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

23 June 2013

Sermon: Proper 7C (OT)

23 June AD 2013
Pentecost 5

Title: God on God’s Terms (MP3 Audio)

The Altar of Incense Summary: Isaiah, Paul, and Luther — yes, and Jesus Himself — all encountered those who tried to set the agenda on worship and how they encountered God. Each, in turn, continued to point toward responding to God’s Word rather than accommodating human desire or what today might be called “felt needs.”

Through Isaiah, the Lord complained of those who forsook true worship from the heart and in the Temple. Paul encountered the Judaizers who wanted to impose Old Testament Law and worship rites on the Gentiles. Luther first contended with those who made a works out of the gifts of the Lord’s Supper and liturgical worship, then struggled with those who would not only correct the abuses of the Mass but who denied the essence of Holy Communion and who replaced one set of worthless works with another. Jesus likewise faced many who sought to justify themselves by their lives and their worship.

Human religion is mankind trying to approach the divine, to gain a favorable response from a deity it doesn’t truly know. God-pleasing religion — worship in spirit and in truth — is different: It responds with joy to His approach to us. It grasps and holds tightly the forgiveness, life, and salvation won by Jesus.

While some of the details vary by time and location, true worship is centered on Christ and what He did for us, not on what we can do for either the Lord or our fellow man. Prophets, apostles, and pastors, in harmony with God Himself, urge people to receive the gifts where and when they may be found; that is, in the Church, among God’s people, and normally in the context of regularly and faithfully attending worship in the fellowship of other believers.

Such worship strips away distractions, points toward Christ rather than self, and focuses us on the wealth of God’s gifts instead of luring us into believing that we have any great and wonderful gifts to give to Him.

God-pleasing Worship Text: I was ready to be sought by those who did not ask for me; I was ready to be found by those who did not seek me. I said, “Here I am, here I am,” to a nation that was not called by my name.

I spread out my hands all the day to a rebellious people, who walk in a way that is not good, following their own devices; a people who provoke me to my face continually, sacrificing in gardens and making offerings on bricks; who sit in tombs, and spend the night in secret places; who eat pig’s flesh, and broth of tainted meat is in their vessels; who say, “Keep to yourself, do not come near me, for I am too holy for you.”

These are a smoke in my nostrils, a fire that burns all the day.

Behold, it is written before me: “I will not keep silent, but I will repay; I will indeed repay into their lap both your iniquities and your fathers’ iniquities together, says the Lord; because they made offerings on the mountains and insulted me on the hills, I will measure into their lap payment for their former deeds.”

Thus says the Lord: “As the new wine is found in the cluster, and they say, ‘Do not destroy it, for there is a blessing in it,’ so I will do for my servants’ sake, and not destroy them all.

“I will bring forth offspring from Jacob, and from Judah possessors of my mountains; my chosen shall possess it, and my servants shall dwell there.” Isaiah 65:1-9

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 God on God’s Terms.

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 3; Galatians 3:23-4:7; Luke 8:26-39

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