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The Lord Has Prevailed

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Click here to listen to this sermon. “O Lord, you have deceived me, and I was deceived; you are stronger than I, and you have prevailed” (Jeremiah 20:7). Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the LORD Jesus Christ! The direction of our text is from complaint (vv. 7-10) to praise (vv. 11-13). But context is crucial. In the verses immediately following this text, Jeremiah returns to bitter complaint, even cursing the day of his birth. So, what’s up with Jeremiah? Is he unstable? Flighty? Moody? No, his story just reflects the ebb and flow of Christian experience. Our relationship with God does not always proceed in a straight line, from weak to strong. Often it vacillates, becoming under God’s grace ever stronger, but seldom becoming so in a smooth, unbroken, upward path. The verses before our text clearly show that Jeremiah had cause for complaint (at least, humanly speaking). The LORD called Jeremiah to proclaim God’s judgment against His people. He was to take witnesses, some o…

Justified by His Blood... Reconciled by His Death... Saved by His Life

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“Since, therefore, we have now been justified by His blood, much more shall we be saved by Him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by His life” (Romans 5:9–10). Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ! In our Old Testament lesson, God tells Moses to remind the people of Israel how He had delivered them out of Egypt. Now, if they would only obey God fully and keep His covenant, then out of all the nations on the earth, they would be His treasured possession, His special people. “What a deal!” we might think. “Just obey God’s commandments and keep His covenant and then it’s life on easy street!” Apparently, the people of Israel thought the same. They quickly responded, “All that the Lord has said we will do.” Of course, that was a serious overestimation of their abilities. The First Commandment had bar…

As You Go...

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“And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age’” (Matthew 28:18-20). Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ! Jesus had taught His disciples by word and deed over the course of 3+ years. Shortly before His ascension our Lord promised that He would continue His ministry on earth through His disciples. In our text for today, Jesus instructs them on the way in which He will continue to make more disciples through them. This passage is used for Holy Trinity Sunday because the baptismal words—in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit—are explicitly trinitarian. The teaching to convey everything Jesus instructed is trinitaria…

In the Last Days

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“And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour My Spirit on all flesh” (Acts 2:17). Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ! We are living in the last days and the end of the world is drawing near. I don’t say this because of anything in the news today. I don’t say this because I have some sort of inside source. I say this because of our reading from Acts 2, the account of the first Christian Pentecost. Pentecost was one of the three great festivals that God had established for Israel. Also known as the Feast of Harvest, it followed the completion of the barley harvest, and was a kind of firstfruits thanksgiving for the early wheat harvest. Every pious Jew tried to be in Jerusalem for this feast, which was observed each year 50 days after Passover. But God had special events in mind for this Pentecost in 33 A.D. About 120 of Jesus’ disciples gathered together for prayer and worship. Suddenly, a sound li…

As You Share Christ's Sufferings

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“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when His glory is revealed” (1 Peter 4:12-13). Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ! I don’t know of anyone who enjoys suffering. I think that would be considered a psychological disorder. But there is some suffering that results in our good. There’s the suffering of the athlete who trains hard for the Olympics. There’s the marathon runner who runs miles each day just to compete. Christian suffering, like the suffering of an athlete in training, also results in good, only more so. For a Christian never suffers alone, but shares Christ’s sufferings. Christian suffering will come. It comes in the form of “fiery” trials (4:12). These fires test the confession of faith professed by the believer. Thes…

Now What?

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“And when [Jesus] had said these things, as they were looking on, He was lifted up, and a cloud took Him out of their sight. And while they were gazing into heaven as He went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes,and said, ‘Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw Him go into heaven” (Acts 1:9-11). Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ! Well. It came and went. Did you miss it? The great apocalypse linked to the last day of the Mayan calendar: December 21, 2012? Just another failed attempt to forecast the end of the world. I’d always wondered: What do you suppose those people who count so heavily on the world ending on a particular date do the day after? You know… the ones who give up everything they own, and then gather on a mountainside and wait for Jesus or the mothership to return. Now I know; I met one of them…