Eternal Savior Lutheran Church

A member of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod

2688 North Park Drive
Lafayette, CO 80026
303-665-6105
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November 4 – All Saints Sunday – 1 John 3:1-3 – “The Saints Of God”

Introduction:  Grace be to you and peace, from God our Father, and from our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ.  Our text is the Epistle Lesson just read, from 1 John 3.  We begin with prayer.

Dear fellow disciples of our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ:

  • Have you ever sat down and thought about why it is that you come to church?  We can usually come up with a few reasons, and if they are poignant enough, well that suffices and here we are.  But I am thinking rather of sitting down and writing a full explanation, a complete rationale as to why “church” is important to you.  Such an exercise, if we were to give it serious attention, would certainly be revealing – and could potentially take a long time and many pages of writing.
  • I have often suspected that many people view the “church” as something quite different than it really is.  They do not stop to give serious consideration to the fact that the “holy Christian Church” is “the communion of saints,” as we confess in the Creed.  Stop to think about that – what the church is really about is the communion or “fellowshipping” of the “SAINTS OF GOD,” His dear children of faith.
  • Therefore “church” is not about buildings per se, or potlucks and picnics, or family and friends, or pleasant experiences and appearances.  Rather, it is the work of God – the evidence of His great love for us at work in our hearts and minds. 
  • It is not principally a “temporal” or “this world” kind of thing – though it certainly exists and takes place in the here and now, but rather the church is an eternal and “next world” activity – we are people who recognize that we are out of place in this world, “strangers and aliens” according to Holy Scripture, SAINTS OF GOD whose real citizenship is already in heaven!  Our destiny is described in the First Reading, from Revelation 7.  Our odd “character” is described by Jesus in the Gospel Lesson – the “beatitudes” from Matthew 5.  We truly are a “strange” lot – members of Christ’s church, and “SAINTS OF GOD.”  We should think about this more!

 

I.  The Church Consist Of Saints Of God, All Who Are Believers In Christ

 

John 3:36  “He that believes the Son has everlasting life.”

 

A.  God Has Called Us His Dear Children

 

Text:  “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.”

   

B.  Children Of God Are His Dear Children Forever – Through All Of This Life And For All Of Eternity

 

 Rom. 6:23  “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

 

 Tit. 3:7  “Being justified by His grace we have become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

 

So the people in John’s vision of heaven, who have already entered eternal life, are believers in Jesus:

 

Rev. 7:14  “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.”

1 John 2:25  “And this is the promise that he made to us – eternal life.”

 

Statement:

  • So the main things about “church” have to do with God – His love for us in Christ Jesus, the free gift of forgiveness and cleansing provided for us in the “blood of the Lamb,” the blood of Jesus Christ His dear Son, through which God has claimed us as His own dear children, and made us His dear children through faith in Jesus Christ. 
  • And what God has done for us in time – in this life, He has promised that He will sustain forever, beyond our years in this world, beyond death and grave, beyond this “present world” which is “passing away,” beyond the resurrection of the dead.  We are children of God – we have eternal life – and church is the “fellowship” or “communion” of such new people, made new and recreated by God’s Word in Christ Jesus, for eternal life!

 

Application:

  • While we certainly still live “in this world” the reality is, as Christ Himself proclaimed, that we are “not of this world.”  And God’s Word constantly holds before us the “things that are above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God” – encouraging us to think in “eternal terms” even as we finish out our lives in this temporal world.  For this is where our true life is, as the apostle Paul emphasized:

 

Col. 3:2-4  “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.  For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.  When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.”

 

Transition:  But we are often reminded, even in our time together here at church, within “the communion of saints,” that we have not yet reached heaven or perfection.  For:

 

II.  Saints Of God Remain Imperfect In This Life, Incomplete And Still Sinners

 

A.  So It Does Not Surprise Us That The World Doesn’t Know Who We Are – Because Unbelievers Don’t Know God

 

Text:  “The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know Him.”

 

B.  And It Is Certain That We Are Not Yet What We Shall Be

 

Text:  “Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared.”

 

C.  So We Are Encouraged, Within The Communion Of Saints, To Continue To Grow In Holiness And Godliness, In Our Likeness To Christ

 

Text:  “Everyone who thus hopes in Him purifies himself even as He is pure.”

 

Statement:

  • So this is another reason for us to come to church, to fellowship together within the “communion of saints” – where Christ also is present in His Word and His Sacrament!   It is only in the presence of Christ, by seeing Him in His Word and Sacrament that we are “purified,” transformed into His image, just as the apostle revealed:

 

2 Cor. 3:18  “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another.”

 

Applicaton:

  • We certainly “notice” the imperfections of our fellow saints within the communion of the church – just as we are aware of our own sin and weakness.  But this does not keep us from being able to recognize the “SAINTS OF GOD” in our midst!  The world, the unbelievers, they do not recognize us, but we surely recognize one another – and we rejoice to be in the presence and fellowship of other SAINTS OF GOD. 
  • And especially we rejoice to be in the presence and fellowship of the Lord Jesus Christ – Who is transforming us into His own image as we behold His glory!

 

Transition:  And we are not depressed by our own slow progress or that of our fellow saints, for:

 

III.  The Eternal Destination And Nature Of The Saints Of God Is Sure And Certain – In The End We Will See Him As He Is, And Shall Be Transformed To Be Just Like Him

 

Text:  “We know that when He appears we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him as He is.”

 

Statement:  This is our sure and certain hope – and our great joy and delight, and one more compelling reason to be where He has promised to be – “wherever two or three are gathered together” in His Name!  So our fellowship together with His dear children, gathered to our Lord Jesus Christ and “beholding” His glory, the glory of His love for us, reminds us of our true nature and our future destiny – in the joy and bliss of heaven forever!

 

Application:  This too is powerful motivation to be part of “the communion of saints” – and reminds us that we have this same powerful, beneficial, strengthening influence on others, our fellow SAINTS OF GOD!    

 

Conclusion:  So, write it all down – if you need to be reminded of the blessedness of your church, this little “communion of saints,” your fellow children of God!  Live your destiny even today – our time in this world of “tribulation” will be short!  Blessed indeed are those who see the kind of love the Father has bestowed upon us!  Amen.

 

Votum:  And the peace of God, which surpasses all human understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds in the true faith, which is in Christ Jesus, even unto life everlasting, Amen.