No assembly is required. Here let me show you. See? It really is finished.”

So far, I’ve suggested that Jesus’ word of triumph was spoken to the Father, and to all sinners. But I can’t leave out one last person. For certainly, Jesus’ word of triumph was also spoke to the Devil. Though to the Devil it sounded more like, “You are finished.”

Rewind back to the garden of Eden for a moment. Remember the first prophesy of the Savior. God Himself predicted that Satan would hurt the Savior, but the Savior would inflict a more critical blow to Satan. Speaking to Satan, God said:

“…I will put enmity Between you and the woman,
And between your seed and her Seed;
He shall bruise your head,
And you shall bruise His heel”(Genesis 3:15 NKJV).

Satan hurt Jesus sorely throughout His life and especially on the night Judas betrayed Him, and the next day as He hung on the cross. But when Jesus took away the punishment for our sin, He dealt the death blow to Satan. Satan still seeks to drag sinners down into Hell with Him, but His time is short, and anyone who stands by the cross of Christ can’t be touched by the Old dying Serpent.

Listen to an image from Revelation 12:

9The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.

10Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say:
“Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God,
and the authority of his Christ.
For the accuser of our brothers,
who accuses them before our God day and night,
has been hurled down.
11They overcame him
by the blood of the Lamb…”(Revelation 12:9-11 NIV).

The great wall of China and the Panama Canal are two tasks that didn’t just get “done”, they got FINISHED. And their completion brought the long lasting benefits of protection, and safe passage.

Jesus’ great work of Salvation got finished too. Once and for all. And ever since Jesus cried out, “It is finished”, His finished work has brought lasting benefits to those who look to Him in faith. Lasting benefits like the full forgiveness of sins, safety from Satan and safe passage to Heaven. I guess that’s why we don’t just call this “the word of completion”, we call it, “the Word of Triumph.”

So, let it be your word of triumph too. When Satan accuses and sins sadden. Remind Satan, “It is finished.” Remind your sorrowing heart, “It is finished.” For those words are words of triumph. Words of victory. And whoever believes them will not be condemned.

As Jesus promised,

I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life” (John 5:24 NIV).


The Peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

-Pastor Caleb Schaller