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

27 January 2013

Sermon: Epiphany 3C (OT)

27 January AD 2013

Title: The Joy of the Lord Is Your Strength (MP3 Audio)

The Joy of the Lord Is Your Strength
Summary: God’s Law crushes people and drives them to despair. Yet without this preparatory work, the sweet Gospel would fall upon people unable to grasp their need for forgiveness. Nehemiah, Ezra, and others joined together to read and proclaim the full counsel of God — His wrath against sin and sinners, His love for fallen man, and His forgiveness for those who trust His promises.

God doesn’t want His people to dwell on their guilt or wallow in self-pity and self-condemnation. He wants us to have the same joy in being His redeemed children as He does in claiming us and as Jesus did in saving us. His joy at our salvation gives us the strength to overcome our own doubts and sins and to carry forth faithfully. This joy becomes ours when we believe in Jesus and trust that, in Him, nothing can separate from God’s love.

Text: And all the people gathered as one man into the square before the Water Gate. And they told Ezra the scribe to bring the Book of the Law of Moses that the Lord had commanded Israel.
So Ezra the priest brought the Law before the assembly, both men and women and all who could understand what they heard, on the first day of the seventh month. And he read from it facing the square before the Water Gate from early morning until midday, in the presence of the men and the women and those who could understand. And the ears of all the people were attentive to the Book of the Law.

And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people, for he was above all the people, and as he opened it all the people stood. And Ezra blessed the Lord, the great God, and all the people answered, “Amen, Amen,” lifting up their hands. And they bowed their heads and worshiped the Lord with their faces to the ground.

They read from the book, from the Law of God, clearly, and they gave the sense, so that the people understood the reading.

And Nehemiah, who was the governor, and Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, “This day is holy to the Lord your God; do not mourn or weep.” For all the people wept as they heard the words of the Law. Then he said to them, “Go your way. Eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to anyone who has nothing ready, for this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:1-3, 5-6, 8-10

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 The Joy of the Lord Is Your Strength, 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 19:(1-6) 7-14; 1 Corinthians 12:12-31a; Luke 4:16-30

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