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Showing posts from May, 2017

Sermon on Ezekiel 36:22-28, for the 7th Sunday of Easter, Exaudi (1 Year Lectionary), "God Vindicates His Name"

Sermon Outline:
•Context: Prophet Ezekiel, less than 600 years BC; on the world stage the Babylonian empire was rising, and over a couple of decades during the lifetime of Ezekiel, his homeland of Judah was overthrown. Ezekiel > exile early with the king, nobles and officials. Writes of God’s promised restoration of Israel—His redemption plan.
•Ch. 36 God lays out His agenda to act for the sake of His holy name. He’s going to act to vindicate His Name. Restore honor and holiness of His Name. Why needed? What had they done? Defiled or polluted the land—not with toxic waste or chemicals, but a pollution of toxic deeds/actions/beliefs. Worship of idols (Ezekiel calls them fecal deities, or something more disgusting..), bloodshed in the land, expelled from their land by the curse for their obscene disobedience. Problem—the dishonor was not “contained” to the people of Israel alone—they had profaned or dishonored God’s Name also. This is the effect when we bear God’s Holy Name—we repres…

Sermon on John 16:23-30, for the 6th Sunday of Easter, Rogate ("Ask!"), 1 Year Lectionary

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. In our Gospel reading from John 16, Jesus tells His disciples “Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.” ·Jesus urges us to ask boldly and He will answer! amazing promise, but this simple promise creates a crisis of prayer or a crisis of understanding for countless people. ·two ways to understand: one leads to a crisis of prayer and doubt. the other to fullness of joy ·Reread. Where is emphasis? Next sentence “in my name.” ·natural tendency: latch onto “whatever you ask”—because we want to take Jesus’ words as a genie-in-the-bottle promise. Examples: cars, wealth; healing grandma—we wonder “what gives?” >>Crisis: ask, but don’t receive! Have Christians “mastered” this promise? ·neglect the qualifier: in my name. bulletin quote: “in the name of Jesus” not a ma…

Sermon on John 16:5-15, for the 5th Sunday of Easter (1 year Lectionary), Cantate (Sing!), "Spirit of Truth"

Sermon outline: ·Sorrow on disciple’s hearts—Jesus’ farewell speech (before cross, resurrection, ascension). Leaving them—we also long to be comforted by Jesus’ personal presence. Jesus’ ongoing presence—the Spirit, teaching, Lord’s Supper, joined in living relationship and salvation through baptism. Not orphans—but they won’t see Him. Disciples’ sorrow—this is not to our advantage! Jesus’ answer—it is to your advantage, because the Spirit is coming! Now Christ’s ministry, not in one location—but ministers through His Helper, the Holy Spirit, to the entire Christian ministry across the earth. Jesus is everywhere His Spirit is outpoured, and the works of the Spirit are done, and people directed to Jesus. ·Works of the Spirit (others listed John 14-16)—convict the world concerning sin, righteousness and judgment. As Christians we often want to celebrate the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and being led by the Spirit, etc—but do we rejoice that “convicting us” is central to the Spirit’s work? C…

Sermon on Isaiah 40:25-31, for the 4th Sunday of Easter (1 Year Lectionary)--Jubilate (Shout for Joy) Sunday, "Who is Like God?"

Sermon Outline: ·The conclusion of a conversation (begins vs. 9): “To whom then will you compare me, that I should be like him says the Holy One.” Isaiah 40:25-31—God is asking, Have you considered His greatness? The size and reach of the universe? We have the most meager and inadequate measurements to try to grasp it. Man has not instructed God in wisdom or understanding, as if we could teach Him anything—neither about justice or knowledge. Compared to God, we are utterly nothing—dust, a drop in the bucket, nothing and emptiness. God is incomparable to anything we might compare Him too, and the thought of comparing Him to idols and false gods is an utter insult and foolishness. He is the One who laid down the foundations of the earth and stretched out the heavens like a tent. Our existence is momentary in comparison. ·Don’t like to think of ourselves this way, as dust and nothingness, and it is greatly humbling, but the truth. How often have we challenged God’s wisdom or justice, whet…

Sermon on John 10:11-16, for the 3rd Sunday of Easter 1 Yr Lectionary, Misericordias Domini, "Known by the Good Shepherd"

Expanded sermon outline:
•Shepherd theme in Bible—several uses: 1) describe God in His relation to 2) His people as flock or lambs, 3) but also the leaders, priests, and prophets. Bad shepherds—Ezekiel 34 (wider context) and Jeremiah 23—false teachers, abusive, rule with force and harshness, neglect to feed, protecting personal gain and trampling the poor and needy. Sheep are scattered, none to seek them. God Himself will intervene.
•Actions of God as shepherd—Psalm 23, protects, leads, feeds, comforts. Personal knowledge, love, care. Ezek. 34, search and recovery, heal and strengthen, destroy the enemies, justice. Zechariah 11-13, shepherd of the doomed flock, to be betrayed, pierced, mourned over, and struck, so the sheep are scattered. Leads to Jesus’ description: John 10—lays down His life for the sheep
•Knowing God as our Good Shepherd—comfort and reassurance, not a hired hand. Not distant, detached, unconcerned with what happens to us. Belonging, invested, has something at stake…