Thursday, February 28, 2013

Sermon for 2/27/13

Sermon from Luke 2:41-52 Growing in Favor

In Luke 2:52 we saw that Jesus grew
 favor with God
 favor with men

All should desire this growth. It’s only mentioned of one other person - Samuel - in the bible.

How does this happen?

See our other passages in which believers look to God in hope.
 Watch the way God moves and works.
 See God’s mercy and grace.
 Learn to look to God in trust.
 Gradually we learn to live like the partakers of God’s kingdom that we are.
 Sanctification does have a progressive element.
 Gerhard Forde - it’s really a matter of getting used to the fact that we’ve been justified by grace

Do we have a long way to go? No doubt about it.

What was Jesus doing?
 We affirm that Jesus always had a sinless and divine nature.
 He could never do anything that would increase the amount of favor God the Father showed to him.
 He could learn the importance and hope found in that favor. He did, after all, have a human nature which was limited, as we do.
 Jesus was not born knowing all the things he knew when he was an adult.
   He had to learn to walk and talk
   He had to learn to read and write
   He had to learn how to gain favor with men.

By trust in Jesus we can hope to learn and grow in him as well. We can listen to the teachers and ask them questions. We can seek to hang out in the temple and live the Christian life in a community of worship. And we can turn to him in trust and hope, knowing that he will bring us right along with him.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Sermon for 2/24/13

Sermon from Matthew 11:25-30 “Committed to Jesus”

Sometimes we like to urge one another to commitment. It can be a very good thing. I remember many times, especially in the first few years after I was converted to Christ, when being urged to commit myself to Jesus day by day was very important and helpful. And I urge you, everyone who hears me today, to dedicate yourself, body and soul, all you have, all you are, to Jesus, day by day living for him.

But in today’s Gospel there’s another facet of being committed to Jesus. See again Matthew 11:27.

What is committed to Jesus? Everything.

Who gave it to Jesus? God the Father.

What does that have to do with us?
 We also have been committed to Jesus by the Father.
 What is Jesus going to do with us?
   He gives us rest
   He shows us the Father (compare John 14:8 Philip)
   He lifts our burdens
   He trains us in his special yoke
        prayer - consider many ways the Lord prays
        training in Scripture - 2 Tim. 3.16-17
        showing mercy - God’s promise is to the thousandth generation
        helping others see the Father - Great commission - think of all nations and the Trinitarian work
        learning to love our neighbor as ourselves - life in community
   He carries the brunt of our burdens so we can stand up under them

Thanks be to God we are committed to Jesus. We needed the Father to commit us to the Son.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Sermon for 2/20/13 - no audio

No audio with this one - I left my recorder behind and couldn't work it out. But here's an outline.

What Were You Looking For? Luke 2:15-40

Jesus is recognized as Lord and Savior wherever he is seen. But what is it we are looking for? Will we see Jesus?
Mary & Joseph (Jesus means “God is our Savior”)

What do we bring to Jesus when we recognize him as savior? Look again to the temple.
Jesus’ life is put in the hands of these people who have been waiting for him.
He is given to them.
Even as they recognize that he will be the one to die for their sin they receive his life.
As we grow in grace and recognize Jesus for who he is we also receive life.
May the Lord make us wait eagerly for our Savior to show himself.
May we recognize him as he does show himself
lamb of God
the one who is true God and true Man
the one who suffers in our place
the one who is raised from the dead
the one who will raise us as well

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Sermon for 2/17/13

Sermon: from Deuteronomy 26:1-11 “I Will Give You”

Sometimes it’s a good idea to preach a sermon about giving. I know when I go too long without doing it the council seems to get a little nervous.

Time for a sermon on giving.

From Deuteronomy 26 we see that God gives his people a land as an inheritance.
 rich land
 good land
 land flowing with milk and honey
 great produce
 great hopes for the future

Who gives us all we have? Our Lord. He gives according to his promise.
 We did a good bit of work, but it would have been useless if He hadn’t made his promise.
 God views the land of promise as a blessing that he has prepared for his people.

What’s our testimony?
 We were weak
 We were wandering
 We had few people and fewer possessions
 We were in a strange land
 In that land we had misery, toil, oppression, suffering
 God rescued us and brought us to this land

What’s our testimony as Christians?
 weak, wandering, few in number, unpropertied, not in our real home, misery, toil, oppression, suffering
 Jesus has rescued us from sin and death.
 Jesus has been tempted in all ways, as we are, but without sin.
 Jesus has given us strength, direction, numbers, property, a real home, joy, rest, acceptance, peace

So what do we bring?
 The Israelites brought a basket. It’s their basket. They made it (out of materials the Lord provided). They filled it (with goods the Lord provided). And they brought it to leave it as an offering.
 What is our offering? We bring a basket. We wouldn’t even have that without God’s providence. We wouldn’t be able to fill it. Really we don’t bring anything that we would have without the Lord giving it to us. But if it makes us feel better we can think of the basket as ours. And we bring it to leave it in the hands of our Lord.

God has given us life. He has given us all we need through Jesus. He has rescued us indeed. What will we give? Nothing that God hasn’t given us. But we give back generously and with thanksgiving. He is the one who preserves us in all our dangers. He is the one who deserves all our thanksgiving and praise.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Sermon for 2/13/13

Sermon from 2 Corinthians 5:20b-6:10 “Jesus the Sinner”

The Bible is full of the idea of substitutes
 God raises up a younger child instead of an older child
 God appoints an offering for sin
 God allows the ransom of a firstborn by the presentation of a sacrifice
 God sets aside priests and Levites who assist in worship, a group of people who represent the  whole nation

Who is going to take the place of the soul who sins?
 The soul who sins must die
 All have sinned and come short of the glory of God
 There is none righteous

We confess, having the ashes placed upon our heads.

From our reading in 2 Corinthians 5-6 we certainly don’t look like we are the righteousness of God.
 seem to be abused, not honored
 seem to labor, not rest
 don’t seem that bold, articulate, respected
 quote vv. 8b-10 (NIV 1984) “genuine, yet regarded as impostors; 9 known, yet regarded as unknown; dying, and yet we live on; beaten, and yet not killed; 10 sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything.”

As with so many other elements of life, reality isn’t what it seems. And in this case it isn’t what it seems because God in Christ has himself become our substitute. Jesus has taken our place. In the words of the apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 5:21, “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us” (NIV 1984).

If Jesus is the sinner, then what am I? All of a sudden I’m God’s righteousness. He takes the shame, I take the glory. He takes the death, I get the life. He is rejected and obscure, but we his people are accepted and noteworthy. He takes the sorrow, we get the rejoicing. He becomes poor, we are rich in him. He possesses nothing but he gives all things to us. Jesus becomes sin for us and we become the righteousness of God.

If we think about it then, what many people have always done with that cross of ashes is kind of backwards. We put it on very purposely before confession and absolution this evening. We confessed to our Lord in ashes. Many people leave the ashes on for the rest of the day. But what has Jesus promised? What does Jesus do in absolution? What does Jesus do as he delivers his Word to us? What does Jesus do in the sacrament? He forgives us. He purifies us. He cleanses us. It might be more appropriate if we came to church with ashes on us and we presented ourselves for communion and the pastor wiped them off. That’s what Jesus is doing. He makes us the righteousness of God.

How will we receive him in these 40 days of Lent?
 Jesus, the one who knew no sin became sin for us.
 Jesus calls us to pray and do works of righteousness quietly.
 Jesus calls us to look to him in secret and receive our reward.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Sermon for 2/10/13

Sermon from Luke 9:28-36 “Changed”

1) It’s in Jesus’ nature and practice to pray, enjoying fellowship with the Father and the Holy Spirit.
   He often takes his disciples with him.
   When we enter into prayer, especially when we pray closely based on the Word of God, we are entering into that same kind of fellowship, for it is our Lord, the Living Word who is praying in and through us.
2) Jesus’ prayer here reveals his divine nature.
  appearance changes - compare to Moses who glowed after speaking with God
  shows that Jesus is in living fellowship with the living and the dead faithful (Moses and Elijah)
  What could they have been talking about as Jesus prayed?
      Jesus’ work - his departure, his fulfillment
  How does our prayer reveal our nature?
3) How do we respond when God reveals his glory?
  Peter, James and John struck down “sleepy” - not in normal consciousness, overwhelmed
  Eventually the reality of God’s presence starts to sink in
  Peter proposes a plan, a program, something to do which will bring honor
  The voice of God commands our plan, hear Jesus

In Jesus’ transfiguration we see his glory. We also see our sin and weakness. This is why the day of Transfiguration is always celebrated right before Ash Wednesday. The revelation of God’s glory in Christ shows us our need for repentance. We see that we are the least in the kingdom of God. Yet our Lord has called us to himself through Word and Sacrament so we can be partakers of his transfiguration. We are being changed into his image.

But God leaves us with a stark command. Hear Jesus.

Lord, grant us repentance. Give us a season of hearing our Lord and Savior. Transform us into Your image.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Sermon for 2/3/13

Sermon “Before I Formed You” Jeremiah 1:4-10

There are some people you get to know very well.
 what they will do
 what they will say
 how they are courageous
 what will make their courage fail

Our Lord isn’t like we are in this regard. He doesn’t just know some people. He knows us all. Each and every one of us, top to bottom, beginning to end
 our ways
 our thoughts
 our hopes
 our dreams
 our fears
 our potential

What stands in the way of his knowledge and his appointment? Nothing. Not age, not inability, nothing. He is the one, as we saw in our readings, who gives us life, love, healing, and grace. This is our Lord’s great delight. It is his primary way of working in the world.

This is not just a general pattern. It isn’t for “everyone” but not specifically for us as individuals. Look at Jeremiah.

 Jeremiah - before you were born
    set apart = consecrated = made holy
    appointed as a prophet
 Even as “a child” - read this “a young man” and realize that Jeremiah continued in ministry close to seventy years - God gave his prophet a message, and an important one.

     God gave Jeremiah his words.
     God appointed Jeremiah to stand for him in a difficult time.
     God promised to protect Jeremiah.

What is our attitude about God’s love for his children?
 for us
 for the weak
 for the elderly
 for those who cannot defend themselves
 for the unborn

In this nation, over the past forty years, some 55 million Americans have been killed. Their crime? Being conceived. It was nothing they had done. This life and death decision is made again and again, depriving young people, people like you, like me, like Jeremiah, people whom God knows from stem to stern, of all opportunity to be God’s people, speaking His word, living a life before him, living out his loving kindness and grace in this world. It’s time we speak up, and speak up again, clearly, loudly, lovingly.

What is God’s promise in all this? Remember his promise to Jeremiah. He would give Jeremiah words, opportunities, and protection. He has done all this in Jesus. In Jesus Christ the living Word of God has come to dwell with us. After the resurrection Jesus promises that he will never leave us or forsake us. He is with us all the time, to the end of the age. God’s living Word is with us. He has appointed us a task, as we are going, to baptize and teach. All around us are opportunities to minister to people. Do you think there are no hurting people who need the love of God in Christ? Open your eyes. There is great work to do as we walk with our Lord. And as we trust in Jesus we know that nothing can separate us from the love of God. He will always guard us. We are perfectly safe in his arms, knowing that he is the one who has loved us.

Are we willing to go to that frightened mother, the one who doesn’t know what to do, the one who is afraid of what her future may hold, and tell her, no, show her the love of Christ? Are we willing to give her the good news that Jesus knows all her fear, all her anxiety, all her trouble, all her suffering, and that he will sustain her through it, using people like us? Are we willing to give her the good news that her baby is precious in the sight of the Lord and is someone who has a hope, a future, and a purpose in God’s kingdom? Are we willing to walk with those people who are in difficult situations as they raise the child who wasn’t planned by them but is a precious gift in God’s eyes?

When we abandon the children, the next step is to abandon people of all ages who don’t seem so useful. Where will we go next?

Lord, call us to repentance. Let us see that you are the one who cares for us, the least, the last, the lost, the lonely, the weak and lowly. Give us that same care for your other children. Draw us to you in faith, knowing that you are the one who knows our frame, who calls us out of darkness, and who will sustain us to the very end. Amen.