Fwd: The Lutheran Hour: February 21, 2016 "Body and Soul Salvation"

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Date: 2016/02/20 9:15 PM (GMT-06:00)
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Subject: The Lutheran Hour: February 21, 2016 "Body and Soul Salvation"

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Email Us button greenSermon Text for February 21, 2016 

"Body and Soul Salvation" #83-25

Presented on The Lutheran Hour on February 21, 2016
By Rev. Dr. Gregory Seltz, Lutheran Hour Speaker
Copyright 2016 Lutheran Hour Ministries

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Text: Philippians 3:17-4:1

The Apostle Paul says, "Brothers and sisters, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, they walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory is in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself. Therefore, my brothers and sisters, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, my beloved, stand firm thus in the Lord.

Christ is risen. He is risen indeed, Hallelujah, and salvation in Him is for all, body and soul. Amen.

Salvation is body and soul! Let me say that again; salvation in Jesus is body and soul for an eternal citizenship in heaven. And that's good because the problems that all of us face are body and soul.

It's a bit like saying that all of us live Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde type lives due to our sin. Have you ever read the classic book Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde? In this short novel by Robert Louis Stevenson, Dr. Jekyll is an intelligent and well-respected scientist. He has inherited great wealth. To all perceptions, he is a gentleman. He is socially aware and elite. His friends enjoy him and he is a well-respected member of society.

But Dr. Jekyll has a secret. He is pretending. When he is alone, he knows that it's all an act. As a matter of fact, Dr. Jekyll knows that his real personality contained a suppressed evil lurking just below the surface. 

One day, using his great intellect and scientific skill, Dr. Jekyll figures out a way to give voice and personality to his evil inclinations. As a matter of fact, he has figured out a way to be an entirely evil person while maintaining the public perception that he is good. He combines chemicals in such a way that he is able to transform himself into a different person. Mr. Hyde. 

Now Mr. Hyde is pure evil. There is no goodness in him, and no pretense of goodness. Mr. Hyde doesn't officially exist, so he is free to live out his evil inclinations without any fear of repercussion or punishment. He is able to live out his evil without any pretense of even wanting to be good. 

The compulsions of our bodies, the temptations of our souls, they have ramifications. They have results. And the problems that we face in our bodies are often problems of our souls just working their way out. And like Dr. Jekyll, there is a Mr. Hyde in all of us due to our sin. 

When Paul writes this letter to the believers in the ancient city of Philippi, he's warning them of missing the point, of thinking that a person can live life totally on their terms without ramifications. He says that there are people actually living, not merely as people ignorant of God's body/soul salvation in Jesus, but as enemies of Christ.

He describes such a life in a very graphic way. In the text, he says, there are people who live, by the worship of their own bodies. They worship their own stomachs. They glory in shameful things, and in the end, their destiny is destruction. 

When Paul wrote this, it was common to see the stomach as the source of emotions instead of the heart. We still talk this way at times too. Ruled only by what we think is right, by what we feel is good, no matter what God says. That's what it means to be "one who worships their own body" as if that is what life is all about. 

But Paul warns all of us who live this way; who live our lives defined by our own feelings and desires alone. He says if you live that way, then you are living as if you are god. And that is an empty reality, a sinful temptation. It is a soul problem that has body ramifications. Such worship allows a person to actually glory, take pride in things that are shameful. But in the end, there is only destruction, because the wages of sin is not salvation, it is death itself.

And, I want to tell you, that these words of Paul hit a little too close to home for all of us. We might not actually worship our bellies. But there is plenty of evidence that we too are quite self-centered. Whether it be that we actually focus too much on our bodies, obsessed with being healthy in this world, or whether we disregard our bodies and just do as we feel for the moment. And what about that general feeling that we have "deep inside" that our wants, our needs, our desires are the most important things in our lives, even for our lives. 

And if we are willing to be honest with ourselves, we'd have to admit it - to ourselves or to others, that we often glory in shameful things. We secretly enjoy things that others would look down upon. We secretly crave things that even would label as bad or shameful. We too have become so callous to sin and evil that we no longer feel shame when we sin. Let me say this to you, especially if you are listening to this program for the first time; to be a Christian is to first and foremost admit that you are 100 percent sinner before the righteousness of God. To be a Christian is not, and has never been, a "holier than thou" type of life. Even striving to do the right thing, we know that only the forgiveness, grace, and righteousness of Jesus for us will matter in the end. 

Paul reminds all who believe that: "Our citizenship is in heaven. We await a Savior, the Lord Jesus from there, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself."

But Paul's early warning stands. Paul is saying if you live glorying in yourself, eventually the Mr. Hyde will win out and that is not a good thing.

If you remember again in the novel, Dr. Jekyll thought he had it all figured out; just be someone else to fulfill those desires. Live one way on Sunday, another on Monday through Friday, or live one way Friday night, Saturday night, and then another on Monday morning.
Such a way of life, won't work, it never does. In the novel, a major problem arose. You see, when the whole experiment started, Dr. Jekyll was in control. He could take the chemical mixture to become Mr. Hyde for a time. But one day, Dr. Jekyll went to sleep and Mr. Hyde woke up on his own. Jekyll hadn't taken the chemical mixture. Mr. Hyde, unexpectedly, unwelcomed, he simply showed up. The evil took over the good. 

Jekyll wrote a letter to his friend begging for his help. He admitted in the letter that he thought he had it all worked out. He thought he could determine when Mr. Hyde would appear. But now it is obvious that Mr. Hyde, his evil, was his true nature. And without outside help, Dr. Jekyll would never appear again! 

If that isn't a story for today, I don't know what is. If that isn't a metaphor for life that we see all around us today, then we aren't looking. The Apostle gets right to the point in another part of the Bible and says,"Who will rescue me from this body of death?" (Romans 7) 

And then he says something incredible; thanks be to God who has given us the victory in Jesus Christ. There is a body/soul salvation for the sinful Jekyll and Hyde people that we are and incredibly the message is that God Himself became flesh so that we might be saved body and soul. Body and soul God took upon Himself, the body of a human being, so that there might be salvation for sinful human beings, body and soul.

God took on a body to save everybody from the sin that brought death and destruction to our bodies eternally. God Himself, who took on flesh, did it to fight the battles that were destined to crush us, so that we might again live; not as selfish, self-centered, sinful people, but as God's forgiven, blessed people in His Name!

I know that this is a tough thing to get our minds around. And let me say, I'm not going to explain it as much as I'm going to proclaim it, because it will blow your minds to think that the God of the universe would make Himself so vulnerable to save people who don't deserve it.

What if Christmas, the Bible's version, was really true? What if God did take on flesh to save? The Bible is clear about how miraculous this is. It teaches that God is there before creation. God is there before there are bodies to have. So, whatever the Bible is talking about, it is something bigger than merely religion. It is something so unique, so unimaginable, that there's nothing else like it in the world. In fact, the proclamation that the eternal God became man in Jesus so that sinful, temporal people might actually live eternal lives again in Him; it's so amazing that all a person can do is be amazed and say "Thank you."

And let me be even more clear; even if we could imagine such a thing, the idea of God becoming man for our salvation, we would still get it wrong when comes to who this Jesus was to be and what He was to do. There are all kinds of stories in the annals of human history of people who might be "super-human, semi-divine." Think about the bodies they had. Again, they're strong, they're perfect, they don't face trial or temptation; no, they are invulnerable. Sounds like self-worship all over again.

The Bible proclaims that when God became flesh, He was vulnerable. He wasn't born into royalty; He was born in a stable to poor parents. He wasn't born to avoid struggle and temptation, He was born to face it and overcome it. He wasn't born to make sinners his slaves; He was born to become a servant so that we sinners could be saved. He was even willing to let His body be in want, in need, to even suffer at the hands of sinful people. The cross of Jesus was His utter willingness to be a nothing because of the sins of the world, so that nobodies like us could be somebodies again, not just for today, but forever with God.

What I love about this good news is that it isn't just for me, and just for you; it's for all people who see their need and see salvation that only Jesus Christ can bring. In fact, it's the other "Body of Christ" that's so important to us as believers. The Bible calls the church, all those who believe in Jesus as their Savior, it calls them the Body of Christ. Again, I think for good reason. It's God's way of saying this is going to be real, flesh-level stuff, transformed not by your efforts or your desires, but by His gift of salvation for you.

The church is the place where we can begin to practice like it's already true. Paul even says, "If you want a picture of what I mean, just think of it this way, 'because of Jesus' death and resurrection, we are citizens of heaven. We don't live for ourselves. We don't worship our bellies. We don't glory in shame.'" In fact, we begin right now, to live our lives, to strive for excellence, not just for excellence sake, but to give God glory and to serve our neighbor in His Name because He has saved us body and soul forever!

With that blessing you can attack the problems of your marriage and know that God's love in Christ will hold you and the ones that are dear to you when it seems that you can't hold anymore.

With that body/soul salvation as a gift from God, you can battle your temptations; you can face your trials and struggles as one whose victory is already sure in Jesus. 

With a mindset that is not Jekyll and Hyde, but Christ and me, you can begin to see your real destiny as one of being a child of His, a follower of His, a member of a community of forgiven sinners that will last forever. Paul calls us "citizens of heaven," because he wants us to see what is at stake, but also what is real for all who put their trust in Jesus.

My dear friends, your destiny is not destruction; because you have a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. His death and resurrection mean that your sins are forgiven. All who believe in Him are citizens of heaven. 

And you might be saying, "Pastor, this sounds way too good to be true. I mean, look at what the world is really like; look at what my life is really like. Can this be true for me, body and soul?"

Well, all I can say is that I know what the world is like. I know what we are like, what you and I are like. And hear this very clearly, The Bible is the most realistic, body/soul book you can read. It pulls no punches. It calls us what we are, 100 percent sinners who need 100 percent salvation from a God who was willing to take on flesh and give us His earned righteousness as a gift, as a cover of grace that lasts forever. Keep that squarely in your hearts, your stomachs, your minds when you face Mr. Hyde, that inner sinful reality still each day. And continue to battle temptation to sin, though you might still give in too frequently. We still glory too much in shameful things but there is repentance and forgiveness still for you because Jesus is our Savior, body and soul. 

Dr. Jekyll realized that giving evil free reign doesn't allow for goodness. Instead, the evil took over and he couldn't control it anymore. He needed someone to deliver him from his evil. He was so consumed with the sin in his life that he needed someone else to save him.

Paul says that we have a "Body and Soul" Savior for Jekyll and Hyde sinners. And, not only that, our salvation is not merely for us personally, it's a gift that reconnects us to the body of Christ, to other forgiven sinners who know what they were or would be without Jesus, but know what they are in Him too. To be citizens of heaven, to be part of His body, the church, we can even begin to live a whole different way in Him for others right now. You and I can forgive as we've been forgiven, we can encourage as we've been encouraged; we can serve as we have been served and we can love the way He loves us. That's the salvation that He has right now in store for you, body and soul. Put your faith in Him, it will make all the difference in your life. 


LUTHERAN HOUR MAILBOX (Questions & Answers) for February 21, 2016
Topic: All Things for Good? 

ANNOUNCER: Now, Pastor Gregory Seltz is here responding to questions. I'm Mark Eischer. Today's question concerns Romans 8:28, where it says "God works all things together for good to those who love God." People would say there is a lot going on in my life right now that doesn't seem to be that good. Does this verse really mean that all things have some kind of ultimate good purpose?

SELTZ: This is great. We're getting questions about verses that Christians and non-Christians know and say all the time. It's good to ask, "What do they really mean." So let me tell our listeners, if you know a "famous verse" that you have a question about, please send it in, call it in, or send an email." 

ANNOUNCER: That email address is info@lhm.org. 

SELTZ: This is one of those verses in Scripture that seem too good to be true. It is one of those passages that people like to quote to feel better about the occurrences in their lives. But to be honest, it sometimes just confuses us. 

ANNOUNCER: How does it confuse us?

SELTZ: When we look at our lives, like you were saying, we discover that things don't always work out in such a way that we can identify how God could possibly be making everything in our lives work out for good. As a matter of fact, it appears that there are times in my life, and I'm sure in yours and others, things are just plain awful, and we don't see any good coming from it. This verse is certainly true but it doesn't necessarily mean I'll be able to explain everything in my life. There may be things that happened in my life that are even evil. When we do things that are against God's will, there will be consequences. Those consequences can affect not just us, but everyone in our lives. 

ANNOUNCER: And the consequences of other people's sins also affect us as well. 

SELTZ: Exactly. We live in a world suffering because of sin. That means that evil is real and it really does affect us, all of us.

ANNOUNCER: But getting back to the verse, it says that God works all things for good. 

SELTZ: That's right. And that's exactly what it means. God works all of this stuff for our good. It doesn't mean that everything is good, or that we will always understand or see the good that God is working here and now. What it does promise to us is that God is not conquered by evil, but that God is in control of all things. He wins and with Him, we do too.

ANNOUNCER: When you say God is in control of all things, does that include evil things? 

SELTZ: Yes. God is almighty. There is nothing that is stronger than Him, including sin, death, and the devil. But for now His permissive will allows bad things to happen for a time. Yet, even now God is stronger. Even when it doesn't look like He is stronger than the evil in our lives, God promises us that He is, and He encourages us to put our faith in Him. 

ANNOUNCER: So what does it mean that God works all things together for good?

SELTZ: As always, when we talk about God doing good things, especially ultimate things like this, we need to talk about Jesus. God's love for us is His Son Jesus Christ. He took on flesh. He lived a perfect life, died, and rose in order to give to us good things. You see, it is in Jesus' death on the cross that God defeated evil and through His resurrection that sin and death are defeated once for all. So, that's where we need to look when we're really answering these questions. We know that God works all things for good for us in Jesus.

ANNOUNCER: And everything in my life is going to go well because of Jesus?

SELTZ: That would be nice, wouldn't it? But no, that is not what this verse says either. The truth is that even Christians will suffer in this life at times. However, even in the midst of suffering, we know God is not against us, but is for us, He's with us, and we know that God always will work through everything, even evil and bad things, to bless us and draw us to Himself. 

ANNOUNCER: It's hard to feel that sometimes.

SELTZ: Hard? I would say impossible. But that is where faith comes in and the clear Word of God draws us to that kind of faith. We trust and believe that God is with us working all things for us because of what God has done for us in Jesus Christ. 

ANNOUNCER: And then, even when it doesn't make sense to us, we can trust that the promises of God are already fulfilled for us, in Jesus, and will ultimately and eternally be experienced by us as well. 

SELTZ: Because of Him, we know that God is always on our side. 

ANNOUNCER: This has been a presentation of Lutheran Hour Ministries.

Action in Ministry for February 21, 2016
Guest: Dr. Joel Biermann 

ANNOUNCER: You're listening to The Lutheran Hour and this is our Action in Ministry segment. Pastor Seltz, I think we all struggle with self-centeredness and we battle against our own nature, I think because we don't really know who we are. 

SELTZ: That's so true, Mark. St. Paul said that he did things he didn't want to do and he didn't do the things that he wanted to do. Like him, we're often very confused but we're going to work on that today. 

ANNOUNCER: And here to help us with that is Dr. Joel Biermann of Concordia Seminary in St. Louis. He's authored a Bible Study titled Who Am I, What Am I Doing Here? Dr. Biermann, thanks for joining us today.

BIERMANN: It's great to be here.

SELTZ: Great to have you. These questions: who am I, why am I here; as children, we're often asked what do you want to be when you grow up. As we get to adulthood, we still seem to be asking a lot of those same questions. But so much of what we do seems predetermined; our parents, our place of birth, physical characteristics; do we have much say in answering that question who are we?

BIERMANN: It's kind of interesting because you're bringing up the idea...that predetermined part of it, and the reality is a lot of the things are just given. You're born to certain parents, you're born at a certain time in history, you're born in a certain place, and those have a huge impact on who you are. So, in other words, we have to come to terms with God created me as I am; my body, my mind, my family, all that's a given and it's not a bad thing. It's learning to accept that that's the first step in having real joy in life. 

ANNOUNCER: But at the same time there are things about ourselves we'd like to change.

BIERMANN: Oh, yeah.

ANNOUNCER: Would that be so bad?

BIERMANN: No. No. You take the givenness that God has given and then you work with that. So, in other words, the "who am I" is I am a child of God in the process of becoming all that God created me to be. It's not just a static "well, that's just the way it is," but is a responsibility to move forward. That's part of who you are as God's creature. 

SELTZ: Also, the Bible talks about we're created with a moral sense for the most part; there is that inner sense of we kind of know what's right and wrong, but to what extent are we able to really do what is right for us? Can we know "God do you really want this for me?" "Are you real?"

BIERMANN: Yeah, the inner voice conscience is a nice tool but it's only a tool and it's only as good as its training. It starts pretty healthy but we can recalibrate it pretty drastically. So that's why it's important when you're asking the question, "who am I," "what's my purpose in life," "what's this all about;" those are kind of the really big questions. It's not good to look inside for the answers, even though a lot of people encourage us to do that; "where's your heart leading you." Your heart isn't the goal on these things...

SELTZ: ...leading you over the cliff.

BIERMANN: Yeah, yeah, right. The heart is not the standard. The standard is something from outside. The great thing about the Christian faith is that we have a clear word that this is the norm; it's what God has said and I can be confident of that. I'm not just looking at my heart for where my feelings lead me, I'm looking for what God has actually revealed and told me. That's what's going to be my norm. 

ANNOUNCER: And when you realize who you are according to the way God has made you and that He's also guiding you from day to day, how does that affect daily life?

BIERMANN: It just opens life up. It gives you purpose for the day to day routine. It gives you direction. It gives you hope. It gives you the assurance of where things are going. You see, the thing that is really exciting about this is, from the standpoint of our American culture, we think "wow, that's really restrictive," really kind of shuts you down; but in fact it's liberating. You are given what it's about and you can live into that and so it's a submissiveness to God's truth. Within that truth it's fantastically liberating. 

SELTZ: Right, you can live into it. I love what you said there.


SELTZ: Well, another thing our American culture does, we tend to measure our worth based upon our personal dreams and goals and attaining those things...


SELTZ: ...along with what other people expect of us. While we might be satisfied with that or we might be really disappointed with our failures, or not even feel like we have enough time to redeem our failures; so again, let's get to this purpose stuff. How do we find meaning and purpose when life doesn't turn out the way we'd like?

BIERMANN: It often doesn't and instead of lamenting the failures you learn to say "what is it that I can celebrate;" what I celebrate is the things that God has given me to do and I'm doing those. Maybe sometimes we need to rethink what the whole point is; and what the objective is; and what the success is. Instead of success being my bank account or my promotions at work or how successful my kids are and how great they are in their sports, maybe my success is faithfully doing what God has given me to do.

SELTZ: Right. There's real purpose in life and knowing that it does change everything.

BIERMANN: It does.

ANNOUNCER: And listeners, this Bible Study is available online. It has much more than we've been able to touch upon today, but it's been great taking this look at who we are and why we're here. Thanks for joining us, Dr. Joel Biermann. 

SELTZ: Thank you. And that's our Action in Ministry segment today to bless, to empower, and to strengthen your life in Christ for others. 

ANNOUNCER: Again, the name of this resource is, Who Am I, What Am I Doing Here? You can view or download this material for free at lutheranhour.org. Look for the tab called Action in Ministry or call 1-855-john316. That's 1-855-564-6316. Our email address is info@lhm.org. 

Music Selections for this program:

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

"Lord, Thee I Love with All My Heart" From The Concordia Organist (© 2009 Concordia Publishing House)

"When in the Hour of Deepest Need" From The Concordia Organist (© 2009 Concordia Publishing House)



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