"Dear Simon Peter,
It is very good, it is certainly true, and it is most beneficial that you say, 'I am a sinful man.' Or, as we hear and pray together every Sunday here at Trinity in the Proper Preface, 'It is truly meet, right, and salutary.'
"Why? Because your saying, 'I am a sinful man,' is the beginning of your giving thanks at this time and in this place to the one holy Lord of us all--almighty Father, everlasting God, through Jesus Christ, His Son, our Lord, who has called you by His Holy Spirit to gather you with others who also say with you, 'I am a sinful man.'"
To hear the entire sermon preached for the Fifth Sunday after Trinity at Trinity, Layton, "I Am a Sinful Man"--beginning with the Old Testament Reading and concluding with the Prayer of the Church, click on the following MP3 audio link. "I Am a Sinful Man"
If you would rather just read the sermon, or read along as you listen, the preaching outline/manuscript follows below. However, please understand some transitions are filled in and bullet points fleshed out from the pulpit that are not included in the ms.
8But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, "Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord." 9For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish that they had taken, 10and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, "Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men." 11And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed him. -- Luke 5:1-11
Dear Simon Peter,
It is very good, it is certainly true, and it is most beneficial that you say, "I am a sinful man ." Or, as we hear and pray together every Sunday here at Trinity in the Proper Preface, "It is truly meet, right, and salutary."
Why? Because your saying, "I am a sinful man," is the beginning of your giving thanks at this time and in this place to the one holy Lord of us all--almighty Father, everlasting God, through Jesus Christ, His Son, our Lord, who has called you by His Holy Spirit to gather you with others who also say with you, "I am a sinful man."
Again, why? Because, as we heard in the 15th Chapter of the Gospel according to St. Luke two weeks ago, "This man [at whose feet you have fallen] receives sinners and eats with them."
Furthermore it is *only* sinners, and those who say, "I am a sinful man," whom this man Jesus, the Son of God, receives now and seats with Him at the right hand of His Father in heaven to: • bathe in the Living Water of His Baptism; • nourish with the Living Bread of His Word; • refresh with the Living blood of His Communion; • and eat with again on the Last Day at the Resurrection of all flesh.
Yes, dear Simon Peter, it is indeed very good, certainly true, and most beneficial that you say, "I am a sinful man ."
And by Simon Peter I mean each one of you and include myself as well.
You see, the name Simon was a very common Greek name given him by his parents meaning, "flat nosed." And Peter is a rather unique Greek name given him by His savior Jesus meaning, "Rock."
And this is why I call each of you, as well as myself, this morning, by the name Simon Peter.
For what each of us, indeed what every single human being born of two human parents since Adam & Ave first sinned in the garden have in common with Simon the flat nosed one is that each of us is most certainly a sinful man.
And what each of us Baptized children of God who have been splashed with His Living Water have in common with Peter the Rock is that each of us now bear the name of God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—and have been delivered from all our sins to do the work that has been prepared for us to do in Christ Jesus.
It is interesting what caused Peter to say, "I am a sinful man ." [Back to Text.]
The circumstances for each of us flat nosed ones is different for each of us.
Yet, ultimately, it is only the Word of God that caused him and us to say, "I am a sinful man ."
Christopher was examined and absolved yesterday according to the confession of the faith that has been handed down to us even from the early church, the apostles, and the very Word of God:
"it is not usual to give the body of the Lord, except to them that have been previously examined and absolved. And the people are most carefully taught concerning faith in the absolution," [AC XXV]
1. Do you believe that you are a sinner?
Yes, I believe it. I am a sinner.
2. How do you know this?
From the Ten Commandments, which I have not kept.
19. What should admonish and encourage a Christian to receive the Sacrament frequently?
First, both the command and the promise of Christ the Lord. Second, his own pressing need, because of which the command, encouragement, and promise are given.
20. But what should you do if you are not aware of this need and have no hunger and thirst for the Sacrament?
To such a person no better advice can be given than this: first, he should touch his body to see if he still has flesh and blood. Then he should believe what the Scriptures say of it in Galatians 5 and Romans 7. Second, he should look around to see whether he is still in the world, and remember that there will be no lack of sin and trouble, as the Scriptures say in John 15-16 and in 1 John 2 and 5. Third, he will certainly have the devil also around him, who with his lying and murdering day and night will let him have no peace, within or without, as the Scriptures picture him in John 8 and 16; 1 Peter 5; Ephesians 6; and 2 Timothy 2.
All of this was true for Simon Peter just as it is for Christ, and just as it is for you. And each of you have been examined and absolved in the same way as Chris.
What is also true for you, dear Simon Peter, yes each of you and me is Jesus said to …, "Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men." 11And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed him.
No, not all of you will be catching men in the same way. But you will be catching men, because this is the good work prepared for you in Christ Jesus to do—usually w/o your even knowing it. [Matt. 25; Wittenberg beer]
Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. 28 And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, helping, administrating, and various kinds of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30 Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? 31 But earnestly desire the higher gifts. 1 Corinthians 12:28-31
So all of us who have been called with Simon Peter to say, "I am a sinful man ," are once again gathered to rejoice in the forgiveness of sins; to live in the kingdom of heaven; and to be seated the table of our Lord now today and even forevermore-- --in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen