The Implanted Word

April 30, 2018

Sermon on James 1:16-21, for the 5th Sunday of Easter (1 Yr lectionary). What does it mean that God is unchanging? The Father of lights? What is the best and perfect gift from above? What is the relationship between listening, speaking, and anger? How is the righteousness of God accomplished? How has God brought us forth as His children? What is the "means" by which He has done this? 


The Way of the Christian

September 10, 2012

Sermon on James 2:1-18 for the 15th Sunday after Pentecost, about the proper relationship between faith and good works in the Christian life, and understanding James' teaching in the light of salvation by grace alone. What does the Christian life look like after the Spirit has created faith?

Sermon Talking Points

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  1. How does the apostle James expose hypocrisy in James 2:1-18? Why are words without actions empty? James 2:14-17; 1:22-25; Rom. 2:13.

  1. How did Jesus show no partiality or favoritism between the rich and the poor, between the outcast and the accepted? Luke 18:35-19:10. What are ways in which we might “dishonor the poor” (James 2:6) or show favoritism to others, instead of treating all people with dignity and as made in God’s own image?

  1. Why does incomplete keeping of God’s law, at even the smallest level, make us guilty before God? James 2:10; Romans 3:19-20. What’s the purpose of the law’s condemnation of our sins? What realization does it bring about our situation before God? How are we sometimes tempted to make comparisons instead, to think we’re boosting ourselves up?

  1. Once we’ve accepted our guilty verdict according to God’s law, how are we liberated by Jesus Christ and a higher “law” of God’s? James 2:12-13; Romans 8:2. This higher truth, often called the Gospel or good news, reveals God’s mercy toward us, mercy that triumphs over judgment.

  1. In order to grant us mercy, what did Jesus have to undergo to fulfill the law and suffer our punishments? Galatians 4:4-5; Philippians 2:8

  1. What temptation arises for us to misuse forgiveness to excuse or go further into sin? What are some rationalizations we go through? By contrast, how does the true Christian receive the word of forgiveness and seek to live out their life? Why does faith always give rise to works, and yet salvation depends on the faith, not on works? John 15; Galatians 2:16

Born By God’s Will

February 27, 2012

Sermon on James 1:12-18, for the 1st Sunday in Lent, about trials and temptations, the path to death and the path to life, and how God sets us on the path of life and gives us the victory over temptation.

Sermon Talking Points

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  1. In what way is Jesus both the man who remained steadfast under trial, and also the one who gives us the crown of life? Luke 4:1-13; Hebrews 2:18; 4:15; John 11:25-26. What is the crown of life? 2 Tim. 4:8; Rev. 2:10

  1. Why is it impossible that God would be the One who tempts us, or that God would ever do evil? Ps. 5:4-6; Matt. 19:17.

  1. What in us gives temptation and sin its first foothold according to James 1:14? Cf. Gen. 4:7. How should we resist temptation? See Jesus’ example in Luke 4; Ps. 141:3-4; 1 Cor. 10:13

  1. How does James’ imagery of the maturation of sin help us to understand its accumulative and deadly influence? Ps. 7:14-15

  1. How does God’s constancy bring us comfort? Jam. 1:17; Mal. 3:6. What is the second kind of “conception and birth” that God works in us, instead of sin? Jam. 1:18; John 1:12-13; 3:3; 1 Pet. 1:3. How is this our hope and confidence in the face of evil and temptation? How does this reassure us that only God can deliver us from evil?


The Untamable Tongue

September 15, 2009

Sermon on James 3:1-12 for the 15th Sunday after Pentecost

Sermon Talking Points:

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  1. What deadly work can the tongue do? How have you been hurt by someone else’s tongue? How have you hurt someone with your tongue?

  1. Why is gossip so harmful? What is the purpose of the 8th commandment, and what does it seek to protect? Exodus 20:16, and see explanation in the Small Catechism.

  1. What other evil uses is our tongue put to? See Psalm 5:9; 12:1-8; 50:19; 52:2-4. Contrast with Psalm 35:27-28; 37:30; 39:1; 66:17; 71:24; 119:172; Philippians 2:10-11. How does this show we are at the same time saint and sinner?

  1. What hope is there for our untamable tongue? How can this salt spring be turned fresh?

  1. What did Jesus’ tongue accomplish? Isaiah 50:4ff; see the entire Gospels.

  1. Who ultimately feels the insult and the pain when we curse or insult a brother? Matt. 25:40, 45. Why?

  1. How does the pure speech of Jesus’ tongue overflow to blessing in our lives? How did He and does He still speak to us, and what blessing does it bring? How will all tongues finally be tamed? Phil. 2:10-11