Showing posts from October, 2015

Sermon on Hebrews 7:23-28, for Reformation Day, "Our Forever Great High Priest"

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. Today we observe Reformation Day, which commemorates how Martin Luther began the Reformation of the Christian Church nearly 500 years ago, by nailing the 95 Theses to the church door in Wittenberg, Germany. One of the most significant outcomes of the Reformation was to make plain again, the glory of the saving work of Jesus Christ. The Reformation began to proclaim once again, the glorious comfort of what Jesus Christ has done. Today we’re continuing our walk through the book of Hebrews. To briefly review, we’ve already heard in Hebrews this month how Christ is all-sufficient for our salvation. He has accomplished everything for us, and suffered on our behalf, in a divine mystery, that God should become human and accept such a lowly death. We also heard how Hebrews speaks of the deadly seriousness of sin, and how deep it runs in us, and the contrast to our original confidence and hope in Christ Jesus. Fin

Sermon on Hebrews 4:1-16, for the 21st Sunday after Pentecost, "The Living Word of God"

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. Today’s reading from Hebrews speaks of the power and authority of God’s Word, and also how it is received in faith, or not received, in unbelief and rebellion. The power of God’s Word and the centrality of faith were two of the driving forces behind the Reformation of the Christian church, begun by Martin Luther. 500 years ago, the Word of God had largely fallen into obscurity. Despite the fact that almost everyone considered themselves Christians, knowledge of what the Bible taught was abysmally poor. For the average person, obstacles to hearing and understanding God’s Word included illiteracy, because few could read; a poorly educated clergy, who were to teach God’s Word; and a language barrier, because the few available copies of the Bible were not written in their native language. For all these reasons, the Word of God and it’s living power was hindered from working on people’s hearts. Faith was a dimly b

Sermon on Hebrews 3:12-19, for the 20th Sunday after Pentecost, "Serious Sin and Original Confidence"

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. In many churches today, the word “sin” is either missing from their vocabulary, or largely ignored. And this is from the pastors themselves. Sin is too negative—we’d rather focus only on the positive. Or talking about sin might offend us or make us feel bad about ourselves. Imagine if a doctor felt the same about diagnosing and treating diseases, or cancer! Would such a doctor be allowed to practice medicine, if he only sought to make the patient think better of themselves, while ignoring the disease and its treatment? Now who really does the diagnosing though? It’s God’s own Word that makes the diagnosis of our hearts and our lives. It’s God’s own Word that identifies sin and prescribes a cure—both to the heart of the pastor and to the hearers of God’s Word—you! But why should we take sin so seriously anyway? Isn’t it enough to focus only on the positive? Well, gloom about the problem with no word about the