"My Word Will Never Pass Away"
A sermon on Luke 21:25-36
Second Sunday in Advent, 10 December 2017
The permanence of the Lordâ€™s Word includes the permanence of his decrees and judgments against sin and sinners. Heaven and earth will pass away because of sin in the world, corrupting creation so that it also groans, longing for Godâ€™s people to be revealed as His redeemed and holy people on earth.
This permanence stands all the more with regard to the â€œeternal gospelâ€ (Rev. 14:6) which Jesus bids His disciples preach and teach. The Word of promise has a permanence transcending the grave itself, giving life to the dead and pronouncing an absolution and eternal inheritance which shall not be revoked, even should heaven and earth pass away.
Hear the full audio of "Time to Wake Up"
A sermon on Romans 13:8-14 (ESV)
First Sunday in Advent, 3 December 2017
In Gesthemane, we behold that Christ who calls sleepy disciples to follow him. He found that time and again, His disciples needed him to wake them up. His voice rings out through St. Paul, "the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed." (Romans 13:11) Now is the time, your time, to be loved and to love your neighbors in Christ Jesus.
"Earthly Examples for Heavenly Citizens"
A sermon on Philippians 3:17-21
23rd Sunday after Trinity, 19 November 2017
The world just loves a good scandal, the chance to take the powerful and prominent down a notch or twelve. Yet people seem to hunger for real, worthy examples. We want and we need real people on whom we can rely and in whom we can trust. In ou age, most every word and deed can be caught on camera and rain down from the digital cloud over the whole wide world before we even know it. Who would dare stand and say, "Imitate me, follow my example?" The Lord does provide them by faith, hidden under the weakness--kneeling under the weight of the cross of Christ
"Partners in the Gospel"
A sermon on Philippians 1:3-11
22nd Sunday after Trinity, 12 November 2017
Congregation life is meant to be a blessed partnership between Pastor and people. Christ bids us behold one another in light of the Gospel. Pastor looks upon each member and rejoices, "My Lord has given you as my partners in the Gospel!" Each member looks on the next, upon the pastor too, and confesses: "I need you in my life as my partner in the Gospel! Thanks be to God he has given you to me!" Sadly, we sinners are slow to believe Jesus. Far too often, we're hopelessly trying to go it alone--or looking for another, different partnership than the one Christ has given...
"The World Does Not Know You"
A sermon on 1 John 3:1-3
All Saints' Day (Observed), 5 November 2017
All Saintsâ€™ Day provides opportunity for you to remember with thanksgiving all the saints of God. We remember those who have gone before us, out of the great tribulation. We rejoice in the saints side by side with us now in Christ. We hold fast to this faith for the saints yet to be born in Christ. All Saints Day is a day remembering the people of the past, present and future with whom we have eternal communion in Christ.
"The Reformation: On Truth"
A sermon on John 8:31-36
Reformation Day (Observed), 29 October 2017
As we observe the 500th Anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation, our attention focuses on the promise Jesus makes to those who believe in him: "if you abide in My Word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth shall set you free." His threefold promise and work for His people endures through the centuries. Despite the many false teachers and false disciples in every age, Christ remains the one reliable and true teacher of His disciples by His Word, which sets us truly free from sin for life in His name.
"The Reformation: On Forgiveness"
A sermon on Matthew 9:1-9
Ninteenth Sunday after Trinity, 22 October 2017
The Reformation centers squarely on Jesus and the forgiveness of sins in His name. Our Gospel reading shows that Jesus has authority here on earth, right in the midst of sinners, to forgive sins. Scripture goes on to show us that very authority He gives to His Church, His pastors and people. Public or private, the personal confession of sins is for our comfort, to find help exactly where Christ puts it: in His Word, from your Christian brother or neighbor's human lips.
"On Christian Unity"
A sermon on Ephesians 4:1-6
Seventeenth Sunday after Trinity, 8 October 2017
The "one, holy, Christian and apostolic Church," we believe, is indivisible. Unity in the Church is not ours to accomplish, the result of human effort or wisdom. Rather, Christian unity is God's own gift and work for us in Christ. The oneness Paul preaches is never ours to build by our own ingenuity, effort or power. Christian Unity remains the solitary handiwork of one Spirit through the pure preaching of God's Word and the right administration of His Sacraments.
This widow is not defined by her grief, her anger, her loss, but The Mistress of the House is defined by her faith that freely received Godâ€™s gifts and freely gives the Lord glory in return. The result of Godâ€™s miracles is faith in the Word of the Lord. The miracles serve throughout Scripture to create faith, to establish and confirm Godâ€™s saving grace confessing â€œthe Word of the Lord in your mouth is true.â€ So the conclusion Godâ€™s people draw in Nain, as Christ raises a widowâ€™s son, â€œGod has visited His people!â€
"On Anxiety and Faith"
A sermon on Matthew 6:24-34
Fifteenth Sunday after Trinity, 24 September 2017
No one can serve two masters. Just the way it is, even for you. But we try, don't we?While our frail and fallen flesh worries about many things, Christ calls our attention to the abiding affection and constant activity of God as He reigns over all creation. He draws us in to remember both who we are as redeemed people and whose we are as Children of the Heavenly Father.
"Words of Life and Healing"
A sermon on Proverbs 4:10-23 / Luke 17:11-19
Fourteenth Sunday after Trinity, 17 September 2017
Today, Immanuel Lutheran celebrates Rally Day and resumes Christian education for all ages. Bibles are gifted to our young ones, teachers blessed and entrusted before God with their sacred teaching takes. We pause to reflect with Solomon on the practical nature of spiritual life and learning. Not all paths lead to heaven, nor to a healthy family life. Some are downright dangerous and destructive.
Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life. His Word shines as a lamp to our feet and light to our path. Though wounded and stained with sin, stumbling and sometimes astray, the Gospel brings return of life and healing along our way. God bless and preserve us by His Holy Spirit, that forgiven and forgiving we walk in His ways together in Christ.
"Take Care of Him"
A sermon on Luke 10:23-37 (The Good Samaritan)
Thirteenth Sunday after Trinity, 10 September 2017
Upon the return of the 72 He sent, Jesus blesses His disciples for the spiritual care they received and delivered. Meanwhile, a Law-man shows up with a devilish desire to test Jesus and prove him a fraud, certainly no Soon of God. An echo of the Devil's own voice is put to shame such that the Law-man now seeks "to justify himself" under the Law, asking but "who is *my* neighbor?" (And who is not?)
The Lord Jesus bids us behold with compassion those neighbors like ourselves, people abandoned, beaten, bleeding and left lying helpless with deadly injuries. Meet neighbors like us, robbed of any comfort or hope self-help. Often unconscious of sin, wounded in body and soul, the Helper arrives with His mercy. He must come and do everything to deliver us with our neighbor, bearing all the burden and cost Himself. He takes our wounds to His cross, to His grave. He clothes us in His righteousness by grace, through faith. Jesus alone has loved God with all his heart, and the whole world full of neighbors as himself.
Christ provides for our neighbor's care personally today and bids His Church "Take care of him." His spiritual care is wine poured out on the lips, exposing and cleansing wounds to bind and heal them. He gives His medicine by means of Word and Sacraments, His life-giving treatment for every mortal injury, the deadly infection of all our sin. Blessed are your eyes, who yet see the care He commands first hand, ears who still hear His voice saying "Whatever it costs, I will pay." Truly, "the kingdom of God is near you," nearer than many self-serving passers-by ever care to believe.
"Confident and Competent in Christ"
A sermon on 2 Corinthians 3:1-11
Twelfth Sunday after Trinity, 27 August 2017
The ministry of Moses was such that God's people couldn't stand to look Moses in the face as he spoke the Word of the Lord. The letter of the Law proclaimed condemnation of sin and pronounced death upon idolatry, blasphemy and those who plowed or harvested on the Sabbath Day. (Exodus 32-34) As a Pharisees' Pharisee, before Christ opened his eyes and ears, Paul engaged in the ministry of condemnation, the ministry of death by the letter of the Law. He personally saw to St. Stephen's death for preaching Jesus. But the ministry of death and condemnation is abolished. Ministers of the New Covenant in Christ's blood carry on a very different work. That ministry gives Spirit and life to sinners, pronounced righteous for Jesus' sake, made competent to serve and confident to stand before God, redeemed.
"The Fugitive's Faith"
A sermon on Genesis 4:1-15; Luke 18:9-14
Eleventh Sunday after Trinity, 27 August 2017
When I do something for God, I want Him to approve and praise it. When I give something to God, I want him to love it and thank me. However, Scripture says He just doesn't--and won't--unless Jesus acts through those signs given us...
"Hanging on His Words"
A sermon on Luke 19:41-48
Tenth Sunday after Trinity, 20 August 2017
Jesus weeps over those robbed of His peace. He visits judgment on those who steal away heavenly treasures. Christ comes to fill the temple with His teaching. He speaks mercy to His people. Jesus restores the gift of peace, visiting us personally, so that none will be robbed of His riches given freely by faith. His Peace is served at His table; peace he pours out at the font. He proclaims peace by means of His forgiving word. Have you been robbed? Or are you still listening, hanging onto His Words?
"Think You're Standing Strong?"
A sermon on 1 Corinthians 10:6-13
Ninth Sunday after Trinity, 13 August 2017
Is there such a thing as a strong Christian? Yes, but none so strong as to be able to escape and endure temptation on their own. None stand strong enough to rescue themselves from their slavery to sin. The Strong find God's help where God puts it, receiving it gladly in Word and Sacrament by faith. The "Strong" Christians use strength to glorify our gracious God, by employing this gift in service to others--even and especially those struggling now next to them in Church and world. Take heed, "Strong" Christian, lest you falter and fall to the same old boring temptations and sin which hounds us all. Whenever you do, the Lord stands near with His means of grace to deliver you right along with the rest of us.
"God Breathes Life"
A sermon on Genesis 2:7-17
Seventh Sunday after Trinity, 30 July 2017
From the beginning, God gives us a glimpse of His personal interest and affection toward each person He brings forth into the world. The fallen world continually diminishes personhood into biological accident, evolutionary anomaly or random combination of demographic statistic and psychosocial circumstance. Nonetheless, God declares each person His unique creature with identity, precious value to Him and divine purpose for neighbor. He grants us the gift of body and soul, ransomed in Christ to partake of the very Tree of Life. (Rev. 22:1-3)
Christ does not envision his church as a place where people come to be fired up against their neighbors. Christ does not envision the Holy life of his Holy people as life marked by anger and accusations. Rather, the Christian life is to be marked by reconciliation in Christ, life reconciled to God and one another. He would make of us peacemakers and loving servants to all. We acknowledge anger for the sinful thing it is, confess it and abide in absolution. The soft Word of God’s grace turns away anger.
Jesus asks the boat guys to lend a boat, move it out little. Jesus asks these tired fishermen to fish. Those nets they were mending, Jesus asks them to cast them out. These werenâ€™t difficult things. They did them all the time. It wasnâ€™t a strange, unfamiliar thing Christ bid them to do--until the Lord blessed it in spite of their failure and half-hearted misgivings!
"My Enemy is Unmade"
A sermon on Romans 12:14-21
Fourth Sunday after Trinity, 9 July 2017
Jesus keeps taking my enemies away! He scratches their names off my list faster than I can write them down! "Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse." Really, Jesus? Bless the hostile? The haters? The sinners who sin against me?!
"Overjoyed with Just One--and All"
A sermon on Luke 15:1-10
Third Sunday after Trinity, 2 July 2017
Pharisees and sinners want each other to "Get lost!" But Jesus keeps finding stubborn strays and bringing them back. He's doing this on purpose! "Rejoice with me, with them, with angels..." He says! "I found you! I found them! You belong here. Stick around." This is a good thing He calls "repentance."
God loves to give good gifts and do good things for people. Some go to great lengths making excuses, always rationalizing why it's OK to refuse the gifts and reject this gracious Giver. Christ invited you to gather with the rest of us poor, crippled, blind and lame people as we receive His good gifts with thanksgiving. That's all the excuse to show up you'll ever need.
"He Believed The Lord"
A sermon on Genesis 15:1-6
First Sunday after Trinity, 18 June 2017
Abram was not the perfect man, with the perfect marriage, perfect home or perfect family life. But he trusts the Lord to keep His promise, which faith alone is reckoned to him as perfect righteousness.
"Let's Meet at the Corner of Heaven and Earth!"
A sermon on Isaiah 6:1-7; John 3:1-17
The Holy Trinity, 11 June 2017
Dealing with the Athanasian Creed can seem a little like Abbot and Costello's famous "Who's on First?" routine. Here God's people confess the Biblical truth about Jesus: His divinity and humanity and the clear revelation of the Trinity in action in our midst.
The Babylonians were pioneers of mathematics and science, mixed with religious zeal and fervor. Their postulates and theorems are still taught today. Has our culture really abandoned religion, or merely embraced as new a very ancient and self-aggrandizing worship of Science? God reveals himself this Pentecost day as one well able to make himself known and understood to all, through the love of proud and confused sinners and the forgiveness of their sins proclaimed in the Name of Christ Jesus...