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Showing posts from October, 2009

Sermon on Romans 3:19-28 for Reformation Day, "What is Saving Faith?"

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. Faith Alone or Sola Fide. One of the mottoes of the Reformation. A phrase that emphasizes how our salvation comes to us, by the pure reception of faith. On Reformation Day we celebrate a living remembrance of the Reformation, where the teaching of faith alone was placed back into prominence by Martin Luther and the Reformers. We live on in that same confession of faith that was handed down through the ages. Today we’ll look more closely at what saving faith is. Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

Salvation is by faith alone. Alone because all boasting and all works are excluded. Boasting has no place in salvation because the law of God silences every mouth. Every sinner is crushed under the verdict that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. There isn’t any place for pride, arrogance, or claiming to be better than anyone else. Likewise…

Sermon on Hebrews 4:1-13, for the 20th Sunday after Pentecost, "God's Word: A Two-Edged Sword"

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. Have you ever experienced this situation? Two people come to church on the same Sunday, and one hears the message and leaves feeling peace and thankfulness to God, and another hears the same message and leaves feeling resentful and defiant. One hears God’s Word and finds it comforting and enlightening; another hears God’s Word and feels guilty or convicted. Or you read the Scriptures and at one point God’s wrath is burning against sin, and in another place He shows remarkable patience and forgiveness for sinners. How can the same word produce such contradictory reactions? How can the same word show God condemning sin and elsewhere forgiving it? The reading from Hebrews will be our guide as we answer those questions. Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

“The Word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword…” That two-edged sword can …

Sermon on Mark 10:17-22, for the 19th Sunday after Pentecost, "Hands Full and Heart Empty"

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. Welcome to all our preschool families, and thank you for joining us for worship today, and supporting your child’s education! Today in our reading Jesus encounters a person who is genuinely and eagerly interested in knowing about eternal life. Reflect today whether that’s also a burning question for you, and we’ll look together at what the answer is. Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

We’re not invincible. We live like it, but we’re not. Every person will reach life’s end one day, and don’t wait till then to ask the question, “What next?” In the Gospel lesson we encounter a rich young man, who could really be any one of us (rich or poor—but I’ll get to that later). He’s eager and ready to find out about eternal life, and comes running up as Jesus is leaving town to ask a burning question. His respect for Jesus is obvious when he kneels before Jesus …

Sermon on Mark 10:2-12, for the 18th Sunday after Pentecost, "God Joins Together"

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. Today in the Gospel reading from Mark, Jesus addresses one of the most difficult situations in human life: divorce. It’s both an urgently relevant topic that we need to hear today, and also one of Jesus’ most difficult teachings to hear and believe. Jesus’ own disciples remarked in astonishment when they heard His teaching, that “If such is the case of a man with his wife, it is better not to marry.” But he said to them, “Not everyone can receive this saying, but only those to whom it is given…Let the one who is able to receive this receive it.” Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

The Pharisees and religious leaders always seemed to have a test for Jesus. Some clever question they could use to trip Him up or catch Him in His words. Today they asked Him “Is is lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” In Matthew, it adds that they were asking: “Is it …