Sunday, October 27, 2013

The Truth Will Set You Free

This is what the Reformation was and still is about today—the Truth setting you free . . .

Here the temptation for us is to echo the proud proclamation of the religious Jews of our text: “We are [American Christians] and have never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that you say, ‘You will become free’?” For us that proud proclamation usually comes in the form of proclaiming ourselves free to do whatever we please, whatever makes us happy, whether in our daily living or in our worship life. After all, as we Americans confess in the Declaration of Independence, it is a “self-evident” truth that we “are endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable Rights,” one of which is the “pursuit of Happiness.” And everybody knows—another one of those self-evident truths--you can worship God wherever and however you want to, right?

Hmmmmm. Let’s see. Maybe it’s time we examine these assumptions we all live under in the light of God’s Word, you know, that truth that “will set you free.”

To hear and/or read the entire sermon preached for Reformation Sunday, click on this link.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Perfect Timing

Since the beginning of cinema, the perfect timing of the hero has been a take-it-to-the bank theme. From the damsel in distress tied to the railroad tracks, to the westerns of the “golden age” of the boob tube and the silver screen, to virtually every cop show and adventure movie ever made.

They all are salvation stories of sorts. They take us through the range of emotions, take us to the brink of death, and deliver us to a happy ending.
But what is great for movies isn’t so popular in our churches. The great message of the Gospel is just such a rescue effort of our Lord according to His perfect timing. But nobody wants to wait. And while folks can’t seem to get enough death—the more graphic and the gorier the more we seem to like it--talking about sin and death in our churches is often met with derision and disdain (not to mention dismissal). We want to prevent all that suffering stuff—or at least forget about it. We want our best life now.

The trouble is, we’re just not ready for it. Why? Because our best life comes only when sin has been destroyed. And that takes death.

To hear and/or read the entire sermon preached for the Twenty-First Sunday after Trinity, "Perfect Timing,” click on this link.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Decision Theology

What false preachers say.
"Decide for Christ and dedicate your life to him already!"

What God's Word says.
Ephesians 2:1 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

The Kingdom of Heaven

It is not our going to church or what we do there that saves us. Going to church means that we are going to the place where God is feeding us with the bread of life – “every Word that proceeds from the mouth of God” for the forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation. Six days a week you live in a world that is doing its best to convince you that God doesn’t exist -- or if He does that He is a God whom we have to fear and figure out a way to satisfy by doing enough good stuff so... that He isn’t angry with you anymore.

But on the seventh day, God calls you to a day of rest. And this not a day simply to rest from our earthly labors and do nothing but what is fun and entertaining and distracting from your troubles, but a day to rest in the tender loving care of your Lord and your God as He opens the kingdom of heaven to you in His holy Christian Church.

To hear and/or read the entire sermon preached for the Twentieth Sunday after Trinity, "The Kingdom of Heaven,” click on this link.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

"Take Heart, Your Sins Are Forgiven”

"The fact of the matter is, dear Christian, that w/o God and His Word of forgiveness we are all paralytics. There is not a good work we can do, nothing that will last or help us, let alone anyone else, get out of this world alive. W/o Chris...t’s forgiveness, paralysis is the best we can hope for and hell is the just reward for the best of our human endeavors.

"But there is blessing even in this curse of paralysis. For in fact, being paralyzed was the best thing that ever happened to the nameless man our dear Lord healed according to Matthew’s Gospel lesson today. For it was his paralysis that prompted his friends to bring him to Jesus. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, 'Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven.'”

To hear the entire sermon preached for the Nineteenth Sunday after Trinity, "Take Heart, Your Sins Are Forgiven,” click on this link.