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 March 2015

Sermon: Lent 5 Midweek

25 March AD 2015
A Lent — Easter Series on Christ and Creation

Title: In the (New) Beginning: Sea Creatures and Birds (MP3 Audio)

Creation: Day Five Summary: We use the expression “neither fish nor fowl” to refer to something difficult to categorize. However, on the Fifth Day of Creation, God creates real birds and sea creatures. During Jesus’ years on earth, fish and fowl played both literal and figurative parts in His work of salvation.

His parents offered the sacrifice of a pair of birds during His presentation at the temple. He told fishermen how to fish and then called them away from their nets. He described His love for Jerusalem as that of a hen for its chicks. He fed huge crowds with a handful of fish. He appropriated the Sign of Jonah as a foreshadowing of His death and resurrection.

Just as does the rest of Creation, so the creatures of Day Five glorify the Lord, serving His purposes of preservation and salvation and and acting as His instruments to usher in the New Creation..

Hymn: During Lenten midweek services, through Holy Week, the Vigil, and Easter morning, we will be singing With God in the Beginning as Office Hymn or Hymn of the Day. Each time we will sing two stanzas focusing on the Christology of that day’s sermon text from Genesis. The tune I chose is Auf, auf, mein Herz, known among many English-speaking Christians as the Easter hymn Awake, My Heart, with Gladness.

   On eagle’s wings descending
   God moves to save His own.
   In might and pow’r unending
   He lifts us by His Son—
   Gathers us for our good
   As does a hen her brood;
   He knows each bird that falls;
   He meets the needs of all.

   Fishermen called by their Lord
   New life would soon begin;
   Left boat and net at Christ’s word:
   “Henceforth will you catch men.”
   They heard how Jonah’s sign,
   Following God’s design,
   Foretold the Savior’s doom,
   Foreshadowed conquered tomb.

      ©2003, 2015 Walter P. Snyder

Text: And God said, “Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the heavens.”

So God created the great sea creatures and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarm, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.

And God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.”

And there was evening and there was morning, the fifth day. Genesis 1:20-23

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 In the (New) Beginning: Sea Creatures and Birds.

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 84 (antiphon Job 12:7-8); Isaiah 40:28-31; Matthew 12:38-41

Illustration: The Fifth Day of Creation from Die Bibel in Bildern by Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld at Wikimedia Commons.

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22 March 2015

Sermon: Lent 5B (Gospel)

22 March AD 2015
The Fifth Sunday in Lent

Title: Served by the Lord (MP3 Audio)

Riojas: Mark 10:32-45 Summary: Self-centered, self-righteous, and self-serving — that pretty much sums up the sinner. James and John carried that attitude to Jesus as they asked to be seated on either side of Him as He entered glory.

Jesus, however, came to serve. He set aside His rightful place at His Father’s right hand in order to become the prophesied Suffering Servant. No one deserves a place at His side, neither is it earned. Instead, it’s a gift granted to believers in His saving work.

Text: [And they were on the road, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking ahead of them. And they were amazed, and those who followed were afraid.

And taking the twelve again, he began to tell them what was to happen to him, saying, “See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death and deliver him over to the Gentiles. And they will mock him and spit on him, and flog him and kill him. And after three days he will rise.”]

And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came up to him and said to him, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.”

And he said to them, “What do you want me to do for you?”

And they said to him, “Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.”

Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?”

And they said to him, “We are able.”

And Jesus said to them, “The cup that I drink you will drink, and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized, but to sit at my right hand or at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared.”

And when the ten heard it, they began to be indignant at James and John. And Jesus called them to him and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10: (32-34) 35-45

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 Served 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 119:9-16; Jeremiah 31:31-34; Hebrews 5:1-10

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

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18 March 2015

Sermon: Lent 4 Midweek

18 March AD 2015
A Lent — Easter Series on Christ and Creation

Title: In the (New) Beginning: Sun, Moon, and Stars (MP3 Audio)

Creation: Day Four Summary: Light, navigation, and keeping track of time — we’ve certainly found plenty of use for sun, moon, and stars. Sun and moon lift and lower the tides. And aside from all practical concerns, we enjoy the stars at night, the full moon, dawn and dusk, or sunrise and sunset for their sheer beauty.

We should expect this, for Scripture says, “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. (Psalm 19:1)” Yet nothing proclaims His glory like His crucified and risen Son — and God used the heavens to prophesy and to proclaim the Christ.

Old Testament prophecy concludes with the promise of the coming “sun of righteousness” bringing “healing in its wings. (Malachi 4:2)” The Lord used a special star to lead the wise men to the Savior (Matthew 2:1-12). Jesus prophesied concerning the End Times in terms of the heavens and Scripture concludes with His declaration that He is “the bright morning star (Revelation 22:16)” heralding the dawn of eternity.

The heavens, by themselves, cannot reveal the source of our salvation but God uses these lights to point those with willing hearts to His Son Jesus, “the life” who is truly “the light of men. (John 1:4)”

Hymn: During Lenten midweek services, through Holy Week, the Vigil, and Easter morning, we will be singing With God in the Beginning as Office Hymn or Hymn of the Day. Each time we will sing two stanzas focusing on the Christology of that day’s sermon text from Genesis. The tune I chose is Auf, auf, mein Herz, known among many English-speaking Christians as the Easter hymn Awake, My Heart, with Gladness.

   He who caused stars to brighten
   The farthest evening sky
   By them the wise enlightened,
   Announced the King was nigh.
   E’en in the darkest night
   Their glory, shining bright,
   Lights praises near and far
   To Christ the Morning Star.

   The promise of the sunrise
   Gives flight to earthly gloom
   Just as that darkened Friday
   Gave way to conquered tomb.
   The Sun of Righteousness
   In joy shines bright to bless;
   He rises over grave
   Eternally to save.

      ©2003, 2015 Walter P. Snyder

Text: And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth.”

And it was so. And God made the two great lights — the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night — and the stars. And God set them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good.

And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day. Genesis 1:14-19

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 In the (New) Beginning: Sun, Moon, and Stars.

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 104:1-2, 19-23, 31-35a (antiphon Psalm 148:3); Malachi 4; Matthew 17:1-9

Illustration: The Fourth Day of Creation from Die Bibel in Bildern by Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld at Wikimedia Commons.

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15 March 2015

Sermon: Lent 4B (OT)

15 March AD 2015
The Fourth Sunday in Lent

Title: Look and Live (MP3 Audio)

Pellegrini: The Brazen Serpent Summary: Because the Israelites took their eyes off of Him, they couldn’t see the gifts that the Lord was giving them. Like spoiled children whining, “There’s nothing to wear; there’s nothing to eat,” as they stand before full closets and overflowing refrigerators, so Israel/ complained bitterly. In response, God judged their faithless insolence swiftly and severely.

If not for Moses raising the bronze serpent in their camp, the nation could have utterly perished in the wilderness.

If not for Jesus Christ being lifted up, we certainly would die eternally for our sinful self-centeredness. We look to Him to receive new life through His death on the cross just as His forefathers looked to the serpent for life after being bitten.

Cranach the Younger: Weimar Altarpiece Text: From Mount Hor they set out by the way to the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom. And the people became impatient on the way. And the people spoke against God and against Moses, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we loathe this worthless food.”

Then the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people, so that many people of Israel died.

And the people came to Moses and said, “We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord and against you. Pray to the Lord, that he take away the serpents from us.”

So Moses prayed for the people. And the Lord said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent and set it on a pole, and everyone who is bitten, when he sees it, shall live.” So Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on a pole. And if a serpent bit anyone, he would look at the bronze serpent and live. Numbers 21:4-9

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 Look and Live.

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 107:1-9; Ephesians 2:1-10; John 3:14-21

Illustrations: Illustrations public domain from Web Gallery of Art.

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11 March 2015

Sermon: Lent 3 Midweek

11 March AD 2015
A Lent — Easter Series on Christ and Creation

Title: In the (New) Beginning: Land, Sea, and Plants (MP3 Audio)

Creation: Day Three Summary: Unlike the limited gods invented by the limited imaginations of mankind, our God knows no restrictions besides those to which He holds Himself. The false gods littering the pages of Scripture and all of human history shared none of the Lord’s attributes.

Land gods must stay with their lands or lose power and influence. Ocean gods likewise exert no major influence ashore. So also gods of sky and underworld. Yet here in the beginning, the Lord showed mastery over land and sea by setting the boundaries of each. For good measure, He filled the world with vegetation.

Christ exhibited this same authority over Creation in many of His miracles. He calmed the waters — or chose to walk upon them. He bypassed nature’s normal course by taking the grape vine’s raw material of water and turning it directly into wine. He did this not to entertain but to establish His claim as God’s Son, our Savior.

Jesus continued to bend water to His will, giving us Baptism to wash away our sins. Grain and grape created through Him became the heavenly food of His body and blood when He instituted His Supper. He also surrendered Himself to one of His trees in order to turn the instrument of His death into a life-giving tree.

Hymn: During Lenten midweek services, through Holy Week, the Vigil, and Easter morning, we will be singing With God in the Beginning as Office Hymn or Hymn of the Day. Each time we will sing two stanzas focusing on the Christology of that day’s sermon text from Genesis. The tune I chose is Auf, auf, mein Herz, known among many English-speaking Christians as the Easter hymn Awake, My Heart, with Gladness.

   He who divided oceans,
   Who called forth land from wave,
   Strode forth with great devotion:
   The lost He came to save.
   He walked through Galilee,
   Treading both land and sea;
   He stilled the wrathful storm
   With one brief word of calm

   By Him were plants created;
   Upon their fruits He fed.
   His cross of wood was fated
   To be a tree He’d made.
   The waters still serve Him,
   Baptize away our sin;
   While grape and grain become
   His holy Communion.

      ©2003, 2015 Walter P. Snyder

Text: And God said, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.” And it was so. God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good.

And God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, on the earth.” And it was so. The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed according to their own kinds, and trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.

And there was evening and there was morning, the third day. Genesis 1:9-13

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 In the (New) Beginning: Land, Sea, and Plants.

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 107:23-32; antiphon v. 43; Job 38:8-11; Luke 8:22-25

Illustration: The Third Day of Creation from Die Bibel in Bildern by Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld at Wikimedia Commons.

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08 March 2015

Sermon: Lent 3B (OT)

8 March AD 2015
The Third Sunday in Lent

Title: I Am the Lord Your God (MP3 Audio)

Mount Sinai Summary: Commandments. Law. Imperatives. Promises. Many people treat the Ten Commandments as a roadmap to God. Indeed, if we kept them without fail, we would be in His presence. Yet there is a judgment involved for all who would live by the Law.

These few statements in their bare simplicity tell us something else: We can’t keep them. We can’t — and we don’t and we won’t — even come close. And if we ask the Lord to judge us based upon our following them, we shouldn’t be surprised when He tells us how completely and spectacularly we’ve failed.

What hope do we have? The same as did Israel when they gathered around Mount Sinai. The Lord their God had already drawn them to Himself, bringing them “out of the Land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.” Likewise, the Lord your God saved you from sin and death by Christ’s suffering, death, and resurrection. He brought you out of Satan’s bondage, freeing you to be His dear child.

For the believer, then, the Law isn’t an untraceable path or an insurmountable barrier to living with God. Instead, it becomes an illustration of how God’s family lives. It’s a visual reminder of what fearing, loving, and trusting Him and loving our neighbor is all about. Keeping it neither saves nor sanctifies us. God saves us. God makes us holy. He then moves us to thankfulness expressed in faith toward Him and in fervent love toward one another.

Still, however, the Christian cannot forget that the Law always accuses. For even as we are saints by divine declaration, we remain also sinners. When we take our eyes off of the Lord our God, flouting His rule and flaunting our false gods, we need to hear plainly and clearly that we are wrong and in danger of bringing judgment upon ourselves.

God doesn’t bring our focus back on His Law in order that we might restore ourselves to His good graces. No, He does so that we might crave the forgiveness that is already ours in Christ Jesus. He reminds us that His Son already kept the Law on our behalf and that His absolute and unswerving obedience in thought, word and deed is credited to us as gift in the Gospel.

Red Sea Crossing Text: And God spoke all these words, saying, “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.

“You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.

“You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.

“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

10 Commandments “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.

“You shall not murder.

“You shall not commit adultery.

“You shall not steal.

“You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house.

“You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s.” Exodus 20:1-17

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 I Am the Lord Your God.

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; 1 Corinthians 1:18-31; John 2:13-22 (23-25)

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04 March 2015

Sermon: Lent 2 Midweek

4 March AD 2015
A Lent — Easter Series on Christ and Creation

Title: In the (New) Beginning: Height and Depth (MP3 Audio)

Creation: Day Two Summary: “Sometimes God seems so far away!” We often hear this lament — and likely also say it ourselves at times. Yet when we pay attention, we discover that He constantly works to remove the distance.

Jesus bridged the gap between us and His Father, taking our flesh and our sins upon Himself and bestowing His righteousness upon all who believe in Him. He removed our sins “as far as the east is from the west. (Psalm 103:12)” Now He remains with us through Word and Sacrament, promising to be always with His Church. (Matthew 28:20)”

Hymn: During Lenten midweek services, through Holy Week, the Vigil, and Easter morning, we will be singing With God in the Beginning as Office Hymn or Hymn of the Day. Each time we will sing two stanzas focusing on the Christology of that day’s sermon text from Genesis. The tune I chose is Auf, auf, mein Herz, known among many English-speaking Christians as the Easter hymn Awake, My Heart, with Gladness.

   There is no place can hide us
   From God’s love in His Son.
   No evil shall betide us
   To cast us on our own.
   In heaven’s heights is He;
   Filling both land and sea;
   E’en to the greatest deeps
   His children safely keeps.

   Into the skies ascended
   Our Jesus, conqu’ring Lord.
   Yet from all ill defended
   Are all who trust His Word.
   No height nor depth can break
   The promise He did make
   To stay close by our side
   Until we’re glorified.

      ©2003, 2015 Walter P. Snyder

Text: And God said, “Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” And God made the expanse and separated the waters that were under the expanse from the waters that were above the expanse. And it was so.

And God called the expanse Heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, the second day. Genesis 1:6-8

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 In the (New) Beginning: Height and Depth.

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 139:7-12, antiphon, Psalm 95:4; Romans 8:38-39; Luke 24:50-53

Illustration: The Second Day of Creation from Die Bibel in Bildern by Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld at Wikimedia Commons.

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01 March 2015

Sermon: Lent 2B (Psalm)

1 March AD 2015
The Second Sunday in Lent

Title: He Has Done It (MP3 Audio)

The Crucifixion Summary: Most Christians are quite familiar with Psalm 22, especially the first portion and particularly its opening line. Jesus quoted it during His crucifixion: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” In so doing, our Lord showed the Psalm as a prophecy of His suffering and death.

Yet even as it anticipates the Christ’s holy passion, so Psalm 22 also prepares us for His glorious resurrection. The Lord heard the cries of His afflicted Son and answered them. Even in the agony of His crucifixion, Jesus prayed for our forgiveness and for our oneness with Him and His Father.

Thus also the Psalm’s Messianic prophecy: Its second part confesses that the trials of the opening verses led to a glorious conclusion, an undoing of evil. Life triumphs over death, the Savior vanquishes Satan, and forgiveness covers over and takes away sin.

God will not forsake those who believe in His Son. He promised that those who would come would receive His blessings and proclaim His righteousness. Through Word and sacraments, by the power of the Holy Spirit, and in Christ’s Church, “He has done it.”

The Resurrection Text: I will tell of your name to my brothers; in the midst of the congregation I will praise you:

You who fear the Lord, praise him! All you offspring of Jacob, glorify him, and stand in awe of him, all you offspring of Israel!

For he has not despised or abhorred the affliction of the afflicted, and he has not hidden his face from him, but has heard, when he cried to him.

From you comes my praise in the great congregation; my vows I will perform before those who fear him.

The afflicted shall eat and be satisfied; those who seek him shall praise the Lord! May your hearts live forever!

All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations shall worship before you.

For kingship belongs to the Lord, and he rules over the nations.

All the prosperous of the earth eat and worship; before him shall bow all who go down to the dust, even the one who could not keep himself alive.

Posterity shall serve him; it shall be told of the Lord to the coming generation; they shall come and proclaim his righteousness to a people yet unborn, that he has done it. Psalm 22:22-31

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 He Has Done It.

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 17:1-7, 15-16; Romans 5:1-11; Mark 8:27-38

Illustrations: Illustrations public domain from Web Gallery of Art. The Crucifixion and the The Resurrection, oil on wood, are side wings of an altarpiece by Dieric Bouts the Elder, ca. 1455.

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25 February 2015

Sermon: Lent 1 Midweek

25 February AD 2015
A Lent — Easter Series on Christ and Creation

Title: In the (New) Beginning: Light (MP3 Audio)

Creation: Day One Summary: Jesus is the incarnate Word of God. He was present at Creation, active in creating, and re-creating a fallen Creation and a humanity dead in its trespasses.

Through His Son, God commanded light to shine “in the beginning.” He then sent the Son to shine the light of His love in our fallen world. Those who believe in Him now shine His light amidst sin’s darkness.

We trust that as the darkness will never overcome our Savior, so it cannot overcome us who believe in Him. We also know that we who confess Him among men will “shine ... like the stars forever and ever. (Daniel 12:3)”

Hymn: During Lenten midweek services, through Holy Week, the Vigil, and Easter morning, we will be singing With God in the Beginning as Office Hymn or Hymn of the Day. Each time we will sing two stanzas focusing on the Christology of that day’s sermon text from Genesis. The tune I chose is Auf, auf, mein Herz, known among many English-speaking Christians as the Easter hymn Awake, My Heart, with Gladness.

   With God in the beginning
   Was His eternal Son;
   Brightly was His light shining
   O’er all that was begun.
   Yet once all mankind fell
   To Satan, death, and hell,
   Into our evil night
   Came down the saving Light.

   To God would no one hearken,
   His Word we all denied.
   Satan did all hearts darken
   And God’s will was defied.
   Yet in the deepest gloom
   Christ sealed the Tempter’s doom,
   Went to the cross and died
   That all might know His light.

      ©2003, 2015 Walter P. Snyder

Text: In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.

And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night.

And there was evening and there was morning, the first day. Genesis 1:1-5

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 In the (New) Beginning: Light.

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 27; Ephesians 5:8-14; John 1:1-5, 9-14

Illustration: The First Day of Creation from Die Bibel in Bildern by Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld at Wikimedia Commons.

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22 February 2015

Sermon: Lent 1B (OT)

22 February AD 2015
The First Sunday in Lent

Title: The Lord Will Provide (MP3 Audio)

The Crucifixion Summary: After sparing Abraham’s beloved son Isaac, the Lord provided a ram to take Isaac’s place in the sacrifice. In the fulness of time, the Lord provided the Lamb of God, His own beloved Son Jesus, to take our place under His judgment on sin.

The Father accepted Jesus’ suffering and dying in our stead, forgiving us and declaring us righteous in His sight. And as He once provided the sacrifice, God continues to provide for all of our needs of body, mind, and spirit. On the Last Day, He will provide resurrection and life everlasting for all who trust in Jesus as their savior.

Text: After these things God tested Abraham and said to him, “Abraham!”

And he said, “Here I am.”

He said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.”

So Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and his son Isaac. And he cut the wood for the burnt offering and arose and went to the place of which God had told him. On the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes and saw the place from afar. Then Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; I and the boy will go over there and worship and come again to you.”

And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son. And he took in his hand the fire and the knife. So they went both of them together. And Isaac said to his father Abraham, “My father!”

And he said, “Here I am, my son.”

He said, “Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?”

Abraham said, “God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.”

So they went both of them together.

Abraham and Isaac When they came to the place of which God had told him, Abraham built the altar there and laid the wood in order and bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to slaughter his son.

But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!”

And he said, “Here I am.”

He said, “Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.”

And Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him was a ram, caught in a thicket by his horns. And Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called the name of that place, “The Lord will provide”; as it is said to this day, “On the mount of the Lord it shall be provided.”

And the angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time from heaven and said, “By myself I have sworn, declares the Lord, because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall possess the gate of his enemies, and in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice.” Genesis 22:1-18

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 Will Provide.

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 25:1-10; James 1:12-18; Mark 1:9-15

Illustrations: Illustrations public domain from Web Gallery of Art. The Sacrifice of Isaac by Filippo Brunelleschi. The Crucifixion by Fra Angelico.

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18 February 2015

Sermon: Ash Wednesday (OT)

18 February AD 2015
The First Day of Lent

Title: You Will Be Satisfied (MP3 Audio)

Repentance Summary: Sinners are never satisfied. We want what we don’t have and have no great desire to receive the special blessings that God wants to give to mankind. Worse, God is in no way satisfied with anyone who isn’t absolutely holy and without sin.

Yet the Lord promises us as He did Israel: “You will be satisfied.” Forgiven by Christ, God lavishes His love on us, adopting us as His children and promising full restoration in the Resurrection. Even now, He washes us in Baptism, feeds us His Son’s body and blood, and constantly renews us by the Holy Spirit working through the Gospel.

As the Scriptures tell us, He opens his hand and satisfies every living thing (see Psalm 145:16) — particularly us believers in Christ. In Him, our satisfaction is guaranteed and everlasting.

Cross Text: “Yet even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; and rend your hearts and not your garments.”

Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love; and he relents over disaster. Who knows whether he will not turn and relent, and leave a blessing behind him, a grain offering and a drink offering for the Lord your God?

Blow the trumpet in Zion; consecrate a fast; call a solemn assembly; gather the people. Consecrate the congregation; assemble the elders; gather the children, even nursing infants. Let the bridegroom leave his room, and the bride her chamber.

Between the vestibule and the altar let the priests, the ministers of the Lord, weep and say, “Spare your people, O Lord, and make not your heritage a reproach, a byword among the nations. Why should they say among the peoples, ‘Where is their God?’”

Then the Lord became jealous for his land and had pity on his people. The Lord answered and said to his people, “Behold, I am sending to you grain, wine, and oil, and you will be satisfied; and I will no more make you a reproach among the nations.” Joel 2:12-19

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 You Will Be Satisfied.

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 51:1-13 (14-19); 2 Corinthians 5:20b-6:10; Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21

Illustrations: First graphic from Art of the Church Year by Ed Riojas available through Higher Things Store. Second graphic public domain.

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