Happenings

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





09 February 2014

Sermon: Epiphany 5A (OT)

9 February AD 2014
The Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany

Title: Fast Enough (MP3 Audio)

Sackcloth and Ashes Summary: The people of Judah cried out, begging God to pay attention to their piety. Their problem was that He was doing just that — and their fasting offended Him deeply.

Thinking that they could earn the Lord’s favor, they went through the motions of fasting while still seeking to take advantage of others. Compare them to an underpowered race car: They could never fast enough!

We, also, are incapable of pleasing the Lord by our actions, whether those of penitence before Him or in service to others. Our inborn corruption renders us incapable of any true good works and any attempt to gain God’s favor or earn our salvation will fall abysmally short of the mark.

However, God credits us with the righteousness of His Son’s fasting. Jesus not only went without food for forty days in the wilderness. He turned His back on the power and glory of being the eternal Son and took upon himself the rôle of suffering Servant. He refused fame and honor that He might rescue us from our pridefulness and rescue us from the bondage of sin, death, and Devil.

He sends His Spirit to work faith in us and to lead us to live lives of service within our vocations. Rather than fixing our eyes on our own deeds, we instead focus on Christ while also looking around us for those in need that we might bless them as we have been blessed. When this is done most purely and naturally, we don’t even realize that we’ve done what Jesus speaks of in Matthew 25, visiting, comforting, and clothing Him by doing these things for those less fortunate.

Naked, Hungry, Thirsty, Homeless, Imprisoned Text: “‘Why have we fasted, and you see it not? Why have we humbled ourselves, and you take no knowledge of it?’

“Behold, in the day of your fast you seek your own pleasure, and oppress all your workers. Behold, you fast only to quarrel and to fight and to hit with a wicked fist. Fasting like yours this day will not make your voice to be heard on high.

“Is such the fast that I choose, a day for a person to humble himself? Is it to bow down his head like a reed, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? Will you call this a fast, and a day acceptable to the Lord?

“Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke?

“Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?

“Then shall your light break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up speedily; your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.

“Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; you shall cry, and he will say, ‘Here I am.’” Isaiah 58:3-9a

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 Fast Enough. Preached to the saints of God at Trinity Lutheran Church, Alma, 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 112:1-9; 1 Corinthians 2:1-12 (13-16); Matthew 5:13-20

About the Art: Drawing of man fasting, public domain. Illustration based on Jesus at the Last Judgment from Matthew 25 is copyright and royalty free by Cerezo Barredo.

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