Happenings

Sermons by Pastor Walter Snyder plus announcements, articles, videos, and anything else that doesn’t fit Ask the Pastor or the Luther Library.





21 August 2016

Pentecost 14 Sermon: Our Home the Untouchable Mountain

Preached on Hebrews 12:4-29
The Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost — Proper 16C
21 August AD 2016

Title: Our Home the Untouchable Mountain (MP3 Audio)

Hebrews 12:18-21 Summary: In the history of Israel, Sinai was an important — even essential — mountain, but it wasn’t part of the Promised Land. For although He also proclaimed grace and blessing from its heights, the Lord primarily used Sinai to declare His Law, to instruct and discipline — even to terrify — His people.

Zion was the mountain of blessing. After the Ark of the Covenant entered Jerusalem, it was the place where God established His rule. Zion was the mountain where the Lord invited His people to come to receive forgiveness of sins.

As he compares and contrasts these mountains, the author of Hebrews also compares and contrasts the Exodus with the Christian life of pilgrimage to our final resting place. We won’t reach the Promised Land by dwelling at the foot of Sinai, striving to fulfill a Law that is beyond our keeping. We look toward Zion and to the new Jerusalem, the heavenly city, the resting place of the saints.

Given earthly form in Christ’s Church, the fulness of Zion is yet to be revealed. We can only touch it in part but we still receive full forgiveness. Although we still await eternal residence, we already inhabit Mount Zion, living even now by faith as residents of “the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem.”

Hebrews 12:22-24 Text: In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.”

It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed. Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled; that no one is sexually immoral or unholy like Esau, who sold his birthright for a single meal. For you know that afterward, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no chance to repent, though he sought it with tears.

For you have not come to what may be touched, a blazing fire and darkness and gloom and a tempest and the sound of a trumpet and a voice whose words made the hearers beg that no further messages be spoken to them. For they could not endure the order that was given, “If even a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned.” Indeed, so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, “I tremble with fear.”

But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.

See that you do not refuse him who is speaking. For if they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape if we reject him who warns from heaven. At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” This phrase, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of things that are shaken — that is, things that have been made — in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire. Hebrews 12:4-24 (25-29)

Scripture quoted from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Audio: Click to hear the MP3 of Our Home the Untouchable Mountain

NB: A few people have had problems trying to play the inline audio with Windows Media Player. If this occurs, you can either change to QuickTime or another default browser player, copy and paste the link directly into a selected player, or download it to your computer, where it seems to work regardless of which player. Several folks have suggested VLC Player from VideoLAN.

Other Readings: Psalm 50:1-15; Isaiah 66:18-23; Luke 12:22-30

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14 August 2016

Pentecost 13 Sermon: Knowing the Signs

Preached on Luke 12:49-56
The Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost — Proper 15C
14 August AD 2016

Title: Knowing the Signs (MP3 Audio)

Luke 12:49-56 Summary: Full and free forgiveness for the sake of Jesus Christ isn’t a popular message. Some think they have no need to be saved while others believe that they can save themselves — or at least participate in their salvation. The discord stirred up by Jesus’ ministry has only increased through the years.

Yet for those who believe in Him, the very Word that divides sinful mankind unites sinners with their loving Father, giving them peace with God and the only possibility of true harmony with other people. But if we don’t recognize the sign of our own sinfulness, we are unable to see the need for forgiveness. And if we don’t know the sign of Christ crucified, we miss the only means by which we have true peace and eternal life.

While some of the specific trials and afflictions noted may belong especially to the nursing home residents to whom I was preaching, they generally pertain to all humanity, particularly when age, accident, illness, or isolation become part of everyday life.

Text: [Jesus said,] “I came to cast fire on the earth, and would that it were already kindled! I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how great is my distress until it is accomplished! Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. For from now on in one house there will be five divided, three against two and two against three. They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.”

He also said to the crowds, “When you see a cloud rising in the west, you say at once, ‘A shower is coming.’ And so it happens. And when you see the south wind blowing, you say, ‘There will be scorching heat,’ and it happens. You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of earth and sky, but why do you not know how to interpret the present time?” Luke 12:49-56

Scripture quoted from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Audio: Click to hear the MP3 of Knowing the Signs

Illustration: Line drawing from Art of the Church Year by Ed Riojas, available through Higher Things Store.

NB: A few people have had problems trying to play the inline audio with Windows Media Player. If this occurs, you can either change to QuickTime or another default browser player, copy and paste the link directly into a selected player, or download it to your computer, where it seems to work regardless of which player. Several folks have suggested VLC Player from VideoLAN.

Other Readings: Psalm 119:81-88; Jeremiah 23:16-29; Hebrews 11:17-12:3

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Pentecost 13 Sermon: The Witnesses Testify

Preached on Hebrews 11:17-12:3
The Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost — Proper 15C
14 August AD 2016

Title: The Witnesses Testify (MP3 Audio)

Hebrews 12:1 Summary: While the faithful in Hebrews certainly provide good examples for following generations, the primary reason that their names and deeds are recorded is to provide witnesses. For salvation comes not from emulating their works but through the Object of their faith. As we also are, so were they saved by believing in Christ, even hundreds or thousands of years before Jesus’ birth.

Text: By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was in the act of offering up his only son, of whom it was said, “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.” He considered that God was able even to raise him from the dead, from which, figuratively speaking, he did receive him back.

By faith Isaac invoked future blessings on Jacob and Esau. By faith Jacob, when dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, bowing in worship over the head of his staff. By faith Joseph, at the end of his life, made mention of the exodus of the Israelites and gave directions concerning his bones.

By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden for three months by his parents, because they saw that the child was beautiful, and they were not afraid of the king's edict. By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward. By faith he left Egypt, not being afraid of the anger of the king, for he endured as seeing him who is invisible. By faith he kept the Passover and sprinkled the blood, so that the Destroyer of the firstborn might not touch them.

By faith the people crossed the Red Sea as on dry land, but the Egyptians, when they attempted to do the same, were drowned. By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they had been encircled for seven days. By faith Rahab the prostitute did not perish with those who were disobedient, because she had given a friendly welcome to the spies.

And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets — who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight.

Hebrews 12:2 Women received back their dead by resurrection. Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life. Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated — of whom the world was not worthy — wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.

And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. Hebrews 11:17-12:3

Scripture quoted from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Audio: Click to hear the MP3 of The Witnesses Testify

NB: A few people have had problems trying to play the inline audio with Windows Media Player. If this occurs, you can either change to QuickTime or another default browser player, copy and paste the link directly into a selected player, or download it to your computer, where it seems to work regardless of which player. Several folks have suggested VLC Player from VideoLAN.

Other Readings: Psalm 119:81-88; Jeremiah 23:16-29; Luke 12:49-56

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07 August 2016

Pentecost 12 Sermon: The Evidence of Faith

Preached on Hebrews 11:1-16
The Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost — Proper 14C
7 August AD 2016

Title: The Evidence of Faith (MP3 Audio)

Hoet: Enoch Translated Summary: While Christians sometimes speak of childlike belief as “blind faith,” this gift of the Holy Spirit is anything but blind. Rather, faith is the believer’s clear-eyed, evidence-driven certainty. Faith is built on the Word of God in the testimony of the prophets and the apostles and the recorded deeds of our God as He worked to bring salvation to fallen mankind.

The world’s evidence is that everyone dies. God’s testimony is abundant, eternal life. The world gives evidence of decay. God says, “I am making all things new. (Revelation 21:5)” The world shows why you should despair. God “has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. (1 Peter 1:3)”

God’s evidence clearly points out that our faith and hope come not because we earn them but as pure gift. We inherit eternal life through the righteousness of faith, knowing that we own no native righteousness. Faith leads us to confess that we are “poor, miserable sinners,” which is a pretty major handicap to earning any favor with God. Faith also leads us to believe and confess that we are saved by grace for the sake of Christ, who earned every blessing that we now possess and every one still promised.

Schnorr von Carolsfeld: Abraham and Sarah Promised a Son Text: Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the people of old received their commendation. By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.

By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended as righteous, God commending him by accepting his gifts. And through his faith, though he died, he still speaks.

By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and he was not found, because God had taken him. Now before he was taken he was commended as having pleased God. And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.

By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.

By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God.

By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered him faithful who had promised. Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born descendants as many as the stars of heaven and as many as the innumerable grains of sand by the seashore.

These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city. Hebrews 11:1-16

Scripture quoted from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Audio: Click to hear the MP3 of The Evidence of Faith

Illustrations: Translation of Enoch from Figures de la Bible (1728), illustrated by Gerard Hoet. Abraham and Sarah Promised a Son from Die Bibel in Bildern (1860), illustrated by Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld.

NB: A few people have had problems trying to play the inline audio with Windows Media Player. If this occurs, you can either change to QuickTime or another default browser player, copy and paste the link directly into a selected player, or download it to your computer, where it seems to work regardless of which player. Several folks have suggested VLC Player from VideoLAN.

Other Readings: Psalm 33:12-22; Genesis 15:1-6; Luke 12:22-34 (35-40)

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31 July 2016

Pentecost 11 Sermon: True Treasure

Preached on Luke 12:13-21
The Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost — Proper 13C
31 July AD 2016

Title: True Treasure (MP3 Audio)

Holbein: The Rich Fool Summary: There’s nothing wrong with enjoying the material blessings that we receive from our loving God. Today’s reading from Ecclesiastes clearly tells us that a person can “eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil,” knowing that these are “from the hand of God. (2:24)” It’s how and why we use these gifts that makes all the difference.

Jesus warns against hoarding, of receiving divine gifts and clinging to them without a thankful response, of refusing to be “rich toward God.” Such shameful grasping is the spiritual equivalent of consistently overeating. For as gluttonous consumption gradually weighs us down and blocks easy blood flow throughout our bodies, so hoarded treasures drag us away from the Lord and impede the flow of His Word to our hearts.

God desires to be our Shepherd and lead us into the bliss of everlasting life. Meanwhile, as we sang in today’s Introit, those who engage in vain grasping have “foolish confidence.” They listen to a false leader and “death shall be their shepherd. (Psalm 49:13-14)”

Any earthly treasure is fool’s gold. God, however is rich toward us, granting the true and eternal wealth of forgiveness and life in Christ. We, in turn, are “rich toward God” when we respond in faith toward Him and in love toward our neighbor in need.

Luke 12:13-21 Text: Someone in the crowd said to [Jesus], “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.”

But he said to him, “Man, who made me a judge or arbitrator over you?” And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”

And he told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.”

“But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.” Luke 12:13-21

Scripture quoted from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Audio: Click to hear the MP3 of True Treasure

Illustrations: Der Rych Man by Hans Holbein and lectionary art from Misioneros Del Sagrado Corazón en el Perú.

NB: A few people have had problems trying to play the inline audio with Windows Media Player. If this occurs, you can either change to QuickTime or another default browser player, copy and paste the link directly into a selected player, or download it to your computer, where it seems to work regardless of which player. Several folks have suggested VLC Player from VideoLAN.

Other Readings: Psalm 100; Ecclesiastes 1:2, 12-14, 2:18-26; Colossians 3:1-11

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24 July 2016

Pentecost 10 Sermon: How Much More!

Preached on Luke 11:1-13
The Tenth Sunday after Pentecost — Proper 12C
24 July AD 2016

Title: How Much More! (MP3 Audio)

Luke 11:13 Summary: Jesus is twice recorded teaching His Church to say, “Our Father.” Matthew 6:9-13 contains the text with which we are most familiar. The instance reported by Luke speaks not of the Father’s will nor of our delivery from evil, yet Jesus brought up both of these as He expounded on the text.

Note that it wasn’t the Romans, the Samaritans, the Pharisees, or the Sadducees whom Jesus called “evil” but rather the disciples who asked Him to teach them to pray. Peter, James, John, and the rest of the bunch are the ones who “give good gifts” to their children, even though they are “evil.” Jesus then taught that the Father — the embodiment of goodness — gives so much more.

The paltry good that we poor sinners can do for those whom we love pales before God’s love for those who hate Him and who rebel against His Word and His will. Our Father willed that His sinless Son die for the world’s sins so that we who are evil might own every good gift of body, mind, and spirit.

Jesus makes it clear that God’s will is to give us sinners the Holy Spirit. Through the Spirit, God creates and sustains faith in Christ’s forgiveness. Likewise, the Spirit intercedes for us when we know not what or how to pray (see Romans 8:26-27).

“How much more” good is this gift from God? So much that we cannot fathom its enormity! We who are conceived and born sinful receive full and free forgiveness of all our sins. For Christ’s sake, we who are inclined toward evil are received by a good and loving God who calls us His children. Our heavenly Father gives us our daily bread throughout our time on earth and desires that we join all the faithful in the eternal feast of the Lamb in His kingdom.

This sermon was preached for the 140th Anniversary of Zion Lutheran Church of Pittsburg, Kansas. I am a son of the congregation, living there through most of the 1960s while Dad was Zion’s pastor.

Luke 11:9 Text: Now Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.”

And he said to them, “When you pray, say: Father, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread, and forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation.”

And he said to them, “Which of you who has a friend will go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves, for a friend of mine has arrived on a journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; and he will answer from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed. I cannot get up and give you anything’? I tell you, though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his impudence he will rise and give him whatever he needs.

“And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.

“What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” Luke 11:1-13

Scripture quoted from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Audio: Click to hear the MP3 of How Much More!

Illustrations: Line drawing from Art of the Church Year by Ed Riojas, available through Higher Things Store.

NB: A few people have had problems trying to play the inline audio with Windows Media Player. If this occurs, you can either change to QuickTime or another default browser player, copy and paste the link directly into a selected player, or download it to your computer, where it seems to work regardless of which player. Several folks have suggested VLC Player from VideoLAN.

Other Readings: Psalm 138; Genesis 18:(17-19) 20-33; Colossians 2:6-15 (16-19)

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17 July 2016

Pentecost 9 Sermon: One Thing Necessary

Preached on Luke 10:38-42
The Ninth Sunday after Pentecost — Proper 11C
17 July AD 2016

Title: One Thing Necessary (MP3 Audio)

Mary and Martha Summary: Care, concern, anxiety, worry, trouble — call it what you will, we all find ourselves distracted and sidetracked from the “good portion,” feasting on Christ, the food of everlasting life. Loving our neighbor in response to God’s love for us is never wrong but Jesus reminds us as He did Martha that, finally, only “one thing is necessary.”

Martha wasn’t wrong as she prepared a meal for the Lord and His disciples. Quite likely, she was listening even as she worked to make ready and serve the food. Yet she seemed completely unaware that she was fixing a meal for the Host of the everlasting banquet.

What earthly provender compares to this “feast of rich food” and “well-aged wine” (Isaiah 25:6) that awaits us when we are raised from the dead? Martha was concerned with her guests’ daily bread. But more essentially, Mary wanted first to partake of the “good portion,” feasting on the Bread of Life (see John 6:48, 51) as He taught in their home.

Text: Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching.

But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.”

But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:38-42

Scripture quoted from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Audio: Click to hear the MP3 of One Thing Necessary.

Illustration: Tintoretto, Christ in the House of Martha and Mary from the Web Gallery of Art.

NB: A few people have had problems trying to play the inline audio with Windows Media Player. If this occurs, you can either change to QuickTime or another default browser player, copy and paste the link directly into a selected player, or download it to your computer, where it seems to work regardless of which player. Several folks have suggested VLC Player from VideoLAN.

Other Readings: Psalm 27:(1-6) 7-14; Genesis 18:1-10a (10b-14); Colossians 1:21-29

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10 July 2016

Pentecost 8 Sermon: Steadfast Love

Preached on Psalm 136:1, 23-26
The Eighth Sunday after Pentecost — Proper 10C
10 July AD 2016

Title: Steadfast Love (MP3 Audio)

Psalm 136:1 Summary: Preaching on today’s Introit to a gathering of nursing home residents, I noted that it’s much easier to “give thanks to the Lord” when life is fairly easy. However, the Psalmist calls us to be thankful in all circumstances, reminding us that “the God of heaven” steadfastly loves us at all times.

He supports and defends us in our “low estate,” redeeming us from our lowest estate of sinful natures forever at enmity with Him. He cares for us body, mind, and spirit but, above all else, works to create and sustain faith that we might have life forever with Him.

Text: Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever.

It is he who remembered us in our low estate, for his steadfast love endures forever; and rescued us from our foes, for his steadfast love endures forever; he who gives food to all flesh, for his steadfast love endures forever.

Give thanks to the God of heaven, for his steadfast love endures forever. Psalm 136:1, 23-26

Scripture quoted from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Audio: Click to hear the MP3 of Steadfast Love.

NB: A few people have had problems trying to play the inline audio with Windows Media Player. If this occurs, you can either change to QuickTime or another default browser player, copy and paste the link directly into a selected player, or download it to your computer, where it seems to work regardless of which player. Several folks have suggested VLC Player from VideoLAN.

Other Readings: Psalm 41; Leviticus 18:1-5, 19:9-18; Colossians 1:1-14; Luke 10:25-37

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Pentecost 8 Sermon: Unearned Inheritance

Preached on Luke 10:25-37
The Eighth Sunday after Pentecost — Proper 10C
10 July AD 2016

Title: Unearned Inheritance (MP3 Audio)

Good Samaritan Summary: The teacher of the Law tested Jesus with a question that made sense to him but is nonsense to God. He confused Law and Gospel, asking how to earn a gift, specifically, the inheritance of eternal life. Jesus’s story of the Samaritan continued to point the man down the path of works, evidently because He judged the man unready to grasp salvation by grace through faith.

The lawyer couldn’t earn what was already God’s gift through the same Jesus whom he came to challenge. We inherit eternal life because Christ died and left everything to us in His “will” — His testament of body given and blood shed on the cross. We can do nothing to inherit because “it is finished (John 19:30)” and we possess our inheritance through God-given faith.

Text: And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”

He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?”

And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”

And he said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.”

But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’ Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?”

He said, “The one who showed him mercy.”

And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.” Luke 10:25-37

Scripture quoted from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Audio: Click to hear the MP3 of Unearned Inheritance.

Illustration: Vincent van Gogh, 1853-1890. Good Samaritan (1890), from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. [retrieved July 12, 2016]. Click for original source.

NB: A few people have had problems trying to play the inline audio with Windows Media Player. If this occurs, you can either change to QuickTime or another default browser player, copy and paste the link directly into a selected player, or download it to your computer, where it seems to work regardless of which player. Several folks have suggested VLC Player from VideoLAN.

Other Readings: Psalm 41; Leviticus 18:1-5, 19:9-18; Colossians 1:1-14

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03 July 2016

Pentecost 7 Sermon: Safe in Mother’s Arms

Preached on Isaiah 66:10-14
The Seventh Sunday after Pentecost — Proper 9C
3 July AD 2016

Title: Safe in Mother’s Arms (MP3 Audio)

Isaiah 66:10-11 Summary: While awaiting the fulfillment of the new Jerusalem, we still live in Christ’s Church, the Jerusalem of faith. She is the mother who wraps herself around us — holding, comforting, and consoling. She bore us in the womb of the font and gathers us to her breast to hear God’s forgiving Word and to feed on Jesus’ body and blood.

As long as we live, we’ll never outgrow our need to nurse upon her pure spiritual milk, to rest in the lap of Christian worship. We must continue having our soiled garments cleansed, our hunger fed, our thirst slaked, and our fears calmed.

Whether held tightly to the Church’s breast or dandled joyfully on her lap, we receive the nurture we need throughout all our earthly days.

Isaiah 66:13 Text: “Rejoice with Jerusalem, and be glad for her, all you who love her; rejoice with her in joy, all you who mourn over her; that you may nurse and be satisfied from her consoling breast; that you may drink deeply with delight from her glorious abundance.”

For thus says the Lord: “Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the nations like an overflowing stream; and you shall nurse, you shall be carried upon her hip, and bounced upon her knees.

“As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you; you shall be comforted in Jerusalem. You shall see, and your heart shall rejoice; your bones shall flourish like the grass; and the hand of the Lord shall be known to his servants, and he shall show his indignation against his enemies.” Isaiah 66:10-14

Scripture quoted from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Audio: Click to hear the MP3 of Safe in Mother’s Arms.

Illustrations: Detail of Maternity by Pablo Picasso (1905) and Mary Cassatt’s Mother Berthe Holding Her Baby (1900).

NB: A few people have had problems trying to play the inline audio with Windows Media Player. If this occurs, you can either change to QuickTime or another default browser player, copy and paste the link directly into a selected player, or download it to your computer, where it seems to work regardless of which player. Several folks have suggested VLC Player from VideoLAN.

Other Readings: Psalm 66:1-7; Galatians 6:1-10, 14-18; Luke 10:1-20

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26 June 2016

Pentecost 6 Sermon: Never Alone

Preached on 1 Kings 19:9b-21
The Sixth Sunday after Pentecost — Proper 8C
26 June AD 2016

Title: Never Alone (MP3 Audio)

Elijah on Mount Horeb Summary: We all experience bouts of loneliness, of feeling that no one cares. Few, probably, match the sense of abandonment that Elijah expressed on Mount Horeb. Perhaps those in nursing homes such as the audience for this sermon come as close as anyone.

Yet Elijah wasn’t truly alone — neither are we nor are those who gathered tonight to hear these words. Each of us is intimately known and deeply loved by God. Each is special in His sight and He desires to abandon no one.

Christ guaranteed our place with the Father by allowing Himself to be forsaken by God and man. Abandoned on the cross, He paid for our sins so that He might draw all people to Him. He faced this ultimate loneliness that we might be together with Him and with each other in the communion of His Church.

The Holy Spirit brings us together to encourage us. He also gathers the believers that we might be prepared to reach out to the lonely and marginalized among us. He draws us out of our bouts of self-pity and leads us to have pity on others, meeting their needs with God’s love in Christ Jesus.

Christ Crucified Text: Behold, the word of the Lord came to [Elijah], and he said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

He said, “I have been very jealous for the Lord, the God of hosts. For the people of Israel have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword, and I, even I only, am left, and they seek my life, to take it away.” And he said, “Go out and stand on the mount before the Lord.”

And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper. And when Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave.

And behold, there came a voice to him and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

He said, “I have been very jealous for the Lord, the God of hosts. For the people of Israel have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword, and I, even I only, am left, and they seek my life, to take it away.”

And the Lord said to him, “Go, return on your way to the wilderness of Damascus. And when you arrive, you shall anoint Hazael to be king over Syria. And Jehu the son of Nimshi you shall anoint to be king over Israel, and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah you shall anoint to be prophet in your place. And the one who escapes from the sword of Hazael shall Jehu put to death, and the one who escapes from the sword of Jehu shall Elisha put to death. Yet I will leave seven thousand in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him.”

So he departed from there and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, who was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen in front of him, and he was with the twelfth. Elijah passed by him and cast his cloak upon him. And he left the oxen and ran after Elijah and said, “Let me kiss my father and my mother, and then I will follow you.”

And he said to him, “Go back again, for what have I done to you?”

And he returned from following him and took the yoke of oxen and sacrificed them and boiled their flesh with the yokes of the oxen and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he arose and went after Elijah and assisted him. 1 Kings 19:9b-21

Scripture quoted from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Audio: Click to hear the MP3 of Never Alone.

NB: A few people have had problems trying to play the inline audio with Windows Media Player. If this occurs, you can either change to QuickTime or another default browser player, copy and paste the link directly into a selected player, or download it to your computer, where it seems to work regardless of which player. Several folks have suggested VLC Player from VideoLAN.

Other Readings: Psalm 16; Galatians 5:1, 13-25; Luke 9:51-62

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Pentecost 6 Sermon: Dead Set

Preached on Luke 9:51-62
The Sixth Sunday after Pentecost — Proper 8C
26 June AD 2016

Title: Dead Set (MP3 Audio)

Luke 9:51 Summary: Plowing, driving, even walking — in each of these endeavors, we find ourselves going quickly off-track if we don’t remain focused on where we’re going. When Jesus spoke to those who would be His disciples, He demanded that they drop all they had, ignore temptations to look away, and follow Him wherever He led.

Yet not one of His followers remained completely faithful. None of the Twelve remained with Him when he was captured in the garden. Similarly, we may gasp the plow handles of discipleship but we find it impossible to stay the course.

Yet we fear not because we know that Jesus remained on-task and on-target. Because He was dead set upon reaching Jerusalem in order to suffer and die for all mankind, He earned forgiveness for all whose faith wavers or whose walk wanders away. He was fixed on the Holy City because He was fixed on us. He never lost sight of those sinners He’d come to save.

Now, through Word and Sacrament, the Holy Spirit continually works to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus (see Hebrews 12:2) in order that we might remain with the Savior who remains with us. He keeps us focuses on Christ that we might always receive forgiveness, life, and salvation.

Jesus never looked back or turned away. He plowed straight toward His death that we might follow Him to life everlasting.

Luke 9:62 Text: When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem. And he sent messengers ahead of him, who went and entered a village of the Samaritans, to make preparations for him. But the people did not receive him, because his face was set toward Jerusalem.

And when his disciples James and John saw it, they said, “Lord, do you want us to tell fire to come down from heaven and consume them?”

But he turned and rebuked them. And they went on to another village.

As they were going along the road, someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.”

And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.”

To another he said, “Follow me.”

But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.”

And Jesus said to him, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”

Yet another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home.”

Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” Luke 9:51-62

Scripture quoted from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Audio: Click to hear the MP3 of Dead Set.

NB: A few people have had problems trying to play the inline audio with Windows Media Player. If this occurs, you can either change to QuickTime or another default browser player, copy and paste the link directly into a selected player, or download it to your computer, where it seems to work regardless of which player. Several folks have suggested VLC Player from VideoLAN.

Other Readings: Psalm 16; 1 Kings 19:9b-21; Galatians 5:1, 13-25

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19 June 2016

Pentecost 5 Sermon: How Much Jesus Has Done

Preached on Luke 8:26-39
The Fifth Sunday after Pentecost — Proper 7C
19 June AD 2016

Title: How Much Jesus Has Done (MP3 Audio)

Gadarene Demoniac Summary: How much has God done for you? We can probably make a sizeable list without much effort. Yet when we really stop to think, we know that our list will never be complete because He continues to provide for us. However, some things will always stand out.

When Jesus told the man from whom He drove out the demons named Legion to go home and “declare how much God has done for you,” one event topped the list. So the man “went away, proclaiming throughout the whole city how much Jesus had done for him.”

Notice how the man expanded upon the message he received from the Lord yet got it exactly right: Sent home to declare God’s wonderful gift, he went home and proclaimed Jesus’ wonderful gift. He announced that his gift from God was truly a gift from Jesus.

Whether or not he fully realized that he’d met God enfleshed, he was certain that Jesus was from God. Meanwhile, the people of the area, seeing what Jesus had done, seemingly became more afraid of the One who banished the demons then they’d been of the demons who’d possessed the man.

How interesting it is that Luke sets this account immediately following that of Jesus stilling the storm. The inhabitants of the region were “afraid” — indeed they felt “great fear” — that someone commanding such might was in their midst. Their response mirrored the disciples from a few verses before: “[T]hey were afraid, and they marveled, saying to one another, ‘Who then is this, that he commands even winds and water, and they obey him?’ (v. 25)”

How much, then, has God done? He has taken on human flesh. He has carried our sins, our guilt, our diseases. He has endured the agony of crucifixion and the final gasps of a dying man. And He has risen from the dead, the firstfruits of our own resurrection. Yet as we ponder this awe-full mystery, The Holy Spirit moves us not to terror at His might displayed in judgment but to joy over His might revealed in mercy.

Jesus and the Gadarene Demoniac Text: Then they sailed to the country of the Gerasenes, which is opposite Galilee. When Jesus had stepped out on land, there met him a man from the city who had demons. For a long time he had worn no clothes, and he had not lived in a house but among the tombs.

When he saw Jesus, he cried out and fell down before him and said with a loud voice, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, do not torment me.” For he had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. (For many a time it had seized him. He was kept under guard and bound with chains and shackles, but he would break the bonds and be driven by the demon into the desert.)

Jesus then asked him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Legion,” for many demons had entered him. And they begged him not to command them to depart into the abyss. Now a large herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside, and they begged him to let them enter these. So he gave them permission. Then the demons came out of the man and entered the pigs, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and drowned.

When the herdsmen saw what had happened, they fled and told it in the city and in the country. Then people went out to see what had happened, and they came to Jesus and found the man from whom the demons had gone, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind, and they were afraid.

And those who had seen it told them how the demon-possessed man had been healed. Then all the people of the surrounding country of the Gerasenes asked him to depart from them, for they were seized with great fear.

So he got into the boat and returned. The man from whom the demons had gone begged that he might be with him, but Jesus sent him away, saying, “Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you.”

And he went away, proclaiming throughout the whole city how much Jesus had done for him. Luke 8:26-39

Scripture quoted from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Audio: Click to hear the MP3 of How Much Jesus Has Done.

NB: A few people have had problems trying to play the inline audio with Windows Media Player. If this occurs, you can either change to QuickTime or another default browser player, copy and paste the link directly into a selected player, or download it to your computer, where it seems to work regardless of which player. Several folks have suggested VLC Player from VideoLAN.

Other Readings: Psalm 3; Isaiah 65:1-9; Galatians 3:23-4:7

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12 June 2016

Pentecost 4 Sermon: Cover-Up

Preached on Psalm 32:1-7
The Fourth Sunday after Pentecost — Proper 6C
12 June AD 2016

Title: Cover-Up (MP3 Audio)

Nathan and David Summary: Cover-ups. We see them employed by governments, businesses, and individuals in order to avoid the consequences of actions illegal, immoral, and sinful. They may work for a time but eventually, the truth usually becomes known. Of course, if a cover-up is maintained long enough, statutes of limitations, changes in attitudes, or more pressing matters often diminish or completely eliminate earthly consequences.

However, the same doesn’t hold true for the eternal consequences of sin. As David discovered, we cannot out-wait God’s judgment. Sin doesn’t become less sinful over time and God doesn’t forget or excuse our wrongdoings. Our attempts at cover-ups are no more successful than those of David with Bathsheba, Adam and Eve in the garden, or any others throughout history.

Yet there is one absolutely foolproof and complete cover-up: God covers us in the blood of Jesus, forgiving and forgetting all our sins. Washed in the waters of Baptism and clothed in Christ’s righteousness, He now sees nothing in us but the absolute righteousness of His beloved Son.

With David, we celebrate with “shouts of deliverance.” Along with the forgiven woman in today’s Gospel, we discover that as our sins “which are many, are forgiven” and now we are moved to much love — toward God who forgives and toward other people, as we both forgive and are forgiven by them.

Covered in Christ Text: Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit.

For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer.

I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,” and you forgave the iniquity of my sin.

Therefore let everyone who is godly offer prayer to you at a time when you may be found; surely in the rush of great waters, they shall not reach him. You are a hiding place for me; you preserve me from trouble; you surround me with shouts of deliverance. Psalm 32:1-7

Scripture quoted from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Audio: Click to hear the MP3 of Cover-Up.

NB: A few people have had problems trying to play the inline audio with Windows Media Player. If this occurs, you can either change to QuickTime or another default browser player, copy and paste the link directly into a selected player, or download it to your computer, where it seems to work regardless of which player. Several folks have suggested VLC Player from VideoLAN.

Other Readings: 2 Samuel 11:26-12:10, 13-14; Galatians 2:15-21, 3:10-14; Luke 7:36-8:3

Also: Here are related sermons on today’s Old Testament and Gospel readings.

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05 June 2016

Pentecost 3 Sermon: Interruption Interrupted

Preached on Luke 7:11-17
The Third Sunday after Pentecost — Proper 5C
5 June AD 2016

Title: Interruption Interrupted (MP3 Audio)

Widow of Zarephath Summary: Imagine the audacity: Deep in grief, you sit in a funeral car, following your dearest loved one to the cemetery. Suddenly, a man blocks the road, halting the procession. He strides to the back of the hearse, flings open the door, and demands that the dead one get up and out of the coffin.

Now imagine your astonishment when the “dear departed” isn’t departed anymore! Death’s interruption is itself interrupted. Sorrow without depth immediately becomes joy without bounds. Life refills not only the one who was dead but also the loved ones whose own lives seemed so empty scant moments before.

The prophets Elijah and Elisha foreshadowed the greatest Prophet. Through the Lord, they called grieving mothers’ sons back to life. Jesus went beyond this, calling this widow’s son and his dear friend Lazarus back from death before completely interrupting death by dying Himself and then returning to life.

Likely, the previous interruptions were temporary. The sons of the widows of Zarephath and Nain, the Shunamite’s son and Lazarus — each probably lived for a time before death once again claimed them. But when Jesus returned from the grave, He effected a permanent interruption of death and of the sin that brings it into our lives.

We know that even if we die, no matter the time that passes afterwards, we remain alive in Christ and will be called forth in glorified resurrection bodies to live forevermore. The valley of the shadow of death transformed into the eternally sunlight land of life. The pit of the grave replaced by the mountain of the Lord’s glory. The burial shroud swallowed up by the Lord of Life.

Widow of Nain Text: Soon afterward [Jesus] went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a great crowd went with him. As he drew near to the gate of the town, behold, a man who had died was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow, and a considerable crowd from the town was with her. And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her and said to her, “Do not weep.”

Then he came up and touched the bier, and the bearers stood still. And he said, “Young man, I say to you, arise.” And the dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother.

Fear seized them all, and they glorified God, saying, “A great prophet has arisen among us!” and “God has visited his people!” And this report about him spread through the whole of Judea and all the surrounding country. Luke 7:11-17

Scripture quoted from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Audio: Click to hear the MP3 of Interruption Interrupted.

NB: A few people have had problems trying to play the inline audio with Windows Media Player. If this occurs, you can either change to QuickTime or another default browser player, copy and paste the link directly into a selected player, or download it to your computer, where it seems to work regardless of which player. Several folks have suggested VLC Player from VideoLAN.

Other Readings: Psalm 30; 1 Kings 17:17-24; Galatians 1:11-24

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29 May 2016

Pentecost 2 Sermon: Absolutely Astonished

Preached on Galatians 1:1-12
The Second Sunday after Pentecost — Proper 4C
29 May AD 2016

Title: Absolutely Astonished (MP3 Audio)

Broken Chains Summary: Astonishing! Someone gives you something beyond value for absolutely no cost — and you’re looking for ways to pay for it! And so, after an introduction filled with sweetness and light, Paul immediately lowers the boom on the Galatians — and on us.

Even secular wisdom tells us, “Never look a gift horse in the mouth.” In other words, accept your gift thankfully and use it as intended. If this is true for even second-rate human gifts, how much more should it be for a priceless gift of love from God Himself?

Yet the Galatians were starting to listen to those who were telling them that Christ alone wasn’t enough. They were being told that to be “good Christians,” they needed to become good Jews. Freed by the Gospel, the Galatians were beginning to subject themselves to the Law.

Enemies of the Gospel were using it as a gateway, making Christ’s sacrifice a step on the way to holiness rather than the source and the completion of our righteousness. The freedom from sin’s bondage that these Judaizers” proclaimed was illusory — they were only “freeing” their listeners to step into a new bondage.

While the details change to fit times and circumstances, Satan and fallen human nature remain the same. We still face those who would turn us away from the full liberation of the Gospel and direct us back to works of the Law.

Listen to Christ. When He says, “It it finished,” He means that He has completed everything necessary for salvation. Our debt is paid, we are reconciled with the Father, and we can do nothing to add to God’s infinite love. What is more astonishing than our efforts to add human works to the Gospel? God continuing to love us, forgive us, and receive us into His presence.

Crucifixion Text: Paul, an apostle — not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead — and all the brothers who are with me, To the churches of Galatia:

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.

I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel — not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ.

But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.

For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.

For I would have you know, brothers, that the gospel that was preached by me is not man’s gospel. For I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ. John 8:48-59

Scripture quoted from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Audio: Click to hear the MP3 of Absolutely Astonished.

NB: A few people have had problems trying to play the inline audio with Windows Media Player. If this occurs, you can either change to QuickTime or another default browser player, copy and paste the link directly into a selected player, or download it to your computer, where it seems to work regardless of which player. Several folks have suggested VLC Player from VideoLAN.

Other Readings: Psalm 96:1-9; 1 Kings 8:22-24, 27-29, 41-43; Luke 7:1-10

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