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Showing posts from February, 2013

Take Heed Lest You Fall!

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The text for today is our Epistle lesson, 1 Corinthians 10:12-13: “Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation He will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. “You’re only three Sundays away from never going to church again.”I’ve told my own children that many times.They laugh.They think I’m exaggerating.Or I’m just saying that because I’m a pastor, and it would look bad if they didn’t go to church.But I’m serious.Any one of us here may be only three Sundays away from never going to church again. The names of formerly active members who are no longer in attendance at worship on Sunday morning are scattered on the membership rolls of churches all around the world.St. John’s is no exc…

The Brood Who Would Not Repent

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The text for today is our Gospel, Luke 13:31-35, which has already been read. Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. When your enemies act like your friends, watch out!  You know things are getting dangerous when that happens.  The Pharisees are Jesus’ enemies.  And now all of a sudden they act like His best friends.  Taking an interest in His safety and well-being.  “Get away from here,” they warn.“Herod wants to kill you.” These Pharisees sound so helpful.Are they different from the Pharisees who have been opposing Jesus every step of the way?The ones that Jesus called hypocrites because they trumpeted their zealous keeping of religious traditions, all the while failing to love and trust God alone, and neglecting to show mercy to their neighbor in need?Have they seen the light and turned a new leaf? No, they’re the same Pharisees whom Jesus spoke His woes against.The ones who bristled at Jesus’ criticism, the…

The Valiant One Fights for Us!

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Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Lutherans have always held the singing of hymns and the proclamation of the Word in sermons in high regard.So it seems very fitting that we are combining the two in our joint Lenten services.The sermon tonight is based upon Psalm 46, the introit we just spoke responsively a few minutes ago, which is also the basis for our Hymn of the Day, “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God” (LSB #647). This battle hymn of the Reformation will serve as an outline for our message. What distinguishes Lutheran hymn writers is that their hymns are to be in theological agreement with the central message of all scriptures—“Salvation by the grace of God alone through faith alone in Christ alone as revealed to us in Scripture alone.”In addition, Lutherans who write sermons and hymns are to be concerned with properly distinguishing Law and Gospel.Therefore, not every hymn or song would be appropriate to…

Full of the Holy Spirit and Led in the Wilderness

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Click here for an audio version of this sermon. Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ! They had been attending worship faithfully each week for about two months.Actively participating in two Bible studies each week, they just seemed to drink in everything, asking the most insightful questions.This young couple was the kind of prospective members that we pastors just dream about.“We think we’d like to join your church,” they said.“But before we do, we want to know just what you believe and teach.We’ve seen the summary on your website, but do you have a book or something more in depth that we could read?” I could have chosen a number of books, including the Small Catechism or the Book of Concord, but I gave them a book called “Spirituality of the Cross,” by Gene Edward Veith, a summary of his own odyssey through the American religious wilderness that ended at the Lutheran Church. Two days later they returned.“Pastor, we’ve read the book you sent with us, and …