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

02 September 2012

Sermon: Proper 17B (OT)

2 September AD 2012 (Pentecost 14)

Theme: Use It or Lose It

The Red Sea Crossing
Summary: When we read the Old Testament Scriptures, particularly the Books of Moses, as a series of imperatives, we lose sight of their ultimate purpose, that of pointing people to Christ and bringing Him to us. For salvation comes not when we “do” or to “keep” God’s holy commands but when we “do” belief and “keep” Jesus, who reveals and gives Himself to us in Word and Sacrament.

Therefore, the great imperative from the Lord on Sinai and from Moses is the same as that of Christ and the New Testament Church: Believe! Believe in the Lord your God as your Savior; believe in Jesus Christ and Him crucified. This belief is not a work of the Law but a gift of God through the Gospel. This imperative comes with its means of fulfillment, for what God commands, He also creates and sustains as the Holy Spirit works through Word and Sacrament to forgive our sins and to convince us that God loves us and wants us to be His own, both now and forevermore.

As Moses called Israel to look back at all the Lord had done for them, so now God calls us to look back upon the works of our Savior, fixing our eyes on Jesus, “the founder and perfecter of our faith. (Hebrews 12:2)” As we respond, we discover that all necessary works have been done and that the Son has set us free to live and love as God’s holy people. By His grace, we “use” God’s good gifts faithfully so that we do not “lose” them through neglect and unbelief.

Israel at Sinai
Text: [Moses said,] “And now, O Israel, listen to the statutes and the rules that I am teaching you, and do them, that you may live, and go in and take possession of the land that the Lord, the God of your fathers, is giving you. You shall not add to the word that I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God that I command you.

“Keep them and do them, for that will be your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples, who, when they hear all these statutes, will say, ‘Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.’

“For what great nation is there that has a god so near to it as the Lord our God is to us, whenever we call upon him? And what great nation is there, that has statutes and rules so righteous as all this law that I set before you today?

“Only take care, and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things that your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. Make them known to your children and your children’s children....” Deuteronomy 4:1–2, 6–9

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 Use It or Lose It, preached to the saints of God at Faith Lutheran Church, Knob Noster, 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 119:129-136; Ephesians 6:10-20; Mark 7:14-23

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