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Showing posts from January, 2014

You're Not a Fisher; You're a Fish

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“While walking by the Sea of Galilee, [Jesus] saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen.And He said to them, ‘Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.’Immediately they left their nets and followed Him.And going on from there He saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets, and He called them.Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed Him” (Matthew 4:18-22). Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ! At the risk of sounding heretical, let me say this up front: You are not a fisher of men!I know, over the years, you’ve heard a lot of pastors preach a lot of sermons encouraging you to be “a fisher of men.”But that is not your calling.That was the calling to Andrew and Peter, to James and John, on that day Jesus walked by the Sea of Galilee.Yo…

"Who Is My Neighbor?"-- A Sermon for Sanctity of Life Sunday

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The text is Luke 10:25-37, the story of the Good Samaritan: 25 On one occasion an expert in the Law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?” 27 He answered: ”‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” 28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.” 29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” 30 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by …

Let Not Your Hearts Be Troubled: Sermon for the Funeral of Virgil Severtson

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Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ! On Wednesday, January 15, 2014, death came to Virgil Doane Severtson’s broken and battered body; and he was taken from our world.Yet because he is a child of God, Virgil did not have to face what the Bible calls “the second death”—spiritual and eternal death, but rather only the first death—physical death.For God gives such grace to His children that physical death need be the only death they experience.And even physical death, daunting though it undoubtedly is, is effectively reduced for God’s children to merely being a doorway to the immediate presence of God, His saints, and angels—the “host arrayed in white.” I find it fascinating to consider that we humans were created differently with regard to death than both the animals and angels.Animals, with no immortal souls, were created with only one death that awaited them—namely physical death.Angels, although created to be immortals…

To Fulfill All Righteousness: Sermon for the Baptism of Our Lord

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The text for today is our Gospel lesson, Matthew 3:13-17. Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ! You were born as one lost and dead—lost in sin and dead in your trespasses.By nature, an enemy of God, under His just wrath and displeasure and doomed to eternal damnation.A slave to sin and subject to Satan, an unholy child of disobedience and unrighteousness, helplessly being led into the very jaws of hell.A sad state of affairs, to be sure; an unnatural condition that God did not design or intend, but nevertheless, one that that describes every man, woman, and child conceived and born in sin since Adam and Eve.Life in this world (even if lived in blissful ignorance) is still a whirlwind tour whistling through the graveyard.In truth, apart from the triune God, His love and grace—it is really a living death. Yet, since that living death is the only “life” you had known it seemed normal; and to the old sinful flesh that cling…