Happenings

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





23 February 2014

Sermon: Epiphany 7A (OT)

23 February AD 2014
The Seventh Sunday after the Epiphany

Title: You Shall Be Holy (MP3 Audio)

Sermon on the Mount Summary: “You shall be holy!”

Okay, how do we do this? What’s involved? Nothing much — only total dedication to God and other people.

If we would bring ourselves to a state of pure holiness, we would absolutely fear, love, and trust in God above all things and would, in all circumstances, love our neighbor as ourselves. We would see the good intentions, words, and deeds mentioned in today’s Scriptures as a record of our past, an outline for our present, and the goal for our future.

Unfortunately, the very fact that we are born unholy renders us incapable of making ourselves holy. We cannot achieve the state that God expects and demands of us.

However, when He says “You shall be holy” to believers in Christ, the Lord isn’t issuing a command impossible to fulfill but is pronouncing a promise and a blessing. When we trust in Jesus for salvation, we receive His holiness as our garment. God looks on us not as wretched, fallen rebels but as beloved children.

While still burdened with our fallen natures, we are also new creatures in Christ. The Holy Spirit, working through Word and sacrament, guides and empowers us as we submit in love to God and our neighbor.

In this life, we will never attain — let alone maintain — this pureness of thought, word, and deed. This, however, doesn’t prevent us from daily confessing our sins, receiving God’s forgiveness, and striving anew to live as faithful stewards and caring servants. And we have the sure and certain hope that in the Resurrection we will finally be as holy in heart, mind, and spirit as we are already in God’s heart by His declaration.

Love Your Neighbor Text: And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to all the congregation of the people of Israel and say to them, You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy....

“When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap your field right up to its edge, neither shall you gather the gleanings after your harvest. And you shall not strip your vineyard bare, neither shall you gather the fallen grapes of your vineyard. You shall leave them for the poor and for the sojourner: I am the Lord your God.

“You shall not steal; you shall not deal falsely; you shall not lie to one another. You shall not swear by my name falsely, and so profane the name of your God: I am the Lord.

“You shall not oppress your neighbor or rob him. The wages of a hired worker shall not remain with you all night until the morning. You shall not curse the deaf or put a stumbling block before the blind, but you shall fear your God: I am the Lord.

“You shall do no injustice in court. You shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great, but in righteousness shall you judge your neighbor. You shall not go around as a slanderer among your people, and you shall not stand up against the life of your neighbor: I am the Lord.

“You shall not hate your brother in your heart, but you shall reason frankly with your neighbor, lest you incur sin because of him. You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.” Leviticus 19:1-2, 9-18

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 You Shall Be Holy. Preached to the saints of God at Trinity Lutheran Church, Kearney, 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 119:33-40; 1 Corinthians 3:10-23; Matthew 5:38-48

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