Happenings

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





25 January 2015

Sermon: The Conversion of St. Paul (Psalm)

25 January AD 2015
also The Third Sunday after the Epiphany, Series B

Title: Brilliant Blessings (MP3 Audio)

Aaronic Benediction Summary: This Psalm is based on the benediction that the Lord gave to the Hebrew people at Sinai. Now it is our song for God’s blessing rests on us. Through Christ, He reached out beyond Israel, inviting all nations to receive His grace and blessing. Paul was His chosen instrument to bring the Gospel to the Gentiles.

Rather than fearing the harsh glare of His judgment, we welcome God’s face shining upon us in love. For Jesus’ sake, each of us who justly deserves to be condemned as the chief of sinners (1 Timothy 1:15) rightly claims the title of God’s beloved in whom He is well pleased.

Text: May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us, that your way may be known on earth, your saving power among all nations. Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you!

Let the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you judge the peoples with equity and guide the nations upon earth. Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you!

The earth has yielded its increase; God, our God, shall bless us. God shall bless us; let all the ends of the earth fear him! Psalm 67

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 Brilliant Blessings.

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 9:1-22; Galatians 1:11-24; Matthew 19:27-30

Illustration: Bas relief of the Aaronic Benediction from The Ratner Museum.

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18 January 2015

Sermon: The Confession of St. Peter (Psalm)

18 January AD 2015
also The Second Sunday after the Epiphany, Series B

Title: The Gate of the Lord (MP3 Audio)

Tombstone Summary: The Church has long celebrated Peter’s confession of Jesus as the Christ, the Son of the Living God. This Psalm confesses God’s salvation of His people — a salvation that was completed by Jesus’ suffering, death, and resurrection.

The text praises the gates of the temple, for they open to allow the Lord’s people to enter. Yet it is also used as part of the committal rite in many Christian burials. It reminds us that death and grave are also a gate opening into eternal life.

And so we use this Psalm today. Peter confesses that Jesus is the Christ. Because he is, He leads His sheep through the gates of death and grave into His eternal presence. The gates may close behind us but they open before us into the joys of life everlasting

Jerusalem Temple Text: Open to me the gates of righteousness, that I may enter through them and give thanks to the Lord.

This is the gate of the Lord; the righteous shall enter through it.

I thank you that you have answered me and have become my salvation.

The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.

This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Save us, we pray, O Lord! O Lord, we pray, give us success!

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! We bless you from the house of the Lord.

The Lord is God, and he has made his light to shine upon us. Bind the festal sacrifice with cords, up to the horns of the altar!

You are my God, and I will give thanks to you; you are my God; I will extol you.

Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever! Psalm 118:19-29

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 The Gate of 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: Acts 4:8-13; 2 Peter 1:1-15; Mark 8:27-35 (36-9:1)

Illustrations: Tombstone created with the Gravestone Generator. Model of the Second Temple photo by Juan R. Cuadra. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons and linked from the Wikipedia article on the Temple in Jerusalem.

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11 January 2015

Sermon: The Baptism of Our Lord (Psalm)

11 January AD 2015
The First Sunday after the Epiphany, Series B

Title: The Lord’s Voice over the Waters (MP3 Audio)

Baptism Summary: If we’ve lived any time at all, we’ve likely experienced one or more jaw-dropping, knee-shaking, awesome, terrifying events. Violence natural and man-made surrounds us. When we think about it, we realize that we can plan for the worst — but must still realize that “worst” can be worse than we ever imagine.

If natural disaster and human wickedness weren’t powerful and terrifying enough, David today reminds us that God is even more powerful and more terrifying. Even His voice is enough to level forests, shake mountains, and command the waters.

Yet with us, God chooses to use His “inside voice,” for in Baptism, we are brought inside — into His presence, in His family, inside His temple. We know that His Son who heard the thundering words in Jordan’s water is also the Word of God made flesh.

Jesus heard God’s destructive, damning voice judging Him for our sins. With His own voice, He cried out to His Father not for His own rescue but for our forgiveness. Therefore, we know that we will on the Last Day hear His voice call us to live with the Triune God, with saints and angels. in life everlasting.

Jesus' Baptism Text: Ascribe to the Lord, O heavenly beings, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength. Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness.

The voice of the Lord is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the Lord, over many waters. The voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is full of majesty.

The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars; the Lord breaks the cedars of Lebanon. He makes Lebanon to skip like a calf, and Sirion like a young wild ox.

The voice of the Lord flashes forth flames of fire. The voice of the Lord shakes the wilderness; the Lord shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.

The voice of the Lord makes the deer give birth and strips the forests bare, and in his temple all cry, “Glory!”

The Lord sits enthroned over the flood; the Lord sits enthroned as king forever. May the Lord give strength to his people! May the Lord bless his people with peace! Psalm 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 The Lord’s Voice over the Waters.

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: Genesis 1:1-5; Romans 6:1-11; Mark 1:4-11

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04 January 2015

Sermon: Christmas 2B (Gospel)

4 January AD 2015
The Second Sunday after Christmas

Title: Getting into Dad’s Things (MP3 Audio)

Jesus in the Temple Summary: When we think about children getting into their parents things, we usually imagine the little ones making a mess of Mom’s cosmetics or losing Dad’s tools. We visualize a trail of loss and destruction strewn in their wake.

However, there’s also an upside to getting into the good habits and God-pleasing vocations of our parents. In times gone by, whatever Dad did, his sons followed suit and the works of Mom became the works of her daughters.

So it is with Jesus: He gets into the “things” of His Father. Divine things such as forgiving sins, redressing wrongs, and undoing sin’s damage belong to Father and to Son. So when Jesus responded to Mary and Joseph when they found Him in the temple, He gently reminded them that this was the place He was meant to be and these were the things He was meant to do.

Because Jesus attended well and completely to His Father’s business, He lived the sinless life that eludes us, then died the cursed death that should be our lot. He effected our salvation exactly as His Father intended and then blessed us with fruits of His labors and by the power of His Spirit moves us to take up and likewise to do the things that our heavenly Father would have done.

Jesus in the Temple Text: [Jesus] grew and became strong, filled with wisdom. And the favor of God was upon him.

Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. And when he was twelve years old, they went up according to custom.

And when the feast was ended, as they were returning, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents did not know it, but supposing him to be in the group they went a day’s journey, but then they began to search for him among their relatives and acquaintances, and when they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem, searching for him.

After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers. And when his parents saw him, they were astonished.

And his mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us so? Behold, your father and I have been searching for you in great distress.”

And he said to them, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” And they did not understand the saying that he spoke to them.

And he went down with them and came to Nazareth and was submissive to them. And his mother treasured up all these things in her heart.

And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man. Luke 2:40-52

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 Getting into Dad’s Things.

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 119:97-104; 1 Kings 3:4-15; Ephesians 1:3-14

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28 December 2014

Sermon: Christmas 1B (Gospel)

28 December AD 2014
The First Sunday after Christmas

Title: My Eyes Have Seen (MP3 Audio)

The Divine Service Summary: Have you seen “the Lord’s Christ”? It’s been almost two thousand years since He walked on the earth, so how could such a thing be?

Yet thousands upon thousands of Christians regularly sing along with Simeon, “my eyes have seen Your salvation” — is that the same as seeing the Savior? Is it totally honest that we join the song?

We might say that if we’ve seen our salvation then we’ve seen our Savior. Faith’s eyes see Him where He promises to be; that is, in His Word and Sacraments.

We hear Jesus’ voice in the proclamation of the Gospel through the voices of our pastors. Their hands stand in for His as He baptizes us and claims us for His Father. And in the Lord’s Supper we truly handle and taste He body and blood under the forms of bread and wine.

This is why so much of Christendom sings the Nunc Dimittis, the Song of Simeon, near the close of worship. In the divine service, we see Jesus and His salvation in Word and Sacrament. In this song, we then celebrate such intimate contact with our Savior and confess that we are at peace with God and ready to live or die as He sees fit.

Furthermore, in Christ’s Church we see His body, firm in faith and active in service. Our encounter with Him doesn’t end with the close of worship but extends into the world as we remember His promises, receive His forgiveness, and live in love toward one another.

Yet still we wait for plainer sight. We long to see His own hands instead of only those of our fellow Christians. We crave the sound of His voice instead of only those of our pastors and other spiritual teachers. We want to gather for the feast of the Lamb in His kingdom that has no end instead of this earthly foretaste. God promises that all of this will be so when the Son comes to claim us on the Last Day.

Jesus and Simeon in the Temple Text: And when the time came for their purification according to the Law of Moses, [Mary and Joseph] brought [Jesus] up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every male who first opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord”) and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the Law of the Lord, “a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.”

Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.

And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law, he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said, “Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.”

And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him. And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.”

And there was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived with her husband seven years from when she was a virgin, and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day. And coming up at that very hour she began to give thanks to God and to speak of him to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem.

And when they had performed everything according to the Law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. And the child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom. And the favor of God was upon him. Luke 2:22-40

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 My Eyes Have Seen.

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 111; Isaiah 61:10-62:3; Galatians 4:4-7

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25 December 2014

Sermon: Christmas Eve Midnight (OT)

25 December AD 2014
The Nativity of Our Lord

Title: Dawn for the Dark-Walkers (MP3 Audio)

Walking in Darkness Summary: A sad thing about being born in sin’s darkness is that we don’t realize our predicament’s full influence upon us. The unnatural and abnormal according to God’s creative plan are natural and normal according to our own perceptions. Sinners walk about in the dark without knowing the blessing of living in the light.

When the light dawns, things change. Perceived in the light of Christ, the dark and its creatures now stand out to us as the hideous wrongness that they truly are. Satanic predation is banished and God reclaims fallen sinners and shapes us as vessels to hold and shine forth His light.

Jesus in the Manger Text: The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone.

You have multiplied the nation; you have increased its joy; they rejoice before you as with joy at the harvest, as they are glad when they divide the spoil.

For the yoke of his burden, and the staff for his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor, you have broken as on the day of Midian. For every boot of the tramping warrior in battle tumult and every garment rolled in blood will be burned as fuel for the fire.

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore.

The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this. Isaiah 9:2-7

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 Dawn for the Dark-Walkers.

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 96; Titus 2:11-14; Luke 2:1-14 (15-20)

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21 December 2014

Sermon: Advent 4B (OT)

21 December AD 2014

Theme: Habitat for Divinity

Solomon's Temple Summary: More important than anything we might build or do for God is what He builds and does for us. So in the time of David, when the king wanted to build a house for the Lord, the Lord instead promised to build a house for David.

That “house” was David’s family and from that lineage was born Jesus, the King of the Jews and the King of all Creation. That household is now the family of us and all who believe in Jesus as Savior. In a very real way, God prevented David from building a “habitat for Divinity” that He might instead build a habitat for David and for all humanity.

Text: Now when the king lived in his house and the Lord had given him rest from all his surrounding enemies, the king said to Nathan the prophet, “See now, I dwell in a house of cedar, but the ark of God dwells in a tent.” And Nathan said to the king, “Go, do all that is in your heart, for the Lord is with you.”

But that same night the word of the Lord came to Nathan, “Go and tell my servant David, ‘Thus says the Lord: Would you build me a house to dwell in? I have not lived in a house since the day I brought up the people of Israel from Egypt to this day, but I have been moving about in a tent for my dwelling. In all places where I have moved with all the people of Israel, did I speak a word with any of the judges of Israel, whom I commanded to shepherd my people Israel, saying, “Why have you not built me a house of cedar?”’

“Now, therefore, thus you shall say to my servant David, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, I took you from the pasture, from following the sheep, that you should be prince over my people Israel. And I have been with you wherever you went and have cut off all your enemies from before you. And I will make for you a great name, like the name of the great ones of the earth. And I will appoint a place for my people Israel and will plant them, so that they may dwell in their own place and be disturbed no more. And violent men shall afflict them no more, as formerly, from the time that I appointed judges over my people Israel. And I will give you rest from all your enemies.

“‘Moreover, the Lord declares to you that the Lord will make you a house....

“‘And your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me. Your throne shall be established forever.’” 2 Samuel 7:1-11, 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 Habitat for Divinity.

Other Readings: Psalm 89:1-5 (19-29); Romans 16:25-27; Luke 1:26-38

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14 December 2014

Sermon: Advent 3B (OT)

14 December AD 2014

Theme: Restored by the Lord

Isaiah 61:10 Summary: Isaiah sums up our sorry condition as sinners born under the curse of the Law. We are poor, brokenhearted, captive, and devastated. By birth, we are dead in our trespasses. The Lord sent the prophet to bring good news to His people. Later, John assumed the same prophetic mantle and then Jesus completely fulfilled the task by both announcing and winning victory over sin, death, and devil.

Because of Christ’s triumph, all who believe in Him receive His gifts. We hear the good news that we are forgiven, enriched, liberated, gladdened, enlivened, and saved. We are restored — not to some higher point earlier in our lives but to the sinless freedom that our first parents knew in the garden and that we will see fully revealed when Jesus returns to judge the world and to raise the believers into eternal life.

Already, God has dressed us in “the robe of righteousness,” preparing us for a glorious eternity bedecked “like a priest with a beautiful headdress and as a bride ... with her jewels.”

Text: The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; to grant to those who mourn in Zion — to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified. They shall build up the ancient ruins; they shall raise up the former devastations; they shall repair the ruined cities, the devastations of many generations....

For I the Lord love justice; I hate robbery and wrong; I will faithfully give them their recompense, and I will make an everlasting covenant with them. Their offspring shall be known among the nations, and their descendants in the midst of the peoples; all who see them shall acknowledge them, that they are an offspring the Lord has blessed.

I will greatly rejoice in the Lord; my soul shall exult in my God, for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation; he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. For as the earth brings forth its sprouts, and as a garden causes what is sown in it to sprout up, so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to sprout up before all the nations. Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11

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 Restored by the Lord.

Other Readings: Psalm 126; 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24; John 1:6-8, 19-28

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07 December 2014

Sermon: Advent 2B (OT)

7 December AD 2014

Theme: A Voice Cries Out

VDMA Summary: Whenever we approach God’s word, we should ask, “What does this mean?” We need to know what each individual word means, how they work together according to the rules of grammar, and what they meant at the time they were first spoken or recorded. Most importantly, we need to know is what they mean in light of the person and work of Jesus.

The pastor is called to “cry” what God gives him to say. Therefore, he needs to understand both the text and those who will hear his preaching. What he cries should be determined by the words before him, what his people need to hear, and how they will hear and understand. He also needs to know how to apply the words as God’s harsh, condemning Law and His sweet, forgiving Gospel.

So it is here in Isaiah 40. We hear uncomfortable, even painful words: wither, fade, warfare, iniquity, sin. We also hear words that uplift and set straight: tender, pardon, good news, strength, reward. Whether preacher or hearer, we pray that God’s abiding Word will be proclaimed and heard in order to convict and condemn sin and to comfort and forgive repentant believers.

Jesus Our Shepherd Text: Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that her warfare is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned, that she has received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins.

A voice cries: “In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain. And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”

A voice says, “Cry!”

And I said, “What shall I cry?”

All flesh is grass, and all its beauty is like the flower of the field. The grass withers, the flower fades when the breath of the Lord blows on it; surely the people are grass. The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.

Go on up to a high mountain, O Zion, herald of good news; lift up your voice with strength, O Jerusalem, herald of good news; lift it up, fear not; say to the cities of Judah, “Behold your God!” Behold, the Lord God comes with might, and his arm rules for him; behold, his reward is with him, and his recompense before him.

He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young. Isaiah 40:1-11

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 A Voice Cries Out.

Other Readings: Psalm 85; 2 Peter 3:8-14; Mark 1:1-8

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30 November 2014

Sermon: Advent 1B (OT)

30 November AD 2014

Theme: Come, Lord

Rending the Heavens Summary: Often during Advent, Christians are called to ponder and to receive with joy the “now, not yet” of their Savior. The “now” is the Jesus who came in the flesh at Bethlehem, who lived a sinless life, died for our sins, and rose again from the dead. The “now” is also His coming to us in Word and Sacrament. The “not yet” is His promised return at the end of time.

Christians also confront another “now, not yet.” With one breath, we cry out, “Now, O Lord.” We echo Isaiah, “Oh that you would rend the heavens and come down ... to make your name known to your adversaries, and that the nations might tremble at your presence.” We want our Lord to return in glory to set all things right.

Yet because of our sin, we’re tempted to pray with even more fervor, “Not yet, God!” We aren’t ready to receive Him whose anger burns at all sin, including our own. Each of us wants more time to fix what’s not right in order to be that one “who joyfully works righteousness.” But that won’t happen because The Lord’s demand for righteousness is absolute and we cannot attain it on our own.

However, we fear not because we know that we have Christ’s righteousness as gift. All who believe in the Son receive credit for His good works and faithfulness. Our sins, put to death with Him on the cross, are left behind and we trust that because of His sacrifice, the Father certainly will “remember not iniquity forever.” And we, cleansed of sin freed of guilt, can cry out with joy, “Come, Lord Jesus! (Revelation 22:20)”

While we remain here, we welcome God’s presence in our lives. For even as He continues to forgive our sins and declare us righteous, so He also works His righteousness in and through us, shaping us by the Gospel and the Holy Spirit as a potter shapes his clay.

Potter and Clay Text: Oh that you would rend the heavens and come down, that the mountains might quake at your presence — as when fire kindles brushwood and the fire causes water to boil — to make your name known to your adversaries, and that the nations might tremble at your presence! When you did awesome things that we did not look for, you came down, the mountains quaked at your presence.

From of old no one has heard or perceived by the ear, no eye has seen a God besides you, who acts for those who wait for him. You meet him who joyfully works righteousness, those who remember you in your ways.

Behold, you were angry, and we sinned; in our sins we have been a long time, and shall we be saved? We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away. There is no one who calls upon your name, who rouses himself to take hold of you; for you have hidden your face from us, and have made us melt in the hand of our iniquities.

But now, O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand. Be not so terribly angry, O Lord, and remember not iniquity forever. Behold, please look, we are all your people. Isaiah 64:1-9

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 Come, Lord.

Other Readings: Psalm 80:1-7; 1 Corinthians 1:3-9; Mark 11:1-10 or Mark 13:24-37

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23 November 2014

Sermon: Proper 29A (OT)

23 November AD 2014
The Last Sunday of the Church Year

Theme: Our Shepherd, Our Judge

The Good Shepherd Summary: All too often, the shepherds whom God called to lead His people as He desired instead led them astray or sat idly by while the Church, His flock, wandered off on its own. His only recourse was to enter His Creation and become the Shepherd Himself.

Jesus came as the Good Shepherd and called the scattered flock to Himself. Likewise, He is the God who will judge, as He taught in today’s Gospel. He is also the new David who serves as the eternal King. Israel’s remnant acknowledged this as they called out their hosannas to the Son of David on Palm Sunday.

Jesus the Judge Text: “For thus says the Lord God: Behold, I, I myself will search for my sheep and will seek them out. As a shepherd seeks out his flock when he is among his sheep that have been scattered, so will I seek out my sheep, and I will rescue them from all places where they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness. And I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries, and will bring them into their own land.

“And I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, by the ravines, and in all the inhabited places of the country. I will feed them with good pasture, and on the mountain heights of Israel shall be their grazing land. There they shall lie down in good grazing land, and on rich pasture they shall feed on the mountains of Israel.

“I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I myself will make them lie down, declares the Lord God. I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak, and the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them in justice....

“Therefore, thus says the Lord God to them: Behold, I, I myself will judge between the fat sheep and the lean sheep. Because you push with side and shoulder, and thrust at all the weak with your horns, till you have scattered them abroad, I will rescue my flock; they shall no longer be a prey. And I will judge between sheep and sheep.

“And I will set up over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he shall feed them: he shall feed them and be their shepherd. And I, the Lord, will be their God, and my servant David shall be prince among them. I am the Lord; I have spoken.” Ezekiel 34:11-16, 20-24

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 Shepherd, Our Judge.

Other Readings: Psalm 95:1-7a; 1 Corinthians 15:20-28; Matthew 25:31-46

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