Happenings

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





31 August 2014

Sermon: Proper 17A (OT)

31 August AD 2014
Pentecost 12

Theme: Food for Faith

Take Up Your Cross Summary: We Christians often wonder why a loving God doesn’t provide smooth sailing throughout our lives. God loves us. We love God. Why so many problems?

Much of the trouble comes because the more we trust God and the more we display faith in Christ, the more the world hates us as it does its Creator and Redeemer. This world and its prince cannot abide either the bitterness of the Law or the sweet taste of the Gospel. Sinners don’t want to be told that they’re sinful. Do-it-yourself types hate hearing that everything is done for them and that there’s nothing they can do to work their way into God’s good graces.

To all our complaints and all of the world’s resistance, God offers nothing except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. He invites us to continue eating the Bread of Life come down from heaven as we receive Jesus in Word and Sacrament. He tells us that as the world hates His Son, so it hates those who trust in Him for salvation. Yet He promises to be with us always, to strengthen our faith, and to lead us from a life of pain and trouble into the bliss of life everlasting.

The Church continually brings us to align our hearts with this teaching and to feed solely on Christ, as when we pray the traditional Collect for the Word: Blessed Lord, who caused all Holy Scriptures to be written for our learning: Grant that we may so hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Food for Faith Text: O Lord, you know; remember me and visit me, and take vengeance for me on my persecutors. In your forbearance take me not away; know that for your sake I bear reproach.

Your words were found, and I ate them, and your words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart, for I am called by your name, O Lord, God of hosts.

I did not sit in the company of revelers, nor did I rejoice; I sat alone, because your hand was upon me, for you had filled me with indignation. Why is my pain unceasing, my wound incurable, refusing to be healed? Will you be to me like a deceitful brook, like waters that fail?

Therefore thus says the Lord: “If you return, I will restore you, and you shall stand before me. If you utter what is precious, and not what is worthless, you shall be as my mouth.

They shall turn to you, but you shall not turn to them. And I will make you to this people a fortified wall of bronze; they will fight against you, but they shall not prevail over you, for I am with you to save you and deliver you, declares the Lord. I will deliver you out of the hand of the wicked, and redeem you from the grasp of the ruthless.” Jeremiah 15:15-21

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 Food for Faith.

Other Readings: Psalm 26; Romans 12:9-21; Matthew 16:21-28

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30 August 2014

Sermon: Proper 17A (Gospel)

30 August AD 2014
Pentecost 12

Theme: Second-Guessing God

Take Up Your Cross Summary: Peter wasn’t the first to try telling God how to do things, nor would he be the last. We also like to imagine that we know better than our Creator how to arrange our lives. We attempt to find was to cooperate with our Redeemer in gaining our eternal rest. We try to guide the Spirit rather than letting Him guide us.

However, there was only one way that Jesus could save sinful, fallen mankind: He needed to “go to Jerusalem and suffer many things ... and be killed” in order to make propitiation for our sins. He had to be raised up on the third day that we might be justified.

Similarly, there is only one way to benefit from His sacrifice and His resurrection: We must believe that He did it all for us and that nothing remains to be done to accomplish our salvation. And as believers, we know that our works accomplish nothing on our behalf. Instead, they testify to what He did for us while also bringing His love to our neighbors in need.

Get Behind Me, Satan Text: From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.

And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you.”

But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”

Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done.

“Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.” Matthew 16:21-28

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 Second-Guessing God.

Other Readings: Psalm 26; Jeremiah 15:15-21; Romans 12:9-21

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24 August 2014

Sermon: Proper 16A (OT)

24 August AD 2014
Pentecost 11

Theme: Salvation Forever

Earth from Space Summary: Some people are afraid of being caught in a fragile, falling-apart world while others head blindly onward, unable or unwilling to realize that their own lives and this entire Creation are transitory and failing. God speaks to both parties.

He shakes those who imagine that their place in the cosmos and, indeed, the cosmos itself are unshakeably permanent. He warns of death and decay and urges them to abandon false gods and imaginary stability before they fall into eternal doom. For those who know and dread Creation’s impermanence, He promises to be their Rock and their Redeemer.

Even as Israel was hewn from the quarry of God’s faithful Word, so also all who believe in Jesus are carved from Him, reshaped and reformed by Christ’s forgiveness. We who trust in the Son and confess Him as our anointed Savior are blessed, for we have the same divine revelation from the Father that came upon Saint Peter. This is no earthly, flesh-and-blood knowledge but instead comes to us by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Balancing Rock Text: “Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness, you who seek the Lord: look to the rock from which you were hewn, and to the quarry from which you were dug. Look to Abraham your father and to Sarah who bore you; for he was but one when I called him, that I might bless him and multiply him.

“For the Lord comforts Zion; he comforts all her waste places and makes her wilderness like Eden, her desert like the garden of the Lord; joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the voice of song.

“Give attention to me, my people, and give ear to me, my nation; for a law will go out from me, and I will set my justice for a light to the peoples. My righteousness draws near, my salvation has gone out, and my arms will judge the peoples; the coastlands hope for me, and for my arm they wait.

“Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look at the earth beneath; for the heavens vanish like smoke, the earth will wear out like a garment, and they who dwell in it will die in like manner; but my salvation will be forever, and my righteousness will never be dismayed.” Isaiah 51:1-6

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 Salvation Forever.

Other Readings: Psalm 138; Romans 11:33-12:8; Matthew 16:13-20

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17 August 2014

Sermon: Proper 15A (Gospel)

17 August AD 2014
Pentecost 10

Theme: Crumbs for the Dogs

Riojas: Dog Under the Table Summary: While long-time and life-long Christians sometimes get a feeling of entitlement, Jesus and the Canaanite woman remind us that we are all beggars before God. Not one of us merits mercy from the Lord, the son of David.

However, Jesus showers mercy on us. Rather than treating us lower than the lowest dogs, He chose to have compassion and to take our sins, our weaknesses, and our sorrows upon Himself. His Father assigns to each of us the value of the Son’s body and blood, His life and death.

Yet we too often treat forgiveness of sins, salvation, and eternal life as mere crumbs and grumble that God doesn’t give us more. In so doing, we forget that without Christ’s forgiveness, we would remain outside the gates of life, unable to join the eternal heavenly banquet. We would be forever numbered among “the dogs and sorcerers and the sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood. (Revelation 22:15)”

Crumbs? Every bit of God’s love for us in Christ Jesus, given in Word and Sacrament, is a richer feast than anything this earth can offer.

Drouais: Christ and the Canaanite Woman Text: And Jesus went away from there and withdrew to the district of Tyre and Sidon. And behold, a Canaanite woman from that region came out and was crying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; my daughter is severely oppressed by a demon.”

But he did not answer her a word.

And his disciples came and begged him, saying, “Send her away, for she is crying out after us.”

He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”

But she came and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, help me.”

And he answered, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.”

She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.”

Then Jesus answered her, “O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed instantly. Matthew 15:21-28

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 Crumbs for the Dogs.

Other Readings: Psalm 67; Isaiah 56:1, 6-8; Romans 11:1-2a, 13-15, 28-32

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10 August 2014

Sermon: Trinity 8 (Gospel)

10 August AD 2014

Theme: False Prophets and Fruitful Trees

Meyer and Osteen, False Prophets Summary: Works follow faith, they do not cause or enhance it. Anyone who preaches any form of human cooperation in salvation lies and is in danger of the Judgment.

Jesus seeks the fruit of faith, for nothing we produce apart from faith in Him is good in God’s eyes. Those who try to convince us otherwise are false prophets, diseased trees, ravenous wolves in sheep’s clothing.

Unfortunately, many people crave a doctrine of “Jesus and” such as Jesus and works or Jesus and signs and wonders. Either they cannot believe that they are totally incapable of cooperating in even the smallest bit in their salvation or they think that Christ somehow left out some essential action in His life, suffering, and death.

The truth, confessed and lived by fruitful Christian pastors, teachers, and others, remains the same: Jesus Christ died for all of my sins. The Holy Spirit creates faith that I might believe this wondrous message. Any good that I do is done by Christ in me.

Diseased Tree Text: [Jesus said,] “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits.

“Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’

“And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’” Matthew 7:15-23

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 False Prophets and Fruitful Trees, preached to the saints of God at Trinity Lutheran Church, Norborne, Missouri.

Other Readings: Psalm 26; Jeremiah 23:16-29; Acts 20:27-38 or Romans 8:12-17

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03 August 2014

Sermon: Trinity 7 (Gospel)

3 August AD 2014

Theme: No Fainting on the Way

Summary: Without enough good food at the right time, we might “faint on the way” to wherever we travel. Jesus, who felt the suffering of the crowd, fed them so they could return home safely on their own ways.

This physical feeding models the even greater and vastly more important feeding humanity receives from Christ, the very Bread of Life come down from Heaven. Lest the cares, concerns, temptations, doubts, and sufferings of this world weaken us and cause us to quit our homeward pilgrimage, He feeds us Himself in Word and Sacrament that we might be nourished as we journey through this life into life everlasting.

Christ calls us to receive Him in Word and water, in bread and wine, that we would have strength and healing for the days ahead. He feeds us also our “First Article” gifts of food, clothing, shelter, and the like, caring for our bodily needs. We joyfully feast on the gifts physical and spiritual, anticipating that great Day when we finally join in the never-ending High Feast of the Lamb.

Jesus Feeding 4000 Text: In those days, when again a great crowd had gathered, and they had nothing to eat, he called his disciples to him and said to them, “I have compassion on the crowd, because they have been with me now three days and have nothing to eat. And if I send them away hungry to their homes, they will faint on the way. And some of them have come from far away.”

And his disciples answered him, “How can one feed these people with bread here in this desolate place?”

And he asked them, “How many loaves do you have?”

They said, “Seven.”

And he directed the crowd to sit down on the ground. And he took the seven loaves, and having given thanks, he broke them and gave them to his disciples to set before the people; and they set them before the crowd. And they had a few small fish. And having blessed them, he said that these also should be set before them. And they ate and were satisfied.

And they took up the broken pieces left over, seven baskets full. And there were about four thousand people. And he sent them away. Mark 8:1-9

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 No Fainting on the Way, preached to the saints of God at Trinity Lutheran Church, Norborne, Missouri.

Other Readings: Psalm 33:1-11; Genesis 2:7-17; Romans 6:19-23

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27 July 2014

Sermon: Trinity 6 (Epistle)

27 July AD 2014
Sixth Sunday after Trinity

Title: Dead and Alive (MP3 Audio)

Baptismal Flood Summary: Unlike the old westerns, where villains were wanted “dead or alive,” God wants us both dead and alive. In Baptism, God both slays the sinner and raises up from that death a saint. He takes us to cross and tomb and into the new life of the eternal kingdom.

This life, then, is the ongoing conflict of sinner and saint — both of which we remain until the end of time. The Old Adam keeps rousing itself, an animated corpse of decay and death. And through repentance and Absolution, God keeps putting it to death and raising us to life as new creatures.

Text: What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?

We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.

We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.

We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. Romans 6:1-11

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 and Alive. Preached to the saints of God at Trinity Lutheran Church, Norborne, Missouri.

NB: For some reason, a few people have had problems trying to play the inline audio if Windows Media is their default MP3 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 19; Exodus 20:1-17; Matthew 5:(17-19) 20-26

death, life, dead, alive, crucifixion, resurrection, baptism, law, gospel, jesus, christ Tags: | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | |

20 July 2014

Sermon: Trinity 5 (OT)

20 July AD 2014
Fifth Sunday after Trinity

Title: What Are You Doing Here? (MP3 Audio)

Lutheran Communion Summary: “What are you doing here?” the Lord asked Elijah — and He asks you, also. Why do you attend church? Why are you listening to this sermon? Why are you where you are in your life? For what are you looking? In whom do you trust? In what do you hope?

Elijah’s discouragement came close on the heels of the impressive victory over the priests of Baal. Likewise, we often and quickly forget God’s closeness to us and ignore the victory His Son won for us.

He wants us to know why we come to Him — for forgiveness, life and salvation. He points out our sins so He might take them from us and forgive our guilt. He proclaims that His Son’s death won for us everlasting life. He builds faith that we might trust our salvation in Jesus Christ. He gives these wonderful gifts through Word and sacrament.

He also wants to strengthen us “in fervent love toward one another,” as we pray in one of the traditional close-of-service prayers (cf. 1 Peter 1:22-23; 4:8). The Holy Spirit brings us into the Church so that we might know that we are not the only ones left among the faithful and that each of us are united as one in the body of Christ.

What are you doing here? God willing, you are receiving His grace and are taking away refreshment and restoration so you might continue living “in faith toward [God] and in fervent love toward one another” as long as He grants you breath.

Elijah in the Cave Text: And [the Lord] 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 19:11-21

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 What Are You Doing Here?. Preached to the saints of God at Trinity Lutheran Church, Norborne, Missouri.

NB: For some reason, a few people have had problems trying to play the inline audio if Windows Media is their default MP3 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 Corinthians 1:18-25 or 1 Peter 3:8-15; Luke 5:1-11

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13 July 2014

Sermon: Proper 10A (OT)

13 July AD 2014
Pentecost 5

Title: Purposeful Precipitation (MP3 Audio)

Isaiah 55:10-13 Summary: Without God’s presence, we are dry, lifeless, empty deserts. We cannot do any good for others, nor can we aid ourselves. We become truly alive only when God comes in mercy, forgiving, refreshing, and renewing us, just as soft rains and gentle snows bring fresh growth from barren ground.

Christ, poured out His blood to cover over, pay for, forgive, and remove our sins. Through the Word, God pours out Christ Himself upon us, the refreshing, living water from heaven.

Text: “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.

“For you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall break forth into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress; instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle; and it shall make a name for the Lord, an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.” Isaiah 55:10-13

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 Purposeful Precipitation.

NB: For some reason, a few people have had problems trying to play the inline audio if Windows Media is their default MP3 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 65:(1-8) 9-13; Romans 8:12-17; Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23

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06 July 2014

Sermon: Proper 9A (Gospel)

6 July AD 2014
Pentecost 4

Title: Resting in Peace (MP3 Audio)

Matthew 11:25-30 Summary: Even if they don’t realize it, all who live on earth are pressed and stressed by more than gravity and their own body weight. Sin, death, and devil, physical, emotional pain, and spiritual pain, fear, loneliness, doubt, and dread all conspire to weigh us down and wear us out.

So what does Christ do? He offers to exchange our burden — the load He already carried to the cross — for the load that sits upon each of us poor, sinful creatures. His burden isn’t intended to crush but to guide, guard, heal, and restore. His burden is the unbelievable weight of forgiveness in His glorious name — majestically heavy beyond earthly measure yet light and uplifting when worn by believers.

When we wear Jesus’ yoke, devil, world, and sinful flesh find no place to hang their own yokes and burdens. There is no way we can be worn down and used up when Christ is uplifting and sustaining us through Word and Sacrament.

Text: At that time Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:25-30

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 Resting in Peace.

NB: For some reason, a few people have had problems trying to play the inline audio if Windows Media is their default MP3 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 145:1-14; Zechariah 9:9-12; Romans 7:14-25a

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29 June 2014

Sermon: St. Peter and St. Paul (Gospel and Psalm)

The Feast of Saints Peter and Paul, Apostles
29 June AD 2014

Title: Built on the Rock (MP3 Audio)

Built on the Rock Summary: Neither Paul nor Peter chose to stand on the rock. Instead, the Rock that “was Christ (1 Corinthians 10:4)” drew them and secured them to Himself. He anchored Himself to them and they to Him. He gave them the zeal to spread the Gospel, the strength to stand firm in faith, and the courage to face martyrdom.

We stand on that same Rock. We dwell in the mighty fortress that is our God. He is our refuge and strength and in Him we have peace. We trust that no one and nothing can separate us from His love in Christ Jesus as we stand among the saints in time and those gathered into eternity.

By happy accident, today was also a day of adult confirmation. In the service, we offered the right hand of fellowship to two new communicant members. They confessed Jesus publically, joining with not only a collection of Lutherans in Lexington, Missouri but with all who know “the Christ, the Son of the living God” as Savior and Lord.

I chose for each of them Scripture passages that reflected their standing in the kingdom. One received Psalm 18:2 as his confirmation verse: “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” Psalm 27:1 went to the other: “The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.”

You Are the Christ Texts: [Jesus said,] “I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Matthew 16:18

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling.

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High. God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved; God will help her when morning dawns. The nations rage, the kingdoms totter; he utters his voice, the earth melts.

The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.

Come, behold the works of the Lord, how he has brought desolations on the earth. He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; he breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the chariots with fire. “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”

The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Psalm 46

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 Built on the Rock.

NB: For some reason, a few people have had problems trying to play the inline audio if Windows Media is their default MP3 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: Acts 15:1-12 (13-21); Galatians 2:1-10; Matthew 16:13-19

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22 June 2014

Sermon: Proper 7A (OT)

22 June AD 2014
Pentecost 2

Title: Deceived by the Lord (MP3 Audio)

Michaelangelo's Jeremiah Summary: Only someone with severe self-loathing would invite and welcome the hatred of others. Your garden variety pastor or prophet is no different. We would like to be liked. We want to be, if not friends, at least on good terms with all of our hearers.

Then the Lord gives us His holy, beautiful, sin-smiting, terrifying Law and says, “Preach it: No ifs, no ands, no buts.” We who rejoice in our salvation and who love His Word suddenly face rejection and even outright hatred among those to whom we are called to preach. Doesn’t God know that this is uncomfortable, even painful? What sort of bait-and-switch has He pulled?

Jeremiah doesn’t wait until penning Lamentations to lament his own circumstances. Hard-hearted Judah seems hell-bent on joining the northern tribes in judgment and doom. No one wants to take the blame for the problem — no one even will admit that there is a problem. Preaching the Word had become a massive headache and death threats were becoming common.

Yet at the end of his litany, Jeremiah changes direction so quickly that our heads spin. Wounds and woe give place to, “Sing to the Lord; praise the Lord!”

What changed? Certainly not God and His Law. No, Jeremiah realizes the same thing that other faithful servants of the Word recognize: We are still forgiven, redeemed children of God. Preaching the Law is a harsh and alien task — one that God Himself desires not to be.

Brutal and condemning as it is, the Law exists to prepare hearts for sweet salvation. And the pastor who knows his own sins much more clearly than he does the sins of his flock rushes to embrace Jesus’ forgiveness for himself and cannot wait to bring the same message to the Church. The Lord compels us to preach the Law only to allow us to preach the Gospel.

We may not make friends by honestly applying divine judgment. However, God has already befriended us by removing every spot and stain of sin. Our place with Him is secure and now we want our hearers to know and own this same hope of new, holy, and everlasting life through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Rembrandt's Jeremiah Text: O Lord, you have deceived me, and I was deceived; you are stronger than I, and you have prevailed. I have become a laughingstock all the day; everyone mocks me. For whenever I speak, I cry out, I shout, “Violence and destruction!” For the word of the Lord has become for me a reproach and derision all day long. If I say, “I will not mention him, or speak any more in his name,” there is in my heart as it were a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I am weary with holding it in, and I cannot.

For I hear many whispering. Terror is on every side! “Denounce him! Let us denounce him!” say all my close friends, watching for my fall. “Perhaps he will be deceived; then we can overcome him and take our revenge on him.”

But the Lord is with me as a dread warrior; therefore my persecutors will stumble; they will not overcome me. They will be greatly shamed, for they will not succeed. Their eternal dishonor will never be forgotten. O Lord of hosts, who tests the righteous, who sees the heart and the mind, let me see your vengeance upon them, for to you have I committed my cause.

Sing to the Lord; praise the Lord! For he has delivered the life of the needy from the hand of evildoers. Jeremiah 20:7-13

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 Deceived by the Lord.

NB: For some reason, a few people have had problems trying to play the inline audio if Windows Media is their default MP3 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 91:1-10 (11-16); Romans 6:12-23; Matthew 10:5a, 21-33

Agnus Day
About the Cartoon: Jeremiah 20:7-13 cartoon by James Wetzstein at Agnus Day: The Lectionary Comic Strip.

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