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Showing posts from August, 2008

Sermon on Matthew 16:21-26 for 15th Sunday of Pentecost, "The Thoughts of God vs. the thoughts of men"

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. The sermon text is the Gospel, Matthew 16:21-26. Last week we heard about Peter’s rock of confession, that Jesus is the “Christ, the Son of the Living God.” Then Jesus gave the unusual command to His disciples that they tell no one that He was the Christ. Perhaps you wondered why Jesus commended Peter for this great confession of faith, then commanded the disciples to be silent about it? Today we’ll see why the Jews, and even His disciples, weren’t ready yet to consider that the Christ would suffer and die. His purpose as the Christ, the Messiah, couldn’t fully be grasped until Jesus actually died and rose from the dead. Then the final puzzle pieces dropped in place to reveal the whole astonishing picture of Christ. Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

The difficulty of accepting who Jesus Christ is, wasn’t limited to the first century. We …

Sermon on Matthew 16:13-20 for 14th Sunday after Pentecost. "The Rock of Confession"

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. The sermon text is Matthew 16:13-20, the Gospel reading. We’re going to look at Peter’s Great Confession of faith, the Rock of Confession on which the church is built. But first, I need to give a brief definition of what we mean by “confession” here. Just a few minutes ago you all made “confession” of your sins, at the beginning of the Divine Service. Obviously a confession of faith isn’t the same thing. In Christian use, “confession” means to speak back what is true in response to God’s revelation. In the confession of sins, we speak back what is true about ourselves—namely that we have been found sinful before God. In Peter’s confession of faith, he spoke back what is true about Jesus—that He was the Christ, the Son of the Living God. When we confess our faith in the words of the creed, we speak back to God what is most sure and true—that which He has taught us in His Word. With that clarification in mind, let’…

Trusting in God's Certain Promises

Two months ago in my newsletter article, I referred to the importance of “Seeking God where He may be found.” My aim was to get us thinking about how when we are seeking to find God, we ought to go where He has promised to be. Or we might say, where God has located Himself for our sake. We know that God is present everywhere, as even the highest heavens cannot contain Him (1 Kings 8:27), and we cannot escape from His presence anywhere (Psalm 139). But while we can certainly raise prayers to God at any time and place, if we want to be assured that we are receiving His saving benefits, we turn to where He has surely given and promised them. In that previous newsletter I concluded with the words of Peter to Jesus, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the Words of eternal life” (John 6:68). Where shall we go but to the Lord and His Word? For it is in God’s Word that He has located His promises. When we rest secure on His Word of Truth, we have the assurance of eternal life.

It is for this …

Sermon on Matthew 15:21-28 fpr 13th Sunday after Pentecost. "Crumbs of Grace are more than a Feast"

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. The sermon text is the Gospel reading, from Matthew 15:21-28, which tells of the great faith of the Canaanite woman, and her persistence in getting a response from Jesus. Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

Today in our worship, in song and prayer, we join in the same plea of the Canaanite women, “Lord, have mercy on me!” The short phrase, “Lord, have mercy!” is one of the commonest parts of our biblical liturgy, as it expresses the deepest cry and need of every believer and hurting soul. These words quickly became part of Christian worship and have lasted down through the centuries, because it’s a cry of brokenness and for times when words fail us. It’s the cry of our soul for needs that only the Lord can meet. Listen as the woman lifts up those words to Jesus in today’s reading: “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is suffe…