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

01 September 2013

Sermon: Proper 17C (Epistle)

1 September AD 2013
Pentecost 15

Title: Obey Your Leaders (MP3 Audio)

Wash Summary: “Remember your (church) leaders” — that’s easy. Merely thinking about current and former pastors is no problem. We may remember a series of spiritual leaders or we might have had only one pastor so far in our lives. Some we might recall with fondness, others, less so.

The text invites us to consider if we think of them as God desires. Unless they preach and teach false doctrine or bring great public shame upon themselves and the pastoral office, do we consider them worthy of respect and emulation? And what about that obedience and submission stuff? How can He demand that we allow our pastors to control and dominate our lives?

Actually, blind obedience to our pastors’ words is not what He means. God desires that we pay attention to their preaching and teaching of His Word and be persuaded and convinced by their message — for this is the true root of the word translated “obey.” He doesn’t make His ministers into fashion arbiters, career counselors, or political consultants. In these and many other areas, we are free (and by most pastors encouraged) to seek advice and leadership from others.

Teach However, when our leaders lay down the Law — the damning, destroying message of God’s wrath and judgment — we’d better pay attention. And when they speak the sweet consolation of the Gospel — Christ’s suffering and death for sinners bringing full forgiveness — well, if we don’t focus on this, then we’ve forgotten what it means to belong to Him.

Relationship between pastors and parishes are never perfect — quite often they’re a fair distance from even being really good. However, just as Christ’s ministers bear with much among the flocks where He places them, so Christian congregations are encouraged to put up with and overlook those things that are mere matters of opinion and preference. This brings them joy as they wash, teach, and feed the flocks entrusted to their care.

Text: Let brotherly love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.

Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body. Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.

Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?”

Feed Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith.

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Do not be led away by diverse and strange teachings, for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by foods, which have not benefited those devoted to them. We have an altar from which those who serve the tent have no right to eat. For the bodies of those animals whose blood is brought into the holy places by the high priest as a sacrifice for sin are burned outside the camp.

So Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through his own blood. Therefore let us go to him outside the camp and bear the reproach he endured.

For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come. Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God. Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you. Hebrews 13:1-17

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 Obey Your Leaders, preached to the saints at Zion Lutheran Church, Corder, 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 131; Proverbs 25:2-10; Luke 14:1-14

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