Sunday, October 26, 2014

"The Son Sets You Free"

The problem 497 years ago in 1517,was the same problem of Adam and Eve who fled from the forgiveness of the loving God who created them in the beginning. It was the same problem of the Israelites. It is the same problem of the Church today and through the ages until the Last Day. It is the problem that has led to the closure of this congregation. It is the problem--the evil--of losing, replacing, rejecting the forgiveness of sins for the pursuit of happiness and our own self-centered, me generated ideas of worship.

In Luther’s Day the church had replaced the forgiveness of sins with things like indulgences and purgatory related to the works of men purchasing and working off the debt of sin. In our day we have largely replaced the forgiveness of sins with our own strength of faith and love for God.

To hear and/or the entire sermon preached for The Reformation, 'The Son Sets You Free," click on this link.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

“What Do You Think about the Christ?"

“What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is he?” They said to him, “The son of David.” 43He said to them, “How is it then that David, in the Spirit, calls him Lord, saying, 44 “‘The Lord said to my Lord, Sit at my right hand, until I put your enemies under your feet’? [Psalm 110:1]
45 If then David calls him Lord, how is he his son?” 46And no one was able to answer him a word, nor from that day did anyone dare to ask him any more questions. Matthew 22:43-46

Jesus has stumped the teachers. Ha! Wouldn’t that be fun? Wouldn’t you just love to do that at school sometime? Imagine so surprising your teacher that she can’t even ask you anymore questions—for the whole rest of the year!

But Jesus isn’t just trying to get the Pharisees off His case or make fun of them so they leave Him alone. Even though His teachers, the Pharisees, hate Jesus, He wants to save them. Even though they are the ones who are going to lie about Him and make Him die on the cross, He wants them to that He is the Christ—the very Son of God the Father in heaven who has sent Him to die for them—and for you.

To hear and/or read the entire sermon preached for the Eighteenth Sunday after Trinity, “What do you think about the Christ?" click on this link.

[Graphic: “Jesus Teaches the Pharisees,” unknown artist.]

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

How's This for Being Relevant and Contemporary?

Did you know that, according to our Lutheran teaching and practice of the faith, every time we pray, "Give us this day our daily bread," in the Lord's Prayer, we pray that our Father in heaven would give us faithful government leaders to "vanquish the Turks," i.e., Islamists, and that He would "preserve us from all sorts of disaster to body and livelihood, like lightning, hail, fire, flood, poison, plague, cattle disease, war and bloodshed, famine, destructive beasts, wicked men, and so forth?" [Luther's Large Catechism explanation to the Fourth Petition of the Lord's Prayer as cited below from "Concordia: The Lutheran Confessions," Concordia Publishing House.*]

How do you get more contemporary and relevant than that with what we are facing in the Ebola and Islamic viruses invading our United States of America?

[Graphic: "Carlos Borromeo Signismomdo Caula (Roman Catholic Priest) Administering the Sacrament to Plaque Victims," artist unknown to this author.]

* The Fourth Petition of the Lord's Prayer.

71] Give us this day our daily bread.  72] Here, now, we consider the poor breadbasket, the necessaries of our body and of the temporal life. It is a brief and simple word, but it has a very wide scope. For when you mention and pray for daily bread, you pray for everything that is necessary in order to have and enjoy daily bread. On the other hand, you also pray against everything that interferes with it....

74] There is, indeed, the greatest need to pray for earthly authority and government. By them, most of all, God preserves for us our daily bread and all the comforts of this life. Though we have received from God all good things in abundance, we are not able to keep any of them or use them in security and happiness if He did not give us a permanent and peaceful government. For where there are dissension, strife, and war, there the daily bread is already taken away, or at least hindered....

76] ... On this topic anyone might indeed make a long prayer. With many words one could list all the things that are included, like when we ask God to ... give wisdom , strength, and success to emperors, kings, and all estates, and especially to the rulers of our country and to all counselors, magistrates, and officers. Then they may govern well and vanquish the Turks and all enemies.... 78] On the other hand, we ask that He would preserve us from all sorts of disaster to body and livelihood, like lightning, hail, fire, flood, poison, plague, cattle disease, war and bloodshed, famine, destructive beasts, wicked men, and so forth...."

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Two Questions

Nice guys finish last. I don’t need to tell you that. You see it and live it every day.

Very likely you’ll go home today and watch a contest or two or three--or even more if you have the NFL package and PIP--where the winner, the guy or t...eam that finishes first, is often the one who can bend and push the rules to the limit; break the rules in such a way as to not get caught; or who simply doesn’t care, figures the officials can’t/won’t catch you every time, and even if they did they’ll become numb to it after a while and won’t want to disturb the flow of the game.

...You love your spouse and family, your boyfriend or girlfriend, you watch out for and help your buddies and sacrifice for their welfare and one day you find out they are cheating on you or have dumped you. Heck, even at church you look around and feel like you are finishing last while other churches seem to be flourishing.

Maybe being nice, doing what is right, playing by the rules, and living by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God isn’t such a great idea after all. I mean even Jesus broke the rules. Isn't that right in the Gospel lesson we heard today?

To hear the entire sermon preached for the Seventeenth Sunday after Trinity, "Two Questions," click on this link.

[Graphic: “Jesus Heals a Man with Dropsy,” Church Icon.]

Sunday, October 5, 2014

"What Have You against Me?"

"After this the son of the woman, the mistress of the house, became ill. And his illness was so severe that there was no breath left in him. 18And she said to Elijah, 'What have you against me, O man of God?'" 1 Kings 17:17–18
"What have you against me?" That is the question of every sinner, born of unbelief.
...All three of our Scripture lessons today reveal to us how God has visited and continues to visit His people. Perhaps more importantly for us, they reveal *why.* And most importantly of all, they reveal that God is not against us *when* He visits His people.
To hear the entire sermon preached for the Sixteenth Sunday after Trinity, "What Have You against Me?" click on this link.
[Artwork: “Jesus Raises the Widow’s Son,” photo of the Hildesheim Cathedral, built A.D. 1010-1020.]