Holy Trinity Sunday – C LSB #’s 885:1-4, 575, 885:5-8
Text – Acts 2:26
Therefore my heart was glad, & my tongue rejoiced; my flesh also will dwell in hope.
DWELLING IN HOPE
Since I write a lot of sermons, & since I do a fair amount of research for them online, the browser that I use has apparently figured out something about my age. One of the topics that comes up fairly often in my newsfeed is this: Top Ten Places To Retire. I don’t know how many organizations out there are doing the research, but it gets fed to my computer.
Growing up where & when I did, most people just retired right where they had lived & worked all their lives. In that time & place, you didn’t really choose where to live. You just stayed wherever you were born. In 2021, Americans moved, on average, every five years. We live in a very mobile society, so where we dwell is much more of a choice than it was in the past.
Thinking about you, why do live where you live? Did you make that choice? Did the company that hired you influence your decision? Did you move where your spouse was living? Did your parents make that choice & you have never left?
In my life, there was a stretch from 1989 to 2009 where I never lived in the same place for more than 3 years. During those two decades I moved ten different times. I lived in eleven different places. Now, I’ve been dwelling in the same house for over 16 years.
Where are you dwelling this morning? Maybe you’ve already figured out that you can answer in different ways, depending on the context in which we ask the question. In the Epistle reading from the 2nd chapter of Acts, Peter is preaching a sermon & he’s quoting king David as the king speaks of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
The home in which we live has a large impact on our lives, not just because of the physical shelter it provides, but also the psychological shelter. It’s been said that a man’s home is his castle, & that clearly has nothing to do with the physical reality of the home. How many people do you know that actually live in a real castle? And when a person’s home is broken into that event often shatters the psychological sense of safety which a home provides. So, what does all that have to do with St. Peter & King David & the Son of God?
At Matthew 8:20 (ESV), “Jesus said to him, ‘Foxes have holes, & birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.’” It is not a stretch at all to say that during His three year ministry here on earth, Jesus was a homeless man. How would you deal with being homeless? Maybe some of you know.
The sinful world, you & I live in, is a very harsh place. The love of God & the Holy Spirit working through His children soften that to any degree that life here is not just plain miserable, yet there is still more suffering on earth than any of us can even begin to imagine or wrap our heads around. The news headlines are full of it.
The truth is, even if we have a physical castle to live in that alone cannot guarantee our safety. And no matter what outward protections we have, in the end, our own physical health will always betray us from within. Just ask anyone over 80 years old. It happens.
In your day to day life where do you turn for safety? Is it to your health or wealth? Is it to your wisdom & knowledge or to your castle? In his sermon, St. Peter works to knock out from under them every form of safety that his audience was providing for themselves.
And since they were a very religious people, though not necessarily saved, he cuts right to the heart of their spiritual beliefs: “this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan & foreknowledge of God, you crucified & killed by the hands of lawless men.” (Acts 2:23 ESV)
The people that Peter was preaching to had thought they believed in God, yet by rejecting Jesus they revealed that they did not actually believe in God. They needed to be convicted of their unbelief & empowered by the Holy Spirit to repent & then follow Jesus. God sent Jesus that the people might come to Him. Therefore, the sermon that Peter was preaching tells the people about the words of King David. David was describing the inner life of one who follows Jesus. That person literally rests in Yahweh & in what Yahweh has given.
What does that mean? This is the answer he provides, “Therefore my heart was glad, & my tongue rejoiced; my flesh also will dwell in hope.” (Acts 2:26 ESV) Our inner life, our saintly nature, literally rests in Yahweh & in Him alone. The result of that is gladness & joy. The speaker describes that as the place where he lives, dwelling in hope.
There is a lot of misery that is very publicly on display in our nation & in our world today. People are suffering & dying across the globe. None of that is new actually, but it seems like chaos is beginning to take over in our nation. Vladimir Putin has certainly unleashed chaos in Ukraine & the surrounding nations receiving the refugees. Yet, you can dwell in hope.
To do so, we have to realize that although we live in this world, all who follow Jesus are not of it. This is not our home or dwelling place. We are only strangers or aliens here. The place where we truly dwell is in the hope that Jesus Christ brought into this world at Bethlehem. The place where we truly live is in Jesus.
Faith kills the old Adam in us & creates an entirely new person who belongs to the age to come, but is for now still suffering here in this age. The person who perfectly illustrated that in this life is Jesus. He suffered & endured all manner of evil here on earth, but it never changed Him. And He endured all that for you. In the sight of God you have received the credit.
In these words from God, to David, to Peter, to us, Christ gives us a picture of the love & trust that are at the core of what it means to be truly & faithfully human before God. In Jesus, the voice in Acts 2:26 is also our voice. The relationship the Son enjoys with the Father is also our relationship through Jesus. And when our current sorrow & mourning is turned to complete rejoicing, on the day our bodies are raised from the dead, the fullness of joy & pleasantness of life in God’s presence will eclipse every shadow in which you & I live.
In the name of the Father & of the Son & of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood & righteousness; no merit of my own I claim but wholly lean on Jesus’ name. His oath, His covenant & blood support me in the raging flood; when every earthly prop gives way, He then alone is all my hope & stay. When He shall come with trumpet sound, Oh, may I then in Him be found, clothed in His righteousness alone, redeemed to stand before the His throne! On Christ, the solid rock, I stand; all other ground is sinking sand. Amen. LSB 575:1, 3-4.
Pastor Dean R. Poellet