All Saints’ Day/11.01.09/Fort Q & IH/Revelation 7:9-17
· People are freaking out! People are concerned. People are worried.
o We hear about it on the news almost everyday.
· Should we get the vaccination or not?
o What precautions should we take?
§ Where should we go?
· What are we going to do!?!?
· What we are told is that the most effective way to prevent getting sick is to wash your hands regularly or use sanitizing gel regularly.
§ We have all become a little more aware of this of late haven’t we?
· I bet there are a few more purses carrying sanitizing gel out there than a year ago.
o We have been using the sanitizing gel for quite a while up here before we distribute communion and before Service when the vessels are being prepared by the elders.
§ These are precautions that need to be in place
· And for good reason
· We all want to be clean
o The advertising agencies have picked up on this now too
§ Many commercials show you the microscopic little germs on the kitchen counter and then how their product can kill the germs dead
· Or how certain sprays can kill germs in the air
o If you go to the store you will get dizzy as you look at the shelf and all the different choices you have for anti-bacterial soaps
§ We all want to be clean
· But there is a deeper desire we all have to be clean
o Yes, we do want to be cleanly in our lives to prevent sickness and disease
§ We should be diligent in this, especially in our day and age
· But it goes deeper
o We have a desire to be clean
§ A desire to be clean deep down in our soul
· We see it all around us
o People who live with guilt and shame
§ People trying to forget their past
· People who try to justify their actions but deep down they know they can’t
o We see it all around us in the world
§ A particularly stark, yet strange, example of this is the great number of online sites for people to go and anonymously confess their sins.
· They type in their confession in an anonymous way, telling the world what they have done
o There is no forgiveness to be had there – it is just a way to get it off their chest, so to speak
§ Many people in our world have guilt and shame, they feel dirty and unclean, but have no idea where to go with it, they have no idea where to go with their guilt and shame, they have no idea where to go to become clean.
· But what about in the Church?
o What about the people who sit in the pews on Sunday mornings?
§ Do people in the pews in a church have guilt and shame?
· Of course they do. Of course you do.
o You come into this church not because you are perfect.
§ You come into this church not because you are better than others.
· You come into this church with all your junk, with your life not the way it ought to be, you come into this church “a poor miserable sinner,” you come into this church “unclean.”
o So do I.
§ But the question is: Do you know what to do with that? Do you know where to go to become clean?
· Friends, there is nothing you can do to cleanse yourself of your sin, your guilt, your shame.
o You can try and scrub and scrub and scrub your life clean by piling up good work upon good work, but it does not get the stain of sin out of your life.
§ You can try and sanitize your life by giving to this good cause and this charity – but the disease of sin and death still clings to you.
· You can try everything – but there is no cleaning agent in this life that can cleanse you.
· That is why the vision of heaven that John is given in the book of Revelation is such good news to us
o In the reading we have from Revelation for All Saints’ Day gives us a beautiful picture of heaven
§ We read: “Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, clothed in white robes, and from where have they come?” I said to him, “Sir, you know.” And he said to me, “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.”
· Those who are in heaven have been washed in the blood of the Lamb - Jesus
o They have been washed clean by Jesus.
§ Their sin and guilt and shame have been washed away by Jesus.
· They have been sanitized, they have been purified, they have been cleansed by Jesus
o Jesus has given them His perfect pureness
§ Jesus has wrapped them in His robe of righteousness
§ Jesus is the only cleaning agent that can clean the stain of sin
· That is the cleanness we all seek deep down in our soul
o We all want our sin, our guilt, and our shame to be washed away
§ And the only way this can be done, the only way, is through Jesus
· There is no other way – only Jesus can cleanse you of your sin, guilt, and shame
o What do we do with our guilt and shame?
§ Where do we go to be cleansed?
· To Jesus.
· Friends, we have the answer to the question many around us are asking, even if secretly and silently
o We have the answer to the silent suffering of so many who are weighed down by their guilt and shame
§ We have the answer for so many who think God does not love them because they have done some terrible thing or because they are somehow unworthy of God’s love
· The answer is JESUS!
o The answer is not try harder.
§ The answer is not do this or that and you will have earned forgiveness.
· The answer is not feel guilty enough, feel bad enough, suffer through life enough, and then maybe you will have paid the penalty.
o NO! The answer is Jesus!
§ Jesus did what needed to be done.
§ Jesus took upon Himself your guilt – so there is no guilt remaining!
§ Jesus suffered on the cross so you need not suffer the penalty for your sin.
§ Jesus loved the unworthy to make them worthy.
· The answer is Jesus and His cleansing blood.
o The answer is Jesus and His cleansing life, death, and resurrection.
§ The answer is Jesus who takes all your sin, guilt, and shame and nailed them to the cross
· The answer is Jesus who took all your sin, guilt, and shame into the grave and they are no more
o The answer is Jesus whose powerful Word of forgiveness in Holy Absolution erases your sin and removes it as far as the east is from the west
§ The answer is Jesus who cleanses you in the pure and holy waters of Baptism, washing away the guilt of sin
· The answer is Jesus who comes in His very Body and Blood in Holy Communion and removes your shame, forgives your sin, and strengthens you in your life
o The answer is Jesus who comes to you in the dark night of the soul, when you have fears, doubts, guilt, shame, worry, and He says: “Peace to you.”
§ The answer is Jesus.
· Friends, the picture we are given of heaven is of those who have been washed in the blood of the Lamb.
o We can take comfort in the fact that those who have gone before us are in heaven, not because of what they have done, but because of what Jesus has done for them.
§ We can rejoice that for the sake of Jesus our loved ones are washed clean, and they are with Jesus.
· But you can also rejoice this All Saints’ Day and find comfort in knowing that you too have been washed clean by Jesus
o You too have been cleansed and in your baptism Jesus robed you in His righteousness
§ You can take comfort in knowing that when God looks down upon you He does not see your sin, your guilt, or your shame – He looks down and He sees the robe of Jesus’ righteousness that covers you
· Your sin, guilt, and shame have been cleansed by Jesus
o In Jesus you are clean.
· Dearly beloved, live with this knowledge
o Do not live under the weight of guilt and shame
§ But live in the joy and peace that comes from knowing that Jesus has lifted that weight from you
· This All Saints’ Day remind yourself of the white robe you wear – the white robe of righteousness that Jesus has given you in your Baptism
o Live in the joy and peace of knowing that in Jesus you are clean.