It is good to include all the scripture lessons for the day into the sermon. I have given one example of how it can be used.
Epistle: Revelation 21:9-14 and 21-27
Lesson: Acts 16:9-15
Gospel: John 16:23-33
We are coming to the end of the Easter Season in the church year. The Epistle Lesson from Revelation 21 speaks of the New Jerusalem where all those redeemed by the blood of the Lamb will dwell eternally. This is our hope and our home. Revelation 21 tells us that nothing unclean will ever enter there, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life. How unbelievably wonderful; living in a land where there is no sin, or evil, or falsehood, or hatred. What a city it will be and we will be able to enjoy it forever. This resulted from the death and resurrection of Jesus.
The lesson taken from Acts 16 speaks of the city of Macedonia and the conversion of Lydia. God called Paul to go and preach the gospel there and soon one woman was converted. I like how the scriptures describe it: “The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul, and she was baptized, and her household as well.” People from all parts of the world can hear the gospel and come to faith and be forgiven of their sins because Jesus died and rose again. So with joy and confidence we confess our faith in the words of the Apostles’ Creed: I believe . . . in the forgiveness of sin, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting.
In the Gospel, Jesus reminds us of other benefits from his resurrection. After Christ’s resurrection and ascension we can pray directly to God our heavenly Father. He states: Ask and you will receive, that your joy may be full. Only Jesus can turn our sorrows into joy. Consider this promise; ASK AND YOU WILL RECEIVE.
Often Jesus would speak using figures of speech, which they often misunderstood, but from now on he will speak clearly to them. But even then they needed to understand that they would temporarily abandon Jesus in the coming crisis of his suffering and death. Although God the Father would forsake Jesus on the cross as Jesus became sin for us, the Father remained faithful to both His Son and His mission in a way his disciples couldn’t and didn’t.
Jesus wants them to know that they will in him have peace no matter what happens to them. In this world they will have tribulation. Christians will face persecution and all sorts of other troubles. This should not be unexpected. Yet, it is often hard to understand and endure. We need to remind ourselves and others often what Jesus told us here. His final word is a message of hope in the face of all that comes our way. But take heart; I have overcome the world.
The disciples confidently claim to understand Jesus and these final words but he needs to remind them of how soon they will abandon him. Those boasting about spiritual maturity stand in danger of succumbing to human pride and unbelief. We also need these words of warning. Our only hope is in Christ. We can stand only as we remain dependent on him. When we face temptation and troubles of all sorts we need Him and to be encouraged by his promises that he had overcome the world. May Christ give us the peace only he can give us in those moments.
Pastor Dale Hanson
Reference: The Lutheran Study Bible