Tuesday, December 31, 2013

On the Eighth Day of Christmas God's First Blood Was Shed

What we learn about our Savior and ourselves from the first shedding of the blood of our Lord in His circumcision is, as Luther writes, “God was not concerned about the circumcision, but about the humiliation of proud nature and reason.” This proud nature and reason is the sin that Jesus bore in His flesh. And the humiliation of that flesh--born of a Virgin in a manger, submitting to the Father in all things that He had commanded His people that they might live and live with Him--is the fulfillment of the Law and the Old Testament for us prideful sinners.

Why does God use this means so distasteful and ridiculous to the unbelieving world? As with all of these bloody celebrations, it is that you may be certain of your salvation. No blood-–no certainty. Just as the people of Israel were marked by the blood of the Passover lamb for their deliverance, so are you.

To hear and/or read the entire sermon preached at Trinity Lutheran Church of Layton, UT [www.trinitylayton.org] for the Circumcision of Our Lord, "On the Eighth Day of Christmas God’s First Blood Was Shed," click on this link. http://lcmssermons.com/index.php?sn=3617

Sunday, December 29, 2013

The Fall and Rising of Many

The words with which Simeon blessed both Joseph and Mary, and which held a particularly jarring message for that blessed Virgin, ring in our ears and echo in our hearts of faith today. "Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed."

Of course, this last referred to the death her precious little Jesus child would die at the hands of Roman soldiers at the request of her own religious leaders. But it wouldn’t take that long for Mary and Joseph to see the tidings of comfort and joy turn to bloodshed. For, just as Simeon prophesied, the birth and life of the Word made flesh, God with us, is not well received by all and comes with pain and suffering. To wit:
• December 26—St. Stephen, martyr
• December 28—The Holy Innocents
• January 1—The Circumcision of our Lord

The last evidences both the heart wrenching scene of the suffering of the Babe born of the Virgin Mary and the fulfillment of an age old promise.

So it is with us. There will plenty of the former—suffering for the faith, for the sake of those nearest and dearest to us, and even because of them. But is often in that very suffering we suffer at the hands, or by the words, of our loved ones that the greatest blessings in our lives are fulfilled.

To hear and/or read the entire sermon preached for the First Sunday after Christmas, "The Fall and Rising of Many" click on this link. http://lcmssermons.com/index.php?sn=3612

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

A Savior of Flesh and Blood

However we want to reorder God’s creation and create our own reality--whether by redefining and reinventing marriage, or by redefining life itself and what makes one viable, or even simply by putting God and His life-giving Word on standby until we have taken care of the more urgent things and grasped the more fleeting moments of our daily needs and fleshly desires—in the end we will come up against the reality that we are part of God’s created world.

That reality is that both this fallen world and our own sinful flesh will surely die and be subject to the will and desires of the God and Father who generated them in the beginning.

Christmas wraps up the will and desires of our God and Father in swaddling cloths and lays them in the manger of Bethlehem--A Savior of Flesh and Blood. For you see, the will and desires of our Father in heaven are none other than those He reveals to us in His Word and that Word made flesh to dwell among us.

To hear or read the entire sermon preached for the Nativity of Our Lord, "A Savior of Flesh and Blood" click on this link.


Sunday, December 22, 2013

"Who Are You?"

It seems rather odd—even uncomfortable--that we spend so much time on hearing about John the Baptizer at this time of year doesn’t it? It seems like we’re getting ready for Christmas in every other facet of life except for in the readings w...e hear at church during Advent.

But John the Baptizer is “the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord.’” And that is precisely what we need at this time of year—and always. You see, John is the prototype for all pastors and preachers in that he points to the Christ who is the living Word of God that has taken on flesh to dwell among His people [John 1:14]. So John answers the question as to who he is and who you are by pointing to the Son of God.

In so doing, he also helps us understand what Christmas is all about—the coming of the One in whom you live, and move, and have your being.

To hear and/or read the entire sermon preached for the Fourth Sunday in Advent, "Who Are You?" click on this link. http://lcmssermons.com/index.php?sn=3590

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Poor Evangelism

Once again, [in today's Gospel reading], we are reminded that just as a physician has no business with healthy, robust, physically fit folks. Jesus did “not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.” Luke 5:32

And since no one... really likes to admit they are sick or weak or anything but righteous and well-meaning, stuff happens. If we refuse to admit our blindness, we are made blind like Paul on the road to Damascus was blinded by God to convert him and evangelize the world through his ministry and writing. If we refuse to admit we are lame, we are crippled by God just as He put Jacob’s hip out of joint in order to bless him and bless all people through the Savior who would come through his bloodline.

To hear and/or read the entire sermon preached for the Third Sunday in Advent, "Poor Evangelism," click on this link. http://lcmssermons.com/index.php?sn=3571

Sunday, December 8, 2013

"Your Redemption Is Drawing Near"

The redemption (buying/winning back) of your soul took place on Calvary. . . .

This redemption was applied to you and made yours as it was poured over your head in Holy Baptism. . . . and even as you continue to hear the Word that is attached to Holy Baptism, your redemption is with you always even to the end of the age.

But there remains the redemption of your body, indeed the redemption of the whole physical world. . . .

It is this redemption of which our Lord Jesus speaks in today’s Gospel text.

To hear and/or read the entire sermon preached for the Second Sunday in Advent, "Your Redemption Is Drawing Near," click on this link. http://lcmssermons.com/index.php?sn=3559

Sunday, December 1, 2013

"Coming to You, Humble"

Life is all about faith from first to last . . . everything from conception in your mother’s womb up to death and the grave.

So it is with the life of Christ, the Son of the Living God. This is what we learn from His entry into Jerusalem ...on Palm Sunday, and why the church begins Advent and our journey to the birth of Jesus on Christmas in the same way we begin our journey to Easter and His resurrection.

The life of Jesus is all about faith—from first to last in His coming humble to the world in the flesh, and coming to you humble in His Church . . . via Word and Sacrament.

To hear and/or read the entire sermon preached for the First Sunday in Advent, "Coming to You, Humble," click on this link.