Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Sermon for 4/28/13 Acts 11

Sermon “Even Them” Acts 11:1-18

We look around and we see empty seats in a church building. Not just here, everywhere
Jesus is clear - we are to be about the business of sharing the Gospel with our community.
What happened?
These are hard times, as Jesus told us about in John 16 today. It’s a time of sorrow. It’s a time that seems broken. Our world may be changing, and we wonder sometimes whether to change with it, whether to fight against it, what our response should be.

But what does our Lord say? He has come for all people.
Enter Peter in Acts. You heard his testimony in Acts 11. Why would this even happen?
He was with those Gentiles
I know he was up to something
I don’t trust him
He may not be one of us
EVERYONE KNOWS that’s wrong

Call in Peter. We’ve heard he’s been wasting the Gospel on Gentiles. We’ve heard he’s bringing God’s grace to people who we didn’t think were worthy of the grace of God.

Who are those people we look at and wonder if they are worthy of grace?
wrong side of the tracks
not like us, not good people, different in some way
I know his family...
What distinction was Peter to make? Acts 11:12 “no distinction.”

Who did Jesus die for? Who does Jesus call us to love and serve?

Peter’s conclusion, Acts 11:17, how could he stand in God’s way?

Who does our Lord call to himself? All nations. And those nations start right here. How do we answer the call? How do we reach this broken world? Not with great programs, not with a power point, not with a garage band, not with a contest to see who can be the silliest for Jesus. It starts with an open heart, with an open hand, and with an open mouth. May God grant us repentance that leads to life.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Sermon for 4/21/13 "Is It Really That Good?"

Apparently one of my computers had a hiccup and managed to corrupt the one file that has my notes from last Sunday. But here's the audio. Yes, the Gospel really is as good as the Bible claims.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Sermon for 4/14/13 John 21

Here's the sermon I ended up preaching at the retirement home on the 14th. No outline. It just seemed the right thing to move the congregation there toward the Gospel reading rather than the reading from Revelation.

Sermon from 4/14/13 Revelation 5

Sermon “Who Is Worthy?” Revelation 5

John ushers us into the heavenly throne room where God is present.
None is able to stand before the majesty of God.
All glory, honor and praise is due him, all the time.

What is this scroll? In chapter 5 we don’t know. But we know God needs to open it.

Who is worthy? Who can determine whether people should receive blessing or cursing, life or death?
better not be me
better not be based on what we are like
better not be based on what we will do, or what we have done

Example of Paul in Acts 9. Breathing out threats. What kind of reputation? What kind of past?
Example of Ananias in Acts 9. Ana Who? Seems to be a nobody.
Exactly who do we condemn? Nobody. All need to hear and receive God’s Word and Sacrament, forgiveness, life, and salvation.
Without the Gospel we are all condemned. We have no hope.
Revelation chapters 7 and 8 tell us that the opening of the seals brings the last events on the earth.
God will pour out his righteous anger against all sin.
The world will be judged.
All who are not trusting in Jesus will finally be cast out.
This idea should be very frightening. Without God’s mercy there is no hope.
Yet in this time of judgment we also see that God is avenging all the evil which has fallen upon people throughout all history. He is protecting “a great multitude from every nation” (7.9).

Who is worthy to open the scroll? Who is worthy to bring the final judgment?
Only the one who was slain to redeem humanity from the curse - Jesus
perfect God and perfect man
the only perfect sacrifice, without sin
able to rescue us from sin.

This is the message that is central to our other readings today, from Acts 9 and John 21. In both those readings God is urgently sending his messengers. What are we to do? Go and urge the people around us to repentance and to receive the forgiveness of God. This is our hope in the world. This is how God protects that multitude. It is only by faith in his name that any will stand. Jesus is the one we read about in Revelation 5:9-10 (ESV) “for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God
from every tribe and language and people and nation,
10 and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God,
and they shall reign on the earth.”

We can’t make that decision, the decision to rescue people, for God. We can only hear and repeat his message. Salvation is of the Lord. He has come to make us a kingdom, to make us priests, to make us reign, right here, right now, bringing him all glory.

What of those who don’t believe? More to the point, what of you if you don’t believe? Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved. Trust that he is the one who has died to redeem you to himself. He is the one who is faithful and true, able to keep you in his blessing forever and ever.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Sermon for 4/7/11 - Acts 5:12-32

Sermon “We Must Obey God Rather than Men” Acts 5:12-32

God is alive and well, working in our world. We confess that, at least publicly.
  Do we believe it to be true?
  Do we allow our Lord to make a difference in the way we act in our world?
  Are we willing to stand for the truth?
          real biblical marriage
          training our children in righteousness
          protecting life at every stage from conception to natural death
          speaking freely for Christ regardless of consequences
          pray for the sick believing that Jesus is the healer

What are “they” going to do to us? What happened to the apostles?
    people in general supported the apostles
    Jewish authorities did not support the apostles
        notice most persecution in Acts actually comes from the Jews, not from the pagans
  arrested and imprisoned
  released by an angel
  arrested more gently for a hearing
  told not to preach in the name of Jesus any more

What does our government and society say to us?

Exactly when did free exercise of religion lose its protection in our constitution?

What is wrong with protecting the unborn?
    Notice that the number of abortion providers is decreasing in this country, almost a Planned Parenthood monopoly. That group receives about 50% of its funding from the federal government, other funding from groups like the United Way and supportive referrals from groups such as cancer societies.

What is wrong with supporting traditional marriage?
  Children raised with both parents married and together at home are healthier, happier, and show themselves to be better educated than children raised in other circumstances

What is wrong with supporting home schooling and Christian schooling?
  For years people have fought for the right to train their children in the way they think is appropriate. Some of the battles have been very long and hard. Illinois is one of the states which allows more school choice than many other states. Is there a reason we turn our backs and accept having our children in a system that teaches them systematically that God is irrelevant and that the government and its education programs are their savior? How have we been doing in that regard?

When did we decide that the mighty God doesn’t hear and answer our prayers for the sick, the troubled, the weak, the helpless? When did we decide that God’s Word only matters for an hour on Sunday morning, about 67/100ths of a percent of our week?

What’s the good news?

Jesus is the savior. He is the one we can expect to do signs and wonders. He is the one we can expect to bring healing, grace, power for godly living, repentance, faith, love, all the fruit of the Spirit. As we ignore the people who would rise up against us we can walk in trust, knowing that Jesus is the savior of the world. What if someone says not to proclaim Jesus’ power? We do it anyway. What if someone comes against us? Jesus has promised that the gates of hell will not prevail against His Church.