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Showing posts from April, 2018

Sermon on James 1:16-21, for the 5th Sunday of Easter (1 YR lectionary), "The Implanted Word"

Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God the Father of lights, Jesus, His Word of Truth, and the Holy Spirit whom He makes to dwell in us. Amen. We’ll take today’s reading from James 1:16-21 verse by verse. James writes pithy, punchy statements that pack a lot of weight without rambling. To get the full depth of his letter, like any other book of the Bible, let the Bible be its own interpreter—connect the dots between James and the rest of the Bible—his rich theology draws heavily on the words of Jesus and other scripture. Some call his letter the Proverbs of the NT, or see parallels between James and the Sermon on the Mount. Our reading begins abruptly “Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” The “do not be deceived” part comes right after explaining that temptation is not from God, but originates in our own sinful nature. So do not be …

Sermon on 1 Peter 2:11-20, for the 4th Sunday of Easter (1 Yr lectionary), "Honor Those in Authority"

·Special focus of our reading on the 4th (& also 8th) commandment(s). Subject to every human institution—emperor, governors…honor everyone…honor the emperor. ·Honor your father and your mother. What does this mean? We should fear and love God so that we do not despise or anger our parents and other authorities, but honor them, serve and obey them, love and cherish them. ·You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor. What does this mean? We should fear and love God so that we do not tell lies about our neighbor, betray him, slander him, or hurt his reputation, but defend him, speak well of him, and explain everything in the kindest way. ·Our reading takes the intersection of these two commandments to describe our Christian conduct with the outside world of society, government, and politics. Note: Other passages deal with the responsibility of those who are in authority and their deep accountability toward God. This is not today’s focus, but rather for us under authority.…

Sermon on 1 Peter 1:21-25, for the 3rd Sunday of Easter (1 YR lectionary), "Our Shepherd's Example"

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. Discipleship is the word we use to describe following Jesus and all that means for our life. To be a disciple is to be a follower of Jesus. Our reading from 1 Peter 2:21 begins: “For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.” We follow in the example of Christ’s suffering for us? A good Lutheran question to ask is, “What does this mean?” First of all, clearly only Christ can redeem us from our sins by His suffering. Following Christ’s example does not include redeeming ourselves by suffering for our own sins. Jesus has already finished that for us! That chapter of salvation is already completed, the ink is dried, and it’s done! A chapter earlier, Peter tells how Christ ransomed us from our old sinful ways by the price of His precious, innocent blood. So following Christ’s example in suffering, is not about paying for our sins…

Sermon on Ezekiel 37:1-14, for the 2nd Sunday of Easter (1 Yr lectionary), "God of the Living"

Christ is Risen! He is Risen Indeed, Alleluia! Amen. The beloved old Lenten hymn, “Go to Dark Gethsemane” shifts from the darkness of the crucifixion of Jesus, to His Easter resurrection in the final verse: “Early hasten to the tomb where they lay His breathless clay; all is solitude and gloom. Who has taken Him away? Christ is ris’n! He meets our eyes. Savior teach us so to rise.” That poetic phrase, “His breathless clay” refers to the dead, lifeless body of Jesus, buried in the tomb. But it also reminds us of God creating Adam from the “breathless clay” of the earth, when God created the body of Adam from the dust of the earth, and then breathed into Adam the “breath” or spirit of life (Genesis 2:7). Adam, the valley of dry bones, and Jesus’ resurrection all in turn show who is the God of the Living. Who has power to make breathless clay breathe life again. Death could not hold Jesus any more. The breath or spirit of life returned to Him, and He rose, never to die again! Ezekiel’s s…

Sermon on Job 19:23-27, for the Resurrection of our Lord, Easter Sunday (1 Yr lectionary), "I Know that my Redeemer Lives!"

Note: this sermon is revised and expanded by myself, from an original sermon by Rev. Dr. Reed Lessing, part of a purchased series of Lent and Easter sermons titled "Job: Blessed Be the Name of the Lord." The entire series is available for purchase through the Concordia Seminary Store as an inexpensive download. Our congregation has greatly appreciated the study of Job in both Sunday Bible class and midweek services, concluding with this message. 
In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. For a child, the dark can be frightening—even and especially the dark bedroom, dark hallway, or dark bathroom at night. And that’s all on “familiar ground” inside the home! Not to mention plenty of other dark and scary places outside the home on unfamiliar ground! No, a child doesn’t want to go alone. Even reassuring words from a tired parent: “There’s nothing to be afraid of. No, there are no monsters. Just go! You’ll be fine!” often aren’t enough to convince a…