St. Stephen’s Evangelical Lutheran Church and School | Beaver Dam, WI | 920.885.3309

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Sunday: 8:00 a.m., 10:00 a.m.
Thursday: 6:30 p.m.
Friday: 1:30 p.m. (Shortened)





Striving to speak God’s saving truth in love. Ephesians 4:15







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Dear Christian, Remember…


It seems like every generation has a monumental event happen in which they will remember all the details quite vividly. We remember exactly where were, what we were doing, and how we reacted to the event. In the 1960’s everyone knew where they were when news broke that President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, TX. The next generation will always remember the events of 9/11. Early in the morning two planes crashed into the Twin Towers in New York City. I was getting ready to go to my Western Civilization class at MLC, when the first plane hit. As news events unfolded all of a sudden classes took a backseat that day. Right now, we live in a time no one has seen in recent history. Words such as social distancing and safer at home become the latest buzz. People cannot move around as freely as we did just two months ago. Businesses face tough decisions about employees and the viable future of the company.


These events carve images in our mind that we will never forget. Living through those events puts a much different spin on them rather than just reading about them in the history books. We say that we will never forget. We will always remember. Habits and activities will change due to those events.


The Apostle Peter urges his readers to always remember what Christ has done for them. As they remember it causes them to keep two things in mind: God’s plan hatched from eternity and the great price paid for them.


God’s plan of salvation did not come about by chance. God did not all of a sudden remember to send a Savior into the world after years of waiting. God did not uncover a note scribbled down on a piece of paper lost in the junk drawer only to remind him about rolling out a plan of salvation. The plan goes back much farther.


We might even think Easter is just one day on the calendar forgetting about God’s plans behind Easter. “He was chosen before the foundation of the world but revealed in these last times for your sake” (I Peter 1:20). Even before God first laid the foundations of the world he had a plan. Even before Adam and Eve reached out to grab the fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, God knew he would send his Son to undo the destruction Satan brought into this world.


Even though God knew all of these things, the world did not always recognize the signs God gave. God revealed the life, work, death, and resurrection of his Son through the pen of the sacred writers of Scripture. Peeling back layer by layer revealing more details about Jesus. This had to be done so that people would recognize Jesus when he came. In our other lessons today we heard how other had to have the mysteries unraveled for them, so that they would no longer be hidden.


Peter himself preached a sermon on Pentecost on how Jesus’ death fulfilled the many prophecies God had laid out. The two disciples on the way to Emmaus saw the events of Jesus’ life with their own eyes. They wondered why all of it had to happen. God’s plan was not seen in all its glory. Jesus appeared to them on the road. He began to speak to them about the previous days’ events. Through the prophecies of Scripture Jesus opened their eyes, so that they clearly aw all the events. The disciples understood, they remembered God’s plan to save them.


Easter is not just an arbitrary day picked out on our calendars to celebrate another festival to make us feel better. Easter is a culmination of God’s plan of salvation laid out for us. Easter allows us to look back in thanksgiving that God has kept all his promises. We see freedom won for us.


Long before we even came into this world, Jesus lived a perfect life for us. Long before we took our first steps, Jesus walked the road to the cross. Long before our first big break in life came our way, Jesus broke death’s hold by walking out the entrance of the tomb with his glorious resurrection. All of these events are revealed through the pages of Scripture for us. We see God’s plan meant for us. God’s plan designed from eternity to save us.


Dear Christian, remember God’s plan! “Through him you are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God” (I Peter 1:21). Peter reminds us the entire reason for God’s plan. It shows us Jesus. It shows us God’s exclamation point upon his Son’s work by raising him from the dead for the eyes of the world to see. Now, we believe in God.


God’s plan changes our life. We do not place the whole ante upon our own life or works. Our entire confidence rests in God and what he has done do. As believers in Jesus we know his work for us. We see God’s wonderful and gracious plan. This plan brings us salvation. This plan changes our life forever.


Yet, we do not always remember, do we? We sometimes forget God’s plan revealed for us throughout the pages of the Bible. Our sinful nature and this sinful world draw us away from how God desires how we live our lives. It leads us down the path of death and destruction. Peter nudges us in the right direction, “If you call on the Father who judges impartially, according to the work of each person, conduct yourselves during the time of your pilgrimage in reverence” (I Peter 1:17).


Our life upon this earth is only for a time. At times we do not always live this way. We give the impression that we only go around once. We let the stress of our daily life get the better of us. We wear blinders about our eternal good only seeing the present struggles. We forget our life remains only a little blip on the radar. We need to remember that we have eternity to look forward to.


We live for our Father who will judge us. Not judging our works, and thank God for that. Our works come with all their faults and cracks. We place nothing but a heap of rubbish before God, if we think our own works will somehow save us. Our Father judges hearts. Our hearts have been created anew. Our hearts are now living for God.


Dear Christian, live in reverence! Live in holy awe and amazement of all the things that God has done! Live in constant thanksgiving for the new life granted to you! Peter goes on to speak of the new life Christians enjoy, “Because you know that you were redeemed from your empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers” (I Peter 1:18). The entire reason for living in reverence to God stems from the fact that the Christian’s life has changed.


Once our life was not worth much. It hurts to hear Peter call our life empty, doesn’t it? Nobody wants a life devoid of all meaning. We work so hard to give meaning to our life. We try to improve our circumstances in our own little of the world. We wish to have a full life, whatever that means. However, all the things we do to make us feel full leaves us still feeling empty.


Many people try to fill their life with friends, whether real friends or followers on Instagram or YouTube. They claim to have a following, but those friends will quickly move onto the next big thing or celebrity with a cult following. We try to fill our life with money. It never is enough. The more we have the more we want. The more we have the more our worry and stress go up. People want their life to count for getting them into heaven, but in the end it counts for nothing.


Jesus gives our life meaning through his life. God had to buy us back from our empty way of life so that we could have life to the full. Jesus’ life covers over all our wrongs. He gives us true meaning in this life.


The price demanded was high. “Not with things that pass away, such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like a lamb without blemish or spot” (I Peter 1:18-19). Peter went all the way back to a picture of a lamb. Jews would be very familiar with this picture. The Passover centered on a lamb. The nation had to choose a lamb from their very own flock, which was perfect it every way. This lamb could have no defects or blemishes. It would be the best.


This lamb would not be groomed for breeding or for its wool or meat, but it would be sacrificed. This lamb without any blemish, for no fault of its own, would give its life. At the first Passover the blood of the lamb would be painted on the doorframe of the home. That very night, when death went through the land, the blood would cause the disastrous plague to pass over their house. For the years following the Passover celebration would serve as a reminder of the true Passover Lamb that would come.


Jesus entered the world as this Lamb. He had no blemish or spot against him. The Jews tried to trick him into sinning. They looked for ways to bring charges against him. They found none. Jesus was perfect. He would come as our sacrifice.


In our consumer society we do not always understand our need for a living sacrifice. When we go shopping, we swipe the debit or credit card and take our groceries. We link our bills to our checking account so that the money atomically is taken out. This way we can enjoy cable, the internet, our phones, and whatever else it is.


Our own pride wants to come before God trying to negotiate our freedom. We open our checkbook willing to pay for our freedom. However, our checkbooks do not have enough funds to pay. We pull out our credit card. Over time we will pay it off. The credit limit does not enough come close to paying the balance. We will take out a loan! Certainly, we can get enough money for this. No amount of money borrowed can ever pay God off for our sins.


Not even Jesus, who owns all things as part of the Triune God, could open up his endless coffers to buy us back. It had to be with blood. Not just anyone’s blood, but the precious blood of Jesus the Lamb of God. Upon the cross the blood covered over our sins. Upon the cross Jesus’ life gave us life.


Dear Christian this is part of God’s plan! Dear Christian, God purchased you with the precious blood of his Son.


All of a sudden we find value in our life. As we take inventory of our life it can certainly leave us wondering. We wonder where our worth is. We feel forgotten by so many. We fret about the future that will come our way. We need to remember how valuable we are!


Jesus gave his life for us. He did not have any hesitation in doing this. He went willingly to the cross to pay for our sins. He shed his blood so that we might be washed clean from our empty way of life.


God values us greatly. As a result, we live our lives in reverence. Worry. Gone. Fear. Gone. Net worth. We are heirs of God’s blessings to us. Dear Christian, remember this! As we realize all of these things, we can do nothing but live our life for God. We abandon our sinful way of life to life for God. We will live in reverent awe for all the things he has done for us.


Dear Christian, remember! Remember God’s plan of salvation for you. Dear Christian, remember! Remember God has redeemed you! He purchased you with his precious blood to be his very own. Amen.  

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