Posts

Showing posts from July, 2015

Take Heart; It's Jesus!

Image
Click here to listen to this sermon.

“[Jesus] came to them, walking on the sea. He meant to pass by them, but when they saw Him walking on the sea they thought it was a ghost, and cried out, for they all saw Him and were terrified. But immediately He spoke to them and said, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid” (Mark 6:48-50). Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. You would think that the disciples would get it by now. They’ve been with Jesus for some time. They’ve seen Him preach with amazing authority, heal the sick with a touch, cast out demons with a word, raise the dead, calm a stormy sea, and feed thousands with only five loaves of bread and two fish. Sent out by Jesus and acting on His authority, they’ve even personally participated in some of that powerful stuff. You would think they would get it. You would think they would begin to have an inkling of just who Jesus is and what He can do. But then we come to our Gospel. Jesus sends His disciples …

Come to a Desolate Place and Rest

Image
Click here to listen to this sermon.

“And [Jesus] said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest awhile” (Mark 6:31). Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Our text begins with the apostles returning to Jesus and telling Him all that they had done and taught during their recent two-by-two mission tour. But something important happens during this brief “vicarage.” We dare not pass over it or we’ll miss the full impact of this passage. John the Baptist, the forerunner of Christ, has just been executed thanks to birthday boy Herod and his hasty oath. John’s head is served on a platter, a gruesome party favor for Herodias and her daughter the dancer. John’s disciples claim his body and lay it in a tomb. The beheading of a prophet like John is big news. But Jesus isn’t surprised. That’s the way it goes with God’s prophets. How much more it is with Jesus, the Christ Himself! He is rejected by His hometown of Nazareth. He has become the objec…

The Comfort and Blessings of God's Eternal Election

Image
Click here to listen to this sermon.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessings in the heavenly places, even as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world” (Ephesians 1:3-4). Over 425 years ago, the founders of the Lutheran church wrote: “This doctrine affords glorious consolation under the cross and amid temptations, namely, that God in His counsel, before the time of the world, determined and decreed that He would assist us in all distresses, grant patience, give consolation, excite hope, and produce such an outcome as would contribute to our salvation” (Formula of Concord, Solid Declaration, “Of God’s Eternal Election,” XI 48). What is this wonderful doctrine that is said to bring so many blessings to Christians? It is the biblical doctrine of predestination or election. To be honest, many Christians have not found so much comfort in the subject of predestination. In fact, some would rather avoid the …

God of the Prophets, Bless the Prophets' Sons

Image
Click here to listen to this sermon.

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ! In the year 593 B.C., near the Chebar Canal in the land of the Chaldeans, the word of the Lord came to Ezekiel: “Son of man, stand on your feet, and I will speak with you.” And as He spoke to Ezekiel, the Spirit entered into Ezekiel and set him on his feet, and He said, “Son of man, I send you to the people of Israel, to nations of rebels, who have rebelled against me. They and their fathers have transgressed against me to this very day. The descendants also are impudent and stubborn: I send you to them, and you shall say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God.’ And whether they hear or refuse to hear (for they are a rebellious house) they will know that a prophet has been among them” (Ezekiel 2:1-5). “Whether they hear or refuse to hear they will know that a prophet has been among them.” This begs the question: How will they know that a prophet has been among them? I mean, it’s one thing…