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Showing posts from August, 2013

Sermon on Hebrews 11:17-31, 12:1-3, for the 13th Sunday after Pentecost, "Look to Jesus"

Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Amen.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.
Modern day races are a great example of sportsmanship and athleticism—of fair competition and achievement. We have a high expectation that athletes in any sport, and certainly runners as well, will fairly compete to the best of their ability, without cheating or using performance-enhancing drugs. We expect that “fair play” means that they wouldn’t stoop to tripping or shovi…

Sermon on Genesis 15:1-6 and Hebrews 11:1-16, for the 12th Sunday after Pentecost, "What faith is and isn't"

Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father, and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen. The strong theme that runs through all three of our readings today is faith, and we’ll look today especially at Genesis 15 and Hebrews 11 (sometimes called the great faith chapter), to better understand what faith is and isn’t. We’ll see what characteristics attend faith, and also consider those characteristics that are contrary to faith. And, most importantly, find how God supplies and strengthens our faith, as He did for the saints of old. Hebrews 11:1 begins with the beautiful definition, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” These first two qualities of faith—assurance and conviction—quickly show us what the contrasting qualities to faith must be—doubt and uncertainty. That is to say that faith is confident and sure, it is not wavering and doubtful. It is confident and sure because it builds on the rock of our confidence—Jesus’ Christ …

Sermon on Colossians 3:1-11, for the 11th Sunday after Pentecost, Part 4: "Hidden with Christ"

Grace, mercy, and peace to you, from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen. Colossians 3 & 4, some of which you heard today, are Paul’s instructions to Christians on how to live. Like the book of Galatians, they focus on sanctification—the Christian life. And they build on the Gospel laid out in the preceding chapters. Just to recap the themes of our 3 previous sermons—1) we have been transferred into the kingdom of God’s beloved Son, and by virtue of what Christ has done, we have a new citizenship in Him. 2) We’ve received the mystery of the Gospel, that Jesus Christ is in and with His Church to bring it the forgiveness of sins, a clean conscience, and the life that lasts. 3) We have died with Christ in baptism, and are raised together with Him, so that our life is in Him and with Him. As we come to Paul’s instructions for the new life, we must remember these foundational realities, which Paul sums up in 3:1, “If then you have been raised with Christ…” So…