Posts

Showing posts from October, 2015

What We Are; What We Will Be: The Feast of All Saints

Image
Click here to listen to this sermon.

“Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when He appears we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him as He is” (1 John 3:2). Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ! Beloved! Children of God! That’s what we are called in our Epistle for today. Blessed! That’s what we are called in our Gospel. But it was not always so. When we first entered this world, it was as God’s enemies. Despising Him, wanting nothing to do with God or His Word. We were under His righteous wrath for our sin. No wonder throughout Scripture, God uses many unflattering adjectives to describe our first status: Foolish, disobedient, deceived, enslaved, and worst of all, cursed. So, which is it? Are we beloved children of God… or are we enemies? Are we blessed… or are we cursed? Are we sinners… or are we saints? What are we? What will we be? God calls believers by various names, but the dearest term…

Taking Your Religion Seriously

Image
Click here to listen to this sermon.

“For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the Law” (Romans 3:28). Grace and peace to you from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ! It is arguably the most important verse in the Bible. The heart of the Christian faith. In fact, this is what sets Christianity apart from every other religion in the world. A sinner, sentenced to death and damnation by God’s own Law, is justified (declared to be righteous) by faith (that is, trust in Jesus Christ and His atoning blood shed on the cross) apart from works of the Law. Many call John 3:16 “the Gospel in a nutshell,” but for my money there is no other single verse that summarizes and encapsulates the Gospel, the good news of Christianity, as this verse from Romans. And yet, it’s overlooked, or marginalized, or made into one of many truths, or it gets buried under a long list of things you must do or not do in order to stand before God justified. With a single sentence, the apostle Pa…

Money: Your Idol or Gift of God (2)

Image
Click here to listen to this sermon.

“And Jesus looked around and said to His disciples, ‘How difficult it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!’” (Mark 10:23). Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ! One of the advantages of being a liturgical church is that we follow a lectionary, a three-year series 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 uncomfortable subjects but to preach the full counsel of God. And it’s not easy to faithfully preach on at least two of today’s readings without speaking about money. Dare I say it? It’s almost as difficult as a camel going through the eye of a needle. But let’s face it: Though there are some exceptions, most pastors don’t like to preach about money. It feels a bit self-serving. After all, your offerings are used to help pay our salary. And certainly most of yo…

One Thing Lacking

Image
Click here to listen to this sermon.

“And as [Jesus] was setting out on His journey, a man knelt before Him and asked, ‘Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?’… Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, ‘You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.’ Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions” (Mark 10:17, 21-22). Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ! “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” the man says as he kneels before Jesus. He is a neaniskos, St. Matthew tells us, a young man between the ages of 24 and 40. A ruler, adds St. Luke. Here is a man who has everything. Evidently from a wealthy, religious family, he has already achieved some prominence and has a bright future. He is committed to an honest, upright lifestyle, and ready to do even more to assure himself of God’s favor. To Jesus’ discip…

God's Blessing of Marriage

Image
Click here to listen to this sermon.

“‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate” (Mark 10:7-9 (ESV). Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ! A teacher asked her students to draw a picture of what they wanted to be. Little hands got busy. Pictures emerged of cowboys, doctors, sports figures, nurses, and so on. As the teacher looked around the room she noticed one little girl just sitting and dreaming. She walked over and asked how the picture was going. The girl responded, “I’m having a hard time drawing what I want to be.” “What is it you want to be?” asked the teacher. “I want to be happily married, but I don’t know how to draw that.” In this day and age, with so few good role models available, it’s no wonder that the little girl was having a hard time. There are so many opinions, such…