“Very Perceptive”

The Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost (A)
“Very Perceptive”
October 8, 2017

Sermon Text: Matthew 21:33-46

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

Dearly Beloved of the Lord,

In last week’s Adult Bible Class, we reviewed the glorious Creation account as recorded in Genesis, chapter one. What an amazing world God created. And in regard to all that He made, He saw and it was good.

Today, in our Gospel lesson, Jesus says to the chief priests and the elders, “Hear another parable. There was a master of a house who planted a vineyard and put a fence around it and dug a winepress in it and built a tower and leased it to tenants, and went into another country. (Matthew 21:33)

The “vineyard,” my friends, is the world and the people of the world that the Lord our God created. And you and I know that a vineyard is planted, managed and maintained for one reason… to bear fruit, produce fruit. Fruit that will then go to the winepress which the “master of the house” also includes on site.

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“By What Authority?”

The Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost (A)
“By What Authority?”
October 1, 2017

Sermon Text:  Matthew 21:23-27

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

Dearly Beloved of the Lord,

One of the great mistakes that we make in our everyday lives is taking things out of context. We hate it when someone does this to us, in regard to what we have said or done and the same holds true if the shoe is on the other foot.

We can also take events and incidents out of context and especially historical ones, whether it is related to our family, our country or the world. This can be very costly as we are now seeing and reaping relative to many things happening in the United States.

Too many people are ignorant of historical facts and yet will speak about them as if with authority and take action based upon them in what they believe is a righteous way.

Or… they will take a historical fact and, again, remove it from the entire context in which it happened, leaving them with a jaundiced view and vision from which to act or react.

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“If You Have to Ask”

The Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost (A)
“If You Have to Ask”
September 17, 2017

Sermon Text:   Matthew 18:21-35

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

Dearly Beloved of the Lord,

In the church, all that a person need do is mention that they are in the process of using “Matthew 18” and little more needs to be said. They are referring to what Christ our Lord says should be the loving course of action in regard to a brother or sister who has sinned against you. This is all recorded in the verses just prior to today’s Gospel text.

And it is interesting to note that just ignoring the sin, overlooking the sin or “sweeping it under the rug” is not one of the options given by our Lord. It never is. And yet it is the way of most people today… the way of many Christians and the way of many Christian congregations.

Nobody wants to confront the sin or the sinner and do you know what?  Satan is loving it. He is having a field day with many congregations, many individuals, many marriages and families where sin is simply overlooked Make no mistake about it. Satan is the one pushing the whole “Don’t get involved” movement. Just let it alone – the sin, that is. Just leave him or her alone – the sinner, in regard to their transgressions.

And this my friends, although expedient… although the simplest way out with no muss or fuss, with no confrontation, no angst, no energy or time expended… is nevertheless the cowardly way out, the most unloving and uncaring way out.  Most importantly, it goes right up against God’s Word, God’s will.

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“The Would-ah, Could-ah, Should-ah vs the Done and Done”

The Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost (A)
“The Would-ah, Could-ah, Should-ah vs the Done and Done”
September 3, 2017

Sermon Text:  Matthew 16:21-28

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

Dearly Beloved of the Lord,

So, what is up with the title of this sermon?  I wasn’t going for my longest to date (although it may very well be).

It incorporates two phrases that one may hear now and then. The first is “wouldah, couldah, shouldah” referring to any time that we would have done something, could have done something, should have done something, but what? We didn’t do it. I am sure any one of us can look back on our lives and recall certain times when we “wouldah, couldah, shouldah” … but didn’t. And there may be more than just a few regrets attached to them.

The other phrase is just a simple way of proclaiming, making it known, that we have accomplished something, finished something, as we emphatically say, “Done and done!”

In many ways, all of the “wouldah, couldah, shouldah’s” in our life stand juxtaposed to the “done and done’s.” It is like taking a piece a paper, making two columns and on one side adding up in our life all of the “Didn’t’s” and  on the other, all of the “Did’s.”

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“On This Rock”

The Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost (A)
“On This Rock”
August 27, 2017

Sermon Text:  Matthew 16:13-20

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

Dearly Beloved of the Lord,

Although impossible to say for sure, the way it is written and presented, Simon Peter’s response seems to be immediate and decisive to the question asked.

To our Lord’s inquiry, “Who do you say that I am?” Peter relies, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (Matthew 16:15)

There appears to have been no delay… no equivocation… no hemming and hawing on Peter’s part. He didn’t ask the Lord for a hint. He didn’t ask the Lord if, to this one-question quiz, it could be multiple choice… “Am I…A… B… or C?”

No. To the direct question comes the direct answer, filled with all conviction and certainty, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

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“The One Who Hears”

The Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost (A)
“The One Who Hears”
August 20, 2017

Sermon Text:  Matthew 15:21-28

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

Dearly Beloved of the Lord,

If only. If only the persistence of this Canaanite highlighted in our Gospel text was also the persistence of the Israelites… all the “lost sheep of the house of Israel” which our Savior mentions here. (Matthew 15:24)

If only the persistence of this Canaanite was also that of every Christian man, woman and child. If only her persistence was our persistence – yours and mine. As well as her humbleness, her humility, as she likens herself to of all things, a dog, and considered Jesus the Master, her Master.

I have shared with you before that unlike today, dogs back then were just that, just there, roaming around, not having the “pet” status… the “man’s best friend” status… of today. There were no Petsmarts, no pet doctors, no pet food. They ate whatever garbage was on the street and if one did make it into the house, as this woman attests to, they ate at best the scraps, the meager crumbs, which fell from the master’s table.

And she was perfectly willing to do likewise… to accept the same… crumbs of kindness, mercy, help and comfort from her Master and ours… Jesus.

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“The Wind, the Water and the Waves”

The Tenth Sunday after Pentecost (A)
“The Wind, the Water and the Waves”
August 13, 2017

Sermon Text:  Matthew 14:22-33

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

Dearly Beloved of the Lord,

Today’s Gospel text comes on the chronological heels of last week’s. Our Lord had just fed five thousand men, not counting women and children, and we read that He “immediately” (A word St. Matthew used quite often) makes the disciples get into a boat and go… head out… set sail.

It was almost as if He had plans, arrangements… that what soon would take place was all worked out… now set into motion. Well, you and I know there is no “if” about it.

Our dear Savior sends the Twelve off while He dismisses the crowds… those whom He had miraculously healed and fed… and He makes His way up a mountain, all by Himself, to pray.

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