Happenings

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





16 October 2019

Funeral Sermon: Master Craftsman

Preached on Psalm 139:13–116
The Funeral of Beno Messer
16 October AD 2019

Title: Click to hear the MP3 of Master Craftsman.

Waterfall Fountain Created by Beno Messer for His Wife Hannelore Summary: Craftsmanship means different things to different people but a true master such as Beno Messer leaves ample evidence of his artistic vision and the hard work necessary to bring the vision to completion. Through most of his life, this master craftsman worked in metal and other materials to make products both beautiful and functional.

Whether it was repairing others’ works or designing and constructing his own projects, he refused to cut corners or rush his tasks. He wanted to leave things better than he found them, and he displayed this same attitude in the rest of his life. He invested himself deeply in others and his craftsmanship extended into his family and friends as he always worked to make things better for other and to do better by others.

On an eternal scale, God also shows Himself to be a master craftsman. The psalmist confesses this in the sermon text. But the Lord wasn’t content to create beauty. When Adam and Eve fell into sin, breaking themselves, their world, and their relationship with Him, He set about to undo and remake the damage into new and lasting beauty.

His craftsmanship, then goes beyond physical beauty or effective function. He works through Jesus to make all things new and right. He creates clean hearts in place of our filthy, sin-damaged natures. He works all things for good for those who believe in Him. Through the instrument of the cross, He bent and broke His Son so that He might straighten and restore us and our relationship with Him.

In Baptism, He makes us new. The Holy Spirit continues crafting us into the creatures He desires us to be through the Gospel. Jesus remakes and re-forms us as He feeds us on His own body and blood. And at the end of time, God will unveil His final project as Master Craftsman when He brings us into the new heavens and new earth to live with Him forever.

Text:

You formed my inward parts;
  you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
  I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
  my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from you,
  when I was being made in secret,
  intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
  in your book were written, every one of them,
    the days that were formed for me,
    when as yet there was none of them.
    Psalm 139:13-16

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 Master Craftsman.

NB: A few people have had problems trying to play the inline audio with Windows Media 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: Isaiah 25:6-9; John 14:1-7

Labels: , , , , , , , , , ,

13 October 2019

Pentecost 18 Sermon: Until Death Us Do Part

Preached on Ruth 1:1–19a
18th Sunday After Pentecost — Proper 23C
13 October AD 2019

Title: Click to hear the MP3 of Until Death Us Do Part.

Habakkuk 1:1-4, 2:1-4 Summary: Initially established through Lot’s incest after Sodom was destroyed, Moab fully earned the Lord’s rejection by hiring the prophet Balaam to curse Israel. Yet the Lord loved these outcasts and wanted them back as His own.

Through the love shared by Ruth and Naomi — a love flowing from His own boundless mercy and grace — He received Moab into His chosen people. He did so through the unlikely vessel of a Moabite woman. Ruth’s selfless love for her mother-in-law and her promise to never forsake her led her to travel back to Judah with Naomi.

There, God granted her a righteous and loving husband who more than cared for both her and Naomi. And beyond merely showing that He cared even for these often-despised Gentiles, the Lord included Moab in the line of the coming Davidic kingship and thus into the earthly family of the coming Savior.

Text: In the days when the judges ruled there was a famine in the land, and a man of Bethlehem in Judah went to sojourn in the country of Moab, he and his wife and his two sons. The name of the man was Elimelech and the name of his wife Naomi, and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Chilion. They were Ephrathites from Bethlehem in Judah.

They went into the country of Moab and remained there. But Elimelech, the husband of Naomi, died, and she was left with her two sons. These took Moabite wives; the name of the one was Orpah and the name of the other Ruth. They lived there about ten years, and both Mahlon and Chilion died, so that the woman was left without her two sons and her husband.

Then she arose with her daughters-in-law to return from the country of Moab, for she had heard in the fields of Moab that the Lord had visited his people and given them food. So she set out from the place where she was with her two daughters-in-law, and they went on the way to return to the land of Judah.

But Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go, return each of you to her mother's house. May the Lord deal kindly with you, as you have dealt with the dead and with me. The Lord grant that you may find rest, each of you in the house of her husband!” Then she kissed them, and they lifted up their voices and wept.

And they said to her, “No, we will return with you to your people.”

But Naomi said, “Turn back, my daughters; why will you go with me? Have I yet sons in my womb that they may become your husbands? Turn back, my daughters; go your way, for I am too old to have a husband. If I should say I have hope, even if I should have a husband this night and should bear sons, would you therefore wait till they were grown? Would you therefore refrain from marrying? No, my daughters, for it is exceedingly bitter to me for your sake that the hand of the Lord has gone out against me.”

Then they lifted up their voices and wept again.

And Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clung to her. And she said, “See, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her gods; return after your sister-in-law.”

But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May the Lord do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you.” And when Naomi saw that she was determined to go with her, she said no more.

So the two of them went on until they came to Bethlehem. Ruth 1:1-19a

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 Until Death Us Do Part.

NB: A few people have had problems trying to play the inline audio with Windows Media 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; 2 Timothy 2:1-13; Luke 17:11-19

Labels: , , , , , , , , , ,

Pentecost 18 Sermon: If

Preached on 2 Timothy 2:1–13
18th Sunday After Pentecost — Proper 23C
13 October AD 2019

Title: Click to hear the MP3 of If.

2 Timothy 2:13 Summary: As Paul nurtured Timothy in the Gospel, so the apostle encourages Timothy to do the same for the next generation of pastors. Yet even though this is a pastoral epistle, Paul writes much that holds for all Christians. After all, the pastors must know the Word in order to preach the Word and must believe the same Word in order to be saved.

So here, as the section concludes, we have a series of “if” statements. The first connects us with baptism, in which we died with Christ in order to live with Him. Second is the promise that those who endure will enter His eternal reign. Even now, God moves us to reign over our own thoughts and passions, directing them in faithful pursuits.

Next comes the warning to avoid apostasy and rejection of the Gospel. We sometimes call this the “sin against the Holy Spirit,” for it is a rejection of the God-given faith and salvation we have through the Spirit’s working. We dare not tell Him that we don’t want or need Jesus’ suffering and death.

Yet Paul realizes that even our best intentions and holiest desires fall short and he comforts us with the reminder that God cannot deny His love and forgiveness any more than He can deny Himself, for His nature is love. No matter how weak we are or how many times we stumble, He continues to receive His penitent children into His gracious presence.

Text: You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also.

Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him. An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. It is the hard-working farmer who ought to have the first share of the crops.

Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.

Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel, for which I am suffering, bound with chains as a criminal. But the word of God is not bound! Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. The saying is trustworthy, for:

   If we have died with him, we will also live with him;
   if we endure, we will also reign with him;
   if we deny him, he also will deny us;
   if we are faithless, he remains faithful —


for he cannot deny himself. 2 Timothy 2:1-13

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 If.

NB: A few people have had problems trying to play the inline audio with Windows Media 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; Ruth 1:1-19a; Luke 17:11-19

Labels: , , , , , , , , , ,

06 October 2019

Pentecost 17 Sermon: Slow Haste

Preached on Habakkuk 1:1–4, 2:1–4
17th Sunday After Pentecost — Proper 22C
6 October AD 2019

Title: Click to hear the MP3 of Slow Haste.

Habakkuk 1:1-4, 2:1-4 Summary: Everywhere he turned, the prophet saw the bad guys winning and he wanted to know when the Lord was going to come down and set things right. When would He stop using pagan nations such as Assyria to visit His wrath on sinners? When would He check the evil perpetrated among His chosen people? When would righteousness be its own reward?

Instead, the Lord sent a vision promising that another pagan nation, the Chaldeans, would be His next instrument of judgment. They would destroy Assyria but would also reach out against Judah, which continued to sin against its God. There was nothing the Israelites could do to save themselves for none could make themselves right before the Lord.

However, the Lord promised that the “righteous shall live by his faith.”

This righteousness came only through trust in the Lord’s promises of His forgiveness and coming rescue. During the New Testament and beyond, it specifically and solely came to mean belief in Jesus Christ, who suffered and died for us. He was the One to bear the full brunt of the Father’s wrath at sin and sinners.

How long will it be? When will our troubles end and our enemies be vanquished? The Lord has His own timetable. Even as He warns of hastening judgment, He also promises to delay on behalf of those who will still be brought to saving faith by the power of His Holy Spirit. He urges us to be slow to judge but quick to mercy.

God says, “‘In a favorable time I listened to you, and in a day of salvation I have helped you.’ Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation. (2 Corinthians 6:2)” Now you are baptized. Now you are forgiven. Now you are righteous and living by faith.

Text: The oracle that Habakkuk the prophet saw.

O Lord, how long shall I cry for help, and you will not hear? Or cry to you “Violence!” and you will not save? Why do you make me see iniquity, and why do you idly look at wrong? Destruction and violence are before me; strife and contention arise. So the law is paralyzed, and justice never goes forth. For the wicked surround the righteous; so justice goes forth perverted....

I will take my stand at my watchpost and station myself on the tower, and look out to see what he will say to me, and what I will answer concerning my complaint.

And the Lord answered me: “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it. For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end — it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay.

“Behold, [the wicked man’s] soul is puffed up; it is not upright within him, but the righteous shall live by his faith.” Habakkuk 1:1-4; 2:1-4

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 Slow Haste.

NB: A few people have had problems trying to play the inline audio with Windows Media 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 62; 2 Timothy 1:1-14; Luke 17:1-10

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

29 September 2019

Michaelmas Sermon: The Accuser Thrown Down

Preached on Revelation 12:7–12
Saint Michael and All Angels
29 September AD 2019

Title: Click to hear the MP3 of The Accuser Thrown Down.

Revelation 12:7-12 Summary: The imagery of Revelation juxtaposes visions of past, present, and future. Today we have front-row seats to watch Satan, “the great dragon,” driven out of God’s presence and cast down. Similarly, Jesus says in Luke 10:18, “I saw Satan fall like lightning.”

Whether past tense or predictive, both accounts treat the devil’s downfall as a done deal. Christ’s suffering and death snap Satan’s hold on humankind. The Accuser can’t point his finger at us because Jesus removed our guilt.

In a classic “now/not yet” event of Scripture, the text celebrates the final battle and our ultimate victory even as the war between God and devil continues. The third stanza of A Mighty Fortress Is Our God says, “This world’s prince may still Scowl fierce as he will.” Satan still tries to move us away from God by intimidation or enticement. But the hymn continues: “He can harm us none. He’s judged; the deed is done; One little word can fell him.”

Text: Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon. And the dragon and his angels fought back, but he was defeated, and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.

And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.

“Therefore, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to you, O earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in great wrath, because he knows that his time is short!” Revelation 12:7-12

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 Accuser Thrown Down

NB: A few people have had problems trying to play the inline audio with Windows Media 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.

About the Art: War in Heaven by Wes Talbott

Other Readings: Psalm 91; Daniel 10:10-14; 12:1-3; Luke 10:17-20 or Matthew 18:1-10

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,

Michaelmas Sermon: Do Not Rejoice ... Rejoice

Preached on Luke 10:17-20
Saint Michael and All Angels
29 September AD 2019

Title: Click to hear the MP3 of Do Not Rejoice ... Rejoice.

St. Michael and All Angels Summary: It’s good that Satan and his minions have no power over us, when demons are driven out and tormented people given peace. Yet however wonderful these are, they are only signs of our true source of joy: Jesus Christ died to save sinners and because of Him we are God’s children.

The Lord’s true glory isn’t revealed in the demons’ submission to Jesus but in the Son’s submission to His Father’s will in His suffering and death. By His sacrifice, Jesus effected our salvation.

Yes, Jesus “saw Satan fall like lightning.” But Jesus also saw you raised up from the baptismal waters, named by God and recorded in the Book of Life. In Baptism, our names are “engraved on the palms of [God’s] hands. (Isaiah 49:16; see also the sermon Engraved on God’s Palms)” They are “written in heaven” and no matter what befalls us on earth, we know that we’ll be raised up as eternal citizens of the new heavens and the new earth.

How can we not rejoice in this!

Luke 10:18 Text: The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!”

And [Jesus] said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you.

“Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” Luke 10:17-20

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 Do Not Rejoice ... Rejoice

NB: A few people have had problems trying to play the inline audio with Windows Media 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; Daniel 10:10-14; 12:1-3; Revelation 12:7-12; Matthew 18:1-10 (alternate Gospel)

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,

22 September 2019

Pentecost 15 Sermon: I Will Never Forget

Preached on Amos 8:4–7
15th Sunday After Pentecost — Proper 20C
22 September AD 2019

Title: Click to hear the MP3 of I Will Never Forget.

Amos 8:4-7 Summary: In one way or another, each of us shares culpability for the world’s social injustice — injustice that’s certainly sinful of itself but also a symptom of mankind’s fallen nature. The wicked practices that Amos decries testify against a people who judge themselves better than others — a people just like us.

By accusing us of using unjust measures, the Lord also points out our unbalanced natures, ever inclined toward sin. We are out of balance. And if we approach God’s judgment thinking that we will save ourselves, we’ll find the balance weighted more against us than we would have seen in Israel’s most dishonest scales, for the Lord “will never forget” our deeds.

Yet when Christians hear the Lord swear by “the pride of Jacob” to remember our deeds, we rejoice! Jacob’s ultimate pride resides in his greatest offspring, Jesus Christ. He fully forgives us and credits us with His own deeds. The Lord now sees our deeds as kind, merciful, and done without counting the cost. Our hearts are holy, our motives pure.

Jesus continues working His deeds through us. He sends the Holy Spirit to move us to lives of mercy, serving our neighbor, loving our enemy, forsaking sinful gain, and seeking justice for all.

Text: Hear this, you who trample on the needy and bring the poor of the land to an end, saying, “When will the new moon be over, that we may sell grain? And the Sabbath, that we may offer wheat for sale, that we may make the ephah small and the shekel great and deal deceitfully with false balances, that we may buy the poor for silver and the needy for a pair of sandals and sell the chaff of the wheat?”

The Lord has sworn by the pride of Jacob: “Surely I will never forget any of their deeds.” Amos 8:4-7

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 I Will Never Forget.

NB: A few people have had problems trying to play the inline audio with Windows Media 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 113; 1 Timothy 2:1-15; Luke 16:1-15

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,

Pentecost 15 Sermon: God Knows Your Hearts

Preached on Luke 16:1–15
15th Sunday After Pentecost — Proper 20C
22 September AD 2019

Title: Click to hear the MP3 of God Knows Your Hearts.

Luke 16:1-15 Summary: Jesus cautioned those Pharisees who exalted earthly wealth: “God knows your hearts.” He also knows ours and knows that we, too, often long for and overvalue the things of this life.

However, in Christ, we know God’s heart and see how it overflows with love. Through the Gospel, the Holy Spirit creates new, clean hearts in us — hearts that, by grace, can withstand divine scrutiny since they are the heart of our Savior. Instead of seeking earthly riches, Christians are moved by the Lord to be rich toward others.

Text: [Jesus] also said to the disciples, “There was a rich man who had a manager, and charges were brought to him that this man was wasting his possessions. And he called him and said to him, ‘What is this that I hear about you? Turn in the account of your management, for you can no longer be manager.’

“And the manager said to himself, ‘What shall I do, since my master is taking the management away from me? I am not strong enough to dig, and I am ashamed to beg. I have decided what to do, so that when I am removed from management, people may receive me into their houses.’

“So, summoning his master’s debtors one by one, he said to the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ He said, ‘A hundred measures of oil.’ He said to him, ‘Take your bill, and sit down quickly and write fifty.’ Then he said to another, ‘And how much do you owe?’ He said, ‘A hundred measures of wheat.’ He said to him, ‘Take your bill, and write eighty.’

“The master commended the dishonest manager for his shrewdness. For the sons of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than the sons of light. And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of unrighteous wealth, so that when it fails they may receive you into the eternal dwellings.

“One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much. If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches? And if you have not been faithful in that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own?

“No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”

The Pharisees, who were lovers of money, heard all these things, and they ridiculed him. And he said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God.” Luke 16:1-15

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 God Knows Your Hearts.

NB: A few people have had problems trying to play the inline audio with Windows Media 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 113; Amos 8:4-7; 1 Timothy 2:1-15

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,

15 September 2019

Pentecost 14 Sermon: I’ll Do It Myself

Ezekiel 34:11–24
14th Sunday After Pentecost — Proper 19C
15 September AD 2019

Title: Click to hear the MP3 of I’ll Do It Myself.

Ezekiel 34:11-24 Summary: Unable to maintain a positive relationship with God, humanity continually strays from His loving protection. He knew that even the greatest of His prophets would be unable to reclaim straying Israel and to reach out to the Gentiles also lost in sin. Therefore, He declared Himself to be the one who would seek and save us.

He did so by taking on our flesh and living among us. Jesus proclaimed the Good News of salvation and accomplished it by suffering and dying for His sheep. He leads us from disaster and death to full and abundant life now and in eternity.

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.

“As for you, my flock, thus says the Lord God: Behold, I judge between sheep and sheep, between rams and male goats. Is it not enough for you to feed on the good pasture, that you must tread down with your feet the rest of your pasture; and to drink of clear water, that you must muddy the rest of the water with your feet? And must my sheep eat what you have trodden with your feet, and drink what you have muddied with your feet?

“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 34:11-24

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 I’ll Do It Myself.

NB: A few people have had problems trying to play the inline audio with Windows Media 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 119:169-176; 1 Timothy 1:5-17; Luke 15:1-10

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

Pentecost 14 Sermon: Dinner with Sinners

Preached on Luke 15:1-10
14th Sunday After Pentecost — Proper 19C
15 September AD 2019

Title: Click to hear the MP3 of Dinner with Sinners.

Luke 15:1-10 Summary: Jesus received and ate with the type of people scorned by the outwardly righteous religious leaders and “church-going folk” of His day. These “sinners” were His people, not because He shared their sinfulness but because they were lost sheep who needed Him to shepherd them to forgiveness, righteousness, and eternal life.

Text: Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear [Jesus]. And the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.”

So he told them this parable: “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’

“Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.

“Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and seek diligently until she finds it? And when she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.’

“Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” Luke 15:1-10

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 Dinner with Sinners.

NB: A few people have had problems trying to play the inline audio with Windows Media 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 119:169-176; Ezekiel 34:11-24; 1 Timothy 1:5-17

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

08 September 2019

Pentecost 13 Sermon: Righteous Planting

Preached on Psalm 1:1–6
13th Sunday After Pentecost — Proper 18C
8 September AD 2019

Psalm 1 Summary: Believers flourish when rooted in Christ. As trees in a dry climate only grow strong when they can draw from a source of pure water, so our strength comes when we draw upon Jesus, our Living Water. We find ourselves here not because of our own actions but because the Holy Spirit takes us to the waters and plants us through Baptism and the Word.

Preached at Big Bend Retreat, a care center in Slater, Missouri.

Text: Blessed is the man
   who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
   nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
but his delight is in the law of the Lord,
   and on his law he meditates day and night.

He is like a tree
   planted by streams of water
that yields its fruit in its season,
   and its leaf does not wither.
   In all that he does, he prospers.

The wicked are not so,
   but are like chaff that the wind drives away.
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
   nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
for the Lord knows the way of the righteous,
   but the way of the wicked will perish. Psalm 1:1-6

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 Righteous Planting.

NB: A few people have had problems trying to play the inline audio with Windows Media 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: Deuteronomy 30:15-20; Philemon 1-21; Luke 14:15-25

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,

Pentecost 13 Sermon: Life and Good

Preached on Deuteronomy 30:15–20
13th Sunday After Pentecost — Proper 18C
8 September AD 2019

Title: Click to hear the MP3 of Life and Good.

Deuteronomy 30:15-20 Summary: Today Moses lays out a simple choice: Life and good or death and evil? And while “life” would seem to be the obvious and only answer, most of the world chooses death in one form or other. That’s because most choose themselves over God and neighbor.

Only Christians can choose true and eternal life because only they know that God first chose them. Left to our own devices, we will al eventually choose wrongly. But when guided by the Spirit, we choose life because we already possess that life in Christ.

Text: “See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil. If you obey the commandments of the Lord your God that I command you today, by loving the Lord your God, by walking in his ways, and by keeping his commandments and his statutes and his rules, then you shall live and multiply, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land that you are entering to take possession of it.

“But if your heart turns away, and you will not hear, but are drawn away to worship other gods and serve them, I declare to you today, that you shall surely perish. You shall not live long in the land that you are going over the Jordan to enter and possess. I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse.

“Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live, loving the Lord your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him, for he is your life and length of days, that you may dwell in the land that the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.” Deuteronomy 30:15-20

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 Life and Good.

NB: A few people have had problems trying to play the inline audio with Windows Media 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 1; Philemon 1-21; Luke 14:15-25

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

Pentecost 13 Sermon: Counting the Cost

Preached on Luke 14:15–25
13th Sunday After Pentecost — Proper 18C
8 September AD 2019

Title: Click to hear the MP3 of Counting the Cost.

Luke 14:15-25 Summary: Of what value is faith in Christ? The world assigns no particular worth to redemption through Him while He tells us that life in Him is the only thing that matters. We take up our crosses to follow Him because He took up His cross and carried our sins to die with Him on Golgotha.

So while the cross of our discipleship has weight, it’s no burden because He bore the burden for us. Therefore, when we count the cost of following Jesus, we don’t think like the world, which asks, “What will this cost me?” Instead, we think like His beloved Church, which instead asks, “How much did this cost Him?”

Text: Now great crowds accompanied [Jesus], and he turned and said to them, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.

“For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’

“Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.

“Salt is good, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is of no use either for the soil or for the manure pile. It is thrown away. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” Luke 14:15-25

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 Counting the Cost.

NB: A few people have had problems trying to play the inline audio with Windows Media 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 1; Deuteronomy 30:15-20; Philemon 1-21

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

01 September 2019

Pentecost 12 Sermon: Conflicting Glory

Preached on Proverbs 25:2–10
12th Sunday After Pentecost — Proper 17C
1 September AD 2019

Title: Click to hear the MP3 of Conflicting Glory.

Cranach's Weimar altarpiece illustrating Proverbs 25:2 Summary: God does, at times, reveal His splendor to mortal eyes. However, He normally conceals His majesty from plain sight and human reason. Thus His greatest glory hides behind Golgatha’s gloom. The Father gloried in His Son’s sacrifice as Jesus glorified Him. Our Lord, masked mortal in flesh, died for our sins and the world watched unaware.

Likewise, God glories in hiding Himself in Baptism’s water, in Holy Communion’s bread and wine, and in the voices of His pastors as they teach and absolve His people. He also conceals Himself in His people as they live in faith, loving others as He loves them.

Text: It is the glory of God to conceal things, but the glory of kings is to search things out. As the heavens for height, and the earth for depth, so the heart of kings is unsearchable.

Take away the dross from the silver, and the smith has material for a vessel; take away the wicked from the presence of the king, and his throne will be established in righteousness.

Do not put yourself forward in the king’s presence or stand in the place of the great, for it is better to be told, “Come up here,” than to be put lower in the presence of a noble.

What your eyes have seen do not hastily bring into court, for what will you do in the end, when your neighbor puts you to shame? Argue your case with your neighbor himself, and do not reveal another’s secret, lest he who hears you bring shame upon you, and your ill repute have no end. Proverbs 25:2-10

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 Conflicting Glory.

NB: A few people have had problems trying to play the inline audio with Windows Media 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 131; Hebrews 13:1-17; Luke 14:1-14

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Pentecost 12 Sermon: Lawful Healing

Preached on Luke 14:1–14
12th Sunday After Pentecost — Proper 17C
1 September AD 2019

Title: Click to hear the MP3 of Lawful Healing.

Luke 14:1-14 Summary: God gave mankind the Sabbath for our benefit. Even before the Fall, regular rest and refreshment was part of His plan for us. After that dark day and throughout all time thereafter, our need for Sabbath healing only intensified.

Finally, however, physical and mental rest is never enough. The things truly sapping our strength stem from sin — that which is part of us and that which fills Creation. Only forgiveness in Jesus Christ brings full healing and an everlasting “Sabbath rest for the people of God. (Hebrews 4:9)”

Text: One Sabbath, when [Jesus] went to dine at the house of a ruler of the Pharisees, they were watching him carefully. And behold, there was a man before him who had dropsy. And Jesus responded to the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath, or not?”

But they remained silent.

Then he took him and healed him and sent him away. And he said to them, “Which of you, having a son or an ox that has fallen into a well on a Sabbath day, will not immediately pull him out?” And they could not reply to these things.

Now he told a parable to those who were invited, when he noticed how they chose the places of honor, saying to them, “When you are invited by someone to a wedding feast, do not sit down in a place of honor, lest someone more distinguished than you be invited by him, and he who invited you both will come and say to you, ‘Give your place to this person,’ and then you will begin with shame to take the lowest place.

“But when you are invited, go and sit in the lowest place, so that when your host comes he may say to you, ‘Friend, move up higher.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at table with you. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

He said also to the man who had invited him, “When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return and you be repaid. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.” Luke 14:1-14

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 Lawful Healing.

NB: A few people have had problems trying to play the inline audio with Windows Media 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 131; Proverbs 25:2-10; Hebrews 13:1-17

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

25 August 2019

Pentecost 11 Sermon: New Heavens, New Earth, New People

Preached on Isaiah 66:18–24
11th Sunday After Pentecost — Proper 16C
25 August AD 2019

Title: Click to hear the MP3 of New Heavens, New Earth, New People.

Isaiah 66:18–24 Summary: As his prophecies drew to a close, Isaiah spoke to God’s chosen people and proclaimed that the Lord’s grace extended beyond the borders of Judah. The Gentiles — even the nations that oppressed and carried Israel into captivity — would become His people.

In remaking Creation, as He creates the new heavens and the new earth, God will establish the new Jerusalem, the eternal city peopled by all believers. The multitude coming from east and west, from north and south, is the entirety of humankind who trust His promises of salvation in Christ Jesus.

No believer is exempt from this eternal reunion. There are no other qualifications for citizenship in the eternal kingdom. Paul reiterated this in his epistles. For example, he reminded the Colossians, “Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all. (3:11)”

Text: “For I know their works and their thoughts, and the time is coming to gather all nations and tongues. And they shall come and shall see my glory, and I will set a sign among them. And from them I will send survivors to the nations, to Tarshish, Pul, and Lud, who draw the bow, to Tubal and Javan, to the coastlands far away, that have not heard my fame or seen my glory. And they shall declare my glory among the nations.

“And they shall bring all your brothers from all the nations as an offering to the Lord, on horses and in chariots and in litters and on mules and on dromedaries, to my holy mountain Jerusalem, says the Lord, just as the Israelites bring their grain offering in a clean vessel to the house of the Lord. And some of them also I will take for priests and for Levites, says the Lord.

“For as the new heavens and the new earth that I make shall remain before me, says the Lord, so shall your offspring and your name remain. From new moon to new moon, and from Sabbath to Sabbath, all flesh shall come to worship before me, declares the Lord.

“And they shall go out and look on the dead bodies of the men who have rebelled against me. For their worm shall not die, their fire shall not be quenched, and they shall be an abhorrence to all flesh.” Isaiah 66:18-23

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 New Heavens, New Earth, New People.

NB: A few people have had problems trying to play the inline audio with Windows Media 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 50:1-15; Hebrews 12:4-29; Luke 13:22-30

Labels: , , , , , , , , , ,

Pentecost 11 Sermon: Inside, Outside

Preached on Luke 13:22–30
11th Sunday After Pentecost — Proper 16C
25 August AD 2019

Title: Click to hear the MP3 of Inside, Outside.

Luke 13:22–30 Summary: Jesus reminds us that we enter Paradise only by gift. Being in church without being of the Church, saying prayers without praying, listening to the Gospel without believing in Christ as Savior — none of these will admit us to the eternal feast where we’ll “recline at table in the kingdom of God.” Only the Father’s grace and the power of His Holy Spirit bring us eternal life.

Text: [Jesus] went on his way through towns and villages, teaching and journeying toward Jerusalem. And someone said to him, “Lord, will those who are saved be few?”

And he said to them, “Strive to enter through the narrow door. For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able. When once the master of the house has risen and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and to knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, open to us,’ then he will answer you, ‘I do not know where you come from.’

“Then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in your presence, and you taught in our streets.’ But he will say, ‘I tell you, I do not know where you come from. Depart from me, all you workers of evil!’ In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God but you yourselves cast out.

“And people will come from east and west, and from north and south, and recline at table in the kingdom of God. And behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.” Luke 13:22-30

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 Inside, Outside.

NB: A few people have had problems trying to play the inline audio with Windows Media 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 50:1-15; Isaiah 66:18-23; Hebrews 12:4-29

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

18 August 2019

Pentecost 10 Sermon: A Cloud of Witnesses

Preached on Hebrews 11:17–12:3
10th Sunday After Pentecost — Proper 15C
18 August AD 2019

Title: Click to hear the MP3 of A Cloud of Witnesses.

Hebrews 11:17-12:3 Summary: It can be easy to forget that we Christians aren’t alone in this life or to think that our troubles are more insurmountable than are anyone else’s. Therefore, God provides a “cloud of witnesses” — the testimony of the saints who went before us.

Through their testimony, we see that they overcame trials and testings and were judged righteous and worthy of the eternal kingdom through faith. The Old Testament believers knew that their Savior would come and believed and lived accordingly.

The lives of the saints also encourage us not to despair when faith flags or we feel trapped by our sinfulness. For even as the great victories of the faithful are celebrated in Hebrews 11, the Scriptures also tell of their weaknesses, frailties, and faults. The epic saints were often also epic sinners but God loved them in spite of their sin, because of His love.

Finally, as we fix our eyes on Jesus, we see the One who endured the hostility of Satan and sinners in order to bring us everlasting joy and peace. He considered us to be worth the suffering and sorrow so that we might know the pleasures of eternal life in Him.

Text: By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was in the act of offering up his only son, of whom it was said, “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.” He considered that God was able even to raise him from the dead, from which, figuratively speaking, he did receive him back.

By faith Isaac invoked future blessings on Jacob and Esau. By faith Jacob, when dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, bowing in worship over the head of his staff. By faith Joseph, at the end of his life, made mention of the exodus of the Israelites and gave directions concerning his bones.

By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden for three months by his parents, because they saw that the child was beautiful, and they were not afraid of the king's edict. By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward.

By faith he left Egypt, not being afraid of the anger of the king, for he endured as seeing him who is invisible. By faith he kept the Passover and sprinkled the blood, so that the Destroyer of the firstborn might not touch them.

By faith the people crossed the Red Sea as on dry land, but the Egyptians, when they attempted to do the same, were drowned. By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they had been encircled for seven days. By faith Rahab the prostitute did not perish with those who were disobedient, because she had given a friendly welcome to the spies.

And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets — who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. Women received back their dead by resurrection.

Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life. Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated — of whom the world was not worthy—wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.

And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. Hebrews 11:17-12:3

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 Cloud of Witnesses.

NB: A few people have had problems trying to play the inline audio with Windows Media 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 119:81-88; Jeremiah 23:16-29; Luke 12:49-56

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Pentecost 10 Sermon: Divine Division

Preached on Luke 12:49–56
10th Sunday After Pentecost — Proper 15C
18 August AD 2019

Title: Click to hear the MP3 of Divine Division.

Luke 12:49-56 Summary: Jesus’ Gospel is not a message of “go along to get along.” Rather, the two edged sword of the Word (see Hebrews 4:12 ) divides the faithful from the faithless. The hatred it engenders comes only from the ranks of the unbelievers, for those who live in His love remain committed to loving others.

Text: [Jesus said,] “I came to cast fire on the earth, and would that it were already kindled! I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how great is my distress until it is accomplished!

“Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. For from now on in one house there will be five divided, three against two and two against three. They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.”

He also said to the crowds, “When you see a cloud rising in the west, you say at once, ‘A shower is coming.’ And so it happens. And when you see the south wind blowing, you say, ‘There will be scorching heat,’ and it happens.

“You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of earth and sky, but why do you not know how to interpret the present time?” Luke 12:49-56

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 Divine Division.

NB: A few people have had problems trying to play the inline audio with Windows Media 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 119:81-88; Jeremiah 23:16-29; Hebrews 11:17-12:3

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,