Sermon Text: All Saints Day, 2020, You’ve never been here before but I will guide you

November 1, 2020 Church Blog, Sermons, Sunday Message0

All Saints Day, 2020 – You’ve never been here before, but I will guide you home.

  1. Today is All Saint’s Day, it is a festival day in the church year, which is why we celebrated Reformation Day last week even though it was yesterday.
    1. Last week for Reformation we focused on God’s Word to us in Psalm 46 that reminded us that though the world has been through all kinds of tumult and change the constant is God’s presence that brings peace to His people
      1. Therefore, God was able to conclude that Psalm with, Be still and know that I am God! (Ps. 46:10)
      1. No matter what else may happen, no matter if the mountains fall into the sea, “I am with You, we’ve been here before, I’ve got you, be still…
    1. This week as we celebrate All Saints we don’t look back at where we’ve been but forward to what our inheritance is for us in heaven
      1. This day celebrates all of the faithful who have passed before and now rest from their labors in that heavenly high feast
      1. And we look forward to the day when our labors too shall cease, and we will join them for eternity.
    1. But of course, none of us have been there before…death really is a great unknown, you usually only experience it once
      1. So for as much anxiety and tumult as life might produce, if you’d ask most people, including most of you here, “Would you prefer life as it is or the alternative (ie death)?” Most folks would say, “I’d rather live, thanks!”
      1. As bad as things might be it’s less frightening to continue to put up with your current circumstances and keep complaining.
    1. But our Lord knows this about us and He has given us promise after promise and image after image to lessen our anxiety not only about where we’re going but also where our loved ones who have died in the faith have gone
      1. Listen to our First reading from Revelation, “Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” (Rev 7:15-17)
      1. Once again, as last week, notice that God’s presence shelters His people even in heaven, it is God’s presence that brings peace.
      1. So just as God had a word for us last week, “We’ve been here before, be still and know that I am God,” as we look forward to our heavenly home He says, “You’ve never been here before but be still I will guide you home.”
  2. Our Lord provides so many images of what lies ahead for those who believe to comfort us when we lose a loved one and to comfort us about what lies ahead for us.
    1. Death is frightening and the world finds nothing good in it.
      1. That’s why our society, especially American society, spends so much time trying to deny its reality
      1. We have made aging a problem because it reminds us of our mortality, so we spend billions of dollars on cosmetics and surgery in an attempt to “turn back the clock”
    1. First and foremost, our Lord assures us that Christ has disarmed death.
      1. Listen to what Paul says about the death of death through Christ in I Corinthians 15, “Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”  The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1Co 15: 55-57) 
      1. Christ’s victory over death is our victory over death!
      1. Or as Hebrews puts it, “Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.” (Heb 2:14-15)
  3. Death has been defeated through the death and resurrection of Christ and through faith in Him His victory is ours
    1. Having thus been defeated God provides images of what lies ahead for believers that not only might we not be afraid but that we would long to be with our Lord more than remain here on earth
      1. Listen to Paul as he writes to the Philippians, For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. (Php 1:21)
      1. Now that sounds strange, the world would say nobody in their right mind would think that way.
    1. But look at what our Lord presents throughout Scripture, our Lord has not left us to guess what might be but a promise if what will be
      1. In Isaiah 25 our Lord says, On this mountain the LORD of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine, of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well refined. And he will swallow up on this mountain the covering that is cast over all peoples, the veil that is spread over all nations. He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from all faces. (Isa 25:6-8)
      1. At the end of Revelation we hear, “And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” (Rev 21:2-4)
      1. In John 14, the night before our Lord was crucified, He comforted His disciples with promises of what they had to look forward to, “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.” (Joh 14:1-3)
    1. There are more than these but, the one thing that is common to all of the images we have of heaven is that our comfort, our peace, comes from the knowledge that we will be in the presence of our Lord forever, as it was supposed to be when we were created before sin.
      1. These are the glimpses of heaven that provide peace for us when a loved one is called home, we KNOW where they are that is why Paul can say in 1 Thess, “We grieve, but not like those who are without hope.” (I Thess 4:13)
      1. On this All Saints Day we rejoice for our loved ones who believed in Christ because all of those images and so much more is theirs.
      1. And on that day when our Lord calls us to be Him He will say, “You’ve never been here before, but be still I will guide you home.”
Pinnacle Lutheran Church
Pinnacle Lutheran Church