Showing posts from October, 2012

Jesus: The Truth Who Sets You Free

The text for this observation of Reformation Day is John 8:31-32: “So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in Him, ‘If you abide in My word, you are truly My disciples,and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.’” Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God the Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Our text, like many other passages of Scripture, is often misused and taken out of context.The words “the truth will set you free” are isolated, so that any learning that might help us to find “truth” (whatever that may be) is praised.We see the words on libraries and as secular college mottoes.We hear them on the lips of our post-modern intellectual and political leaders.But we don’t hear Whose Word reveals the truth that sets us free.We don’t hear Who is the Truth that sets us free.We don’t hear about Jesus Christ and Him crucified. And unfortunately this is not limited to the outside world.This goes on in many a church body that calls itself Christian—even among some…

Money: Your Idol or a Gift of God?

An audio version of this sermon is availabe at

Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God the Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To their credit, Pastor Nix and lay leaders of this congregation have rightly made the point that Christian stewardship is not just about money or only about what happens in the Church, but that it is about the management of all of God’s resources in our whole lives.  So it’s somewhat unfortunate that today our message will be about money.It could give the mistaken impression that regardless of what has been said, this stewardship emphasis is really about increasing offerings. That’s one of the advantages of being a liturgical church.None of us picked our readings.They are part of a three-year lectionary, a collection of Scripture readings arranged according to the Church’s calendar and used by churches all over the world.This encourages pastors to not just ride their own hobbyhorse or avoid un…

Absolution: Blasphemy or Authority of God?

The text for today is our Gospel lesson, Matthew 9:1-8, which has already been read. Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God the Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! The house is packed, because Jesus is there.  Four men come to the house with their paralyzed friend because they believe the Word they’ve heard about Jesus and His miracles and believe He might help their friend.  The Savior, seeing their faith, says to the paralytic: “Take heart, My son; your sins are forgiven.” “My son, your sins are forgiven”?  Now, what kind of a thing is that to say?  The teachers of the Law have a word for it: blasphemy.  “This man is blaspheming!” they say to themselves.  What they mean is: “This mere man is claiming divine authority.  We all know that only God can forgive sins.”     Like all effective lies, there is an element of truth here.  Only God can forgive sins.  The teachers of the Law are sadly mistaken, thinking they’re upholding God’s honor.  But their real problem is deeper—unbeli…