Presumed Innocent

March 29, 2010

Sermon on Luke 23, the Passion Narrative for Palm Sunday.

Sermon Talking Points:

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  1. Who among the onlookers and participants in Jesus’ crucifixion identified His innocence? What helped each of them to realize this? What discussion transpired between the two thieves? How did the attitude of the second change as the crucifixion wore on?

  1. How did Pontius Pilate acknowledge Jesus innocence? What did he do to try to maintain his own innocence and shirk responsibility? What caused him to give in to injustice? When have we seen injustice but taken no action? What are some concrete ways we can take action against injustice?

  1. What lead the centurion and the crowds to recognize Jesus’ innocence? How were people divided around Jesus?

  1. We often presume our own innocence when confronted with our sins, in arguments and otherwise. Can you think of some examples? How does this help or hinder relationships?

  1. How does the 2nd thief’s statements from the cross correct our tendency to presume our innocence before God? Who is really guilty? Who is really innocent? What is our just reward?

  1. How is our fate changed if we cast our lot in with Jesus? How does He grant us His innocence?

I need this…and this…and this…

March 25, 2010

Sermon on 1 Peter 4:1-6 for Lent 6, from the sermon series "Life Together" by Concordia Seminary St. Louis.


Costly Grace

March 22, 2010

Sermon on Luke 20:9-20 for the 5th Sunday in Lent.

Sermon Talking Points:

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  1. Read Isaiah chapter 5, the “song of the vineyard” which shows the Old Testament backdrop for today’s parable, that would have been familiar to Jesus’ audience. What was the vineyard? Who was the landlord? What major adaptation to the Old Testament story did Jesus make?

  1. What fruit did the owner look for? Isaiah 5:2,7; Luke 3:8; Acts 26:20). Who do the servants the owner sent represent? 2 Chron. 36:15-16; Hebrews 11:32-40).

  1. Why were the Jews surprised that their vineyard would be taken away? What is the danger of complacency and indifference as Christians?

  1. How can we share with God the fruit expected of us? What are the fruits of the Spirit? Galatians 5:22-24; 1 Cor. 12:1-11

  1. What is the response we would expect of an owner or landlord who had such wicked tenants and they had refused him a share of his crops/rent 3 times? What’s the surprise of the owner’s response? How did this happen in real life through Jesus?

  1. How does the owner/God embody long-suffering and patience? Exodus 34:6-7; Joel 2:13. What costly risk did God take to win our loyalty and faithful service to Him? What is left if we finally reject even this final offer of amnesty?


I can’t believe in a God who would…

March 18, 2010

Sermon on 1 Peter 1:6-9, based on the Lenten Sermon series "Life Together" by Concordia Seminary St. Louis.


Embrace for the Lost

March 15, 2010

Sermon on Luke 15:1-3, 11-32, for the 4th Sunday in Lent. The Prodigal Son parable.

Sermon Talking Points:

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  1. Why was the lost son still “lost” when he came back to his home? How did he think he would enter his father’s house again? When we approach God on our own merits, do we have any basis to enter His house? How instead do we make our approach? Hebrews 4:14-16; 10:19-22

  1. In what way was the prodigal mistaken about his father’s nature? How do people sometimes think of God and His capacity for love and forgiveness? Have you ever doubted that you could be forgiven for a certain sin? How does the richness of God’s love radically change our perspective?

  1. What was right about the lost son’s approach? cf. Luke 18:9-14

  1. What was the older brother’s response to the lost son’s return? When have we “played this part”? In what ways has our sinful nature shown itself in a sense of self-righteousness or entitlement?

  1. What have we ever lost because of the grace and mercy of Christ to another sinner? How can we better welcome a lost sinner who is struggling to find forgiveness, and even ashamed of their sin? 2 Corinthians 2:5-11 How can we adopt the attitude of our heavenly Father, rather than the older brother?

  1. Consider again all that God has done for you in His mercy and love. How wonderful to go from being lost to being found!

Who am I?

March 11, 2010

Sermon on 1 Peter 4:7-11 for Lent 4, based on the sermon series "Life Together" from Concordia Seminary St. Louis."


God and Disasters

March 8, 2010

Sermon on Luke 13:1-9 for the 3rd Sunday in Lent

Sermon Talking Points: Read past sermons at: Listen to audio at:

1. What kinds of speculation have you heard about the cause of recent tragedies? When it’s done by Christians, how do you think it affects our witness to the good news of Jesus?

2. A common idea throughout history is that suffering is caused by a one-to-one relation to some sin or evil we’ve done. How did the friends of Job show this view? Job 4:7; 8:4; 22:5. How did the disciples of Jesus? John 9:2-3. How does Jesus counter this idea? Reread Luke 13:1-5; cf. John 9:3; 11:4.

3. We cannot trace a particular cause for all suffering or tragedy. Does this mean that we never suffer as the result of our own sins or those of others? Isaiah 64:1-9. Does grace mean we can sin with impunity? Romans 6:1-4. How does the Bible affirm that God is nevertheless sovereign over all that happens on earth, good or evil? Isaiah 45:5-13; Matt. 5:45.

4. Since suffering and death are a daily reality, is it simply the scale of human tragedies that makes us more conscious of questions about evil and life and death? What should our response be when such disasters occur?

5. Reread Luke 13:1-9. What greater tragedy does Jesus want us to avoid by repenting of our sins? Cf. John 5:14. Does God desire sinners to die? Ezek. 18:23; 1 Tim. 2:4.

6. What is God’s greatest intervention against evil in human history? When will evil finally be eradicated altogether?


This is It???

March 4, 2010

Sermon on 1 Peter 1:3-5 for Lent 3, based on the sermon series "Life Together" by Concordia Seminary, St. Louis.


Chain Reaction!

March 1, 2010

Sermon on Romans 5:1-5 for the 2nd Sunday in Lent.

Sermon Talking Points:

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  1. Why is it crucial to know whether or not we have “access” to God? What would prevent our access? Read Romans 3:23; Ephesians 2:1-4; Isaiah 59:1-2. How is access to God granted to us then? Read Romans 5:6-11; Ephesians 2:4-10

  1. Our access to God is based on what Jesus did for us. Jesus is God’s Son, who made God known to us. His innocent life and death on the cross and resurrection accomplish for us a reconciliation with God. What does the word “justified” mean? It means that God declares us innocent by faith in Jesus. The whole book of Romans teaches this marvelous truth!

  1. Access to God’s grace and love don’t come by earning it (not by works) but by faith (trust) in Jesus! Read Romans 3:21-4:25

  1. Faith in Jesus and the open access to God sets the stage for some important truths about Christian life. First, it enables us to rejoice both in the hope of the glory of God (heaven!) and also rejoice in our sufferings! Second, to understand why we can rejoice in our sufferings, what is the “chain reaction” that faith allows to take place?

  1. Explain with examples from your own life, how suffering or hardship produced endurance (patience), character, and ultimately hope. Read some examples of Bible characters who faced difficulty with faith in God. Read about Joseph in Genesis 37-50. Read about Ruth and Daniel in the books that bear their names. Read about Peter in the New Testament Gospels.

  1. How is hope in God different from all earthly hopes? Why doesn’t it ever disappoint us? God is faithful to all His promises!