Sermon Recording for All Saints’ Day – Nov. 1, 2020

+ All Saints’ Day – November 1st, 2020 +

Series A: Revelation 7:9-17; 1 John 3:1-3; Matthew 5:1-12

Beautiful Savior Lutheran

Milton, WA


“What is Heard and What is Seen”


In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.


When you read the Scriptures you’ll often notice a difference between what is heard and what is seen.


The servants at the wedding at Cana heard Jesus say, “Fill the jars with water…draw some out and take it to the master of the feast.” The master saw and tasted good wine made by the Bridegroom himself. The disciples heard Jesus ask Philip where they were going to buy bread for the crowds to eat; they saw more than five thousand people fed from a Jewish boy’s Lunchable.


The same thing is happening in the heavenly vision Jesus gives John in Revelation. In Revelation 7, John hears a number – 144,000. Now, don’t get hung up on the numbers for too long. Like everything in Revelation, they’re symbolic. Twelve times twelve times a thousand. A perfected Israel. A new Israel. Absolute completion. None are missed. None left out. The full number are sealed for salvation. That’s what John hears.


What John sees, however, is far different, and far better. A great multitude which no one could number, and not just from Israel, but from all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues…


What John hears is the promise. What he sees is the fulfillment. What John hears is the preview – a new, completed, restored, perfected Israel. What John sees is the full length-feature film, the Church, God’s new Israel, gathered around the throne of Jesus the crucified yet victorious Lamb. God gives John this vision to reveal. To reveal Jesus’ love and comfort for us who live in a lawless, chaotic world. Jesus’ joy and hope when life is so often full of grief and despair. Jesus’ victory for us who are surrounded on all sides by sin, death, and the devil.


John is given to hear and see the joy and peace and victory that are already ours in Christ, right now, even though we do not yet see this glorious vision. John is given to hear and see this vision that even now we could hear and have hope in what we will one day see when Christ returns. A great multitude standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands,  and crying out with a loud voice, saying, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”


This was good news for John’s hearers in the 1st century. They were fellow believers, many of whom died confessing Jesus to be Christ and Lord. Members of the seven congregations of Asia Minor who were suffering persecution, hardship, even death for the Name of Jesus. The vision is intended for comfort. They faced suffering, fear, persecution, and turmoil. They died in great tribulation, but they are fine. Safe. Sheltered by God Himself, shepherded by the Lamb whose blood cleanses them. Every sadness and sorrow is ended for them. Every tear has been wiped away by the hand of God.


We remember them today on All Saints’ Day. We also remember our own dear brothers and sisters in Christ as we read the names of those we love who have died in the Lord. They are there in that host arrayed in white….“these are the ones who are coming out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.”


This is good news for you too. For like the saints of old, what we see in this life is often far different than what we hear in God’s Word. For us, as for John’s readers, the time of tribulation continues. Think for a moment about this year 2020; a year so many of us looked forward to with longing and hope, and instead it’s turned out more like that nightmare that we can’t wake up from. A pandemic of COVID. A pandemic of fear and uncertainty and despair. Division. Suffering. Persecution. Turmoil. Unrest. Economic worries. Employment concerns. Since 2020 hasn’t been crazy enough, why not throw in a contentious election. Come quickly, Lord Jesus.


Revelation was written for days like these. To give us peace in Jesus who conquered sin and death and the devil for you. Revelation 7 comforts us so that no matter what this fallen world throws at you – pandemic, pain, persecution, or one bad news story after another – You have God’s word. You have his promise. You have Jesus. And he holds you. And he’s not letting go. Revelation 7 reassures you that no matter who’s in power – be it an emperor or a president – no matter who sits in the oval, the Lamb is on his throne. Revelation reminds us not to let the donkeys or elephants or COVID, or anything in all creation take your eyes and ears off the Lamb. For Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”  Rest assured that 2020 is no match for the crucified, risen, victorious, and reigning Lamb of God. Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus.


And even though you may not see or feel it right now…you are a part of holy assembly John saw in Revelation. You are clothed in white robes. You are washed in the blood of the Lamb. You are his saints. And one day your eyes will see what your ears hear today. Yes, for now, we still live in the great tribulation, but you are fine. Safe. Sheltered by God Himself. Shepherded by the Lamb who feeds you and heals you in his body and blood. Who covers, clothes, and shields you in water and Word in his robe of righteousness. Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of [a]God! And so you are.


On this All Saints’ Day we remember God’s promises spoken to the saints of old, and the promises he still speaks to you today. You are forgiven all your sins. Take eat, take drink. This is my body. This is my blood given and shed for you.


On this All Saints’ Day we give thanks to God for the life and faith of the faithful departed, and for the life and faith he has sealed upon you and daily works in you in Holy Baptism.


On this All Saints’ Day we rejoice with John and all the saints. “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”


For the day is coming when our ears and eyes will hear and see the Lamb on the throne and we’ll join the saints in their endless hymn – free of pain, sorrow, tears, and yes, free of masks and social distancing. The former things will be forgotten and death will be no more.


The day is coming when all our mourning and weeping in this life will be gone, and all we’ll hear and see instead will be the roar of joy and mirth as a multitude of guests gather like a great family reunion at the wedding feast of the Lamb.


The day is coming when we will hear and see what John heard and saw, and with all the saints we shall neither hunger anymore nor thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any heat; for the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of waters. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”


And yours.


A blessed All Saints’ Day to each of you…

In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Beautiful Savior

is a traditional Lutheran Church, faithful to God's Word and His Sacraments. We equip God's people to serve, love, and encourage one another as we grow in our personal relationship with Christ. We reach out to the community as beacons of light, sharing the love of God in Christ Jesus, our Savior.

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2306 Milton Way
Milton, WA 98354
(253) 922-6977
(253) 922-6977