To God Alone Be Glory

October 30, 2017

Sermon on Romans 3:19-28, for Reformation Day. Soli Deo Gloria--To God Alone Be Glory! A celebration of the blessings of God's blessings to Emmanuel Lutheran Church at our 50th anniversary, and 500 years of the worldwide ringing out of the joyful Gospel of freedom in Christ Jesus. Why does the Gospel leave us no grounds for boasting? What does some of the theological language of Romans 3 mean, and why was "justification by faith" the issue that Martin Luther said the church stands or falls on? What is the difference in the place that good works have, in Luther's reading of Scripture, and in what was being taught by the church? 

  • The book of Romans as a whole, and Romans 3:19-28 in particular, was crucial to Martin Luther’s rediscovery of the Bible, as He immersed Himself in study of the Bible. This passage gives such a clear description of salvation by faith in Christ Jesus, apart from the works of the Law. Nevertheless, it has some theological terms that may not be familiar to us, and some weaknesses of the English language prevent us from seeing the relationship of all the ideas. Here is a quick  vocabulary list to help clarify:
  • “the Law and the Prophets”—expression for the Old Testament (v. 21)
  • “works of the Law”—obedience (or lack thereof) to God’s commandments (v. 20, 27, 28). This is excluded from our justification
  • “justified”—in Greek it’s part of one word family, together with “righteous” or “righteousness” (below), and means “to declare righteous/innocent”. “Justified” can be thought of as God’s legal verdict of innocence—not by “works of the law”, but only by faith in Jesus (v.20, 24, 26, 28)
  • “righteous/righteousness/just”—in Greek, all part of the same word family, meaning upright and innocent. Note there are two kinds of righteousness—by the law (we are actually all unrighteous by this measure) and the righteousness “apart from the law” (v. 21), which is the “righteousness of God through faith in Jesus” (v. 22) (a free gift!)
  • “believe/belief/faith”—again, all one word family in Greek, but split in English into the verb “believe” and noun “faith”. Means our trust in God, or “honesty about dependence” on Him.
  • “propitiation”—a putting away of God’s wrath against sin. Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross was the satisfying of the just demand of the Law that sin and evil be punished. (v. 25)
  • “redemption”—to buy back, from sins and death (v. 24)

Your Sins are Forgiven

October 23, 2017

Sermon on Matthew 9:1-8, on the forgiveness and healing of the paralytic. What surprises are contained in this encounter with Jesus? What is forgiveness, and what does it mean that our sins are forgiven before God? How has God given such authority to men? How does Jesus read our hearts and minds? What does He see, and how does He address it? 


Commander and Savior

October 16, 2017

Sermon on Matthew 22:34-46, for the 18th Sunday after Trinity, about Jesus' teaching of the Law and the Gospel in a nutshell--what is the greatest commandment? And who is the Christ? Why is love central to the Law? What does Jesus mean that the Law and the Prophets depend (lit. "hang") on these two commands? What did the Pharisees refuse to see? What does Psalm 110:1 mean?


Thanks for Listening

October 9, 2017

I pray that you are blessed by the Word of God, and enjoy listening! Please leave a rating on iTunes or your podcast platform, to help reach more, if you enjoy this podcast!


Day of Rest and Gladness

October 9, 2017

Sermon on Luke 14:1-6, for the 17th Sunday after Trinity, about Jesus' confrontations with the Pharisees about the Sabbath commandment, and what is and isn't lawful to do on the Sabbath Day. How do we avoid the legalisms of the Pharisees while also obeying the Spirit of the law, and finding physical and spiritual rest? What is the disconnect between the problem Jesus faced with the Pharisees, and our own use of the Sabbath? What changed from Old Testament to New, that we worship on Sunday now? What refreshment does the Lord of the Sabbath bring us? 


Know the Surpassing Love of Christ

October 2, 2017

Sermon on Ephesians 3:13-21, for the 16th Sunday after Trinity (1 Yr Lectionary), about Paul's prayer for the Ephesians, and how it illustrates the exceeding grace and love of Christ Jesus. How do we often ignore or pass by glory? How can it be recognized and seen? What is the glory of what God has done for us in Christ Jesus?