Showing posts from October, 2020

Sermon on Romans 3:19-28, for Reformation Day 2020 (A), "God's Righteousness"

  In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. What does God have to prove? He doesn’t have to prove anything to anyone, right? He’s GOD after all. But in Romans 3:19-28, it says twice that God proved or showed His righteousness (v. 25-26). What did He do and why? God showed His righteousness by justifying believers in Jesus. On Reformation Day, we continue to contemplate that great word “righteousness” as today we reflect on God’s Righteousness. As we zero in on this aspect, many other facets of this beautiful diamond sparkle unseen. We are only glimpsing the great gift of God’s Righteousness from one angle. Righteousness is a central theme of Romans and Apostle Paul’s ministry itself. It became central to Martin Luther’s Reformation 500 years ago. Not only Paul and Luther beat that drum. This theme of righteousness runs all through the Bible. Two key points today: 1) God’s righteousness is His character, and 2) He imputes or credits His righteousness

Sermon on 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10, for the 20th Sunday after Pentecost 2020 (A), "Righteousness in Action"

  Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father, and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Amen. We continue our Reformation month theme of “righteousness”. We opened by checking two very different claims we can make before God. Only claiming Christ’s righteousness by faith meets God’s approval. Last week in the wedding parable we saw the robe of Christ’s righteousness is the only acceptable garment at His banquet. Today, we’re going to talk about a different aspect of righteousness. Those first two weeks focused on righteousness as God’s gift—the righteousness that comes by faith. We call this “passive righteousness”, because we didn’t do anything to deserve or receive it—it’s simply GRACE—God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense. But today I want to talk about “active righteousness” or “righteousness in action.” Consider, if faith is a channel or receptacle for God’s gift of righteousness, does the received gift stay sleeping or quiet within us? No! It’s a living gift we use! Hallowe

Sermon on Matthew 22:1-10 (and Isaiah 61:10), for the 19th Sunday after Pentecost 2020 (A), "Robe of Righteousness"

  Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Amen. Our Introit today says: my God has “ clothed me with the garments of salvation; he has covered me with the robe of righteousness ” (Isaiah 61:10). Keep this image of a “robe of righteousness” in mind as we discuss the parable of the Wedding Banquet from Matthew 22. A key point in the parable is when a guest without wedding garments is thrown out of the feast. Continuing our Reformation theme of “righteousness”, from last week, let’s see how that “robe of righteousness” and the wedding garment are connected. Last week we talked about two very different claims: claiming our own righteousness or claiming Christ’s righteousness. Only Christ’s righteousness gives legal standing in God’s courts. Putting clothes on that same abstract idea, Jesus’ parable pictures worthy clothes for a wedding banquet. First you may have noticed how drastic everything is in this parable. Without explanation t

Sermon on Philippians 3:4-14, for the 18th Sunday after Pentecost 2020 (A), "Two Very Different Claims"

  Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Amen. During October, I am going to highlight some Reformation themes from our Scripture readings as I have done in the past, leading up to the 503 rd anniversary of Luther’s nailing the 95 Theses. October 31, 1517 marked a monumental turning point in the history of the Christian church, as Martin Luther began to reopen the Scripture and led a reexamination of how the teachings of the church compared to the Bible, and led a return to God’s Word. Key among those rediscoveries of Biblical teaching was the teaching of “righteousness.” For October, as “Reformation month”, we will examine the Biblical concept of righteousness. In Philippians 3, Paul contrasts two very different kinds of claims we can make before God. Human beings stand “before God”, who is the Creator and Judge of all. We can’t hide or escape His judgment. Digging our head in the sand and saying there is no God, is like a todd