Sunday, March 31, 2013

Sermon “Where Have You Put Jesus?” John 20:1-18

Where to put the dead body? Not a question we are used to asking very often, at least not most of us.
The disciples had given the body of Jesus a hasty burial. They had done what they could with the resources they had in a great hurry before the Sabbath started at sundown on Friday.

A rushed funeral is a very sad occasion. We need some time to process someone’s death.
This was made all the more difficult for the followers of Jesus because they believed he would be the deliverer.
    They expected some incredible visible victory
    Some expected that he would conquer the Romans
    Some expected that he would show himself to be immortal
What do people need to do? They often need to spend some time crying. And it’s fine.

After the sabbath - the sabbath ended at sundown on Saturday.
    The women could then buy what they needed to do a proper job of preparing the burial, not the hasty job done by the men on Friday afternoon
    They prepared themselves and came at dawn Sunday.
      Very sorrowful, genuinely.

Was the tomb known to them? Certainly.
    Observed by disciples
      Not foreign territory
      Marked by the political leaders who had posted a guard
      Fresh evidence of activity

Where is Jesus? What have you done with him?
  The presence of the savior is the most important feature of Christian belief.
    Without the risen Lord our hope is in vain.
    But where do the women find Jesus? Not among the dead, but among the living.
    The Christian faith is a trust in the living God.

Where is Jesus then?
    Remember Easter as a season.
    Jesus appears to disciples when they are in different places.
          walking away in discouragement
          hiding in an upper room
          assembled here and there
          finally, forty days later, on a mountaintop, he gives his disciples a charge and ascends
    Jesus is seated at the right hand of the Father in heaven
          This is a metaphor for Jesus taking up his divine power and omnipresence.
            He is here for us, wherever we are, but particularly when we are assembled in his name.
            He is able to be very truly, even bodily and substantially present for us in communion.
            He is the one who has promised never to leave us or forsake us.

So where do you find Jesus? Or do we overlook him and leave him behind as a non-essential?
    Jesus as the heart and center of Scripture
    Jesus as the creator and sustainer of the universe
    Jesus as the one in whom all things hold together
    Jesus as the savior of the world and particularly of those who believe
    Jesus as the one in whom we live and move and have our being
    Jesus as our only hope in this life and in eternity
    Jesus here to deliver into our hands and our mouths his true body and blood, bringing forgiveness

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Sermon for 3/24/13

Sermon “Humbled and Exalted” Philippians 2:5-11

Jesus, the very God, counted all his honor, all his majesty, all his glory as nothing.
He considered your need and my need as greater than all his status.
Did he need this in any way? Not at all. Yet his love compelled him. He hates sin so much that he will remove it from you and me even if it costs him everything.

Jesus knew the only complete sacrifice for sin had to fit two qualifications.
  perfect, entirely unblemished
  the same as the sinner
Jesus, God the Son, was the only one who could take on a human nature but without sin in order to be the sacrifice we needed.

He gave himself to be tempted in every way as we are.
He humbled himself and was subject even to the people in today’s Gospel reading who reviled him, who hurt him, who insulted him in every way.

Jesus does this because it is his intent to die, and with his death, to put your sin to death.

As we enter this time period, called “Holy Week,” we recognize that Jesus came to accomplish our salvation. We spend a lot of time talking about his humiliation. And that’s good. Like the two poles which show the contrast between the signs on them, Jesus’ humiliation makes his later exaltation more clear, more obvious, it makes it seem more glorious. Jesus humbled himself and died for you.

Is the story over then? Not at all. Next Sunday we see the culmination. Jesus, after he died for you and took your sin away, was not held captive by death. He rose from the dead, showing that by his grace through faith in him you also have access to his perfect, eternal life.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Sermon for 3/20/13

Sermon from Luke 4:16-44 “Jesus Gets No Respect”

Have you ever read about yourself in the paper or maybe in a book, story, or paper?

Amazing what people will say we think. Amazing what people will say we said, for that matter.

Jesus read from the scroll. It’s the day of God’s favor. It’s the day of God’s mercy.

 attempt to kill Jesus
 We don’t want to see God making a difference or choosing some for his special favor

How does Jesus respond when mistreated?
 Goes elsewhere to bring God’s blessing
 Heals and cleanses people
 Goes to the little towns, villages, the little people

Teaching Schedule Emerging

It looks like my schedule of teaching for the summer and for academic year 2013-14 is starting to emerge as the dust of academia settles. Here's what it looks like so far. I'm still working on a summer Latin enrichment course team-taught with my colleague at The Potter's School. And of course, I always want to have more people in all my classes. That's why I teach them - for you.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Sermon for 3/17/13

Sermon from Romans 10:11-17 “From One Generation to the Next”

“Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” (Romans 10:11)

That means everyone. The Gospel is clear. In Romans 10 verses 11-13 there is plenty of salvation for all. Nobody is outside of the reach of God’s love in Christ.
 no distinction
 Jew, Greek
 everyone who calls

But what of those who have not heard the word of the Lord? We can’t afford to be so naive that we think all have heard. We can’t even suggest that in this country, in this state, in this city, in our families.

Where does the message of the Gospel come from?
 Our Lord calls us by the  words we have heard today to be His messengers.
 He sends us, one and all
    some to our families, friends and neighbors
    some to people we work with or work for
    some to more formal settings in work which is specifically tied to biblical proclamation
        Christian schools
         higher education
         specific church and ministry work
 Those who are sent need the help of those who do the sending
     comforting communication
     sometimes a comforting presence

When we are sent, what do we do? The word Paul uses here is the specific word for preaching sermons. It’s used in the New Testament for the specific proclamation of the life-changing Gospel of Christ. This is not just chit-chat about the Bible. It isn’t arguing, disputing, debating. There’s a place for all that. But it isn’t what Paul is talking about here. It is proclaiming God’s words of forgiveness, life, and salvation. This proclamation, “Your sins are forgiven, go in peace” is the message we need from our Lord.


 Remind again- Jesus has died for you. Jesus forgives you all your sin. Jesus gave his body to be broken on your behalf. Jesus gave his blood to be shed for you. He alone can give you perfect life and salvation. He alone rescues you from the power of death, hell and the grave...

The proclamation of the Gospel creates belief. That’s exactly what we need. There’s the key to God’s promise. Everyone who calls on his name will not be ashamed. All who call on him will be saved.

Saved? Delivered safely to our destination, completely unharmed, completely secure in Christ.

Through our local church missions projects we encourage such sending, proclamation of the truth, and enabling people around the world to hear, believe, and live. Just as Jesus calls us to himself right here, he calls people around the world to faith in him every day. As we put some money in the can and support our friends who provide a distinctly Christian education in Buckley, or our friends at the seminary in Kenya, or our friends at the seminary in Fort Wayne, or our church mission team, we are helping people respond to that call. We are making a difference in the lives of other people around the world and in future generations, allowing them to hear the great message which we hear so often.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Sermon for 3/13/13

Sermon from Luke 4:1-14 Jesus Was Tempted Like We Are

At his baptism Jesus was affirmed to be God’s pleasing son. Now in his temptation in the wilderness it may not have looked too clear to him.

Three temptations - desire of eyes, desire of flesh (glory), desire for life
1 John 2 15 “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life[c]—is not from the Father but is from the world. 17 And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.”

Eve looking at tree - good looking, good to eat, make you wise
Jesus’ temptations - food (not just his own, but world hunger), receive worship, protect life

What are our temptations?
How does Jesus respond to those temptations?

He uses left-handed power, not right-handed power
 Right Hand - physical, diplomatic, political, logical force
 Left Hand - quiet overcoming, seems contrary to reason
   strength through weakness
   leadership by being a servant
   overcoming death by dying

Jesus is the one who overcomes all temptations and trials on our behalf. He simply calls us to follow him and trust him. He’ll take care of the force.

What is God’s promise? We don’t live by bread alone but by the words of our Lord. He has overcome the world.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Sermon for 3/10/13

Sermon from Luke 15 The Prodigal Father

Sometimes the words we say have results that come back to haunt us

Prodigal son - what did he really tell his father? “Drop dead.”

When left to ourselves we (mis)manage everything pretty well.
 social media and stress levels
 frustration and anxiety in a 24/7 world
 conflicts we think will just go away

Eventually we come up with a plan, hopefully a good one, something that will make all our troubles go away
 get rich quick schemes
 all manner of hurtful ideas

Sometimes we hit on a decent plan. The prodigal son thinks he has. And it isn’t bad.
 confess sin against God and father
 take me back as a servant
 give me shelter and food

Who is watching? Why isn’t Dad doing his work on his estate?
Who comes running, making a public spectacle of himself?
Son gets through only the confession. He is too ashamed even to ask for anything.
Dad treats him not only as a son but as the firstborn son
 fattened calf - which wouldn’t normally even be around the farm

Are we like the prodigal son?
Are we like the older brother? All the blessings of the Father are there for both of them.

What are the blessings of God?
 signet ring - act according to God’s will in His Name, bear his authority
 robe - of righteousness
 shoes - all this brings me to Ephesians 6 - gospel of peace - 2 Cor. 5 reconciliation
 a royal banquet - the presence of God in forgiveness - especially compare communion
     Jesus the master, our Lord, the Savior, the Passover lamb, giving himself for our forgiveness

While we ought to be banging on the door of God to beg for reconciliation we are often more like that older brother. We see our little brother confessing sins. We want to be proud. We certainly wouldn’t ask for mercy. But it’s exactly what we need. And it’s exactly what our Lord delivers to us, freely, without our even getting to the point of asking.

Lord, I have sinned against heaven.

Jesus comes to us in mercy.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Sermon for 3/6/13

Well, I wasn't feeling too well yesterday evening with a bad head cold. I also forgot to bring my little recorder along. So there's no audio and I'm not sure I was very close to the sketchy outline below. But here we go.

Sermon for 3/6/13 The Fruitful Life - Luke 3

We’ve previously seen how John is devoted to the proclamation of Christ, the Savior.
 all he does
 all he says
How does John call people to repentance?
 difficult to mistake his message for anything else
What is the response?
 new life
 people flocking to him
 his eventual arrest and execution for his faith
What was the outcome?
 Jesus was baptized and presented to the world.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Sermon for 3/3/13

Sermon from 1 Corinthians 10:1-13 “Complete Nutrition”

We eat and drink as the people of Israel did - from the Rock, Jesus Christ, the living God who goes with us through this wilderness.

Jesus gives himself as our sustenance.
He is the one in whom we trust.
He is the one we depend on.
How well does he feed us?
The people of Israel were baptized in their passage through the Red Sea.
When they needed food and drink in the wilderness he provided it for them as long as they lived.
God’s gracious provision doesn’t come to an end, the lives of the Israelites do.
Why did the people of Israel perish in the wilderness?
They didn’t repent, they didn’t trust in the Lord.
Why do we perish in the wilderness?
We don’t repent, we don’t trust in the Lord.
In our Gospel passage today from Luke 13 Jesus says people who die are just like the rest of us. All of us need to repent. All of us need to trust in the Lord.

What is God’s pleasure? It is to give us life and hope through Jesus Christ.