Sermons from Grace/Bethel
By Bethel/Grace Lutheran Churches
Sermons from Grace/BethelDec 14, 2020
2 Corinthians 13:11–14 God in Three Persons, Blessed Trinity
In the first half of the Church Year (Advent through Pentecost), we look at the life of Christ—his birth, ministry, death, resurrection, ascension, and the sending of the Holy Spirit. In the second half of the year, we look at the teachings of Christ. We begin by looking at one of the most mind-blowing truths: that God is triune. Already in the very first chapter of the Bible, we read, “Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image…” (Genesis 1:26). Note the singular “God” and the plural “us.” Scripture teaches us that there is only one God but that he exists as three persons—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. He is triune (three-in-one). This teaching is not some logical exercise or philosophical excursion. The doctrine of the Trinity is central to our salvation. The triune God is our Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier. Lose this doctrine, and as the Athanasian Creed says, you lose it all. A Jesus who is less than God is also less than a Savior. So often, when life gets hard, we get frustrated. We don’t understand how God is always working for our good. But the doctrine of the Trinity teaches us we cannot even comprehend God’s existence. How, then, could we ever comprehend all his workings? On this Holy Trinity Sunday, let it be enough to know that all three persons—Father, Son, and Spirit—love us with everlasting love.
Acts 2:1–21 He Lives to Pour Out His Spirit
Fifty days after the Passover, God’s Old Testament people celebrated Pentecost (Greek for “fifty”). Pentecost commemorated the gathering of the harvest and was also used to remember the giving of the Law on Mt. Sinai, the start of the Church of Israel. Christ chose Pentecost to be the birthday of his New Testament Church too. By pouring out his Holy Spirit, Christ empowered the Church to gather in the great harvest of souls won by the Son. Pentecost is the third great festival of the Church, along with the Nativity and the Resurrection. The early church fathers mention the Festival of Pentecost often enough to lead many to believe it was celebrated annually already at the time of the apostles. Pentecost closes the fifty-day period after Easter and ends the festival half of the church year. The Church dresses in red this day to remind us of the tongues of fire that marked the Spirit’s gift, as well as the blood of the martyrs, which was the seed of the Church.
John 17:1–11 He Lives to Give Me Eager Expectation of Glory
The Church waits. The Church in Jerusalem waited for ten days between Christ’s ascension and the coming of the Spirit at Pentecost. The Church today waits through the millennia between Pentecost and Christ’s second coming. We are waiting for the gifts that Jesus promised. We live in eager expectation of glory! That glory is not dimmed by early suffering. Rather, our current sufferings only remind us of the glory that awaits us. We are simply following in Christ’s footsteps. First comes the cross, and then comes the crown. Knowing what is coming lets us view our current troubles as light and momentary. They cannot mute the joy of living in eager expectation of glory. While we wait in the time between Christ’s ascension and return, we live knowing that we will suffer persecution for our faith in Christ, but God will work it for glory.
Acts 17:22–31 He Lives and Calls Me to Live for Him
“The LORD God commanded the man, ‘You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die’” (Genesis 2:16,17). In giving that command, God showed love to man by making it clear that it is lethal to live contrary to God’s will. In giving that command, God provided man with the ability to demonstrate love for God—through obedience. True love involves obedience. Jesus did not simply say he loved his heavenly Father. He proved it by obeying his Father, even when that obedience meant dying on the cross for our sake. Love for God, who lives in us, leads us to a life of obedience. The God who lives in us calls us to live for him. It is as simple as that. Love for our risen Lord means obedience to his commands.
John 14:1–11 He Lives to be the Only Way to Heaven
The gospel is the most inclusive message in the world. The benefits of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ are meant for every man, woman, and child who ever lived. The gospel is also the most exclusive message in the world, for it maintains that salvation can only be found in one place—the person of Jesus Christ. Just listen to how Jesus speaks: “I am the way and the truth and the life” (John 14:6). Jesus doesn’t say, “I will show you the true way to eternal life.” The prophets and apostles could say that. But Jesus says, “I am the way. I am the truth. I am the life you crave.” And note that definite article: “the,” not “a”! Jesus is not a way into heaven. He is the way. There is no other way than through faith in the One who died and rose again. The unbelieving world finds this claim—that Jesus Christ is the only way to heaven—to be the most offensive teaching in all of Scripture. Yet this is the very truth upon which Christ builds his Church.
John 10:1–10 He Lives to be My Good Shepherd
Every culture has the concept of an ideal citizen, someone who typifies its values. For much of the United States’ history, the ideal citizen was the American farmer: hardworking, innovative, vital to our collective well-being. Even some of our first presidents were farmers. For the people of Israel, the farmer wasn’t their ideal citizen. It was the shepherd. Sheep were an invaluable source of clothing and food. But they were hard to keep in the Judean countryside. Its sparse grasslands are intermixed with desert. For sheep, food is sparse, but predators are plenteous. The survival of sheep was dependent on their shepherd. There he is. Weather-beaten. Sleepless. Armed. In the dusk, he scans the land, counting his sheep, making sure they are all accounted for, every one of them on his heart. You see why Jesus chose the shepherd to illustrate how he cares for us. He feeds us with his Word. He protects us from that roaring lion, Satan. Jesus is leading us into the green pasture of eternal life. For centuries, the Church has observed this Fourth Sunday of Easter to celebrate that he lives to be our Good Shepherd.
Luke 24:13–35 He Lives to Restore My Hope
Imagine someone you love is near death. Their only hope of survival is risky brain surgery, one so complicated that only one surgeon in the state will attempt it. The surgery is scheduled. But as that doctor drives to the hospital, he is killed in a car accident. Any hope you had for your loved one’s salvation died along with that surgeon. That is how Jesus’ disciples felt after his death. “We hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel,” they said (Luke 24:19). Their hope for a better life died along with Jesus. They had let their personal wants and expectations cloud their view of Scripture which said that the Messiah’s death and resurrection were actually the source of all hope! So, the living Lord appeared to his disciples. He explained. He opened their minds to the truth of God’s Word. And in doing so, he restored their hope. There is little worse than a feeling of hopelessness. Christ’s disciples have victory over that feeling. He died, but he is dead no longer. The one who can heal us and give us life to the full lives! He lives to restore our hope.
1 Peter 1:3–9 He Lives to Give Me Proof and Peace
Thomas had been taught and trained by Christ himself. He heard Jesus predict his death and resurrection. Yet, even after hearing the eyewitness testimony of friends, who all saw the resurrected Jesus, Thomas had doubts: "Rising from the dead. That can’t be possible!" Today is a day of great comfort for any follower of Jesus who wrestles with doubt concerning Christ’s promises or doubts about God’s Word. Jesus does not come to rebuke Thomas’ weak faith. Jesus comes to strengthen Thomas’ faith, giving him proof of the mind-bending reality of the resurrection—to let him feel it, touch it, explore it. Jesus didn’t reject Thomas. Jesus engaged Thomas and gave him peace. Still today, Jesus comes to his disciples in Word and sacrament. The living Lord speaks to us. He lets us partake of his true body and blood. When we show weakness of faith, he does not reject us. Just as he did with Thomas, Jesus engages us, giving us proof and peace.
Matthew 28:1–10 He Lives to Take Me from Death to Life
A dead Jesus would do no one any good. But a resurrected Jesus? That would change everything; that would make Easter the most important event that has ever happened. Today God wants us to know with certainty that Jesus lives. Because if Jesus lives, then so will his believers. God had told his Church what was going to happen. Jesus told his disciples what would transpire in Jerusalem. The disciples were slow to believe the Easter truth. But God ensured that his people had witnesses to proclaim that Jesus lives again. He suffered and died according to Scripture (Second Reading), he fulfilled the sign of Jonah (First Reading), and it was attested to by angels (Gospel). Christ is risen indeed! Mankind is redeemed! Jesus has removed the fear of eternal death. Jesus has transformed physical death. It is not punitive. For the believer, it is the pathway into Paradise. Jesus has made us spiritually alive by giving us faith in his resurrection. Jesus lives! So, in every possible way, Jesus takes us from death to life.
Matthew 21:1–11 A Greater Type of King
Pick any head of state: the president, a prime minister, a king. Hopefully, they care about the people over whom they have authority. But even if they care, they live and operate above the people. The British royals live in a palace, not a three-bedroom ranch. The President does not fly coach. He sits in a recliner on Air Force One. There’s nothing wrong with this. Those offices are worthy of high respect. The point is these rulers live and operate above us. If a thief is breaking into your home, call 911 and see if your governor shows up. Your governor doesn’t even know your name! But, cut him some slack. He is only human. Jesus is not. Jesus is the King of kings, God and man in one person. He knows you intimately. More! He is willing to do absolutely anything necessary to serve and protect you. We see that this Holy Week. It begins with Jesus riding a donkey colt into Jerusalem—as the prophet foretold. As this week nears its end, Jesus is given a crown of thorns. He carries a cross out of Jerusalem and is nailed to it. Placed on his cross was this sign: “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews.” The sign was partially right. Jesus is a king, just not of the Jews. He’s our King, infinitely mightier than any ruler in history, while also being infinitely humbler. King Jesus has come to save us. Those other heads of state can serve as blessings. But this is the greater type of king that we need most.
2 Kings 4:17–37 Life For the Dead
The author and poet George Eliot once wrote, “Our dead are never dead to us, until we have forgotten them.” The Roman philosopher Cicero said much the same. He wrote, “The life of the dead is placed in the memory of the living.” What second rate comfort! But that is the best the unbelieving world can offer—the sappy sentiment that our dead loved ones somehow “live on” in our memories. It is a sad way to attempt to cope as you walk through the cemetery. Jesus provides a better solution to death. He promises life. One day Jesus will give your faithful dead back to you—to love and to laugh and to hug and to dance. Body and soul, living and walking in the new heaven and the new earth. How do we know Jesus can and will keep that promise? Because the Son of God descended into the darkness of death himself and emerged on Easter Sunday as the first fruit of the resurrection of all God’s people. In the creed we confess, “I believe in the resurrection of the body.” Yet again, Jesus satisfies our greatest needs.
John 9:1–7, 13–17, 34–39 Sight for the Blind
We know that unbelief will have consequences in the future—eternal separation from God. But unbelief also has consequences now. It makes you blind, in a sense. The unbeliever is unable to see the world as it really is. That which is harmful the unbeliever considers good; that which is good he considers meaningless. The unbeliever cannot see the danger that lurks behind temptation. He cannot see the blessing contained in God’s Word. The unbeliever cannot see the tragic fate that lies in his future, and he certainly cannot see the Savior. The Old Testament said that restoration of sight to the blind was one of the works of the Messiah. In his ministry, Jesus healed those who were physically blind. But even if our eyes work just fine, we still need Jesus to give us spiritual vision. Jesus said, “I am the light of the world.” Christ comes to shine his light into our darkened eyes that we might see him and live. Jesus meets our greatest needs. He provides sight for the spiritually blind.
Exodus 17:1–7 Water for the Thirsty
A person can survive between one and two months without food. But a person can survive only two to three days without water. Water is one of our greatest needs. Research shows that even slight dehydration will adversely affect your mood, memory, and motor coordination. Become seriously dehydrated, and life ends quickly. This helps us understand what Scripture means when it says things like, “My soul thirsts for God” (Psalm 42:2). If one is separated from God, he is adversely affected. If he remains separated from God, he will die an agonizing eternal death. Not all admit it; yet it remains true for all. Everyone has a deep spiritual thirst. In our heart of hearts, we all long for everlasting life. Unbelievers try to satisfy that deep thirst with worldly things, a strategy doomed for failure. Believers look to the One who has promised, “Whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst.” Jesus meets our greatest needs. He alone possesses the water that satisfies those who are spiritually parched. He alone grants eternal life.
Romans 4:1–5,13–17 A Gift for the World
When assessing the seriousness of need, one factor is how widespread that need is. A homeless individual needs food. During a famine, an entire nation needs food. It is substantially easier to meet the needs of the former than the latter! The more widespread a need, the greater the need. When Jesus said, “No one can enter the kingdom of God,” he declared that the need for salvation is universal. He rightly condemned humanity as a whole. There is no one on the face of the earth who can make the case that they deserve God’s blessing. Yet, ages ago, God declared that all nations would be blessed. God declared his love for the world and promised he would save the world. God’s gift of salvation is meant for all people. Some interpret this to mean that all people will be saved in the end. This is not true. The gift of salvation is meant for the world; however, it is received by faith. “Whoever believes in him…” the Gospel says. However, the good news is that faith is also God’s gift, imparted through that gospel.
Matthew 4:1–11 A Champion for the Defeated
Our modern English word “champion” comes from an old English word that meant “warrior.” In ancient times, when two armies gathered to fight, sometimes as a prelude to the battle—and sometimes in place of the battle—each army would pick a mighty soldier, and these two men would fight each other. These elite warriors, these champions, would represent their people in battle. They would meet in the middle of the field. With everyone watching, they would fight to the death. Today we are reminded of an ancient war that began in Eden. The perfect peace and prosperity of Paradise were lost when a fallen angel convinced mankind to follow the demons in rebelling against their Creator. When Adam fell, he condemned the world to darkness and death. The enemy of God claimed that the children of men now belonged to him. God was having none of it. He promised he would send forth his champion, his Son. And so, today, we see a battle of champions. The demons send forth their strongest warrior—Satan. God sends forth the best of men, Jesus Christ. Jesus does what Adam and we could not. In crushing the devil, Jesus meets one of our greatest needs.
Matthew 17:1-9 The Glory of the Lord
Throughout his ministry, Jesus said astounding things and did astounding things. Yet, he looked like a normal man. The prophet said, “He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him” (Isaiah 53:2). This would all change one day atop a high mountain. There, Jesus gave his disciples—gave his Church—a glimpse of the glory he set aside to be our Savior. And the voice of the Father thundered from the heavens, just as it did at Jesus’ baptism, announcing Jesus’ true identity to the world—the glorious Son of God. And so the Transfiguration of our Lord serves as a one-week bridge between the season of Epiphany, where Jesus is revealed as the true Son of God, and the season of Lent, where we witness what the Son of God came to do. On the Mount of Glory, St. Peter declared, “It is good for us to be here.” Indeed! For here we see the God of Majestic Glory, who became a man to suffer and die for us, just as Moses and the Prophets had foretold. Oh, how much this glorious God loves us!
Matthew 5:21–37 Live A Holy Life
The word “holy” comes from an Old English word, “halig” which means “whole” or “healthy.” We have a holy God. He wants us to live a holy life, one that is wholly dedicated to him, one that is spiritually and emotionally healthy for us. So, as Jesus continues his Sermon on the Mount, he makes a crucial point that not all his followers (including present day followers) understand well. Jesus came to free us from sin. He did not come to free us to sin. God commands that we live a holy life. He provides dire warnings to remind us just how holy he wants us to be. Today we face a rapid decline in public morals and private piety. Yet, Jesus calls his followers to be different. He urges personal purity. After examining our lives, we can only despair over our lack of holiness. So, the Gospel Acclamation reminds us to flee to Christ, who loves us despite our failures and who sacrificed himself for unholy people. Secure in his grace and empowered by the Holy Spirit, each day, we strive to live the holy lives to which we have been called.
Mark 5:1-20 Many Voices, One Savior
There are many voices in this world that lead us to believe we can’t do the work of evangelism. These are the same voices that can tempt us to fall into sin and believe that God would never love a sinner like us. But God’s Word silences all of these voices. As we see in our Gospel reading for today, there were thousands of demons possessing a man, but they couldn’t stand up to the single voice of Jesus. His voice cuts through all of the evil influences of this world. Because of this everyone can proclaim the one true Savior! As we go out into the world, we aren’t carrying an empty message, but the powerful Word of God. This Word has the power to cut through unbelief and create faith in the hearts of those who hear it. So, with our many voices, we can go and point others to the one true Savior.
Matthew 5:1–12 Trust in God’s Strength
Jesus begins the Sermon on the Mount with a series of blessings. “Blessed are…” Jesus says, again and again. In the Latin Vulgate, these all begin with the word “beati” which translates as “blessed” or “happy.” Thus, this portion of the sermon is often called “The Beatitudes.” It had to give Jesus’ listeners pause. For what Jesus calls blessed, the world never would. The world praises the strong and the self-sufficient. Jesus calls blessed what others would see as weak or stupid. But, like any good preacher, Jesus is trying to drive home one crucial point. The weaker you are, the more ready you are to rely on God’s strength. The more difficult your present circumstances, the likelier you are to yearn for future reward. All the readings for today teach this truth. We have no real strength or wisdom of our own. But we don’t need it. Because God’s strength is enough to give the kingdom of heaven to the humble and poor in spirit.
1 John 2:3–11 Jesus Appears as the Light in the Darkness
The prophet Isaiah vividly described humanity as “people walking in darkness.” We are completely enveloped by sin and suffering and death. Worse, when we honestly assess the content of our minds and hearts, we find darkness there too. However, the prophet also foretold that within this deep darkness, a light would shine. The light would be so brilliant that it would be impossible to miss. As Jesus began his teaching and preaching ministry, that prophecy was fulfilled. Today Jesus continues to shine his light by preaching repentance and the good news of the nearing kingdom. He invites us to live a life that is illuminated by him. He calls us to walk in the light of love for God and for the brothers and sisters around us. Our Savior is the Light of the world, and so we shine his reflected light onto everyone around us.
Isaiah 49:1–6 Jesus Appears as the Lamb of God
For centuries the priests of Israel offered sacrifices to God for sin. Over and over blood flowed, testifying that the penalty of sin was death. But over and over a substitute stood in the place of the sinner. Countless animals died under the priestly knife as generations of the faithful brought lamb after lamb to the temple. This week we see the Lamb that God himself was bringing to the temple. This was the Lamb that God himself would sacrifice. In the great act that would remove our condemnation, the Messiah took our sins, stood in our place, and died as the substitute for sinful mankind. This was the fulfillment of the entire sacrificial system. Every lamb and goat and bird pointed to God’s Lamb who takes away our sin. The heart that sees his Savior willingly becoming the Lamb cannot help but take this news of salvation to the ends of the earth.
Matthew 3:13–17 Jesus Appears as the Anointed One
“Christ” is not Jesus’ last name, of course. It is a title. The Greek word “Christ” and the Hebrew word “Messiah” both mean the same thing—“The Anointed One.” Anointing was the practice of pouring liquid (typically oil) over the head of someone to signify selection for some special task. However, when the Lord anointed heroes to do his saving work, what he poured over them was his Spirit. For centuries people of faith had patiently waited for the promised Messiah, the servant of God who would bring the salvation we so desperately need. The time had come for Jesus to be revealed as the fulfillment of that divine promise. So, Christ our Lord came to the Jordan River to be baptized, that he might be recognized by John and revealed to Israel. At his baptism Jesus was anointed—marked as God's special servant and empowered by the Spirit of the Lord.
Matthew 2:13–23 A Savior Is Born to Be the True Son
Christmas holidays mean family time. Extended family travel and visits. Meals are prepared, gifts given, memories are made. The memories might not all be good. Sometimes, Christmas dinners end in fights. Sometimes, hurt feelings keep family from coming together during the holidays. The painful reality is that we sinners fail our families, and our families fail us. God knows what that’s like. He, too, wanted his children to be everything he hoped for them to be. But he was sorely disappointed. That’s why he made a plan. God the Father sent Jesus to be the son that he always wanted—reciprocal in love, perfect in obedience, unwavering in devotion. Jesus came to be everything that God wanted from us. By coming to be the true Son of the Father, Jesus gives us rights to be redeemed sons and daughters—sons just like Jesus with the rights, the relationship, and the privileges of heirs.
John 1:1–14 A Savior Is Born to Dwell Among Us
For centuries on Christmas Day the Church has read chapter one of St. John’s Gospel. There, in just a few simple words, Scripture describes the indescribable: “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us” (John 1:14). The word God had spoken in the Garden, promising to send a Savior who was part of mankind, came true. God himself became flesh and blood—to be born under law, to suffer, and to die that he might redeem us. The Greek word translated “made his dwelling” can also be translated “pitched his tent.” That word describes a temporary dwelling place. God came into our broken world to dwell for a time, so that one day we might go to God’s perfect home and dwell for all eternity. Unlike those Christmas Eve shepherds, we cannot see Christ with our eyes. Yet still he dwells among us. For he is the Word made flesh. As we listen to the Word today, we truly are hearing the voice of Christ. As we celebrate the Lord’s Supper, we partake of his true body and blood. In Word and sacrament, still today, our Savior dwells among us, feeding our faith, preparing us for our true home.
Isaiah 7:10–14 Come, Lord Jesus! – As Immanuel
This time of year, it is so easy to get caught up in the beautiful trappings of Christmas and forget why this birth had to take place. Mankind fell into sin. Sin brings an awful burden. Hatred and oppression. Suffering and pain. Guilt and shame. The devastation of death. These are all natural consequences of sin. And what can we do about any of it? Nothing of substance. We can numb ourselves to pain, but we cannot avoid it. We can fill our lives with distractions in an attempt to forget about our guilt. But our conscience is always nagging. And death… no one avoids that. Man can do nothing to shake off the burden of sin. Therefore, the Church prays that God would come in power to remove that burden for us. Since the Garden, there has been only one plan to do that: God would take on flesh and blood. To do what mankind could not do—remove all the burdens of sin—God became man. When you look into the manger, what do you see? A baby? Yes. But, more. That is Immanuel, “God-with-us.” The Son of God became Mary’s son, so that he could do for us what we could not do for ourselves
Matthew 11:2–11 Come, Lord Jesus! – As Messiah
Humanity wants a made-to-order Messiah. We want the Savior we want. The Jews wanted a political Messiah who would remove Roman oppression and reestablish the kingdom of Israel. The generic Christian of today wants a Messiah who is a good teacher and an inspiration for brotherly love. Even faithful Christians face the temptation of a made-to-order Messiah. We want a Messiah who isn’t bothered by the sin that keeps cropping up in our life, who doesn’t call for total dedication but is fine if we only want a relaxed association with him. We want a Messiah who dispenses blessings liberally, to ensure that our life is blessed, as we would like to define it. That is not the Messiah who came. Jesus defies the expectations of Israel, the world, and us. Jesus reminds us that “blessed” is a term that he defines, and it begins with not rejecting the Messiah because he fails to meet our expectations. One proof that Jesus is the Messiah is that he fulfilled every prophecy. Therefore, blessed people respond to adverse circumstances with patient waiting and confidence that, at just the right time, their Messiah will fix all that is broken in their lives.
Romans 15:4–13 Come, Lord Jesus! – As Judge
When Jesus comes back as judge, everyone will face a binary outcome. Either they will be judged righteous and experience the peace and joys of Paradise. Or they will be judged wicked and suffer unquenchable fire (Matthew 3). John the Baptist’s job was to point to the only way to prepare for a judgment, one where the stakes are that high. Repent! And look to the Lord Jesus. For when Jesus came into our world the first time, it was not as judge, but as Savior. All those whose faith is in Christ have already been judged righteous. Please, take these words to heart: the reign of God draws near, and his judgment is inevitable. As John the Baptist once said, “All people will see God’s salvation.” The only question is if one sees Christ’s second coming with joy or regret. For those who fail to repent, the coming of the Judge brings certain doom. But his people will see that Judge like a banner on the hilltop, rallying us to his glorious side.
Matthew 24:36–44 Come, Lord Jesus! – Christ’s Second Coming
Why would the Church Year begin by speaking about Christ’s second coming, which will usher in the end of the age? While it seems odd, it makes sense when we realize that this is the focus of the plan of salvation. The reason Christ came in the first place was to win salvation and he will come again to bring all of his believers to be with him in heaven. While no one knows the day or hour, it is a certainty that this day will come, and so we begin the church year with a reminder to keep watch so that we are prepared.
Luke 23:35–43 A King Unlike Any Other
Theme: How could a man with no official authority, no military might, and no loyal allies possibly be a king? Yet this is what Jesus claimed to be. And for this bold statement, the religious “leaders” at that time roused the people against Jesus to the point that they called for his crucifixion. But in the unlikeliest of ways, this is how Jesus would show himself to be the king he truly is. Because in going to the cross, he would suffer the punishment for the sins of the world and win paradise in heaven for all who believe in him. For the thief on the cross and us, we see Jesus as the king who is now at God’s right hand, ruling over all things.
2 Thessalonians 1:5–10 A Day of Terror For All Those Who Troubled God’s People
Our world is full of victims of abuse, violence, and oppression. In many cases, this evil goes unnoticed or unpunished. Injustice can drive victims in two possible directions. They can be filled with despair over the unfairness of the situation. Or they can be filled with hatred and a desire for revenge. While Christians wait for Christ’s return on the Last Day, they are by no means the only ones who suffer at the hands of others. They are, however, often included among them. Believers have always faced opposition from a world who rejects the one we believe in. When we suffer, what are our options? Do we throw up our hands in despair? Do we take matters into our own hands and seek vengeance? The certainty of that Last Day gives us a better option. We can leave justice up to the Judge. We can be confident that on the Last Day every wrong will be righted. We can look forward to the Last Day—also known as Judgment Day—because we are confident of where we stand with God through faith in Jesus Christ.
Revelation 21:1–6 We Feebly Struggle; They in Glory Shine
We believe in “the holy Christian Church, the communion of saints” (Apostles’ Creed). All with saving faith in Jesus as their Savior are holy. (Saint comes from the Latin word sanctus which means holy.) God grants the status of saint to all believers. Since sainthood is achieved through faith in Christ, we refer to believers as the invisible Church. Members are unknown to us since only God can see the heart. Furthermore, even if we knew the identity of each saint on earth, they would not look all that different from the rest of mankind. Believers still struggle with trials, temptations, and sin. Nor does membership in the holy Christian Church, the communion of saints make life easier. In some ways it makes life more difficult as we struggle against a world that is hostile towards Christ. However, some members of the communion of saints no longer struggle with trial and sin. They are not oppressed by an anti-Christian world. These are all the saints who, through their Christian death, have triumphed over all these things. The blessedness of being God’s saint is no longer invisible for them. They live in the glory of Christ’s light. This week, we thank God for those members of the communion of saints who have gone before us and now enjoy everlasting life. We feebly struggle, just as they once did. But now, thanks to Christ, they in glory shine. Their example encourages us as we patiently wait to join them.
John 8:31–36 The Truth Will Set You Free
We value freedom and strive to protect freedoms. But do we truly understand freedom? Freedom for many means doing what you want without control or coercion. Jesus helps us to understand true freedom: “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (Gospel). Jesus says that you will never be free by living however you want. Take that attitude towards life and you'll be a slave. You'll only be free—spiritually, emotionally, eternally—“If you hold to my teaching” and therefore “know the truth.” A key principle Martin Luther established through the Reformation is sola scriptura, Scripture alone. Luther thought it was the answer to all of life’s fundamental questions. On what basis is a belief or practice justified of rejected? Scripture alone. Who or what is the final arbiter of truth? Scripture alone. Heirs of the Reformation still bind themselves to Scripture. Does restricting ourselves in this manner curtail freedom? Just the opposite is true. God’s divinely inspired truth brings freedom. It frees us from slavery to sinful delusions, the burden of guilt, and any earthly power. This week we see that when we willingly bind ourselves to truth, Jesus keeps his promise. The truth sets us free.
Luke 18:18–30 Faith Demonstrated Through Total Dependence
Last week we heard Jesus ask, “When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8). As we consider Jesus’ question, it might be easy to assume that any decrease in faith we observe in the world corresponds with an increase in secularism and disdain for God’s Word. That type of unbelief certainly can be observed in our world. However, today we see there is another type of unbelief, a type that looks upright and moral. The absence of the faith Jesus seeks isn’t always complete and total rejection of God or the Bible or even Jesus. It is possible for someone to have respect for Scripture and Christ, yet ultimately trust in his own goodness when it comes to his relationship with God. It is natural for us to want to believe that our relationship with God revolves around our obedience to his commands. We desperately desire to believe that, if we just apply the right spiritual advice and effort, we can earn God’s approval and eternal inheritance. This, too, is unbelief, just as much as paganism or secularism. This week Jesus uses God’s law for its chief purpose: to expose sin and crush our natural pride. In Christ’s hands God’s law is a powerful tool used to shape in us the faith he seeks—one totally dependent on God to do what only he can do.
1 John 5:13–15 Faith Demonstrated Through Persistent Prayer
Disciples of Jesus need to learn how to pray. We need Jesus to teach us to ask for those things which our Father in heaven promises us. We need to learn to claim in prayer what he wants for us more than what we want from him. However, learning to pray is not like many of the other things we learn to do in our lives. Once we know how to write our name, tie our shoes, or ride a bike, the learning is done. There is virtually no danger we will forget how to do those things. Not so with prayer. Prayer is not something we learn to do once and then know how to do correctly for the rest of our lives. Learning to pray consists of a lifetime of persistence and struggle. But when we struggle with God in prayer, it is not an indication that something is wrong but that everything is right. Struggle is part of the very nature of prayer and at the heart of the blessings it brings in our lives of faith.
Genesis 8:15–22 Faith That Overflows With Gratitude
Gratitude is the appreciation and thankfulness we feel when someone does something kind to us or for us. There are two key factors that influence the intensity of gratitude. First, there is the deservedness factor. Say you do a favor for your neighbor, picking up his mail when he is out of town. A month later he does a favor for you, giving you a ride to the airport. You are grateful for his help, but not overwhelmingly so. You feel by doing a favor for him, you deserved his help to some degree. Second, there is the generosity factor. Say you do that favor for your neighbor, picking up his mail when he is out of town. When he gets back, he gives you a hundred-dollar bill. You’re stunned. “I can’t accept. This is too generous.” Apply this to God. Consider the deservedness factor. What does God owe us? How deserving are we of his blessing? Consider the generosity factor. What has he done for us? What blessings has he given us now? What blessings has he promised us in eternity? As Jesus increases our faith, so that we accurately answer all those questions, we become more than grateful. We overflow with gratitude.
1 Chronicles 29:1-2,10–18 Faith That Delights in Duty
Look up “duty” in the dictionary. It's defined as “something that one is expected or required to do.” Look up “duty” in a thesaurus. Some of its synonyms: chore, burden, obligation, work. “Duty” can carry some strong negative connotations. Now, consider this. In the world, as you rise through the ranks, you are able to leave many duties behind. For example, if you are high-up on the corporate ladder, you can delegate things you don’t want to do to someone else. In Christ’s kingdom it works just the opposite. An increase in faith does not lessen duties at all. It increases opportunities to serve God and others. Increased faith means increased obligations and work. But here’s the good news. The same faith that increases our duties leads us to delight in them. For through faith we know that we serve the one who first came to serve us. We consider it a privilege to imitate Christ in our service to others. Just as his service to us brought him great joy, so does our service to others.
Luke 16:31 What Seems to Help in Life Fails in Death; What Seems to Fail in Life Helps in Death.
Last week we learned the hard truth that while money can help make life easier in some ways, it cannot bring true happiness and fulfillment. This week we see that as much as money lets us down in life, its ultimate failure to deliver on its promises happens in death. Those who live with hearts filled with love for money and void of love for God will receive the only eternity that money can buy: one void of God and filled with pain. Though we might be fooled into thinking money helps in life, it will certainly fail us in death. Conversely, that which seems to offer little help in life will never fail us in death. The best example of this is the gospel. Those who hear and heed the Scriptures often appear to receive little benefit in life. Living by God’s Word doesn’t make life easier. In fact, faithfully following Christ often means a more challenging life, one filled with crosses and self-denial. Great wealth gains you the admiration and respect of the world. Being true to Scripture is more likely to gain you scorn and ridicule. Yet those who find the help they need in God rather than in money will never be disappointed. In death, they will receive a reward that dwarfs even the best things money can buy.
Luke 16:1–13 Serve God With Money; You Can’t Serve God and Money
There are more than 2300 Bible passages that speak about money. Why? Money is a master Satan frequently tempts us to serve. And that evil foe knows how successful his efforts with money can be. Money provides us with a false comfort and a sense of security. It serves as a source of pride. It serves as a wonderful tool for a favorite pastime: justifying ourselves in our own eyes and the eyes of others. Jesus knows that serving money makes it impossible to serve God. The human heart is not big enough for both. As a result, Jesus does all he can to expose the futility of serving money. He also helps us see that the only one truly worth serving is our gracious, loving God. When we serve God, money is put in its proper place. Instead of money being a lord to serve, it becomes a resource for serving the Lord. This is the hard truth. There is no way for us to serve both God and money. But we can serve God with our money.
Luke 15:1–10 The Found Are Left; The Lost Are Found
“He’s lost.” We use that term not only to refer to someone who is bewildered about where they are but also to refer to someone who is in a helpless, hopeless state. Mankind’s natural state is one of complete spiritual helplessness, a profound lostness. It manifests itself in countless ways. The one who simply wants God to leave him alone: lost. The one who feels she can handle life on her own: lost. The one who thinks he has the right to repent of his sins on his own timetable and on his own terms: lost. The one who thinks God owes them in some way: lost. Wandering around physically lost can lead to winding up in bad places. But the hard truth is that wandering around spiritually lost puts you in the worst place of all. Fortunately, Jesus does not leave us alone in our lostness. He relentlessly seeks us. He involves the rest of the Christian community in seeking the lost and rejoicing over the found.
Luke 14:25–35 Put Down What You Love; Pick Up What You Loathe
It is an unavoidable hard truth. Our relationship with Jesus will put us in situations where we must decide where love for him ranks compared to love for other people and things. And Jesus is not content to be one of many important things in our life; he wants to be first. He wants us to follow his Word unwaveringly, even when he asks us to do difficult things. As a result, following Jesus will force us to let go of things we love and embrace things we would naturally loath. Jesus is loving and honest. He doesn’t hide this hard truth! Instead, he tells us up front that we must count the cost of following him. That means calculating what we might have to give up as his followers. He wants us to do that now, ahead of time, rather than waiting until we are in the heat of the moment and emotions are running high. However, our calculations should not only consider what we might give up for Jesus. They also entail calculating what we get through him! When we perceive the infinite blessings we find in Christ, the decisions we must make, while difficult, will be clear. Whatever is lost as we follow Jesus pales in comparison to what we gain.
Luke 14:1,7–14 The Humble Will Be Exalted; The Exalted Will Be Humbled
Everyone knows that humility is a positive trait and pride is a negative one. So, why bother talking about what we already know? Because in spite of that knowledge, we still helplessly fall into the trap of pride. We cannot help but think that our ascent to the exalted status we desire is our responsibility. We even take our exaltation into our own hands, either by treating poorly those we believe we can stand on top of or by showing favoritism to those we believe can provide us with upward mobility. Rather than minimizing pride as a sin that is common or harmless, Jesus’ words today confront us with this hard truth. Those who exalt themselves will be humbled by God. But Jesus also gives us the promise we need to be freed from pride’s trap. Our exaltation doesn’t need to be our responsibility because Jesus has already made it his. Those who humble themselves, Christ will exalt.
Luke 13:22–30 The First Will be Last; The Last Will be First
When it comes to the difficult and uncomfortable topic of who goes to heaven and who goes to hell, it is natural to want to avoid the issue. One way we do that is to direct our attention to theoretical questions. “What is heaven like?” “How old will we be there?” Today, someone asks Jesus, “Lord, are only a few going to be saved?” Jesus brushes these questions aside. Instead, he answers the question we should be asking. Rather than talking about how many will be saved, Jesus explains how to be among the saved. What he teaches today through his Word is a hard truth. The doorway into heaven is narrow. Scripture consistently teaches that those individuals who are certain they will be first through that door are more likely to be last, if they make it through at all. Instead, the one who believes he is the last one God should let into his kingdom and that his only chance of getting in is through the grace of Christ will enter first.
Luke 12:49–53 We Want Peace, But God’s Word Divides
We often divide humanity into groupings that are not really significant: this ethnic group versus that one, men versus women, wealthy versus the poor. Yet, every ethnic group is under God’s law. That law convicts both men and women of sin. Because of sin, the wealthy and the poor will both die. Only through faith in Christ is sin forgiven and the sting of death removed. God’s Word creates that saving faith, but not in everyone who hears it. Fallen man retains the awful power to resist the working of the Spirit inside him… to reject the gift of faith. Therefore, God’s Word produces the only people grouping that ultimately matters: believers and unbelievers. We want to overcome division and live in peace with other people. Here is a hard truth: total peace is impossible for the believer to achieve. Those who embrace the gospel in faith will inevitably face hostility and opposition. Following Jesus will come at a price. Yet he promises us our perseverance will be rewarded.
Luke 12:22–34 Focused Living Properly Values Heavenly Treasure
Last week Jesus warned us against overvaluing earthly wealth. This week Jesus warns against undervaluing heavenly treasure. Last week, Jesus exposed the folly of greed. This week, Jesus exposes the folly of worry, even when faced with the prospect of having a shortage of earthly wealth. This week might be the bigger challenge! When it seems we lack providence or protection for our daily lives, it can be hard to avoid worry. But Jesus focuses us. He points to creatures that do not labor or toil, yet are daily fed and clothed. Even more Jesus points to our Father who promises to give us the heavenly treasures of his kingdom. Jesus assures us that Father will throw in needed earthly possessions as well. We can pursue heavenly treasure wholeheartedly, confident that our Father knows all we need.
Luke 12:13–21 Focused Living Properly Values Earthly Wealth
Jesus wants focused followers. However, one of the things that can most easily get in the way of our focus is our earthly possessions. It is no surprise, therefore, that Jesus’ words so frequently focus his followers on wealth. Jesus’ followers don’t reject earthly wealth or despise it. They can be grateful for every good gift that comes from the hand of God. However, Jesus’ followers value earthly wealth correctly. They understand what earthly wealth can and cannot do. They don’t give earthly wealth a role in their lives it will never be able to fill. This week we focus on the fact that the identity and security earthly wealth can never provide is found fully and freely in Christ.
Luke 11:1–13 Prayer Claims What God Wants for Us
In a sense, prayer comes naturally to us. We want so we ask. We hurt so we cry out. We are frustrated so we vent. We are blessed so we give thanks. So we sometimes define prayer as “speaking to God from the heart.” Seems so easy. What does not come naturally, however, is the focused prayer God wants for us. We need focus when it comes to the basis of our prayers. Our prayers are based entirely on the unique and unearned relationship with have with God, our Father. We also need focus when it comes to the content of our prayers. Yes, we can speak from the heart and ask for anything we want. But our Father invites us to pray specifically for the things he wants to give us. Prayer is the opportunity to bring our will into conformity with God’s will, not the other way around. We have much to learn about prayer. So, along with Jesus’ disciples, we say, “Lord, teach us to pray” (Luke 11:1).
Luke 10:38-42 Followers of Christ Listen to His Word
We call worship a "service.” Which raises the question: who is serving whom? In answering that question, it is easy to focus on what we do in worship. “I set aside time in my week to come to church. I am singing praise to God. I brought him an offering. Clearly, I am serving him.” True enough. However, as God speaks this week, he clarifies our focus, letting us see that worship is primarily about him serving us. Through Word and sacrament, he delivers every spiritual gift he wants us to receive. Our service to God is good. His service for us is perfect. Our service to God is important. His service for us is essential. God loves our service to him. But we desperately need his service for us. Receiving his service is actually the highest form of worship. “God wants to be worshipped through faith so that we receive from him those things he promises and offers” (Apology of the Augsburg Confession, Article IV).
1 Peter 5:1–4 Pastors—The Under-Shepherds of the Chief Shepherd
Christ has not only given us his powerful Word. In his grace, he gives us ministers who proclaim that Word to us in whatever ways we need at the time: words of comfort, words of instruction, or even words of rebuke. Those who are entrusted with the care of Jesus' flock are expected to shepherd that flock just as Jesus would. They humbly assume that privilege, not to proclaim their own ideas or opinions, but to speak Jesus’ own words. They share Christ’s words, not just when it is welcomed gladly by those who hear it, but also when it is not. Ministers carry out their calling, not because of what they might gain from the flock, but because of what the flock might gain from Jesus through them. God’s words possess God’s power. Therefore, God provides us with ministers to proclaim God’s Word, so that God’s kingdom might come powerfully among us.
Psalm 32:1-5 Blessed
On this Sunday of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector, the focus will be on “Believing Humility,” which the Tax Collector displays in the Gospel Lesson. He recognizes his immense sin and turns to Jesus for full and free forgiveness. This is the Christian life of repentance, worked in our hearts by the Holy Spirit through Word and Sacrament. In the sermon text from Psalm 32, we will see David inspired by the Spirit write about being convicted of his sin and the forgiveness the Lord shared with him through Nathan.
Romans 8:18-39 We Are More Than Conquerors
Victory! It’s something that we all want – whether it’s in sports or in life. And yet, in this sin-cursed world, we often face just the opposite (the struggles of the mother in the Old Testament lesson is an example). But listen to Jesus’ message in the Gospel! This gives Paul confidence in the Verse of the Day and the sermon text. We are more than conquerors through Jesus!
Philippians 1:2-7 I Thank My God Every Time I Remember You
Paul told the Philippians that he thanked God every time he remembered or thought of them. As he wrote this letter to them from prison, he wanted them to know that thinking about them gave him joy even in his unhappy situation. We don’t know much about what the future holds, but, like Paul, we can be confident of one thing. God is in control.
Numbers 6:22-27 Through the Word, the Triune God Blesses Us
As we read God’s Word from the first verse of Genesis to the last verse of Revelation, he gives us hints and glimpses of his Triune nature. God dwells in a “majesty and mystery” that far exceeds our understanding. But here is what we can understand. Every time we gather in the name of the Lord, our Triune God, we receive indescribable blessings.
Genesis 11:1-8 The Holy Spirit Is Victorious over Prideful Hearts through the Word
God interrupted the rebellion of the people of Babel by confusing their language. On Pentecost he enabled the disciples to overcome all language barriers in order to communicate the good news about Jesus. The Holy Spirit worked through the good news they proclaimed to bring 3000 to faith in Jesus.
Revelation 22 - Our Ascended Lord Is Coming Soon
Jesus has gone to prepare a place for us. He is coming soon to take us to be with him there. Because we are washed in the blood of the Lamb we can say, "Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.
Ascension Sermon - Revelation 19:11-16
It may not always seem that Jesus is ruling all things for his bride, the church. But John sees Jesus riding a white horse to victory. He is our bridegroom, our knight in shining armor, who will come to rescue us from all evil and take us to the wedding banquet that never ends.
John 16:19-22 "Joy Victorious over Circumstance"
We must through much tribulation enter the kingdom of God. Paul and Jesus point us to the secret to having joy in the midst of trouble. It's seeing Jesus. Trusting that because he is our risen Lord and Savior we have forgiveness and eternal life.
John 13:31-36 Selfless Love Victorious over Self-Gratification
Jesus gave his disciples a new command. Love One Another. If you know your Bible you might wonder what's new about that. The summary of the second table of the law is "Love your neighbor as yourself." Jesus explains what's new when he adds - As I have loved you, so you are to love one another." He wants us to show the same selfless love for others, everyone, as he has shown us, a love that moved him to leave heaven, live humbly in this sinful world, be betrayed, condemned and crucified, all to save sinners like us. The more you know and appreciate God's selfless love for you, the more you will be enabled to show selfless love to others. When you do, others will recognize that you are one of Jesus' disciples and God will be glorified.
Acts 13:38-39 Faithful Words Victorious over Empty Words
Promises that go unfulfilled are empty words. A promise that you can be right with God by keeping rule and laws is an empty promise. Paul proclaims the fulfilled words of God. The resurrection of Jesus proves all God's promises are trustworthy. It is through faith in that we are justified, forgiven.
Acts 9:1ff Sight Victorious over Blindness
Everyone is born spiritually blind. It is only by means of a miracle that anyone can be brought to see that Jesus is the savior. Jesus worked this miracle in Saul by appearing to him on the road. He works it in our by letting us see him in his word.
Acts 5:17-21 Witness Victorious over Restraint
Satan uses everything he can to keep Christians from witnessing. He uses our own fears and insecurities, threats from others, whatever he can think of because he knows that the Holy Spirit works powerfully through the word of God Christians share to bring people to repentance and faith. Knowing we have powerful good news to share helps us overcome restraint and share the good news about Jesus.
2022-4-17 Easter - Life Is Victorious Over Death
Because of Jesus' life, death and resurrection death has been swallowed up in victory. God gives that victory to us.
Hebrews 2:14-15 Good Friday - Jesus' Death Destroys the Power of Death for Us.
Who would have imagined that God would destroy the power of by death. Because Jesus died our death, fulfilling the law and paying the debt of our sins, death no longer has power over us.
Hebrews 10:18-23 A Lamb Goes Uncomplaining forth To Give Us a New Covenant
The old covenant was a shadow of things to come. The sacrifices foreshadowed the Sacrifice of Jesus. Because he shed his blood for us we are priests who can enter the presence of God. He gives us his body and blood along with the bread and wine to assure us of forgiveness, strengthen our faith and inspire us to confess our faith without wavering.
Luke 19:28ff Jesus' Humility brings Us the Hope of Glory
Jesus entered Jerusalem humble and gentile, riding on a donkey colt so that he could suffered and die to pay for our sins.
Philippians 3:12-21 - Pursue the Goal
Jesus took hold of us. He redeemed us with his blood. He made us his own, heirs with him of eternal life, citizens of heaven. History shows a long line of people who took their heavenly citizenship for granted and ended up losing it, like the Jewish leaders who rejected Jesus. With Paul, we want to pursue the goal of entering eternal life the way an athlete pursues a gold medal. Hold fast to what you have been given. Let no one take your crown.
Romans 5:12-19 A Lamb Goes Uncomplaining Forth in Accord with the Father's Will
Pastor Justin Dauck
Because Jesus willingly obeyed the Father in everything and then suffered for sin in our place the condemnation that was brought on us by Adam and by our own sins has been cancelled.
Luke 15:20ff God's Grace Crushes our Condemnation
The father in Jesus' parable had two rebellious sons. We have walked in their shoes numerous times in our lives. He showed his rebellious sons mercy, welcoming his openly rebellious son home and going out and calling his inwardly rebellious son to repentance.
1 Corinthians 10:1-13 Jesus Crushes False Security
Like Israel, God has showered us with blessings. The temptation is to take them for granted and think that we can indulge in common sins as Israel did. Jesus crushes our false security with his call to repentance. May his blessings move you to serve him and your neighbor in thankful love.
A Lamb Goes Uncomplaining Forth - More Precious than Gold or Silver 1 Peter 1- Pastor Fred Berger
Our worth comes from the fact that Jesus was willing to die to save us.
Luke 13:31-35 Jesus Crushes the Temptation to Take Shortcuts
The warning from the Pharisees that Jesus should leave Galilee because Herod wanted to kill him was a temptation hidden in the pretense of caring. Jesus crushed the temptation, trusting that his times were in the Father's hands. He was determined to carry out the Father's will no matter what threats he faced. We are thankful that he crushed this temptation for us because we often take shorts out of temptation instead of the way out that God has provided. May we trust that our times are in God's hands and are determined to carry out his will no matter what threats we face.
Psalm 136:1–3 A Lamb Goes Uncomplaining Forth - Deserving our Thanks
Pastor Raymond Beckmann
Hebrews 4:14-16 Jesus Crushes Temptation
By resisting every temptation perfectly, living with out sin, Jesus can sympathize with us, offer help to us when we are tempted, but most importantly, his perfection is credited to us by grace through faith.
Matthew 11:28-30 A Lamb Goes Uncomplaining Forth to Bear My Burdens
Being yoked to Jesus means that we get the benefit of his live, death and resurrection.
Luke 9:28-36 - Jesus' Glory Uncovered
Jesus prepared his disciples for his suffering and death by letting them see his glory, and to see Moses and Elijah in glory. When his suffering tempted them to question whether he was the Christ they would be strengthened and encouraged by what they saw on the mount of transfiguration, and the words from the Father which reminded them to listen to Jesus who had also promised that he would rise from the dead on the third day.
The world says, "stand up for yourself. Don't get mad, get even." God says, "bless and pray for those who persecute you. Overcome evil with good." Jesus overcame evil by taking it on himself. He overcomes our evil with the good of the forgiveness he won for us. Only in view of his mercy to us can we bless those who persecute us.
2 Corinthians 12:7-10 True Blessings, True Curses
What may seem to be a blessing may actually be a curse, what may seem to be a curse may actually be a blessing. Example: Paul's thorn in the flesh.
Isaiah 6:1-8 - God Chooses Unexpected People
Jeremiah, Moses, David, the Apostles - They are not people we might have expected God to choose to proclaim his word. But that's who God usually chooses. People who are humble, who realize they can't do what they Lord is asking of them on their own. They need God to forgive them, enable them and inspire them so that they respond with Isaiah, "Here Am I, Send Me!"
2 Timothy 4 - Say What Needs To Be Said
Jeremiah received a message from God that was very unpopular. God told him he must say what needed to be said, to speak the word he had given him. Paul tells Timothy the same thing. There will always be those who don't want to hear what God's Word says. If we are faithful, we speak the words God has given us in the Scriptures even when they are unpopular.
Acts 4:23-31 "Rejection Is Not the Exception"
When even Jesus who never said or did anything wrong is rejected, should we be surprised if people reject our witness? The Bible makes it clear that, because of our sinful nature, we all reject Jesus by nature. Only the Holy Spirit working through the word can bring anyone to faith in Jesus. May God grant us the ability through the Spirit the boldness to share the word no matter what the reception we receive.
Ephesians 3:18-21 God Delights in Giving Good Things
Paul prays that the Spirit, working through the word, would enable us to comprehend more and more how much he loves us.
Luke 3:15ff - What the Eye Sees Differs from What God Decrees
John looked like he might be the Messiah, but God decreed that he would only prepare the way for the Messiah. Jesus didn't look like he could be more than just a lowly carpenter from Nazareth, but God decreed that he was his one and only son and that he was pleased with him. What we see in baptism looks like simple water, but God decrees that it is a washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit. When we look in the mirror our eyes see a sinner deserving of God's punishment, but in connection with our baptism God decrees we are his dear children, washed by the blood of Jesus.
Acts 13:46ff - Uncovered - A Light for All
God has made it clear in many ways that the Savior is for all people, not just Abraham's descendants. Abraham's true children are those who share the faith of Abraham. The Wise Men certainly fit that description as they worshiped a helpless baby as their Lord and King, and obeyed the word of the Lord they were given.
Hebrews 13 - We Have No Permanent City Here
The pandemic has reminded us of our mortality. Nothing here on earth is permanent. Thankfully, in Jesus, we have a permanent city that can never perish, spoil or fade, kept for us in heaven.
Hebrews 2:10-18 What Child Is This? Our Substitute and Our Sacrifice
Jesus didn't come to earth to help angels. They were either beyond help (demons) or not in need of help, confirmed in glory. He came to earth to live and die as our substitute.
Exodus 33, John 1 Jesus Reveals God's Glory to Us
No one can see the face of God and live, but Jesus reveals God to us and pays for our sins so that we can live in the glory of God forever
Galatians 4:4-7 Jesus Makes Us Heirs
Four verses packed full of meaning.
Luke 1:43-50 When the Lord Comes Near He Lifts Up the Humble
Elizabeth and Mary showed their humility in accepting the word of the Lord and giving him praise. The Lord lifts up all who humble themselves and look to Jesus as their Savior.
Zephaniah 3:14-17 "The Lord Comes Near to Humble His Enemies - Be Glad and Rejoice"
Be glad and rejoice with all your heart because God has removed his judgment against you. He is among you as a hero to save you.
Malachi 3:1-7a When the Lord Comes Near He Humbles His People
Be careful what you ask for. That was what God told his people through Malachi. They wanted the Messiah to come and bring justice thinking they were the good people. God reminds them, and us, that only he is good. We are all sinners who need to be purified and cleansed from our sins. Thankfully Jesus didn't come in justice but to win salvation. God's soap is his blood shed for us on the cross. It cleanses us from all sin.
Matthew 18:18ff The Lord Comes Near in the Means of Grace
How does the Lord come near us now, between his first and second comings? He comes near to us in the Word and Sacraments, assuring us of his presence with us and his forgiveness of our sins.
1 Thessalonians 3:9-13 Humble Confidence
Jesus entered Jerusalem with humble confidence and went to the cross to pay for the sins of the world Because of what he did in our place we too have humble confidence that our sins are forgiven and that we have a place in heaven.
Philippians 4:7--14 The Secret of Contentment
Paul was able to be contend no matter what his situation in life was because he talked to the Lord in prayer, he focused on things that were excellent, praiseworthy and eternal, he was strengthened by Jesus through the word, and he rejoiced in the fellowship he had with other Christians.
Revelation 1:4-20 What a King We Have in Jesus!
Earthly rulers will always disappoint. They don't fulfill their promises. They can't save you. If you are looking for a ruler/king who always keeps his promises, who is always there for you, who is able to save you and grant you eternal life and peace, look no further than Jesus, King of kings and Lord of lords.
John 5:22-30 "The Basis for God's Judgment"
Everyone must appear before the judgment seat of Christ. What is the basis upon which we will be judged? Jesus says it is his word. It is whether or not we listened to his voice and trusted his claim to be the only way, truth and life.
Revelation 20:4-6 The Second Death Has No Power over You
John was comforted by the vision of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony about Jesus still living and reigning with Jesus.
Mark 13:9-11 Stand Up for Jesus
The three men in the furnace, Jesus, Peter and John, Paul, all these and more stood up for Jesus. Thanks to them, and others like Hus and Luther, the good news of the gospel has been preserved to us today. It's now up to us to continue to stand up for Jesus even in the face of threats or persecution.
10 for 10 Bible Study on Sacrificial Giving
Sacrificial giving is over and above our planned proportional giving.
Mark 12:41-44 - Sacrificial Giving
When we remember that Jesus gave everything for us we are moved to give everything for him. The widow gave all she had trusting God's promise to bless all who put him first.
2021 10 17 Bible Study on Proportionate Giving
Set aside a sum of money in keeping with your income.
Matthew 25:14-39 God Looks for Faithfulness in His Servants
In Jesus' parable of the talents he praises both the servant who gained 5 and the servant who gained 2. The amount they gained was not what he praised. He praised their faithfulness. God looks for faithfulness in his serants.
First Fruit Giving Bible Study
Bible Study on the Biblical concept of First Fruits Giving.
Haggai 1:1-11 Give Careful Thought to Your Priorities
God challenges his people to consider their priorities to see if anyone or anything is more important than him. He has made us his priority by taking on flesh and blood in order to pay for all our sins.
Mark 10:52 Following Jesus
Like Bartimaeus, in response to what Jesus has done for us, we follow him. We refuse to be quiet about who he is and what he has done for us.
Mark 9:42 - Family Values, Protecting Children
God often told his people to care for and protect foreigners, fatherless and widows, those who are easy targets for those who would abuse others. Jesus picks up on this theme as tells us to protect children, reminding us that it would be better for those who take advantage of them to have been thrown into the sea with a heavy stone around their necks. As we realize that we have not always protected children as we should we rejoice that Jesus always did in our place. He paid for every sin and cares for each person individually.
Psalm 115 - Singing Humble Praise
Moses showed humility. Miriam and Aaron showed what James warns about, pride and selfish ambition, when they complained about Moses. The disciples argued about who was the greatest and Jesus reminded them that in his kingdom, those who humble themselves and are willing to be servants of all are the greatest. Like Miriam, Aaron, and the Disciples, we often give in to pride and selfish ambition. Thankfully Jesus came to earth, humbled himself even to death on the cross and paid for our sins of pride and selfish ambition. When we recognize who God is and what he has done for us we are moved to give him humble praise.
Mark 8:31-35 Expect Hard Times
As soon as Peter confesses that Jesus is the Christ, Jesus make sure Peter, and we, understands what it means. Jesus must suffer. And Jesus reminds us that, if we follow him, we to must expect hard time.
Mark 7:31-37 - Helping the Disabled
The deaf man had friends who brought him to the one who cared more for him than anyone ever did or could. Jesus healed him. These men and Jesus showed love and care for a disabled man. We too can show love and care for the disabled, but not just for their bodies. The best thing we can do is bring them to know Jesus as their Savior from sin.
John 6:68 Jesus Has the Words of Eternal Life
When it comes to eternal life, flesh is no help at all. God chooses to provide us with eternal salvation through is powerful word.
John 6:51-61 "Does This Offend You?"
People were offended when Jesus talked about eating his flesh. Why did Jesus say things that offended people? He wanted to challenge them to say with the young boy's father, "Lord I believe, help me overcome my unbelief." Jesus wants us to "eat" his flesh, to take him in and trust him so completely that nothing he says or does will cause us to stumble in our faith.
John 6:41-51 Jesus Is Better than Manna
Manna was a great blessing from God, but those who ate it still died. Jesus gives his flesh for the life of the world. Those who "eat" him, the bread of life, live forever.
John 6:32-35 Jesus Alone Satisfies Our Real Hunger
Jesus worked hard to get the people to see that their source of their real hunger was their lack of righteousness. He wanted them to have a hunger and thirst for righteousness so that they would come to him as the only one who could satisfy that hunger and thirst. He alone has the Father's seal of approval. He alone is righteous. In grace he gives us the righteousness we need to stand in the judgment as a gift receive through faith.
John 6:11-15 A Godly View of Material Possessions
With the feeding of the 5000 Jesus teaches us to trust him to provide for our needs, reminds us not to waste anything he has given us, and most importantly, shows that he is the Prophet, the Messiah who will not serve as an earthly king, but the heavenly king he alone can give eternal life.
Exodus 16:4 "Testing Builds Trust"
The Bible presents a number of times that God tests his people. Think of Abraham being asked to offer Isaac. God tests us to help us grow in faith and trust in him. Through the tests he allows to come to us he is asking us what he asked Abraham, and Israel. "Am I #1 in your heart and life? Will you serve me and follow my instructions even if they don't make sense or if they contradict your own ideas?"
Romans 13:1-10 Table of Duties - Government and Citizens
Give everyone what you owe them - To those in authority, honor, respect and obedience. To God, Fear Love and Trust above all things.
Ephesians 6:5-9 Table of Duties - Employers and Employees
What temptations do Employees and Employers face? God calls on Employees to respect and obey their Employers and to remember that they are really working for the Lord not people. God calls on Employers to treat their Employees with empathy, compassion and fairness, to pay them fairly and in a timely manner. Ultimately none of us fulfills what God requires of us perfectly, but Jesus did. And, he paid for all the times we didn't. His love and forgiveness is what motivates us to do everything we do to the best of our ability and to the glory of God.
Proverbs 23:13-25 Table of Duties - Fathers
God tasks fathers with bringing up their children in the training and instruction of the Lord. Proverbs gives us examples of how to do that.
2 Thessalonians 2:13-17 Sanctification, What Does this Mean?
Catechism series. Third Article, the work of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit calls us out of the darkness of unbelief to the light of faith in Jesus through the gospel. As we continue to hear the gospel and use the sacraments the Holy Spirit strengthens and keeps us in the faith, and encourages and enables us to do and say what brings God glory.
1 Peter 1:17-21 Redemption - What does this mean?
The word Redemption, or Redeem, summarizes the great truth of Scripture. We were help captive by sin and Satan, born dead in sin. But from eternity God had a plan of redemption in place. He revealed it to Adam and Eve. He carried put it into action when Jesus was born of the Virgin Mary. By his perfect life and his innocent suffering and death he paid the price to redeem us, to set us from from sin, death and Satan. No perishable thing like Gold or silver could pay the price to set us free. Only the precious blood of Christ, the lamb without blemish or spot could and did. He set us free, so that we might serve him gladly and willingly, now and forever.
James 1:16-18 "Do not be deceived about God."
God made us, preserves us, and calls us to be his own through faith in Jesus.
Ezekiel 37:1014 The Spirit Gives Life
God gave Ezekiel a vision that assured the captives in Babylon that they were not forsaken or cut off by God. The Spirit works through the word Of God to give life to those who are dead in sin, and on the last day he will give life to everyone who has died.
John 17:11-19 Connected and Protected
Jesus prays that the Father would keep us connected to him and that he would protects us from The Evil One as we live as strangers in the world.
John 15:9-17 Connected by Love
We are connected to Jesus by his love for us that moved him to give up his life for us. His love for us moves us to show the same kind of self-sacrificing love to others.
John 15:1-8 Connected to the Vine
Jesus is the true vine. He produces/makes us branches, provides all the nourishment we need and enables us to produce fruit that brings glory to God.
John 10:11-18 Connected to the Good Shepherd
Luke 24:44-49 Connected to the Scriptures
Even though the disciples saw Jesus we made sure that they were convinced from the Scriptures that he is the Messiah, their savior.
John 20:21-31 - Connected to Peace
Jesus brings true and lasting peace by his resurrection which proves our sins are forgiven and that we too will rise.
The scars on Jesus' hands and side are evidence of his resurrection. When he comes again and raises us from the dead we will see them and live in his glory for all eternity.
Luke 23:32-34 Pierced Hands
Jesus allowed his hands to be pierced for us.
John 13 Hands of Humility
Jesus humbled himself, not just to wash his disciples' feet, but even to the point of death on the cross in our place. Knowing what Jesus did for us moves us to humble ourselves. It helps us see our purpose in live is to humbly serve God in faith and our neighbor in love as we wait for the time he will return and exalt us with him forever.
Psalm 24 - The Struggle - The Return of the King
Jesus is the King of Glory. He is the one who saves.
Psalm 143 - The Struggle Is Relentless
Like David we have enemies that pursue us relentlessly, the Devil, the world and our flesh. Like David we have an all powerful helper whose promises never fail.
David understood the struggle with guilt. He learned that the only thing that removes guilt is confession and absolution. Only God removes our guilt by taking it off of us and putting it on Jesus.
Psalm 19 - The Struggle - Empowered by God's Word
God reveals his true glory in his Word, the Law and the Prophets. He shows himself true to every promise, the most important of which is his promise of a Savior. Through his word he guides us in ways that are pleasing, and strengthens us to recognize and avoid temptation.
Psalm 73 - The Struggle Seems Unfair
Like the Psalmist we too are bothered when we see the wicked prosper while believers suffer. Like him we find the answer when we go to the sanctuary of God and are reminded that this life is not the end. God's justice will be delivered on the last day when those who have rejected Jesus and mocked God will be sent away to eternal punishment while those who are righteous through faith in Jesus will bask in the glory of God for all eternity.
Psalm 3 - The Struggle against the Enemy
David was being chased by an enemy army led by his rebellious son as he was reminded of his sins. How did he respond? He turned to the Lord in prayer and trusted that the Lord would deliver him. Like David, we too can trust that the Lord will deliver us from all our enemies because Jesus has defeated the Devil for us and continues to intercede for us.
Mark 9:2-9 - Listen to Jesus
Peter wanted to hold on to a little heaven on earth. But to keep Jesus in glory on the mountain would have kept him for doing what was needed for our salvation. The Father reminded Peter and us to listen to Jesus. Listen to everything he says.
Mark 1:29-39 Why Jesus Came.
Jesus showed his authority by healing every illness and ordering demons to be quiet and come out. But illnesses and demon possession were only symptoms of the real problem he came to solve. He came to forgive sins and destroy the devil's work forever.
2 Corinthians 8:1-15 - Give Back
The Holy Spirit teaches Stewardship. True Stewardship is a fruit of faith that comes when we focus on the Grace we have received from God. His grace to us fills our hearts with joy, trust and generosity. It moves us to use all that we are and have to bring glory to God and good to our neighbor.
2 Corinthians 5:14-21 - Be Reconciled to God
Unity? It has to start with being reconciled to God. It means recognizing everyone is equally sinful in God's eyes, and that Jesus died to pay for everyone's sin.
2 Peter 1:5-2 and 3:17-18 Mission - Learn
Add, Increase, Grow. These are words Peter uses to encourage us to life-long study of Scripture. As we grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus we will gladly share the good news with everyone.
Hebrews 10:19-25 Worship and Outreach
The writer holds up the Faithfulness of God to inspire us to gather for worship. As we gather, we encourage each other to show love to God and to one another we let our light shine and have opportunities to share the good news about Jesus.
2 Kings 5 - Good News for All
Many examples of how God found ways to make himself known to all.
Luke 2:25-36 "Peace"
Nothing the world offers can give true and lasting peace. Simeon found that true and lasting peace comes from seeing the Lord's Salvation. That's our source of peace as well.
John 1:1-14 - "The Word Became Flesh"
The Word was God. The Word was with God in the beginning. They Word became flesh. The Word is Jesus. He is the promised seed of the woman who took on flesh and blood so that he could redeem us from sin, death and Satan by his perfect life in our place, his innocent death in our place, and his glorious resurrection from the dead. Through faith in him we are children of God and heirs with him of eternal life.
Luke 1:25-36 - Believe
Mary demonstrated humble faith, but it wasn't blind faith. She knew the prophecies. She trusted that no word of God could ever faith. The same should be true of us. Like Mary we wonder why God would choose us and give us his grace and favor. Like Mary we know that no word of God can faith. Nothing is impossible with God. So no matter what he promises us, no matter how unbelievable it seems, we know it will happed. We say with Mary, "I am the Lord's servant."
Isaiah 61:10-11 "Rejoice"
Like Israel, we might wonder if we have reasons to rejoice. In Jesus we always have reason to rejoice because he has clothed us in his robe of righteousness and covered us with garments of salvation. He alone gives us everlasting joy.
Mark 1:1-8 Prepare
Prepare for a proper celebration of Christmas by recognizing your need for a savior, recognizing that Jesus is that savior, and remembering your baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
Mark 13:32-37 "Keep Watch!"
Jesus is like the man who went on a journey and gave each servant a job to do until he returned. Jesus has given each of us gifts to use to serve him and our neighbor while he is gone. He hasn't told us when he will return, but he has given us signs so that we might know the time is near. Watch. learn and pay attention to the signs. In the mean time, remember that the wise and faithful servant is the one the Lord finds doing the work he has been given when he returns.
Psalm 103 Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving cancelled? God's mercy endures from everlasting to everlasting. There is always a reason for thanksgiving.
Psalm 47 - God Is King over All the Earth
Does it seem that God is King, ruling over all the earth? The evil in the world is not God's fault. He is ruling all the earth in the way that fulfills his promise of salvation. He showed this clearly as he turned the evil actions of the Jewish leaders and the sinful action of Pilate into salvation for all through the death and resurrection of Jesus. No matter what it looks like, trust that God is in control for your eternal good.
Matthew 25:14-30 "Christian Love Practices Good Stewardship"
Everything we have belongs to God. We are his stewards. Considering the fact that we don't deserve anything from him, yet in his grace he gives us Jesus, and trusts us to use his possessions while we live on earth, we are motivated to use them faithfully. Stewardship is about attitude. Consider the difference in attitude between the two faithful servants and the unfaithful servant.
Believers are plantings in God's vineyard. Considering all the blessings he showers on us he has the right to expect that we will produce good fruit, the we will be a planting for the display of his splendor.
Ezekiel 18:1-4, 25-32 "Christian Love Takes Responsibility"
Ever sins Adam and Eve sinned we all have a heart that wants to blame others as they did in the garden. In order to take responsibility for our sins and trust Christ for forgiveness we need a new heart and a new spirit. God creates this new heart and spirit in us through the word and sacraments. As renewed children of God through faith we realize that no one else it to blame for our sins. We realize that each person is accountable to God. He will not punish us for someone else's sins, nor will he save us because of someone else's faith.
Jonah 4:5-11 "Christian Love Is Gracious
God showed Jonah grace upon grace. He rescued him from drowning. He gave him a second chance to obey him and preach in Nineveh. He provided a vine to give him shade. But Jonah struggled to be gracious to the Ninevites and rejoice in their repentance. So God provided a worm to destroy the plant and teach Jonah what it meant to be gracious to others.
Ephesians 4:32 "Christian Love Forgives."
Peter wanted to know how he could forgive someone more than 7 times. We wonder how Joseph could forgive his brothers for the terrible things they did to him. How can we forgive those who harm us? Jesus' parable of the unmerciful servant brings to life Paul's statement that we forgive as God in Christ has forgiven us.
Ezekiel 33:7-11 "Christian Love Warns"
God tells Ezekiel and us that we are watchmen responsible for giving his warning to those who are living contrary to God's word and will. God then gives us an example of how such a warning is delivered in love as he pleads with Israel to turn from their sin because he doesn't want them to die in their sins.
Revelation 7:1-3 "Sealed for Safety"
After John sees a vision of the last day, the sun turning dark and the mood blood red, the stars falling from the sky, the question is asked "Who can stand?" Who can stand before the judgment throne of God? No one can on their own, by their own power, on the basis of what they have or have not done. All have sinned and deserve the wrath of the Lamb. But God provides John, and us, comfort. He shows him that before the judgment comes, those who belong to God through faith in Jesus are sealed for safety. Are you sealed for safety on the day of judgment? Look to your Baptism, look to the Lord's Supper, look to the objective promises of God that he has redeemed you. You belong to him. He has marked you with is seal.
Matthew 15:21-28 Who Did Jesus Come to Save?
Jesus' interaction with the Canaanite woman shows that he came to save all people, Jews and Gentiles. She is one of the two people Jesus holds up as an example of great fatih.
1 Peter 3:19-20 Christ's Word Gives Our Words Power
A sermon on Jesus' descent into Hell by Pastor Allen Lindke.
Matthew 14:13-21 Does Jesus Care for Our Bodies?
Jesus sailed across the lake to get away from the crowds and to get some rest. But the crowds were waiting for him when he arrived. Instead of getting back in the boat and leaving, Jesus had compassion on them. He healed the sick. He taught them about the kingdom of heaven. And he fed them. Jesus cares for the whole person - body and soul. On the last day our bodies will be reunited with our souls. Yes, Jesus cares for our bodies.
Matthew 13:44-52 "What Is Your Top Priority?"
Solomon showed proper, godly priorities when he ask for wisdom, not for himself, but so that he could properly govern God's people to God's glory. Moses showed proper, godly priorities when he chose to identify with God's people instead of enjoying the riches and pleasures of Pharaoh's palace. When we see that Jesus is our priceless treasure, our pearl of inestimable worth, we too will have proper priorities. We will make every decision in life by first asking how it will affect our relationship with Jesus and our eternal life. We won't want anything to be a greater priority than our eternal life in Jesus.
Matthew 13:24ff The Weeds and the Wheat
Why is there evil? How will it end? When will it end? Jesus answers these questions for us in his parable of the Weeds among the Wheat.
Matthew 13:1-23 Seeds Sold Here
Sermon by Pastor Edwin Frederich
Matthew 11:28-30 "Jesus Promises Rest"
With a lot of experts saying different things about wearing masks or not wearing masks, about kids going to school or not going to school, it can wear you out trying to find the truth. The situation in which we find ourselves helps us identify with the people of Jesus' day who had to contend with great Rabbis telling them different things about what they should be doing and what was sinful and what wasn't. They were wear and burdened trying to find the truth. To them, and to us, Jesus says, "Come to me for rest."
Genesis 3:15 Relationship Restored
Adam and Eve could do nothing to restore their relationship with God. In grace, God took the steps necessary to restore his relationship with them. He gave them a promise. He would send a seed of a woman to crush Satan's head. By paying for sin Jesus, the seed of a woman, the virgin Mary, removed the wall of separation between God and man. Because of Jesus we are called Children of God again.
Genesis 3 - Relationships Destroyed
When Adam and Eve distrusted God and doubted his word they sinned. Sin destroyed their perfect relationship with God and their perfect relationship with each other. Worst of all their sinful nature has been passed down to us so that our relationship with God and with others has been destroyed. As Jesus explained to Nicodemus, flesh gives birth to sinful flesh. That's why we need to be born again by the power of the Holy Spirit working through the Gospel in word and sacrament. Only then can our relationship with God and others begin to be restored.
Genesis 2:18-24 Perfect Relationships
Before the fall into sin Adam and Eve had a perfect relationship with God and with each other. We look forward to that perfect relationship being restored in heaven. In the mean time, as the image of God is being restored in us through faith, we strive to improve our relationships as we strive to have Christ-like love for others, especially our spouses.
Genesis 2:15 Opportunities for Meaningful Service
Adam and Eve were placed in Paradise to work it and take care of it. While still in their perfect state they had work to do. God still gives us work to do as opportunities for meaningful service to him and to our neighbor. We often fail to see work in this way. We tend to prefer idleness. Thankfully Jesus served God and his neighbor perfectly and then paid for our idleness, laziness and discontent by his death in our place on the cross.
Genesis 1:26-28 Foundations of the Christian Faith - The Image of God
God created Adam and Eve as special beings, unique, different from the animals with body and soul. Some equate this with the phrase "Image of God". But when Adam and Eve sinned they lost the image of God, yet remained special, unique beings different from the animals with body and soul. Paul helps us understand the essence of the image of God as he speak about the New Man being restored in the image of the creator, in righteousness and holiness. We look forward to the day when this image of holiness, righteousness and perfection is completely restored in us.
Genesis 1:1-2, 26 Foundations of the Christian Faith - The Triune God
One of the rock solid foundations of the Christian Faith is that God is the creator of all that exists. He is Eternal, Almighty, All Wise, and loving. He also reveals himself as completely other - three persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, in one divine being.
John 16:8-11 "Convicted"
The Holy Spirit works through God's Word to convince us about our sin, that Jesus is our Righteousness, and that Satan has been condemned.
John 17:13-19, 24 What Jesus Asks on Our Behalf
The Bible says that Jesus is at the right hand of the Father interceding for us. What is he asking the Father to do for us? Jesus' high priestly prayer in John 17 gives us some hints. He asks that we be protected from the Evil One, that we are sanctified, and that we are glorified.
Acts 17:22-31 "Proclaim the Unknown God"
What Paul found in Athens is what we find in our world today - Many worship an unknown god. Paul shows us that to proclaim the true God to them we will have to start, not with the Bible they don't know, but with what they do know, the natural knowledge of God.
1 Peter 2:4-10 "You Rock"
Jesus is the living stone. He rocks because he lived and died in our place and rose from the dead. In him we are acceptable to the father. Our sins are all washed away. When the Holy Spirit leads us to Jesus and brings us to faith we become living stones. God considers us his chosen people. A holy priesthood, we are able to offer ourselves as living sacrifices and proclaim his praises.
1 Peter 2:22-25 The Good Shepherd
Our Good Shepherd willingly goes after us, his wandering sheep, and brings us back to his fold with changed hearts that want to live for righteousness and live with him forever.
Acts 2:37-47 The Real Church
The church isn't a building, it's people. It is people brought to faith in Jesus through the Gospel in word and sacrament. It is people who devote themselves to the word, the sacrament, fellowship and prayer. It is people who let the light of Christ shine in everything they do.
1 Peter 1:3-9 Reasons to Greatly Rejoice
Rejoice- God has given you new birth; an Indestructible Inheritance; You are Shielded by God's Power; Tested for Your Eternal Good; You Believe without Seeing.
Revelation 19:11-16 Easter Sermon
Christ is not dead. He is risen just as he said. He will come again in victory to destroy our enemies and take us to be with him in his glorious kingdom forever.
John 9:1-5 Why Did This Happen?
Jesus reminds us that, although everything bad is a result of sin, we shouldn't think it's a punishment for a specific sin. The ultimate punishment for sin is Hell. He promises that everything can be used by God for our good and his glory.
John 4:5-26 Share Living Water
Jesus models for us how to share the living water of the Gospel with others.
Share Living Water
· In _______________________ places
· With _____________________ people
· Let them know you have ____________________________________________
· Help them recognize their ______________________
· Manage their objections by
o Avoiding ________________________
o Focusing on _____________________
Romans 5:12-19 Two Universal Verdicts
It doesn't seem fair that because Adam sinned we die. But remember, it's not fair that because Jesus lived a perfect life and died in our place we get to live with God in glory forever.
Isaiah 42:13 Jesus, the Promised Warrior, our Hero
You don't often think of war in connection with Jesus, but Isaiah reminds us that he is a warrior. He left heaven and came to earth on a mission to defeat sin, Satan and death for us. He was victorious over his enemies. In grace, the Father gives his victory to us.
Matthew 17:1-9 Looking Forward to Glory
Don't look for glory on earth that doesn't endure. Look forward to the eternal glory Jesus won by his life and death in our place. Jesus endured it all for us by looking forward to the glory he would inherit after his resurrection.
1 Corinthians 2:12-13 "To Whom Do You Listen
Like Israel, we have many times each day when we have a choice to listen to God or to listen to Satan or the wisdom of the world. Considering all that God has done for us, choose life, listen to his word.
Matthew 5:13-16 Be What God Made You
As sons of God through faith in Jesus you ARE salt and light for the world. Share the salt of the Gospel so that others are brought to faith in Jesus and preserved in the judgment. Let the light of your faith and the love of Jesus shine in all you do and say. Don't keep your faith to yourself.
Micah 6:1-8 "You Are Blessed"
Like Israel, you might feel God has wearied you, but the fact is, you are blessed. Treating God like an idol that you can manipulate is what wearies you. Seeing God as your Savior inspires you to serve God and your neighbor with joy.
1 Corinthians 1:10-17 "Focus on what Matters"
All too often Christians major in minors. They focus on buildings and carpets and style of music. They insist on their own personal preferences and end up causing divisions that hinder the mission of proclaiming to gospel to all. Paul encourages us to focus on what matters, the salvation of souls, the proclamation of the gospel. When we do, divisions will disappear.
2 Timothy 3 "Point Them in the Right Direction"
In the midst of the troubled times of the last days Paul reminds us to keep pointing our children in the right direction, to Jesus and the the Scriptures.
Matthew 3:13-17 Jesus Our Perfect Substitute
At his baptism Jesus identified with us. He fulfilled all righteousness. He kept God's law as our perfect substitute.
Matthew 2:9-12 Wise Men
The Magi from the East set an example of what it means to be truly wise - They watched for the signs God gave, they acted in faith, worshiped the infant Jesus as their King and Savior, Gave gifts fit for a King, and obeyed the Lord's instructions not to return to Herod.
Numbers 6:22-27 - The Blessing of the Lord
The words of the blessing given in Numbers 6 are not just a pious wish. Through them God himself puts his name on us and WILL bless us.
Galatians 4:4-7 God's Perfect Timing
God sent Jesus into the world at just the right time to redeem the world. He sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts at just the right time so that we would be considered heirs with him of eternal life.
Isaiah 52- Message for Christmas Day.
God rolled up his sleeves and provided salvation for the world in Jesus.
John 3:16 Message from Christmas Eve
God loves us. Christmas proves it. He gave his Son to save a world who didn't deserve to be saved.
Matthew 1:18-25 "Righteousness Shows"
Joseph was a righteous man. When the Bible calls someone righteous it means that they trust in the one true God and his promise of a Savior. Like Abraham, righteousness is credited to a person through faith. Those who are righteous through faith show that righteousness in their lives, as Joseph did.
Luke 11:37 FF
Jesus is the Key of Knowledge. He warns us about things that distract us, or keep us from seeing him as the one who reveals God to us.
Matthew 11:2-6 "Be Sure about Jesus"
Did John have doubts about Jesus? Whether he did, or his disciples did, John knew what to do with doubt. He went to Jesus and Jesus removed doubts by pointing him to the prophecies of Scripture he was fulfilling.
Romans 15:4, 13 Hope for the Hopeless
God, the God of Hope, provides hope for that hopeless because he is always faithful to his promises. Most importantly he kept his promise to send a the Savior, our Lord Jesus Christ.
Luke 11:27-36 My Soul in Stillness Waits for the Lord of Life
The only way to be truly enlightened is by the Holy Spirit working through the word of God.
Genesis 6:11-14 "Prepare an Ark"
Just as Noah did we need to prepare an ark for our family. We do this by making sure everyone in our family knows that Jesus is their ark, their only hope of salvation when the last day comes.
Psalm 67 - May God Bless Us So That...
The Psalmist prays for God's blessings so that, through us, his salvation my be known to all.
Luke 23:35-42 Christ the King
Jesus or victorious King gives us a glorious eternal kingdom.
Isaiah 65:17-25 - Saints Triumphant
God pictures for us what it will be like to live in the new heaven and the new earth.
2 Thessalonians 1:5-10
At home with Jesus you are perfectly safe for all eternity.
Jesus left heaven to save us so that we could call him our brother.
John 8:31-33 "The Truth Will Set Your Free"
God's law is truth but it can't sett you free because you break it. Only he Son can set you free by his life and death in your place, and his glorious resurrection from the dead. He has set you free from sin, death and Satan so that you can serve the Lord without fear and your neighbor in love.
Psalm 2 - "What Do You Think About the Christ?"
Psalm 2 describes what Jesus faced as the Pharisees and Sadducees tried to trap him with difficult questions. When they were finished he asked them a question that made it clear that the Christ was to be both the son of David and the Son of God. Jesus is true God and true man, just who he needed to be in order to save us. Always take refuge in him.
October 13, 2019 "What Does God Desire?"
There is no sacrifice we can make to pay for sin. The only sacrifice that paid for sin was the sacrifice that Jesus made in our place. As we acknowledge our guilt and look to Jesus for forgiveness we will be moved to do what is just and love mercy.
Ephesians 3:14-21 A Prayer for You
Paul prays with freedom and confidence that we would be strengthened by the Spirit, know the greatness of God's love for us, and be filled with all the fullness of God.
1 Kings 17:8-16 Don't Worry, Trust God
Jesus tells us not to worry and gives us excellent reasons not to - God cares for birds and flowers and we are worth much more than they. Paul reminds us that God sacrificed Jesus to save us and if he did that, why wouldn't he provide for our lesser needs? Elijah and the Widow of Zarephath learned from experience what it means to put God first, trust him and he will provide.
Ephesians 4:22-28 "Be Continually Renewed"
Christians need constant renewal to be enabled to take off the old and put on the new.
Luke 10:29 "Who Is My Neighbor?"
The parable of the Good Samaritan tells us that everyone is our neighbor, even our enemy. Leviticus 19 give us practical examples of how we can show love for our neighbor.
Mark 7:31-37 Jesus Does Everything Well
We confess that Jesus does everything well. Because he did he was able to win our eternal salvation. But how often don't we contradict our confession by doing the opposite of what Jesus commands as these people in the Decapolis did?
1 Corinthians 15:9-10 By the Grace of God We Are What We Are
Paul was a sinner saved by grace. We are just like him, sinners saved by grace in Jesus.
Luke 19:41-44 Recognize the Things that Bring You Peace
Earthly things can't bring lasting peace. Only forgiveness and the promise of eternal peace in Jesus can bring lasting peace. Earthly Jerusalem was supposed to be a place of peace but it has never lived up to it's name. We look forward to the New Jerusalem, the heavenly one, where there is perfect peace.
"Known by Their Fruit" Test the fruit of a teacher's doctrine. If it agrees with God's word it is good fruit, if it doesn't agree with God's word it is rotten, poisonous fruit. Test the fruit your produce. If the fruit produced by the Holy Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Such fruit comes as we daily remember our baptism, crucifying our sinful nature by daily contrition and repentance, and rejoicing that, through baptism, God has united us with Jesus in his live and death.
Genesis 13:10-11 Consequences and Grace
Abraham and Lot experienced consequences for their sinful and selfish choices. But in the midst of those consequences they experienced God's Grace. God's grace to Abraham moved him to be gracious to others.
Luke 6:36-41 "Be Merciful"
God is merciful to us who are ungrateful and wicked. While we were still sinners Christ died for us. Having experienced his mercy to us we are moved to be merciful to others.
1 Peter 5:6-11 "Be Alert and Trust"
Be alert and always watching because Satan is like a lion ready to pounce when you are distracted. Trust God's promise to to help, to lift you up when you are humbles, to strengthen and support you no matter what.
Luke 14:16-24 You Are Invited to a Feast!
God invites us to feast on his word and sacrament, and in his eternal kingdom. Don't ignore or take his invitation for granted.
Focus on what's important - The Lord and his word.
Trinity Sunday Message
There is no one like our God - One divine being yet three distinct persons.
The Festival of Pentecost
The Holy Spirit provided everything the disciples needed to preach law and gospel. He does the same for us today.
John 15:26-16:4 "Be Prepared"
Jesus sends the Holy Spirit to be our coach and prepare us to witness about him and to suffer for him.
Ascension Meditation on John 14
Our hearts need not be sad or troubled. Jesus is preparing a place for us and we will see him again.
Ascension Meditation on Hebrews 7
Jesus is our Great High Priest.
May 26, 2019 Sermon on James 1:22-27
Pure Religion - Beliefs and values based on God's word alone. Putting those values and beliefs into action out of gratitude for all God has done for you in Jesus.
1 Chronicles 16:23-34
Memory and Hope.
Good Shepherd Sunday
Jesus is the Good Shepherd who gave his life for the sheep. Therefore, we lack nothing now and have eternal life.
John 20:21-23 "Peace Be with You"
Only Jesus can give us the peace we need - the peace that comes from knowing he is alive and that our sins are forgiven.
Easter Sermon - Keep On Remembering Christ Is Risen
Keep on remembering Jesus, true man, descended from David, and true God, risen from the dead. This is the gospel of our salvation that enables us to face tomorrow and removes all our fears.
Good Friday - "It Is Finished"
It is finished. Every prophecy of Scripture concerning the Messiah has been fulfilled. The work the Father gave Jesus has been accomplished. There's nothing left for us to do or suffer. Thank you Jesus!
The Lord Is I AM
Love One Another - Three Words of Truth
Sermon presented at Grace Lutheran Church, Seward NE on April 4, 2019 by Pastor Timothy Kemnitz
Ephesians 3:20 You Can't Even Imagine
God shows that he can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine, most importantly, by sacrificing Jesus so that we could have forgiveness and eternal life.
Luke 11:17 A House Divided
Jesus lets us know neither He nor Satan are divided. In fact, you can't be neutral about Jesus. You are either with him or against him.
Three Words of Truth - Take Him Away.
Lenten Sermon by Pastor Ray Beckmann
Great Faith: Jesus tested the faith of the Canaanite woman so that we would be able to see the great faith she had in her heart. Great faith rests on Jesus alone for help and salvation, and shows itself when tested.
What Is Truth?
Pastor Fred Berger's sermon from week two of Lent
Matthew 4:1-11 Game On
Jesus defeats the Devil for us
John 18:3-9 I Am He
Jesus is the "I AM", the one true God, the one who offered himself to protect his disciples, to suffer and die to pay for our sins.
2 Peter 1:16ff
The Transfiguration of Jesus makes us certain; certain that Jesus is true God, our Savior; certain that the Scriptures are the very word of God; and therefore certain that we have eternal life in Jesus.
1 Corinthians 9:27-10:5
God is Merciful and Just. Paul shows how that applies in our lives by the example of Israel in the wilderness, and the fact that he works hard to control his sinful nature so that he doesn't abuse God's mercy and end up being lost.
Even in hopeless situations Jesus asks "Why are you afraid?" He has power over wind, wave and water. Has power even over death. He has rescued you from the most hopeless situation of all - the punishment you deserve for your sins.
The Centurion from Capernaum showed proper humility and great faith. God's law gives us proper humility. Knowing who Jesus is, what he has done, and promised us gives us confident faith.
God gives every Christian gifts. Paul encourages us to use whatever gift God has given us in humble service to him and our neighbor.
Jesus' purpose as Messiah was to proclaim the good news he came to win. Our purpose from God is to be like an oak tree that displays God's glory.
At his Baptism Jesus showed his willingness to take our place, to fulfill all righteousness for us. He added his righteousness to Baptism so that it has the power to wash away all our unrighteousness.
God was at work across the miles and through the ages to help the Wise Men get to know Jesus, and frustrating the evil of Herod. He is still at work through out History making sure we know Jesus and frustrating evil in our day with the goal of bringing us to eternal life with him.
The Gift of Jesus reveals hearts - brings for a reaction of joy or opposition.
Seven Words Full of Meaning: Time, Son, Born, Redemption, Adoption, Heirs, Abba.
Amid all the darkness around us and in us, Jesus alone provides the light we need.
God demonstrates his love by sending his Son into a dangerous world to save us.