11
Dec
2017

Stand Before the Son!

Sermon on Luke 21:25-36, for the 2nd Sunday in Advent, about Jesus' last public teaching (as recorded by Luke) about the end times and the Son of Man's return in glory. How are faithful believers to respond to the fear and foreboding of the signs of the end? Why is their response so different? Why is being on our knees a position of strength, not weakness? How do we have strength to stand? 

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7
Dec
2017

Bless the Lord O My Soul

Sermon on Psalm 103, for Advent Midweek 2, about the goodness and health of praising God, and how God knows us, our frame, and our weakness intimately, and pours out His benefits on us generously. 

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4
Dec
2017

The Righteous Branch

Sermon on Jeremiah 23:5-8, for the 1st Sunday in Advent, about Jeremiah's prophecy in dark days, of a coming Righteous and wise king in the line of David--The Rigtheous Branch, and The LORD our Righteousness. What do these titles tell us about the Messiah? What spiritual crisis did the Babylonian Captivity create for Israel? How did God uphold his promise to David in 2 Samuel 7:16? What did the crowds on Palm Sunday see, and why does this reading show up every first Advent? How does YHWH's rigtheousness become ours? 

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30
Nov
2017

Hope in God

Sermon on Psalm 42, for Advent 1 Midweek, about this Psalm of individual lament, and how it expresses the storms and griefs of the soul, while trusting in God through the dark times. What role had the Psalmist had, and how did that color his present sadness? What is the basis of his hope? What imagery describes the sadness of his heart? How can we weather such storms?

 

* We had a wonderful service of Evening Prayer, at which I preached this message, and we sang many beautiful variations of Psalm 42 and hymns inspired by it or echoing themes of it. Our sermon hymn was "As the Hart" by Dewey Westra, from the Genevan Psalter, and we also sang "When Peace Like a River" (It is Well with my Soul), and "The Night Will Soon Be Ending". I wish I had made a recording to share with you the beauty of the singing! Truly stirring, with rich words of Scripture as the foundation. 

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27
Nov
2017

Parable of the Ten Virgins

Sermon on Matthew 25:1-13, for the Last Sunday of the Church Year, the Parable of the Virgins. What does this tell us about the waiting for Christ's return, and how people respond differently to it? Why are some wise, and others foolish? What is the same and what's different about them both? What does the oil represent? How are we filled with oil to be ready? Why do we normally encourage preparation, but often forget about it in spiritual things? 

 

Two new episodes today! Check out both-- other is Thanksgiving sermon on Psalm 95. 

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27
Nov
2017

Come Into His Presence with Thanksgiving

Sermon on Psalm 95, for Thanksgiving Eve service. We sang the Venite--the liturgical treasure of the church that is the versification of Psalm 95:1-7, and reflected on why and how we "come into God's presence with thanksgiving." How does the historical reference of this Psalm (see Exodus 17 and Hebrews 3-4) contrast the attitude of grumbling and of thanksgiving? How does the Psalm picture God's control of creation? 

Two new episodes today! Check out both!

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20
Nov
2017

The Wisdom of God

Sermon on Proverbs 8:11-22, for the 23rd Sunday after Trinity, about how Christ is the Wisdom of God, how Wisdom is personified in Proverbs 8, and how the pursuit of earthly, practical wisdom relates to the higher pursuit of Christ as the Wisdom of God. How is Wisdom woven into creation? What did God delight in Wisdom and in His creation? 

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13
Nov
2017

Forgive as God Forgives You

Sermon on Matthew 18:21-35, for the 22nd Sunday after Trinity (1 YR lectionary), about Peter's question to Jesus about forgiveness, and the parable of the unforgiving servant. What are the dimensions of forgiveness? Does forgiveness mean ignoring injustice? How can the Christian have a two fold response to injustice and evil committed against them? Our prayers are with the victims of the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs. How is Christ the model for forgiveness? What must we do if unforgiveness has a root in our hearts? What is Jesus' response to evil?

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6
Nov
2017

Blessed are the Meek

Sermon on Matthew 5:5, "Blessed are the Meek, for they shall inherit the earth", for All Saints' Day. What does it mean to be meek? Is meekness weakness, or something else? How was Christ meek, and how are we to be meek? What are the promises to the meek, and where are they rooted in the Old Testament? What is indicated about the future "new heavens and new earth?" 

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30
Oct
2017

To God Alone Be Glory

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)
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23
Oct
2017

Your Sins are Forgiven

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? 

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16
Oct
2017

Commander and Savior

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?

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9
Oct
2017

Thanks for Listening

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!

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9
Oct
2017

Day of Rest and Gladness

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? 

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2
Oct
2017

Know the Surpassing Love of Christ

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? 

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