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

25 January 2016

Chapel Sermon: Nothing but the Christ

Preached on Acts 26:22-23
The Conversion of Saint Paul
25 January AD 2016

Title: Nothing but the Christ (MP3 Audio)

Paul and Agrippa Summary: From his conversion until his death, Paul’s message remained unchanged: Jesus Christ came to earth to suffer, die, and rise that all sinners — that is, all mankind — would be saved. In person or in writing, he proclaimed the harsh, condemning Law and the sweet, redeeming Gospel.

Paul admitted that, in his own mind, he was the worst sinner imaginable. He had directly attacked Christ’s Church, wilfully ignoring the Scriptures and resisting the message of salvation in Christ Jesus. He also celebrated his complete forgiveness and restoration. This undeserved mercy focused his in-reach to Israel and his outreach to the Gentile nations.

We, too, are helpless and hopeless without Christ. We are born in sin’s darkness and would remain there without Christ’s light shining upon us. Yet shine it does. In Word and Sacrament, by the power of the Holy Spirit, sin is forgiven, darkness illuminated, hearts uplifted, and fears banished.

Text: [Paul said to Agrippa,] “To this day I have had the help that comes from God, and so I stand here testifying both to small and great, saying nothing but what the prophets and Moses said would come to pass: that the Christ must suffer and that, by being the first to rise from the dead, he would proclaim light both to our people and to the Gentiles.” Acts 26:22-23

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 Nothing but the Christ.

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.

About the Service and the School: The theme for the 2015 – 16 academic year at St. Paul Lutheran High School is Arise and Shine, taken from Isaiah 60:1. Under this theme are monthly emphases and weekly foci. Today shows Paul’s bold proclamation of Christ’s light to Jews and Gentiles. Time is at a premium for the SPLHS chapels, so I always try to make a few quick, concise Law applications both to students and to teachers and to bring the Gospel’s forgiveness and Christ’s encouragement to each.

While certainly a Lutheran educational institution, St. Paul is also a mission field. Not only does it admit academically qualified Lutherans, the school also welcomes a number of other Christians as well as non-Christians — even some atheists. A high percentage of students come from other lands, so chapel speakers must tailor their messages age-appropriately while remaining mindful of those unskilled with English, uncomfortable with Christianity, or both. Along with Americans, current and recent students include some from Slovakia, Norway, China, Madagascar, Japan, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Italy, Kenya, South Africa, Ethiopia, and elsewhere.

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