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Subject: The Lutheran Hour: November 8, 2015 "Do You Know THIS Jesus?"

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"Do You Know THIS Jesus?" #83-10

Presented on The Lutheran Hour on November 8, 2015
By Rev. Gregory Seltz, Lutheran Hour Speaker
(Why Does the World Have to End?)
Copyright 2015 Lutheran Hour Ministries

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Text: Hebrews 9:24-28

The writer to the Hebrews reminds us, "Just as people are destined to die once, and after that face the judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him."
Christ is risen. He is risen indeed. Hallelujah! Amen.

On April 20, 2010, offshore oil drilling rig, the Deepwater Horizon, caught fire and exploded in the Gulf of Mexico. Eleven oil workers lost their lives. As the rig sank to the bottom of the ocean five thousand feet below, the challenge of containing the worst oil spill in U.S. history began. 

Thad Allen, commander of the U.S. Coast Guard at the time, was used to challenges but this was even worse. Allen handled a large portion of the response to the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, but this posed a different obstacle. He said, "Throughout the entire response, there was no way for humans to access the event. We had to manage things basically as you would for an event in outer space. I said it many times and it's still true: this was much closer to Apollo 13 than Hurricane Katrina."

The oil gushed for eighty-five days. Solution after solution failed. Finally, after two months of struggles, a 75-ton containment cap was placed over the ruptured pipe. But, would it hold? An all-star group of experts was tasked with figuring that out. Dr. Paul Hsieh, a hydro-geologist with the United States Geological Survey, had to analyze the data to determine if Thad Allen's 75-ton containment cap would do the job. He was given twenty-four hours to determine if the cap should remain in place or if the risk of an underground blowout leak was too great. With no modeling software available and no time to delay, the scientist stayed up all night creating and solving equations. The next morning, he recommended that the cap should stay in place. His action led to the permanent closure of the well and earned him the Federal Employee of the Year medal in 2011.

Sometimes people with the right training, the necessary qualifications, and the essential credentials are needed to do the job. The writer of the book of Hebrews in the Bible referenced that kind of expert to address the issue of our rescue from a broken and lost life due to our sinfulness, a condition that would pollute our lives and plunge us into darkness forever. The expert was Jesus. Hear these words from Hebrews, chapter nine: "For Christ has entered, not into the holy place made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the holy places every year with blood not his own... But... he has appeared, (this Jesus) once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself"(Hebrews 9:24-26).

The writer is referring to the ancient sacrificial system given by God to the people of Israel. After Adam and Eve disobeyed God and chose to be His rival by eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the Garden of Eden, their opposition to the holy and all-powerful God would have resulted in their immediate deaths if God didn't step in. So, instead of their deaths, God set up a system of sacrifices that would pay the price for their sin. The blood of livestock was shed as an ongoing act of repentance and as a merciful lifeline for human beings in relationship with a holy God. 

These sacrifices were made by a priest in the tabernacle or temple. The people gathered together once a year for what today is known as "the Day of Atonement" or "Yom Kippur." But this gracious gift of God pointed to something even more permanent, more sure, and that's where the Expert comes in. Jesus didn't sacrifice the borrowed blood of a goat or bull. He sacrificed His own blood when He was nailed to the cross, carrying our sins upon Himself. He made the ultimate payment to God the Father--an eternal payment--as He suffered our punishment for sin--as He bore the eternal consequences of rebelling against God. He came in your place and mine. The expert fulfilled the yearly sacrifices with a permanent, once for all, repayment of the debt. 

But you might be saying, "How could one act in history do that?" Well, friend, it's not just the act, it is the One Who did all things well for you that makes all this possible. 

You see, Jesus wasn't just a good Man or a wise Teacher. He was so much more. He didn't simply express quotable statements for Facebook or Pinterest to bless your day for the moment. His word gives people life for eternity. Why, because Jesus is the true Son of God. He is holy and sinless. 

And, because He loves you and treasures your life, because He wants you to experience the complete fulfillment and purpose of eternal life with Him, He came to die for you. That's why He is the Messiah, the Christ, the Savior, your Lord and mine.

He is the only One Who could comprehend the full weight of your plight in this world. He is the only One Who could enter heaven itself to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. Only Jesus had the credentials to save you and me from our lostness. And He did it. The expert Savior did it. 

So, my question for anyone listening; do you know this Jesus? Let me say it again. Do you know this Jesus? Does the real Jesus of the Bible really stand out to you?

Sometimes Jesus gets lost in a crowd of very kind and capable people who are lauded and recognized by the world. Mother Theresa, Mahatma Ghandi, and other self-sacrificial, justice-seeking, and philanthropic individuals are usually mentioned in the same company of Jesus of Nazareth. People may comment: "These are good people. In fact, these are exceptional people. They served people who were outcasts; they stood for what was right; they displayed wisdom and self-control; and they lift up the human spirit to this day." 

That's true. There is a select group of people that exceeds human aspirations and outpaces normal human accomplishments. These people make a difference in this world. They inspire us, teach us, and lead us to do better in life. But if you think that Jesus is just One of those very good and capable people, part of the inspirational subset of human beings who show us a better way to treat others and a higher quality of life, you really haven't captured who Jesus is.

Defining Jesus as a really good Person, a very wise Teacher is like saying Dr. Paul Hsieh was truly great at balancing his checkbook. Yes, but there's so much more!

Do you know this Jesus? After observing Jesus' last hours of life, the Roman centurion at the foot of the cross, exclaimed, "Truly this One was the Son of God!" (Matthew 27:54). The soldier saw something he had never seen before.

So did the disciples after they were caught in a raging storm on the Sea of Galilee. As the waves threatened to sink their small boat, they woke Jesus as He slept on a cushion in the back of the boat. Thinking they were about to die, they cried out for help. Jesus stood up, rebuked the wind and waves, and everything became miraculously calm. The disciples were in awe and wonder as they said, "What sort of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him" (Matthew 8:27).

Jesus was no ordinary Human Being. Yes, He was completely human, but also fully God! He cast out demons and they fled in His presence. He healed the sick with a word or a touch. He fed crowds of people with just a picnic basket full of bread and fish. He raised the dead. He forgave sins. He died and rose again.

Do you know this Jesus? He is much more than a good Man and an able Teacher. Jesus is the Solution to all problems; the Savior for all sin; the true God who is with you always; Wisdom from on high; Righteousness for the world; the Way, the Truth, and the Life; the Lamb who sits on the throne; the Prince of Peace; the Wonderful Counselor; the One who hears your prayers; the Good Shepherd who restores your soul; and the Son of God who opens your way to eternal life. Do you know this Jesus? He is the expert Savior you need and even today in this moment of your life.

These days do-it-yourself projects are the big craze. If you ever watch HGTV, and I watch it a lot, you know that there are a lot of people hooked on do-it-yourself ventures. Just stop by your local do-it-yourself home store, pick up a few items, and you'll be ready to go, right?

But if you've ever tackled a do-it-yourself project, you know what can happen. Even the experts on TV encounter unexpected obstacles. Bad wiring is uncovered. Termite damage surprises everyone. Plumbing is faulty, foundations show cracks. The cost of the project and the time it takes can skyrocket. Sometimes you have to call in professional help. The truth is that our competence only goes so far. You and I do indeed have limits.

That's also true with the rigors you face each day. It's true when it comes to life. Do-it-yourself doesn't work very well there with depression, or grief, or terrible pain, or heartbreak. Do-it-yourself doesn't work at all when God expects you and me to be holy and walk in His ways perfectly. That's why you and I need the expert Savior, Jesus. Remember what the writer to the Hebrews said: Jesus "has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself." Jesus didn't ask you to do it yourself. Instead, God's Word tells us: "God shows his love for us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8).

That was a job only He could do. That's a dirty job that He did for you. Let me just try to give you a glimpse of that. Have you ever heard of the television show Dirty Jobs? The premise of the show is that some people do the toughest of the toughest work for us, the dirtiest and the grimiest tasks that we take for granted. Whether it is cleaning portable bathrooms or digging in coal mines, many people in the world do things we can't do so we can be blessed in ways we couldn't make happen in our lives.

I think you see where I'm going with this. Jesus did the dirtiest job of all. The Apostle Paul, once a persecutor of Jesus and His people, later became a believer in Christ and said this of Jesus, "God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God" (2 Corinthians 5:21 NIV).

Do you know this Jesus?

For your bouts of depression and loneliness, He stands beneath you to carry your burden, to walk with you in darkness, and to shoulder your pain. You're not alone. "Come to me," Jesus says, "all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."

For your temper that flares out of control and hurts you and everyone around you, Jesus says, "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid" (John 14:27). God draws close to you and calms you: "In your anger do not sin; when you are on your beds, search your hearts and be silent" (Psalms 4:3-4 NIV).

In your grief and pain, Jesus calls out to you, "Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me" (John 14:1). "I am the resurrection and life." He says, "Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die" (John 11:25-26).

For the addictions that grip you, the lust that leads you to unfaithfulness, and the unforgiveness that hardens you against others, Jesus says, "If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free" (John 8:31-32). "If the Son sets you free," He says, "you will be free indeed" (John 8:36-37). 

For the injustices in your life and in the world, Jesus said, "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied" (Matthew 5:6).

And for your hopes and dreams, in the midst of blessing in your life, Jesus says, "I came that they may have life and have it abundantly" (John 10:10). "Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you" (Matthew 7:7).

Jesus does what none of us can do. He became flesh for us. He walked through the rigors of life in our stead, never failing, never faltering. He bled and died on the cross to carry our sin and brokenness. He walked through the dark shadow of death for you and me so that we can receive a new and eternal life. 

Do you know this Jesus? That's the main question of the Bible because not only did He come for you; He's coming back again too and soon.

He is the Expert we should all long for. He is the Expert to be longed for. He's at work in your life through the Word of God and through the blessings of Baptism and the Lord's Supper. And soon He will reappear as Hebrews 9 tells us: "As it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes the judgment, so too Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him" (Hebrews 9:27-28).

I hope that today, dear listener; you can eagerly wait for Jesus in faith and joy. Yes, eagerly. Jesus tells us that when the darkness grows deeper, when the struggles become stronger, when uncertainty upsets us and worries weaken us, we do not have to hang our heads or give up hope. No, when you are shaken to the core and the world is shaken with you, Jesus spoke a word of hope to you even then. The expert Savior said, "Now when these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near" (Luke 21:28).
You can eagerly, hopefully, joyfully wait for Him starting today!

To make all things new again, we not only need Christ's expert work, we need the assurance that what is true now by faith will indeed be true to our eyes forever. You know, in life, it's amazing when a rescuer who looks defeated, or a soldier fighting for liberation looks beaten, or when a good leader looks overwhelmed, then they return and they finish the job, and they see to it that all is well. We have movies that inspire us to that end. Well this isn't a movie and Christ is so much more than even our real life heroes.

Trust Him with your life today, my friend. You may think that God is absent from your life. Maybe you've never known His presence with you at all. Perhaps you feel trapped in a dead-end of hopelessness or a detour of brokenness. Take heart! Take heart right now. The living Savior Jesus is coming to you right now, opening your way of new life with Him; a life with certainty and eternal hope.

Do you know this Jesus? He knows you. He knows me. He is the Expert we need. Put your faith in Him, today, always; and in Him be blessed!

LUTHERAN HOUR MAILBOX (Questions & Answers) for November 8, 2015 
Topic: Why Does the World Have to End? 

ANNOUNCER: Now, Pastor Gregory Seltz responds to questions from listeners. I'm Mark Eischer. A listener talks about the beauty, the majesty, the blessing of the earth. But the Bible says the world will come to an end. She wants to know why does the world have to end. 

SELTZ: Mark, I can almost hear the sadness in our listener's voice. And, the question is appropriate too, Mark, because this is the time of year in many churches when the readings speak about the second coming of Jesus and the end of the world. In fact, 2 Peter, if I recall, says "The day of the Lord will come like a thief, and the heavens will pass away with a roar, the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed" (2 Peter 3:10 ESV). 

ANNOUNCER: That sounds like a fearsome and destructive day. Many artists have depicted Christ's second coming as a terrifying and chaotic time. Is it something we should dread?

SELTZ: At the outset of the answer to that question, the Bible does make something very clear. Everyone who has faith in Jesus Christ as their Savior, they are saved from sin and death, and the end of the world will not be a frightening and dreadful experience. In fact, the Bible says it will be a welcome day, a day of rejoicing and restoration. I love what 1 Thessalonians says..."The Lord himself (on that day) will descend from heaven with a cry of command, the voice of the angel, with the sound of the trumpet. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then all who are alive and left, will be caught up together with Him in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord." (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 ESV). So what Paul is saying is encourage one another with this Word.

ANNOUNCER: So, it's not a day of dread but a day of joy and it's meant to encourage us.

SELTZ: I'd say so and His coming will mean sin, death, pain, sickness, that's all over too.

ANNOUNCER: In that sense the end of the world will bring blessing and healing to believers; but what about those who reject Christ's salvation, His forgiveness, for them it won't be such a welcome thing.

SELTZ: It won't, Mark. It will be a dreadful day of permanent separation from God. But let's not blame God. People who don't believe in Him, wanted to live life apart from Him, and they will get their wish. Jesus described that existence as a fiery furnace where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matthew 13:50). And yes, it will be terrifying. 

ANNOUNCER: And God doesn't want that for people.

SELTZ: Right; and every listener right now has a chance to trust in Christ as their Savior, put their faith in the God who loves them and gave His Son as a sacrifice for their sins. Believing in Him, each and every listener can receive His blood-bought gift of eternal life. Today is that day!

ANNOUNCER: Getting back to our listener's specific question though, why does the world have to end?

SELTZ: The world as we know it needs to come to an end, Mark. I think many of our listeners would even agree if they're being honest with themselves. Even though we do experience many of God's blessings in this world, and even though God's creation is beautiful, our world and our lives are seriously broken. 

ANNOUNCER: Here you're referring to the problem of sin.

SELTZ: Yes, sin is our problem. Sin is more than just slipping up and doing some things wrong. It's a condition that throws our lives and our world into chaos. So, when human beings pushed God away and tried to make a go of life on their own, just as we do every day, by the way, chaos and brokenness was the result.

ANNOUNCER: And because of that fall into sin, the world itself is groaning with decay just as we are.

SELTZ: You're quoting Romans, chapter 8, and you're exactly correct. In addition to our groaning, we face an obstacle we'd never be able to overcome: death. So God is patiently waiting, enduring what He hates too. He hates sin and death because He wants all people to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth and the rescue and redemption from Jesus. But the day will come when Christ returns suddenly and again things all return to the way God intended them to be forever. Again, think of it this way, at that time God will destroy the pain, the tears, the chaos of sin and make His creation new again!

ANNOUNCER: And that day will be more than we can possibly imagine.

SELTZ: I think you're right, and Paul does give us a glimpse of that. He said, "What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. What is sown in dishonor; is raised in glory. What is sown in weakness; will be raised in power" (1 Corinthians 15:42-43). 

ANNOUNCER: So, for believers in Jesus, the end of the world will not be a loss.

SELTZ: It will be a gain, a glorious and wonderful blessing, in every way. In fact, a new heaven and a new earth are on the way.

ANNOUNCER: Thank you, Pastor Seltz. This has been a presentation of Lutheran Hour Ministries.

Action in Ministry for November 8, 2015 
Rev. Steven Hokana

ANNOUNCER: You're listening to The Lutheran Hour and this is Action in Ministry. Pastor Seltz, today you talked about how we often rely on the experts to handle the dirty jobs for us. Well, I can't help but think of those who serve our country in the military. 

SELTZ: Wow, Mark, how true. They do work that has to be done, but few really want the responsibility or the risk. And for that reason, one among many, we honor them; and this week in particular we honor them on Veteran's Day. 

ANNOUNCER: And while there is great pride for those who serve in the military that also involves great risk and sacrifice. Joining us now is Chaplain Steven Hokana who has written a resource for us called Warriors of Faith. It helps those real-life warriors who share so many different experiences both on and off the battlefield. 

SELTZ: Chaplain Hokana, first of all thanks for being here and thank you for your service.

HOKANA: Thank you for having me on. It's an honor to be here.

SELTZ: Well, listen. You're an ordained minister but you also have been active duty Army for 28 years. We honor you and all those who've served past and present. Because you've been there you know what the road entails. What kind of stains and scars can military work leave behind in our people?

HOKANA: Well, aside from feeling deeply honored to serve our great nation, serving with my fellow warriors through all branches of service, it is true. Frequently when you come back from deployment, there are issues that you have to confront and deal with and so I've written a resource that covers some major categories. The first one is anger. The second is guilt and forgiveness. The third category is grief, and the final one is love. You see, these are the things that veterans talk to me about as a pastor in the military for all the years I've been in. They want to know how they can reconcile this with their families so they can go ahead and reacquaint themselves and get on with life in the United States. 

ANNOUNCER: And so often we see these images of mothers and fathers returning home from deployment surprising their children at school or maybe their spouses at work; it's a joyous homecoming, isn't it?

SELTZ: Right, but they've still got some heavy issues to work through as we are hearing today. How important, Chaplain Hokana, is it for these men and women and families to have a resource like this to help them?

HOKANA: It's absolutely of the highest priority. We call that reintegration and one of the things after the parties are over, after the cake is put away, comes the hard work and sometimes there's a realization that families have grown apart, that there are some unresolved anger issues, or that that soldier deployed may be harboring some pain and anger from the deployment. They can be physically wounded; they may carry some emotional scars as well. 

ANNOUNCER: Now for those of us who have not put on the uniform or taken that oath to defend the country, how could this resource also help us better serve those who did?

HOKANA: I think number one it helps people understand that we are a culture; that we are a culture that has a hierarchy, that we have a chain of command. It helps us to understand some of the language that we speak and come to a common understanding that we are people that are designed and destined to serve. Even though we might come from a different culture, we are still citizens of the United States. We are the sons and daughters of America. Absolutely.

SELTZ: Yeah, there is so much sacrifice involved for all those who serve in all the branches of military. They are experts, Mark, and we do rely heavily on them to fulfill their duties much like we rely on Christ as our ultimate Expert. Chaplain Hokana, Steve, how does this hope in Christ help our servicemen and women as they return from duty? 

HOKANA: I deeply appreciate your sermon. I found it quite meaningful. When you talk about Christ, to trust in Jesus as an Expert, many of our veterans when they come home, they may feel that they are lost in the depths of a dark ocean or wandering a desert in desperate need of an expert to help them out. What I found most telling of your sermon is that you resource the centurion as recorded in the book of Matthew. It is that centurion that stood at the foot of the cross, a representative of the power of Rome, a representative of Caesar; and looks up and says, "This Man is the Son of God." It is that Man, that Son of God that helps our veterans to reacquaint, readjust back home again. 

SELTZ: Wow, Steve, we certainly appreciate your time and effort put in to this study. We know it's going to be a valuable resource for many. Chaplain Hokana, thanks for joining us and thanks again for your service.

HOKANA: Thank you, Greg, and it's an honor to serve. It's an honor to be with your people today. I appreciate it. 

SELTZ: The pleasure is ours.

ANNOUNCER: Again, the name of the resource is ,a href="http://www.lhm.org/booklets/internetorder.asp?promo=PTLH&prod=69E15"target="_blank">Warriors of Faith. To view or download this material for free, go to lutheranhour.org and look for the tab that says Action in Ministry. Our email address is: info@lhm.org. 

Music Selections for this program:

"A Mighty Fortress" arranged by Chris Bergmann. Used by permission.

"Wake, Awake, for Night Is Flying" From The Concordia Organist (© 2009 Concordia Publishing House)

"From God Can Nothing Move Me" From The Concordia Organist (© 2009 Concordia Publishing House)




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Two prayer requests

1. Pray for Dianne Hance as her kidneys are failing and as her body seems to be shutting down.  The doctors are still trying to do all they can do.

2. Pray for Karin as she recovers from a very severe migraine and an emergency room visit last night. 


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