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How Good Is Good Enough?

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Click here to listen to this sermon? Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ! And as [Jesus] was setting out on His journey, a man ran up and knelt before Him and asked Him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone” (Mark 10:17-18). This interaction between Jesus and the man reminds me of a line from The Princess Bride. Throughout the movie, the evil Vizzini constantly states that things are “Inconceivable!” Eventually, an exasperated Inigo Montoya looks at him and says: “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.” There are several words the man in our Gospel seems to misunderstand. The first is “good.” “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus replies, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone.” In essence, “You keep using that word, ‘good.’ I do not think it means what you think it means.” The ma…

The Little Ones Who Believe in Jesus

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“Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea” (Mark 9:42). Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ! There are certain things that you observe around you that let you know you’re in an election season. Campaign signs, mailers, televised debates, and endless commercials. And whether it’s a candidate or a proposition or school bond issue, one way they attempt to influence the voter is by making an appeal on behalf of the children. Candidates are pictured with children around them. Initiatives are promoted through children smiling and waving, perhaps even speaking words of their own scripted endorsement so that you, too, will support it. Either the person or the idea is presented as good because it is good for the children. And what kind of monster doesn’t want to do what is good for the children? Whil…

Receiving the Kingdom of God Like a Child

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“Let the children come to Me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it” (Mark 10:14-15). Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ! Dear friends in Christ, in the last few weeks, you have heard what a place of honor Jesus affords to little children. You have heard that one who receives a little one in Jesus’ name receives Jesus. You have also heard the warning against leading a little one astray, both through false teaching and failure to teach. And our Lord takes it one step further in our text this morning/evening. Jesus declares in that little ones can believe in Him, and are, in fact, models of faith. People are bringing their children to Jesus. They have heard of Jesus’ miracles, and may have witnessed some of them personally. They desire the spiritual blessing associated with Jesus laying His hands upon t…

The Lamb Who Judges Righteously

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Click here to listen to this sermon. The Lord made it known to me and I knew; then you showed me their deeds. But I was like a gentle lamb led to the slaughter. I did not know it was against me they devised schemes, saying, “Let us destroy the tree with its fruit, let us cut him off from the land of the living, that his name be remembered no more” (Jeremiah 11:18-19). Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. It’s the cry of Jeremiah, surrounded by those who plot to take his life. But it’s worse than that. Reading through the rest of chapter 11, you find that it’s the villagers of Anathoth who plot against him. Anathoth was set aside by God for the Levites—for the priests of Israel; therefore, as the prophet of God declares God’s Word, it is the priests of the land who are plotting his death. It’s even worse than that. Read chapter 1, and you find out that Anathoth is Jeremiah’s hometown. These aren’t just priests of the land: these are neighbors, maybe kins…

Out of the Depths: A Sermon for the Funeral of Dorothy Brockberg

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“Out of the depths I cry to You, O Lord! O Lord, hear my voice! Let Your ears be attentive to the voice of my pleas for mercy! If You, O Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? But with You there is forgiveness, that You may be feared. I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in His word I hope; my soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning, more than watchmen for the morning. O Israel, hope in the Lord! For with the Lord there is steadfast love, and with Him is plentiful redemption. And He will redeem Israel from all his iniquities” (Psalm 130). Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ! Our text begins at the place where a man’s life is being overwhelmed, inundated, and flooded. We might imagine being in a small boat on a lake when high winds strike and the waves consume the craft in an instant. One minute you’re safe inside the boat, and the next moment you’re swept away. While drowning is n…

A Perfect Man

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Click here to listen to this sermon. “Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body” (James 3:1-2). Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ! There once was a man who, while listening to a sermon in church was convicted of his sin, and he set out to do better. “I have sinned against [God] in thought, word, and deed,” he’d said week after week, but this day he especially sensed it was true. He reasoned that his evil thoughts often caught him off guard and might be difficult to change. His evil actions, he decided, were often a product of his thoughts and words. So he would first focus on his words; his words were more likely something he could change. If he could catch himself before he said something he’d regret, he would also have more control over…