Sunday, September 29, 2013

Sermon for 9/29/13 Matthew 18:1-11

Angels, mighty forces, spiritual warfare, overcoming power, greatness and glory
 all the things we want
 mighty warriors for God
 iron men
Who wants to be great?
 World’s Greatest ________ on a t-shirt or mug
 Supermom makes sure the kids are all perfect
 Superdad can fix anything
 We’re Americans, superior, independent, rugged, pretty much indestructible (John Wayne?)
But who is in the battle described in Daniel and in Revelation?
 The people are those who have died in the faith.
 The current combatants are spiritual beings.
 Pinch yourself. You’re not a spirit being like an angel, are you?
In Revelation 12:11 God says that his believers have overcome Satan, that they have done it by the blood of the Lamb, Jesus Christ.
 in ourselves we are not able to fight
 in ourselves we cannot stand
 in ourselves we have no hope for victory, no strength against the spiritual forces of darkness.
 In Jesus we have overcome the enemy.
Wait, I thought Jesus did that. How do we overcome the enemy?
Jesus has given that to us out of his good favor.
How can this be?
I had a daughter who liked to help me with things.
 repairing the piano -  building a shed -  moving a wall at the school building -  fixing a computer -  repairing light fixtures at school
There’s a lot of “I can help by watching” that goes on.

Isn’t that like we are?
A lot of the “I can help by watching” with our Lord’s work makes u like the little children, the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

How do we do that?  Watch what the Lord does in . . .
 Receiving eagerly from the Lord in the divine service
 Praying and watching for God’s grace
 Witnessing what the Lord does with people in the Bible
 Learning to speak biblical truth into our lives and those around us
 Visiting our shut-ins
 Serving our community - talk briefly about reaching out with Jesus’ kindness
After a while we find ourselves imitating Jesus
 loved us -  gave himself for us -  prays -  serves -  forgives

The battle is not for the strong of this world. The battle belongs to our Lord. He is the victorious one.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Sermon for 9/22/13 1 Timothy 2

Sermon: Prayers for All People

From the first eight verses of 1 Timothy 2

Right after President Obama was elected there was a flurry of reporting about how historically “black” churches were praying for their leaders. We heard audio clips and saw video clips of pastors praying for their commander-in-chief. How did we react to this? How did our world expect us to react to this?

1) only supporters of the leaders would pray for their leaders
2) nobody would think to pray for people they disagree with
3) prayer is a human grace

What does the Scripture say about this?

1) We pray for all people - supplication, prayer, intercession, thanksgiving
   not based on those people’s merits
   not based on whether we agree or disagree
  prayers for their good, for god’s blessing upon our friends and enemies
2) We pray for leaders, even though our leaders, like Paul’s, may not be people we would choose to support.
  Visit with a senator on a national day of prayer - cornered him in the hallway and prayed for him
   pray for God’s blessings
   pray for God’s mercy
   pray the Lord would use these people in positions of power as a blessing to the world
3) Prayer is not a human grace. Nobody earns our prayers, just as we don’t earn the Lord’s favor.
  We pray for all people.
  We pray for people because they need the mercy of God in Christ.
  We pray that the Lord would bless our world to live in his peace, his rest, godly and dignified.
      peace from forgiveness in Christ
      rest from our sin and strife
      freedom to love God and serve our neighbor
    ability to live an upright life, not in crime or dissolution

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Sermon for 9/15/13 Luke 15 Joy in Heaven

Pharisees grumbling about Jesus
Eating with tax collectors and sinners
Who do we eat with?
What kind of people do we allow into our home?
What kind of home are we comfortable visiting?
 providing music for social events at homes of very wealthy - feel out of place
 not sure what to do when welcomed by someone from a different social class
 What about entering the home of someone troubled?
     psychological difficulties with negative results
Where’s our comfort zone? More important, where does it end?
example of Nigerian Christians from VOM video
people in Mexican slums playing musical instruments made from trash
What do we think of the very poor or the very rich who are trusting in Jesus?
Yet as we explore this, we’re putting ourselves again in the place of the Pharisees.
Which one of us deserves to be welcomed to the riches of heaven?
Which one of us deserves to be accepted by the Lord of all?
What kind of a home do we have to welcome Jesus?
 filthy heart
 filthy mind
 dead and rotting carcasses, dead in sin
We’re just the kind of people we would avoid being with.

Shift focus from our perspective as Pharisees
Our Lord’s attitude
Jesus humbled himself
 entered our world
 entered our family
 entered our life
 entered our home
No room for pride, only room for gratitude
How could he judge us? Sternly - we should be destroyed by his holiness
How does he visit us?
 food to eternal life
 drink that will make us never thirst again
 perfect love which casts out all fear
The greatest joy we could have, the greatest joy we could imagine, all pales before the Lord Jesus who gives us repentance and forgiveness, creating joy in heaven. Would we like all heaven to rejoice? Repent before the Lord. He is the one who comes to find us when we are lost. He is the one who comes to rescue us. He is the one who is willing to change us from inside out. Jesus is the one who visits us.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Sermon for 9/8/13 - Deuteronomy 30

Sermon: Choose Life

Our sermon today is from Deuteronomy chapter 30.
God puts a choice before his people. And, being the all-knowing, loving God, he does know what the right choice, the one which brings blessing, is.
 The choice? Hold fast to God’s commandments
   love the LORD - JHWH
   walk in His ways
   keep His commandments
Seems the obvious choice?
What do we choose?
Our Lord knows our choice.
How did Israel choose?
Verbally, “YES, YES, YES”
What did their actions choose?
 plunder things that they weren’t to have
 alliances with the people they were to destroy
 abandoned the sabbath for many generations
 add idol worship to God’s commanded worship
 abandon God’s word
What do we do? Just the same things. We make exactly the wrong choice.
Terrible fix! What are we going to do? We don’t choose life, we choose death.
Remember who God is.
   knows the right choice
   knows what we will do
   does not want us to perish
   wants to rescue us
Our Lord knows that we have departed, that we have fled, like the slave Onesimus, we have become unprofitable. He desires to rescue us. So he does it.
 Jesus, entirely human - really one of us
 Jesus, entirely divine - really perfect
 Jesus = the perfect sacrifice
 Jesus who keeps God’s law perfectly
 Jesus who is able to give that perfect obedience and its fruits to us
 Jesus who is God’s word incarnate
God knows that we need Jesus. We don’t choose life. But Jesus chooses it for us, for all who believe.  He sets before us life, good, blessing, hope, future, grace.
What will we do to be saved?
Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. He is our righteousness.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Sermon for 9/1/13 Luke 14

What’s our status?
 Most of us think of ourselves as average, maybe a bit above average, doing pretty well.
   good moral people
And we like doing things with our friends. We all think, deep down, that we are the kind of people who can and should be invited to just about anything, that we’d be able to fit in.
 young people - all above average
 all our families are special
 “Maybe some people can’t fit in, but I can.”
What does Jesus say about us?
 Don’t consider too highly
 take the lowest seat
 invite the kind of poor, crippled, lame, blind that we are
People like us? So we should invite respectable people.
poor, crippled, lame, blind
None of us is above that, none has escaped the challenges which can lay us low

In fact, we think too highly of ourselves. We deceive ourselves into thinking we are the kind of great people Jesus would like to hang with.

Jesus invites us, poor, crippled, lame, blind, to come to his feast.
He has laid his life down, given it for us, given it to us.
We cannot repay him. We’re exactly the kind of guest he wants. What he gives is truly a blessing to us, because we could get it nowhere else.

 all the blessings of God in Christ are ours. He invites us to his table, to his feast. We cannot repay him. He would have it no other way.