“Loving Jesus”

The Day of Pentecost (C)
“Loving Jesus”
June 9, 2019

Sermon Text: John 14:23-24

 Peace be unto you from our loving God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.

Dearly Beloved of the Lord,

It seems so easy that even a child can do it… a baby no less… to “love Jesus,” that is. And our newest brother in Christ does exactly that right now… love Jesus. Now that he has come under the waters of Holy Baptism. Now that the he has been baptized “in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”

That’s it? Yes. There is nothing that we have to do or can do on our own… nothing that “coming of age” will help… to love Jesus, that is. For you see, it is all what God does… what He has done and Him alone. And because of this, to Him alone be the glory.

It is the divine Words, His Words spoken in, with and under simple water that makes all of the difference. This is true for Oliver and for us.

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“Come Lord Jesus”

The Seventh Sunday of Easter (C)
“Come Lord Jesus”
June 2, 2019

Sermon Text: Revelation 22:12-17, 20

 Grace, mercy and peace be unto you from our risen and ascended Lord Jesus. Amen.

 Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

This is the last Sunday of the Easter Season and as you probably have noticed, our readings from God’s Holy Word during these past seven weeks have been, well, a little unusual.

First of all, we have had no Old Testament readings. Rather, we have been hearing about the wonderful work of the Lord through the Apostles and the early Christian Church, recorded for us in the Book of Acts.

Also, these past Sundays, we have had a reading from the Book of Revelation providing us with important information about this period… this season… in which we now live.

Many think it is all future stuff, but it is not. Rather, it vividly speaks of the season… the period between Christ’s ascension into heaven (which we celebrated this past Thursday) and Christ’s return in all His glory to judge the living and the dead which we shall likewise celebrate so very soon.

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“A Woman Named Lydia”

The Sixth Sunday of Easter (Series C)
“A Woman Named Lydia”
May 25, 2019

Sermon Text: Acts 16:9-15, Revelation 21:9–14, 21–27

Grace, mercy and peace be unto you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

We have before us today a wonderful account of the Gospel message at work… the power of God’s Word (and His Word alone) to bring people to saving faith… faith in their Savior… our Savior… Jesus Christ in Whom alone and by Whose merits alone we have been saved from eternal destruction, made children of God and are now heirs of His eternal kingdom.

In our text, it is a woman named Lydia who is brought to faith in Jesus as her Savior. She is described as being among the sebo,menoi to.n qeo,n –  that is the “God fearers” … those who revered God… those who believed that there is but one God… unlike the many false gods worshipped by the majority of people of this region and throughout the then civilized world.

We are told that Lydia “just happens to be” with a group of women who had come together it says right by the side of a river where the Apostle Paul and the others had gone to pray on the Sabbath.

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“Do You See What I See”

The Fifth Sunday of Easter (C)
“Do You See What I See”
May 19, 2019

Sermon Text: Revelation 21:1-5

Grace, mercy and peace be unto you from our risen Lord and Savior, Christ Jesus.  Amen.

 Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Today… as with all days and certainly on Sundays… we bask in the glory of Easter morning and the greatest of news that our Lord Jesus has conquered sin, death and the devil once… for all!

But this, the greatest of news, is not the only wonderful piece of information which we find recorded in God’s Holy Word.  Indeed, with the resurrection of our Savior, it really has been a case of more good news one right after another… on infinitum… which is exactly what will happen… the good news will never cease. It will continue forever.

And that, my friends, is in spite of some less than positive news that you and I may be told…. some less than positive news which you and I may have to deal with along the way… while we sojourn here on earth for but a little while longer.

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“Shepherds Come and Go, But One Remains”

The Fourth Sunday of Easter (C)
“Shepherds Come and Go, But One Remains”
May 12, 2019

Sermon Text: Acts 20:17-35, John 10:22-30

Peace be unto you from our risen Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Dearly Beloved of the Lord,

His work there was done. And for one last time, St. Paul speaks to the called and ordained shepherds who have taken over the ministry in Ephesus… the “elders of the church” who were carrying on… continuing on where he left off… providing Word and Sacrament to all of the precious men, women and children who, at great cost, confessed Jesus Christ to be their Lord and Savior.

St. Paul declares to them, “And now, behold, I know that none of you among whom I have gone about proclaiming the kingdom will see my face again.” (Acts 20:25)

This shepherd… an apostle of the Lord no less… goes on to share with these pastors two important things. He reminds them of what he did during his time there… during his ministry there (for it was Paul who had established the Christian Church in Ephesus under the guidance of the Holy Spirit). And He also warns these pastors of what is coming, what they will face in the months and years to come. Fighting the good fight of faith was tough then… and it would only get tougher. Indeed, such is the life of a Christian at any point in time and certainly in these end times… our lives lived out under the cross of Jesus

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“Never Say Never”

The Third Sunday of Easter (C)
“Never Say Never”
May 5, 2019

Sermon Text: Acts 9:1-20

Peace be unto you from our risen Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

In a world filled with surprises… with unusual twists and turns… we have all learned to some degree, never to say “Never.”

For sure, difficult times and tragic events happen. But we also know… should know… that so do miracles and so many surprisingly wonderful things as well… thanks be to God.

The unexpected… unanticipated… unbelievable occurs more often then we think.

Our first lesson for this Sunday, taken from the Book of Acts is a perfect example of this. Who would have ever thought that this man, Saul of Tarsus, would become a Christian… a member of “the Way” – as the early Christians were then called?

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“Christ is Still the Lord of His Church”

Easter 2 – (Series C)
“Christ is Still the Lord of His Church”
April 28, 2019

Sermon Text: Revelation 1:4-18

So it wasn’t long after we celebrated the wonderful Feast of Easter and Christ’s resurrection from the dead that we were treated to the news of the bombings of churches in Sri Lanka by militant Muslims that killed over 250 people and injured hundreds more.  Not long after that, insult was added to injury as the media in lockstep treated the attacks as an attack on humanity in general, and not an attack on Christians in particular just as they were celebrating the high feast in our Church Year.

If we have been in careful study of the words of Christ, we should not be surprised by any of this.  “You are IN the world, not OF the world,” He said.  “If they hated me, they will hate you,” He promised.  We in the western world have been somewhat spoiled over the past few centuries.  We have grown up watching respectful news reporting and the kind thoughts of society around us towards our worship and activities.  Our schools and places of work give us holidays for our High Feast days.  But over the course of thousands of years, taking the whole world into account, what we have experienced is the exception to the rule.  Generally speaking, from Abel being murdered by Cain to Noah and his family being saved all by themselves to lonely Old Testament Israel in the middle of the Middle East to Rome’s persecution of the first Christians to Christians in the 20th century being martyred by the tens of thousands by Muslims in Africa and Communists in Russia and China to what we see today, the true people of God have been an outnumbered, misunderstood, and persecuted minority.  We should not be surprised by what we are seeing, for it is really just a sad return to what is normal in the world.

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