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Sermon on Luke 18:1-8, for the 19th Sunday after Pentecost (C), "Pray, and don't give up!"

Sermon Notes: •Today: lesson in prayer, persistence/determination, justice, suffering, and the character of God.  •V. 1 Don’t surrender to discouragement or impatience! Have confidence to continually bring your prayers before God, knowing that He desires and invites them and has compassion. Christ is engaging with what is likely our common experience of frustration with regard to prayer: giving up prematurely. We are promised that we will face difficulty and crosses that will test our faith and persistence. Christ wants to build up our hearts, our resiliency, determination.  •“do not lose heart” Ephesians 3:13 “over what I am suffering for you, which is your glory.” •“do not lose heart” 2 Cor. 4:1, 16 in the ministry, or while our “outer self is wasting away”.  •Jesus tells various people to “take heart” when they were ill, when they needed forgiveness, when they were afraid because they didn’t recognize who Jesus was, or when they were to face tribulations in the world. See also Ps. 2…

Sermon on Luke 18:9-17, for the 20th Sunday after Pentecost (C), "The Record-Keeper or the Merciful God?"

Sermon Outline: ·Parables: ordinary story with spiritual meaning. Look for the surprise/unexpected. The recognized sinner is “justified”, while the apparently upright religious person is not. ·Who are the Pharisees? Model citizens, lay leaders with intense dedication to their own version of religiosity. Highly respected. Tax collectors? Despised. Took more than allowed, worked for enemy. ·Dimensions of the story/pitfalls to avoid oComparisons/treating others with contempt (look at all those terrible people) oSelf-righteousness/trusting yourself, nothing to repent (look at my record!) oBoasting before God/not a real prayer (my good deeds should impress God; reward) ·What is it aiming for? oHumility established in repentance before God oHumbly receiving righteousness by faith in Christ oHumbly cultivating a life of righteousness and mercy toward others ·In our life: may feel better about myself if I can just find someone worse than me. But we’re not judged “on a curve.” See the posture of the …

Sermon on 2 Timothy 2:1-13, for the 18th Sunday after Pentecost (C), "A Good Soldier of Christ Jesus"

·Sermon Notes:  ·Paul is addressing Timothy, a young pastor, to build him up in Christ. You don’t need to be a pastor to also be built up by Paul’s words here. · V. 1 “My child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus”—We need the strength of Christ as we live our Christian lives, just as soldiers need strength for their work. But it’s a different kind of strength. Soldiers look largely to their training and equipping for the physical and mental strength for their mission. A “good soldier of Christ” needs strength also, to endure suffering, face temptation, and grow in faith. How does God arm or equip “good soldiers of Christ” with this strength, by grace? Romans 13:12 & 14 says in spiritual battle we are to “cast off the works of darkness” and “put on the armor of light.” What is the armor of light? V. 14 says, “Put on the Lord Jesus Christ.” Professional soldiers both ancient and modern wear armor and/or a uniform. Many here have military issued uniforms, and you all …

Sermon on Galatians 3:23-4:7, for the 2nd Sunday after Pentecost, "Law. Justified. Faith"

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. What can turn us from prisoners, slaves, or children under guardianship and into freed people, adopted sons, and full-fledged heirs of God? That’s the change our reading is about today. We’ll look closer to see how, but first of all realize this isn’t a status change we can accomplish by our power. Getting free from the power and slavery of sin is something only God can do by His grace. Only He can make us His heirs. This is about what God does for us, not what we can do for ourselves. First, you should know the audience of this letter. Galatia was a Roman province in the middle of what is now Turkey, and Galatians is one of St. Paul’s most important letters. So urgent that he skips his usual formalities and launches sharply to the point. With fiery urgency he tells them the very Gospel of Jesus Christ is at stake. They’re surrendering the true Gospel for a counterfeit. His urgent message is sent to get them back…

Sermon on various OT passages for Trinity Sunday, "Tracing the Trinity in the Old Testament"

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. Today is Trinity Sunday. This Sunday is unique on the Christian calendar, because it doesn’t commemorate an event, miracle, or a person, but rather a doctrine. The teaching of the Trinity is central to the Christian faith. Attacked for centuries, but always defended as the orthodox or correct teaching of the Bible. From the earliest centuries the Creeds were confessed to defend against distortions of the Bible, especially about the Trinity. We could get stuck on the semantics of the word “Trinity”. The word itself is not found in the Bible, but that’s not the important question. The important question is whether the teaching is found in the Bible. We simply use “Trinity” to describe how God shows Himself in Scripture; as Three Persons, One God. I assume most or all of you already believe the teaching of the Trinity. You believe and confess that God is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—three persons, but one being or e…