Messages from Pastor Raddatz

September 18, 2022, Mount Olive Lutheran Church, Houston TX, Readings for The Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost: Amos 8:4-7, 1 Timothy 2:1-15 and Luke 16:1-15. Catechism Series final message (5 of 5)


 God sees all, God forgives all and we are never the same again

John 20:20-23

Grace, mercy and peace, from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Dear People of God,

Imagine you are in around twenty years of age.  You are offered a job washing windows.  The windows are on a very tall building.  You are offered this job at $20.00 an hour, but you must choose how you will wash the windows.  

  1. One way is to hold on to a rope with one hand, repel off the roof of this skyscraper and with you other hand you wash the windows.  In other words, You can wash the windows by holding on with your own strength and cleaning with the other.
  2. The other way is to have a harness put around you.   You still have to descend off the roof, but you are held by the strength of the harness and not your own strength.

You would earn more money by having a harness put around you, option two.  If you tried to do your job depending on your own strength, you probably would not last very long.  Depending on your own strength you would find yourself “dangling in the wind” or at least calling out for help.  (Pastor Paul Muther)

Confession and absolution is the place where we let go of our own strength and depend on the strength and forgiveness of God.  

John 20:21-23, “Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you.  As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.”  22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.  23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.’” ESV

We have been looking at the foundational elements of the faith according to the Small Catechism.  Today is our last and final message regarding the importance of confession and absolution.



Confession is important because God sees all and God knows all: Proverbs reads, “Don’t excuse yourself by saying, “Look, we didn’t know.”  For God understands all hearts, and he sees you.  He who guards your soul knows you knew.  He will repay all people as their actions deserve.” NLT

So many people are worried about getting caught.   You know, you do something risky because you think you can get away with it.  Well you can’t.  This is called God’s omniscience.  

The confession of sins isn’t something that comes naturally, what comes naturally is the explanation of our wrongdoing – tell a boy on the playground to quit hitting the other boy, and more often than not he will explain that the other boy started it.   Tell an older sister to quit being mean to her younger sister, and she will explain that the younger sister was being really, really, really annoying.

When we are confronted with our sin, we cannot use an excuse.  Before God all excuses are benign.  Our reasons for doing what we do, do not matter to God.  

Sometimes the realization of what we did, can drive us to despair.  We can mope and pout and grovel, but God wants us to take our self and our sins to the cross.  Through the cross, God forgives all.



Once, when I dug myself into a hole because of my choices, I was moping and groveling…  I finally went to a counselor that asked me to tell him what is going on deep inside of me.  After I told him the thing that was troubling me the most, he said the most beautiful thing.  He told me that now that I have brought this deep secret to light, IT HAS LOST ITS’ POWER.   In other words, through confession we bring our sins into the light.  It is through the light of God sacrificial grace that we are forgiven, and sin loses its’ power.  

It is why I have learned that each pastor needs a pastor.   He needs a pastor he can go to, to confess his sins.  

The beauty of confession is that through the power of God’s absolution, we are never the same again.

This can happen not just between God and us, but it can also happen between two people.  It takes both parties to be willing to acknowledge their part in the conflict and to reconcile their behavior for the sake of the relationship.






Sharing it between two people or three people or more: has to be taught.  Let me give you an insight into what I recently experienced.  It has to do with feelings and faith.  We are called to put our faith first and our feelings second.

Recently, Linda and I were watching a grandson.  He was staying over that night, but in the late afternoon our grandson got really cranky!  We were asking him to do something, and he just was not cooperative, in fact he was rebellious.  We reached a wall.  He shut down.   He started to cry.  Linda and I drew our boundaries.  What we were asking him to do was not unreasonable.  All we wanted him to do, if he could, was tell us what is going on.  He was having a hard time telling us: he is a pre-teen: he can’t tell us because his brain is still developing.  Also, he was ashamed of his behavior and his deepest fear was that he could not stay at our place overnight due to his behavior.  His feeling of failure were greater than our desire to share forgiveness.  

You probably have times where your feeling of failure is so great you wonder how God can forgive you.  Well, This is where I told our grandson, “We forgive you; we want to move on, the clock is ticking, but if you continue to pout and are secluded in your room that is not what Grandma and Grandpa are up to.  We’re old!!!”

What does our grandson say to me, “But I feel so bad that I messed up.”  My response was something like: “It is not a big thing to us, we love you, we forgive you.”   Then he says, “but how can I fix it?”   I tried, “go and apologize to your Grandma we would like you to stay with us tonight.  Do you think you can apologize to her?

He did.  It didn’t take long.  I was reminded of the passage from 2 Peter 3:9,

The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” ESV

The kingdom of God is like a large church in a small town full of folks who gather each week in the Name of the Triune God.   Again and again they admit that the good they have wanted to do, they have not – and the evil they have wanted to avoid, they have done.  Again and again they hear with their own ears their sins are forgiven, their souls are washed, their debt is cancelled, their status is restored.

The kingdom of God is like a husband who goes home that very afternoon from church, looks his wife in the eyes and admits that he has been out of sorts recently, he’s not sure why, he is sorry, he wants to do better.

It’s like a wife who goes home, looks her husband in the eyes, she admits that she has been holding a grudge, she has no explanation, she feels bad about it, she wants a new beginning.

It’s like people of all ages, all sizes and shapes, all walks of life who go home today, they look their Savior in the eyes, they admit they are broken, they’re messed up, they have no excuses, they are sorry, they wonder out loud if they could have an extra measure of grace.  (Pastor Paul Muther)

Praise be to God; their lives are never the same again.   God will never leave you hanging on your own strength.  Amen.

May this peace, which passes all human understanding keep your heart and your mind in Christ Jesus, to life everlasting, Amen.

Pastor John Raddatz

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