TEXT: MATTHEW 5:1-12; 1 JOHN 3:1-3; REV. 7:2-17
A DAY OF PURITY!  A DAY OF CONNECTION!
Rev. Kenneth W. Wieting


Grace to you and peace from Him who is and who was and who is to come and from the seven spirits who are before His throne (that is the Holy Spirit) and from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead (Rev. 1:1-2).


Dear saints of God; Death is transitory!  Death transfers you from knowing Jesus here by faith to seeing Him there face to face!  The day of your death and that of your loved ones is not the end of the story - not by a long shot – the length and breadth and depth of which stretches into eternity!  All Saints’ Day is a day that connects the dots.  It is a day that cries out for rejoicing as it trumpets the closeness of this day with eternity – the connection of those still struggling on earth with those who are home in Christ.  It also trumpets that purity that is yours now and forever in Christ.


Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God (Heb. 12:1-2).  What beautiful and bountiful connection!  The witnesses who surround us – who are home with Christ - are His joy! 


This day therefore shares with Christmas – “Joy to the World”!  The very reason the flesh and blood baby was knit together in His mother’s virgin womb - was to defeat sin and death.  This day shares with Jesus’ Baptism – the approval of the Holy Trinity!  God’s good pleasure in His beloved Son is now His good pleasure in you - baptized and clothed in His Son.  This day shares with Good Friday our finished redemption – peace and cleansing by the blood of the cross.  What beautiful and bountiful connection!

ALL SAINTS’ DAY – NOVEMBER 2, 2014
TEXT: MATTHEW 5:1-12; 1 JOHN 3:1-3; REV. 7:2-17
A DAY OF PURITY!  A DAY OF CONNECTION!
Rev. Kenneth W. Wieting


Grace to you and peace from Him who is and who was and who is to come and from the seven spirits who are before His throne (that is the Holy Spirit) and from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead (Rev. 1:1-2).


Dear saints of God; Death is transitory!  Death transfers you from knowing Jesus here by faith to seeing Him there face to face!  The day of your death and that of your loved ones is not the end of the story - not by a long shot – the length and breadth and depth of which stretches into eternity!  All Saints’ Day is a day that connects the dots.  It is a day that cries out for rejoicing as it trumpets the closeness of this day with eternity – the connection of those still struggling on earth with those who are home in Christ.  It also trumpets that purity that is yours now and forever in Christ.


Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God (Heb. 12:1-2).  What beautiful and bountiful connection!  The witnesses who surround us – who are home with Christ - are His joy! 


This day therefore shares with Christmas – “Joy to the World”!  The very reason the flesh and blood baby was knit together in His mother’s virgin womb - was to defeat sin and death.  This day shares with Jesus’ Baptism – the approval of the Holy Trinity!  God’s good pleasure in His beloved Son is now His good pleasure in you - baptized and clothed in His Son.  This day shares with Good Friday our finished redemption – peace and cleansing by the blood of the cross.  What beautiful and bountiful connection!

This day shares with Easter - celebration of the resurrection since all who have died with Christ have also been raised with Him (Romans 6:3-8).  This day shares with Ascension - celebration of His rule with all the authority in heaven and on earth – authority even over death!  This day shares with Pentecost celebration of the communion of saints – that is – the community of believers - in all times and places – from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages – in the one body of Christ – in the unity of the Spirit – in the bond of peace - in heaven and on earth.  This day shares with the day of your death and the Day of Judgment the true nature of those days.  The day of your death and that of your loved ones is not the end of the story.  Death itself is transitory!  What beautiful and bountiful connection! 


“Who are these in white robes, and from where have they come?”  “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation.  They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.”  Not only is All Saints’ Day a day of connection, it is also a day of proclaimed purity!  White robes affirm purity – the purity of sins washed away in the blood of Christ! It is the purity of those in the Lamb’s eternal shepherding presence.  It is also the purity of those hearing and following the Good Shepherd’s voice on earth.  St. John wrote, Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.  And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.


Can it be? – sinful you? – as pure right now as the holy Son of God?  Indeed it is so!  St. John does not say “everyone who has this projected plan” or “everyone who has this proud record” but rather everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.  Dear Saints of God, rejoice that your hope is in Him!  St. John articulates the reason for this certain hope.  See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God.  God’s love for you in Christ is of a different kind – a different degree – a different purity – so pure that it even purifies those He loves.  His love is the reason for the hope in you!


See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.  Jesus said it this way on the mountain - Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.  The purity Jesus proclaims for His followers is far beyond clean hands and outward ritual practice.  The purity Jesus proclaims goes far beyond sincere feelings and best efforts.  Indeed, Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  The purity He reveals as blessed is connection with Him who alone is pure!  It is His gracious gift of faith!  The purity He sets forth is total innocence – the lack of any defects (physical, religious, moral) in fact – this purity is holiness!  The Holy Spirit caused St. Paul to proclaim how such profound, purifying, cleansing comes.  Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her (that is make her holy), having cleansed her (that is purified her) by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. (Eph. 5:25-27)


See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.  All Saints’ Day is a day to reflect on the perfect purity we sinners have as His children – as a gift in the love and forgiveness of Christ.  What a powerful and profound truth!  What an incomparable treasure that you received in the washing of water with the word!  Sinner - are you?  Oh yes!   It infects you and clings to you!  Saint - are you?  Oh yes – a blessed status that He gives to you that will outlast the sin in you!  Who are these clothed in white robes…?”  “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation.  They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. 


The root meaning of tribulation includes pressing - squashing -constricting.  This pressure is inseparable from the Christian life.  This pressure and oppression is connected to the suffering of Christ.  Revelation pictures tribulations as a continuing reality for all Christians (Rev. 1:9-20).  These are the ones coming out of (that is continually emerging from) the great tribulation.  Christians are continually coming forth from the pressures of life in a sinful world and from constricting opposition for confessing Christ.  “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.  Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”


At the fall pastor’s conference of the Montana District of our synod, the district president told his pastors to expect more constricting opposition.  He gave examples of hostile political and social pressure increasingly at work to silence Scriptures’ teaching and to force God’s people to live in conformity with the world in their vocations.   This growing pressure from outside powers is not difficult to discern.   Every Christian also faces the pressure of the daily duties life.  Every Christian also faces the pressure of Satan’s temptation to judge by externals.  Every Christian experiences testing – dark periods of suffering – limitations of sickness – the pain of loneliness and loss.  Every Christian lives under the pressure of time and of death.  These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation.  Thanks be to God – we are coming out of these pressures.  Like death, tribulation is also transitory.  We are journeying through them to a time and place when…we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is (1 John 3:2)


You know something of how Jesus is – having flesh and blood – in order to taste death for us (Heb. 2:14-15).  The flowing robes of blessedness – the white robes of purity – come only from the blood of the crucified one.  You know also of His flesh and bones even after His resurrection (Luke 24:39)!  You know how the Word became flesh and dwelt (tented) among us (John 1:1, 14).  That same intimate word is used to describe how God will dwell with us eternally.  He who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence.  The Greek literally states that He will spread his tent over them just as Jesus became flesh and pitched His tent among us.


Dear Saints of God this is a most beautiful picture – indicating the warmth and intimacy of a family dwelling!  It indicates that God will dwell with us in a manner experienced also with our human senses!  God’s people will live in the flesh with God in the new heaven and the new earth (Rev. 21:3).  You will live bodily with God!  As Christ rose bodily, so your body will be raised immortal and imperishable in the final resurrection.  Our eyes which now shed tears over our sins and the sins of others – our eyes which shed tears over the suffering in this troubled world - will have no tears - as God tents with us forever.  “God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”  The Greek doesn’t give the sense of wiping away tears that are being shed – but rather the sweetest touch of wiping away the very source for any tears – leaving only joy and blessedness for eyes that formerly wept on earth.  Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. 


Saints - eternally comforted get joyfully loud about this truth – crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne and to the Lamb!”  The twelve tribes bear witness to this saving work of the Lamb.  Judah (the fourth born) is listed first (the tribe from which the Messiah came).  Tribes tainted by idolatry (Dan and Ephraim) are missing while the tribes of Levi and Joseph are added in.  This listing displays the church in purity – cleansed from idolatry by the blood of the Lamb.  It also shows the Church sealed and ready for action in this world of tribulation.


This sealing is not conversion but the ongoing work of the Holy Spirit through Word and Sacraments that keeps us in the faith and protects us in godly hope.  This sealing is what the risen Christ continues in you this morning.  Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees until we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads.”  God comfort you with His “sealing” work in present and future tribulation.  Here the warfare continues and will bring us down to death.  Death, however, is transitory!  What is not transitory is God’s love for you in Christ.  Indeed nothing in all creation can separate you from the love in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8)  See what kind of love the Father has given to us…Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever!  Amen. 

Luther Memorial Chapel & University Student Center | 3833 N Maryland Ave | Shorewood, WI  53211
(414) 332-5732 |lmcusc@lmcusc.org

Divine Service: Sundays - 9:00a Mondays - 7:00p Bible Study & Sunday School: Sundays - 10:45a