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Showing posts from October, 2008

Sermon on Matthew 22:34-46 for the 23rd Sunday after Pentecost. "All the Law and the Prophets hang on Love."

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. The sermon text is from Matthew 22, an interchange between the Pharisees and Jesus, where they attempt to “stump” Him with a difficult question. He answers wisely and then turns the tables on them, asking a question that stumps them. In this dialogue, we will see how the two great commandments to love are fulfilled. Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

At the start of today’s lesson, the Pharisees are impressed that Jesus had just silenced their theological adversaries the Sadducees. Jesus had just refuted them on the matter of the resurrection from the dead—something that they didn’t believe in, but He convincingly established. Now the Pharisees decide to test their luck in “stumping” Jesus, thinking that they’ve got a winner. An expert in the law, who would have been a well-studied scribe, throws this question at Jesus: “Teacher, which is the great …

Living a Life of Self-Examination

What ought the spiritual life of the Christian be like? Is this a question we ever consider? Perhaps this question isn’t even on our “radar map.” We might take for granted that the Christian life basically consists in attending church every Sunday and the occasional potluck . Yet you’ve doubtless heard in at least one Sunday sermon that we cannot be Christians just on Sunday morning, but 24 hours, 7 days a week. In other words, coming to church on Sunday isn’t about “putting on a face,” and then returning during the week to a life that is “not in step with the truth of the gospel” (Gal. 2:14). Practicing Christianity is not a “one hour a week exercise.” This would be the very definition of hypocrisy—to be hiding behind a pious mask, while our actions do not match our words (see the context of Galatians 2).

Perhaps we all should be struck cold by the thought that our lives rarely measure up to the standard of our own words or our own commitments—let alone the perfect and unchangeable …

Sermon on Matthew 21:33-43, for the 20th Sunday after Pentecost. "The Son's Inheritance"

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. The sermon today is based on the Gospel reading, Matthew 21, the parable about the vineyard. Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

The Old Testament reading and the Gospel reading for today are almost perfectly matched together, as you may have noticed both speak of a master who planted a vineyard. They talk about the care and attention the master gave in establishing and preparing His vineyard to bear good fruit. He cleared the land of stones, planted the vineyard in fertile soil, dug a winepress, built a watchtower to guard it, placed a hedge or wall around it to protect it, and entrusted it to the care of tenants to work it.

The Isaiah passage tells us what the vineyard is. “The vineyard of the LORD Almighty is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah are the garden of His delight” (Isa 5:7). So the vineyard represents God’s chosen people Israel, …