07222018 9 Aft Pent 8 Aft Trinity Sunday Emmanuel Lutheran Export PA

“We are joined with Christ through the Cross (Eph. 2:11-22)”

07222018 9 Aft Pent 8 Aft Trinity Sunday Emmanuel Lutheran Export PA

July 22. 2018

“We are joined with Christ through the Cross (Eph. 2:11-22)”

Sermon Audio

Every so often I see a post on Facebook from one of our members and I marvel at the techniques they use to transform wood into a thing of beauty.  Having grown up in a family that cut trees to warm the house, made signs out of Cedar for people’s homes and spent many an hour sanding, I always am in awe how those who work with wood can join two pieces together making it extremely difficult to see the joint.  Whether a dovetail, a bridle, finger, mortise and tenon, pocket-hole or whichever joint is used, the outcome for each is not only unique, but provides a strength and beauty to the piece that only the craftsman is able to discern and see.

This morning we continue our adventure through another section of Ephesians from our epistle lessons.  Last week it was clear that our Father, “God has prepared our inheritance”. And it is to give us the gift of eternal life.  This morning, we like the woodworker connect and join together the inheritance we have been given with the understanding as believers that “We are joined with Christ through the Cross”.

Our connection with Jesus Christ comes through our Holy Baptism.  Martin Luther in the Christian Questions with Answers answered this clearly when the following question is asked, “What has Christ done for you that you trust in Him?”  Luther writes as a response, “He [that is Christ] died for me and shed His blood for me on the cross for the forgiveness of sins.”  This offer by Jesus Christ of the forgiveness of sins we are joined into through our Baptism into Jesus Christ, life, death and especially His resurrection.  “We are joined with Christ through the Cross” and Jesus Christ freely offers us out of His great love for us this gift of grace and mercy that grafts us into the Tree of Life.

So clearly are we joined to, for and with the Tree of Life that “We are joined with Christ through the Cross” and our being joined to Christ having ‘been brought near by the blood of Christ’ we no longer are strangers, but coheirs with Christ.  As Paul tells the Ephesians, we as well find in Christ ‘our peace’ and no longer are we separated from Christ by a ‘dividing wall of hostility’ of sin, but through Jesus Christ the law has been fulfilled and we are ‘reconciled to God’.  As Paul says, and I paraphrase this, Jesus reconciles us ‘both to God...through the cross.’ And we no longer are ‘strangers nor aliens, but…[we] are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God.’

For it is in the household of God that we find the cornerstone.  And this cornerstone is none other than Jesus Christ. Many times I have walked the grounds of this church and each time as I round a corner, whether in the West, North or South, I see the cornerstones that show the history of our church.  These cornerstones lay claim to the truth we find that “We are joined with Christ through the Cross” and each cornerstone points to not only a date, but the continued affirmation of that belief, whether, 1964, 1981 or 1997.  The point is that we connect and are joined to the past and can clearly look to the future of how God can and does work through us for His Glory to be revealed with our seamless connection to Jesus Christ and the Body of the Church and the witnesses that have gone before us.

We lay claim to Jesus Christ as our cornerstone and our connection and joining, seamlessly because as we gather to hear the Word of God, be fed by the Body of Jesus Christ and are sent to proclaim God’s love for all of mankind.  This is why today our sermon hymn, helps us clearly proclaim the gift of love and grace God offers us through the words of Norman Forness. He penned the hymn, “Rise Up, O Saints of God”. And the first lines of each stanza embolden us to “Rise up”, “Speak out”, “Give heed” and “Commit our hearts” to the truth we believe of the ‘forgiveness of sins’, ‘life and salvation’ that Paul wrote to the Ephesian church about and that we lay claim to God’s grafting of us into the tree of life.  For it is a seamless connection by the Great Craftsman of the World, our God when we firmly believe that “We are joined with Christ through the Cross”.  AMEN