Messages from Pastor Raddatz


May 17, 2020 Mount Olive Lutheran Church Houston TX.
Texts for the day: Acts 17:16-31, 1 Peter 3:13-22 and John 14:15-21


LOOK FOR THE HELPER


…I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever…John 14:16ff


"When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, 'Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.' To this day, especially in times of 'disaster,' I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers—so many caring people in this world." -Fred Rogers (Mr. Rogers)


WE ARE HELPLESS IN FACING SO MANY THINGS


This quote from Mister Rogers reminded parents and children what was important during troubled times: look for the helpers.  During this time in our life as we continue to face this health crisis (Covid-19) we are called to look for the helpers, because we cannot fight a virus on our own.  The help must come from outside of us, like from a Doctor or nurse and from medicine and machinery like a respirator.


When Jesus was facing the cross reminding the disciples that he is going to prepare a place for them (John 14:2-3).  He will be going where they can no longer see him, this refers to his glorified state after the resurrection and his omnipresence.  The disciples cannot change God’s plan.  The cross is essential for God’s help is essential.


We cannot stop our own death.  Yes, we can and should exercise and eat right to take care of our bodies, but eventually we will all fade like the grass and the flowers, for we shall all die.


I ran across an interesting obituary of a man.


The man's obituary read: "If you are reading this in the paper then I am no longer of this world but have passed on to the eternal world promised by Jesus. Hopefully, I am headed up and not down." -Anonymous


How sad! God, our Father, does not want us to have any such doubt about the eternal world, about Jesus' promise that he is the way and the truth and the life (John 14:6). Our salvation and eternal life with him are secure and finished - that is what your Baptism means and delivers. -LCMS Sermons


God had to obtain eternal life for us.  He delivered us from death because Christ suffered for us in our place.  “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, …” (Epistle reading for today, 1 Peter 3:18).


Our sins have been paid foronce and for all”. The Holy Spirit gives us faith.  He is also there for help.  When we experience uncertain and troubling times we are helped by God’s Spirit.  He prays for us, Romans 8:26.


GOD IS OUR HELPER FOREVER


Some Bible translations use the word “helper” but they also use the word “counselor”… "Counselor" is variously translated "Comforter" (AV, AAT);  "Counselor"  (RSV, NIV);  "Advocate"  (NEB);  "Helper"  (NASB, NKJV); and,  "Someone else to stand by you"  (Phillips). He will do for believers what Jesus did for His disciples while He was on earth. Jesus, too, is called our "Comforter" 1 John 2:1, because He is the propitiation (he is the satisfaction) for our sins. -Bul’s Notes


This verse is an expansion of verse 15. It points to "The one who has my precepts and who observes them." That person is in the right relationship to Jesus, a relationship of love, willing obedience, caused by faith. Nothing is so important as willing obedience between children and parents. Nothing is so important as willing loyalty between husband and wife. Nothing is so important as willing obedience and loyalty of the believer toward Jesus. This is sanctification.


How could anyone possibly add anything to this? Note the centrality of love between the believer and the Trinity. Note also that the persons of the Trinity work in utter harmony. Even the closest of mere human relationships is temporal and their presence with each other is intermittent, not constant. But the presence and relationship of the Trinity with the child of God is constant and will never end.


A HELPER, in the biblical sense means:


  • one who pleads another's cause before a judge, a pleader, counsel for defense, legal assistant, an advocate
  • one who pleads another's cause with one, an intercessor
  • of Christ in his exaltation at God's right hand, pleading with God the Father for the pardon of our sins
  • in the widest sense, a helper, aid, assistant
  • of the Holy Spirit destined to take the place of Christ with the apostles (after his ascension to the Father), to lead them to a deeper knowledge of the gospel truth, and give them divine strength needed to enable them to undergo trials and persecutions on behalf of the divine kingdom-Bul’s notes

Chippie the parakeet never saw it coming. One second, he was peacefully perched in his cage. The next he was sucked in, washed up, and blown over.


The problems began when Chippie's owner decided to clean Chippie's cage with a vacuum cleaner. She removed the attachment from the end of the hose and stuck it in the cage. The phone rang, and she turned to pick it up. She had barely said "hello" when "ssssopp!" Chippie got sucked in.


The bird owner gasped, put down the phone, turned off the vacuum, and opened the bag. There was Chippie -- still alive but stunned.


Since the bird was covered with dust and soot, she grabbed him and raced to the bathroom, turned on the faucet, and held Chippie under the running water. Then, realizing that Chippie was soaked and shivering, she did what any compassionate bird owner would do . . . she reached for the hair dryer and blasted the pet with hot air.


Poor Chippie never knew what hit him.


A few days after the trauma, the reporter who had initially written about the event contacted Chippie's owner to see how the bird was recovering. "Well," she replied, "Chippie doesn't sing much anymore -- he just sits and stares."


It is hard not to see why. Sucked in, washed up, and blown over . . . That's enough to steal the song from the stoutest heart. -Max Lucado, In the Eye of the Storm, Word Publishing, 1991, p. 11.


If we did not have the Holy Spirit, we would be WITHOUT help.  During these times we do not have to just sit and stare.  We can still sing, sing praise to God who is our helper, forever.  The Holy Spirit brings us comfort through the forgiveness of our sins.  He is the one who pleads for our aid before the father.  He will show us the truth, that in this world we will have trouble, but we are to have joy because the Spirit of God has overcome the world.  We too will rise from the dead when Christ returns.


Thank God that he forgives us our sins through Christ.  Thank God that we will never be alone.  Thank God that he always helps us. 


May this peace which passes every single human understanding keep your heart and your mind in the one true faith in Christ Jesus, to life everlasting.  To that we say, “AMEN!”


Your Fellow Servant, in Christ,


John Raddatz, Vacancy Pastor




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