160313 Psalm 73

Last Updated on Monday, 14 March 2016 Written by Pastor Schmidt

Sermon Text: Psalm 73 (verses taken from Christian Worship)
Sermon Theme: Surely, It is God Who Saves Me!

For the past two weeks, we have spent some time taking a closer look at two of the "Penitential Psalms" of the Bible. As we sang the refrains for these Psalms found in our hymnals, two weeks ago we pleaded with the Lord in the words of the refrain for Psalm 38, "Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned." And, as we sang the refrain for Psalm 32 last week, we prayed, "Remember your mercy, O Lord; remember your mercy and love." Now today, as we turn to Psalm 73, with a joy-filled and a thankful heart, you and are able to sing out in the words of the refrain: "Surely it is God who saves me; I will trust in him and not be afraid. For the Lord is my stronghold and my sure defense, and he will be my Savior." It is because of Jesus, and only because of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, that you and I are able to say: SURELY IT IS GOD WHO SAVES ME!

At this time, I invite you to join with me in reading the four verses from Psalm 73 as they are found in our hymnals. You may either turn to the Psalm in our hymnal on page 94. Or, they will also be projected on the screen for you. These are not all the verses from Psalm 73, but they are the verses we will look at together today. Together we read:

I am always with you, O LORD; you hold me by my right hand.

You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory.

Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you.

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

Surely, it is God who saves me! Did you note who it is that is holding you and me by the hand? It is the LORD. The one and only true God is not only a holy and just God, who says that sin deserves punishment. The LORD is also the God of love. The LORD is the God of mercy. The LORD is the God of compassion. The LORD is the God of forgiveness. It is the LORD who sent us Jesus to live as our perfect substitute. In his love, mercy and compassion for you and me, Jesus willingly went to the cross where he gave up his body and shed his blood as the payment price for all sins. The glorious resurrection of our Savior, Jesus, is God the Father's stamp of approval on all that his Son did to win your forgiveness and mine.

Because of the Savior-God's great love for you and me, we are able to confess our sins as we did at the beginning of our Service today, "Holy and merciful Father, I confess that I am by nature sinful, and that I have disobeyed you in my thoughts, words and actions. I have done what is evil and failed to do what is good. For this I deserve your punishment both now and in eternity. But I am truly sorry for my sins, and trusting in my Savior Jesus Christ, I pray: Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner." And the Good News that Pastor Pagels proclaimed to us is that, "God, our heavenly Father, has been merciful to us and has given his only Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. Therefore as a called servant of Christ and by his authority, I forgive you all your sins in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit." Because of Jesus, you and I are children of our Father in heaven. Because of Jesus, you and I are able to say, "Surely, it is God who saves me!"


Now, it is in thankfulness for this wonderful free gift of the forgiveness of all of our sins, that you and I desire to live a life of thanks and praise to the God who saves us. Our prayer is that the LORD God would give to each one of us the strength to live according to his will. As we read in the words of Psalm 73, "You guide me with your counsel...God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever."

Surely, it is God who saves me! Finally, because Jesus is our living Lord and Savior, we rejoice in these words of Psalm 73, "You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory. Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever." It is a fact that unless our Lord returns first, one day your heart and my heart will fail. It will stop beating. Our lifeless body will be placed in a grave. Our flesh will turn to dust. The thought of death is a scary thought for many people. But the child of God is able to say about their death, "afterward you will take me into glory." Far greater than any of the riches or pleasures of this world is the perfect joy of heaven. At the time of death, the soul of a believer immediately goes home to the side of our living Savior. When Jesus returns in all his glory, the bodies that were placed in their graves will be raised up. The bodies of all believers will be made perfect. Then soul and body will live forever together in the glory of heaven. Because of Jesus, our victorious and living Savior, you and I are able to say, "Surely it is God who saves me!"

It is the one and only Savior-God who comforts and encourages you and me with these words from the great Resurrection Chapter of the Bible. It is in 1 Corinthians chapter 15 that we read, "Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed—in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: 'Death has been swallowed up in victory.' 'Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?' The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain."

This coming Thursday is St. Patrick's Day. Often times on that particular day, we hear people talking about the "Luck of the Irish." As we think about our place in heaven, you and I don't have to say, "I hope I am lucky enough to get into heaven." Rather, you and I are able to be sure that we have a place in heaven. How? How are you able to be 100% sure that you will live forever in the perfect joy and peace of heaven? Because God the Father sent you his one and only Son, Jesus, to be your Savior. How are you able to be 100% sure that your sins are completely forgiven? It is not because you have done something to pay the price for your sins. It is only because Jesus Christ, as your perfect substitute, gave up his body and shed his blood for you. Until that day that Jesus calls you home to his side in heaven, how are you, as a child of God, able to live a life that is pleasing in the sight of our Lord God? It is not because deep down all people are good people. Rather, it is because the Lord God empowers you with his almighty Word to live for him. How is it possible that all of this is true? Because, "Surely, it is God who saves me!" Amen.

 

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Compelled by the love of Christ, St. Matthew’s Evangelical Lutheran Church and School seek to reach out to our families, community and world, using Law and Gospel to make disciples, growing and nurturing them in their Christian faith and life.

 

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Oconomowoc, WI 53066
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