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Showing posts from May, 2011

Sermon on John 14:15-21, for the 6th Sunday of Easter, "Spirit, Love & Obedience"

1. Jesus teaches about the work of the Holy Spirit and the shape of the new life Jesus called disciples to: “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” How do we react?
a. If we don’t know the height and depth of law, might be unconcerned (“that’s doable!”)
b. If we know how Jesus taught the commandments, we might break out in a little sweat—aware of our own sinfulness (not only outward obedience, but from the heart) (“I could never manage!”)
c. Obedience might be grudging, reluctant or cheerless—pure duty
d. Might get the mistaken impression that we’re saved or justified before God because of our obedience (works righteousness). Can’t be…because “God has consigned all to disobedience, that he may have mercy on all.” (Rom. 11:32).

2. So is obedience impossible for the Christian? And if so, what does Jesus mean “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” ?
a. True obedience should be an act of willingness and love. Adam and Eve failed to show their love of God by their disobedien…

Sermon on John 14:1-14, for the 5th Sunday of Easter, "The Way, the Truth, and the Life"

1. Is it important to know the way if you’re looking to get somewhere? Finding your way—directions, maps, GPS, Google maps, a navigator or guide. How important is our destination?
a. Want to get to heaven; Father’s mansions.
b. We’re lost if we don’t know the way. Directionless.
c. Try the Dave Ramsey test—close your eyes, all point in the direction you think is north. How many are right? Have all point South. Does that change which way is North? How is this like our faith in Jesus?
d. Are you spiritually directionless? Multitudes of answers how to get there.

2. Jesus says, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life; no one comes to the Father except through me.” Christian author put it this way: “Without the Way there is no going, without the Truth there is no knowing, without the Life there is no living.”
a. Without the Way there is no going—can’t get to the Father, to heaven without Jesus. Jesus is the only way. Thomas thought he was lost, but he had Jesus. Not a map or a GPS or list o…

Sermon on Acts 2:42-47, for the 4th Sunday of Easter, "Community of Joy"

1. Early church in Acts, a community of contagious, generous joy—tapped into the fountain of joy, which is Christ. Bonhoeffer said: “What it [the coming of Christ among us] really means, above all, is the joy of God in the world, the joy of God catching fire in humanity, which is hungry for joy. In a thousand ways people today ask, where can we find joy? Church of Christ, you alone know the answer; say it out loud: Christ, my joy”

2. The early church had the joy of God because it had Christ, our joy. Caught fire—the joy of God at Pentecost. World hunger—hunger for joy—feed them Christ! The church is a community of joy because it has that answer for true joy—Christ, who came into the world.

3. The church takes form in the world, around Word and Sacraments and prayer, the same as today. Devoted—not a casual or occasional association, but dedicated, committed, disciples—devoted to what? Apostles’ teaching. Foundation of church’s fellowship, which is the breaking of bread (Lord’ Supper). S…

Sermon on Luke 24:13-35, for the 3rd Sunday of Easter, "Unexpected Companion"

1. “They stood still, looking sad.” Jesus joined the disciples for their sorrowful journey

a. Joy was stolen—hope that He would redeem Israel

b. Beloved teacher had been crucified, puzzling reports of His appearance, but hadn’t seen Jesus

c. Disorienting grief (eyes downturned, hopes dashed, trying to make sense of great loss—grief can show how deeply a person was loved)

d. We see an example of how the Christian’s life is not always joyous. Pr. Harrison talks about how this is a relief to many Christians, because some of the most miserable people are those who are tormented by the belief that they always have to show joy to others to prove they have the gift of the Spirit. It can be quite despairing to be told your life should be full of joy, but you feel none of it. Times of grief or joylessness don’t mean that the Holy Spirit is absent from us.

e. Permission for grief and sadness—esp. at a funeral. Loss of a loved one. Jesus’ own grief–Lazarus. But our sorrow will be turned into joy (Lu…

Easter Triumph, Easter Joy!

Christ is Risen! He is Risen Indeed! Alleluia! This joyful Easter response echoes through our churches in the weeks after Easter Sunday or the Resurrection of Our Lord. We celebrated Easter on April 24th, this year, and our Easter celebration continues through the first week of June, before the next church festival of Pentecost (June 12). Easter is always a tremendous experience as we reach the loudest and most joyous crescendo of praise during the year. You just want to belt out those Easter hymns and Alleluias!! The combination of the brass and the choir and the powerful melodies that together proclaim: Victory, Resurrection, Life!! Christ is Risen!

One of the hymns that I think best captures that Easter mood was sung at our services during communion. That hymn is #633, At the Lamb’s High Feast We Sing. The first verse reads:

At the Lamb’s high feast we sing, praise to our victorious King, who has washed us in the tide flowing from His pierced side. Alleluia!

The “high feast” or “pas…

Sermon on John 20:19-31, for the 2nd Sunday of Easter, "Gladness and Joy"

Outline:
1. Christian joy: do we have it, or is it missing? “You Christians lost the world when you lost your joy.” True or false?

a. magnet and mystery

b. difference from happiness--emotion, dependent largely on external circumstances vs. deep and abiding joy. relation of happiness to joy

c. finding joy in unexpected places: why were the disciples joyful in Acts 5:41, that they had suffered dishonor for the name of Jesus?

d. 1 Peter 1:6-8, In this (your salvation) you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory,

2. Discovering joy
can’t be forced, faked, or manufactured--the quickes…