10/18/20 – Pentecost 20 – “Whose Image is This?” Matthew 22:15-22

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

1. Our text for this morning is the Gospel Reading from Matthew 22. This text immediately follows our Gospel Reading from last week, The Parable of the Wedding Feast. And, let’s be honest, this is a fairly well-known text, at least Jesus’ line “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” Though, I’m not sure that the context surrounding this line is all that well-known. This is a shame because not knowing the context of this statement causes us to mis-hear what Jesus is actually saying. Some people assume (wrongly, I might add) that this text is primarily about politics. It’s not. There’s something deeper going on. The issue at hand in this text is identity – whose are you? And what does that mean for how you live your life? Let me give you an example to illustrate the importance of identity.
Continue reading

Posted in Audio Sermons, Sermons - Lutheran - LCMS | Leave a comment

10/11/20 – Pentecost 19 – “Honoring the Son” – Matthew 22:1-14

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

1. Who doesn’t love stories? Some of my fondest memories as a child are the stories that we would read as a family. We resonate with stories, don’t we? They allow us to relate to specific characters, to see what they saw, to feel what they felt. The thing with stories is, there tends to be certain moments that you remember because of the vivid imagery of the moment or the significance that moment held in the larger narrative. And the thing is, good storytellers know how to tell stories in such a way that you walk away remembering a very specific moment or moments in the story that they want you to remember. For example, one of those such moments in JRR Tolkien’s The Hobbit is that iconic moment where the dragon Smaug is flying over Laketown decimating and destroying the city and its people. Continue reading

Posted in Audio Sermons, Sermons - Lutheran - LCMS | Leave a comment

10/4/20 – Pentecost 18 – “The Vineyard Song” – Isaiah 5:1-7

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

1. There’s quite a bit about vines and vineyards going on in our readings today—Isaiah 5, Psalm 80, and Matthew 21. These readings all relate in an intriguing way. But what’s interesting about Psalm 80 and Matthew 21 is that both readings seem to be drawing language and imagery from Isaiah 5’s Vineyard Song. What’s fascinating about this song in Isaiah 5 (which is really more of a parable) is all of the different layers of meaning going on here. This song is a bit like an onion—the more you dig into it, the more layers of meaning you discover. So, we’re going to dig into the Vineyard Song in Isaiah 5 this morning and begin to discover some of the layers of meaning in this song.
Continue reading

Posted in Audio Sermons, Sermons - Lutheran - LCMS | Comments Off on 10/4/20 – Pentecost 18 – “The Vineyard Song” – Isaiah 5:1-7

9/27/20 – Feast of St. Michael & All Angels – “The Cosmic Battle” – Revelation 12:7-12

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

1. Revelation 12 is a significant chapter in the story of the Bible. It gives us a window into the cosmic battle laying behind the suffering of Christ’s Church. The conflict depicted here in Revelation 12 is an ancient conflict that started in Genesis 3:15. The serpent, who deceived Adam and Eve, is portrayed as a dragon. But, to fully appreciate our text for today, we need to have a grasp on John’s complete vision, depicted more fully throughout chapter 12. This vision begins with the depiction of a stunning woman who is carrying a child. Her child represents Jesus and the woman represents his church. At first, the dragon is only concerned with the child. The dragon tries his hardest to devour the child, but John sees God “snatch him up” and enthrone the child in heaven. Jesus’ ministry, passion, death, resurrection, and ascension are summed up in this action, and Jesus, not the dragon, is exalted and enthroned. What happens next is really significant—the woman (again, representing the church) flees into the wilderness, to the place prepared by God, so that there they might care for her (Revelation 12:6). Keep this in mind as we turn now to our portion of the text.
Continue reading

Posted in Audio Sermons, Sermons - Lutheran - LCMS | Comments Off on 9/27/20 – Feast of St. Michael & All Angels – “The Cosmic Battle” – Revelation 12:7-12

9/20/20 – Pentecost 16 – “Life is Christ” – Philippians 1:21

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

1. I remember the week of March 8th quite vividly. When the 2020 calendar came out, I had circled March 8th, because I knew that it was going to be one of the worst days of the year. See, I love my sleep, and March 8th was the day that we all get robbed of an hour of sleep. In case you haven’t gathered, I don’t like daylight savings time, so that week already started off quite badly! But I remember sitting in class that Tuesday…right after chapel, I had Pastoral Leadership and Theology with Dr. Weise. Now, Dr. Weise has his PhD in hematology, so he likes talking about things related to the medical field. Continue reading

Posted in Audio Sermons, Sermons - Lutheran - LCMS | Comments Off on 9/20/20 – Pentecost 16 – “Life is Christ” – Philippians 1:21

9/13/20 – Pentecost 15 – “Am I in the Place of God?” – Genesis 50:15-21

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

1. Our text for this morning is the Old Testament reading from Genesis 50. The Joseph we meet in this reading has come a long way from the Joseph we first encounter in Genesis 30 and whose story is told from Genesis 37 onwards. Let’s be honest, Joseph was a spoiled brat—in every sense of the term. He was the 11th of 12 sons, and his father, Jacob, loved him more than his brothers. And Joseph took every opportunity he had to rub that in his brothers’ faces. In Genesis 37, we see this play out as Joseph starts having these dreams—dreams where is brothers are bowing down to worship him. Now, let’s forget that we know how this story ends for a second and put ourselves in this moment in the story—You can almost imagine what’s going on in this arrogant 17-year-old’s head: “I’m going to get to call the shots, tell my brothers what to do, and do what I want, when I want!” But Joseph very quickly learns that his arrogant trust in himself is nothing more than a sham and a delusion.
Continue reading

Posted in Audio Sermons, Sermons - Lutheran - LCMS | Comments Off on 9/13/20 – Pentecost 15 – “Am I in the Place of God?” – Genesis 50:15-21

9/6/20 – Pentecost 14 – “Be Subject to the Governing Authorities” – Romans 13:1-10

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

1. Our text for this morning is the Epistle Reading from Romans chapter 13. Romans chapter 13 is in the middle of a section of exhortation which Paul begins in chapter 12. Paul begins this section in Romans 12:1 by saying, I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice…Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind (Romans 12:1-2). The mercy of God toward us in Jesus is the foundation of the transformed, renewed mind and life that we are called to have. It’s in this context that Paul now instructs his readers how their minds ought to be renewed, specifically in relation to the civil realm. So, if I had to sum up our reading from chapter 13, I would do it in this way: In His mercy, God invites us to submit to authority for our good. And, whenever God does something in His mercy and for our good, we better stop and listen, right? So, if in His mercy, God invites us to submit to authority for our good, the question is, how do Christians submit to authority? Or, to put it differently, what is submission to authority? Well, according to Paul, Submission to authority is willingly and lovingly giving what is owed because authority is from God. What do I mean by that? Well, let’s break it down by starting with the first part.
Continue reading

Posted in Audio Sermons, Sermons - Lutheran - LCMS | Comments Off on 9/6/20 – Pentecost 14 – “Be Subject to the Governing Authorities” – Romans 13:1-10

8/30/20 – Pentecost 13 – “Be A Christian” – Matthew 16:21-28

“’But who do you say that I am?’ And Peter replied, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God…” “From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.”

What our Lord ‘BEGAN’ to show his disciples is just how true Peter’s confession was – “You are the Christ…” Though out the entire Old Testament, the word and promise of God was that God would send a ‘Messiah,’ a ‘Christ,’ into this fallen and broken world to renew and restore it. But rather than welcoming Him and thanking Him, it would despise and reject Him and cause him to suffer many things and be killed. But ultimately, the Messiah would accomplish the purpose for which He came – for even death would not be able to stop Him.
Continue reading

Posted in Audio Sermons, Sermons - Lutheran - LCMS | Comments Off on 8/30/20 – Pentecost 13 – “Be A Christian” – Matthew 16:21-28

8/23/20 – Pentecost 12 – “Who Do You Say I Am?” – Matthew 16:13-20

“Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, ‘Who do people say that the Son of Man is?’”

It is of no small significance that St. Matthew tells us where Jesus poses His question to His disciples. But then again, there’s not one word in the Bible that is of small significance.
Continue reading

Posted in Audio Sermons, Sermons - Lutheran - LCMS | Comments Off on 8/23/20 – Pentecost 12 – “Who Do You Say I Am?” – Matthew 16:13-20

8/16/20 – Pentecost 11 – “Great is Your Faith” – Matthew 15:21-28

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

1. Our text for this morning is the Gospel Reading from Matthew 15—it’s this strange story of an odd interaction between Jesus and this Canaanite woman. And, let’s be honest, there’s a lot in this story to cause you to scratch your head and wonder what’s going on. But for all of the confusing parts of this story, the main point is quite clear when you look at the last thing that Jesus says to this woman: O woman, great is your faith! (Matt. 15:28). In other words, Matthew has included this story in his gospel in order to highlight the great faith of this woman and to contrast it with the lack of faith that we see in the Pharisees and even is disciples in the first part of chapter 15. So, this morning, I would like to take some time to examine the great faith of this Canaanite woman—not as some intellectual exercise, but with the goal that you and I might use this as an opportunity to evaluate our own faith in relation to this Canaanite woman’s great faith.
Continue reading

Posted in Audio Sermons, Sermons - Lutheran - LCMS | Comments Off on 8/16/20 – Pentecost 11 – “Great is Your Faith” – Matthew 15:21-28