Sermon for September 25, 2016

Sermon for the Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost

September 25, 2016, St. Paul Lutheran Church, Wallis, Texas

Sermon Text:  Amos 6:1-7

Sermon Theme:  “A ‘Prophet’ Who Practices What He Preaches”

(Sources:  Brokhoff, Series C, Preaching Workbook; Emphasis Online Commentary; Prophet and Priest,; “Practice What You Preach” by Neil Epler; notes in Life Application Study Bible; original ideas; Harper’s Bible Dictionary; Greek/Hebrew Key Bible)

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

Since you regularly attend a church that uses CPH inserts from a Lectionary Series, I’m sure you have noticed how all three Scriptures for each Sunday, — Old Testament, Epistle, and Gospel – all have a common thread that ties them together.  Your pastor chooses one of the three to focus on, but the others relate to it.  That of course is true of today’s Scriptures.

Moses led the people of Israel as God’s Prophet, and God made Aaron, the brother of Moses, the first priest.  Many people are often confused about the difference between the “Navi” [Prophet] and the “Kohen” [Priest].  That’s because in the New Testament and in our own time, they seem to merge together.  Aaron was a descendant of Levi, so for centuries, priests and other professional church workers had to come from the descendants of Levi.

The duties of prophet and priest were distinctive, but sometimes overlapped.  Although you had to be a Levite to be a priest, you could be a prophet without being a descendant of Aaron or Levi.  Still, the most famous of the Old Testament prophets came from the families of priests, —  Ezekiel, Jeremiah, Zechariah, — and I’m not sure about Isaiah.  We don’t know enough about many of the minor prophets, like Joel, Obadiah, Micah Nahum, etc., to know if they were also priests.  The Old Testament Prophets, whether from priestly families or not, were Godly men whom God used to admonish the people and to proclaim His plan of salvation.  Eventually the priests, but not the prophets, of Israel became so decadent that God had to call pure and good men like Samuel to serve as both priest and prophet. Continue reading

Sermon for September 18, 2016

Sermon for Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost

September 18, 2016, St. Paul Lutheran Church, Wallis, Texas

Sermon Texts:  1 Timothy 2:1-7 and Amos 8:4-7

Sermon Theme:  “All Need Prayer, Especially Our Leaders”

 (Sources:  Anderson’s Cycle C Preaching Workbook; Brokhoff, Series C, Preaching Workbook; original ideas; Emphasis Online Illustrations and Commentaries; Life Application Study Bible footnotes; Webster’s Collegiate Encyclopedia; www.worldreligionnews)

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

           “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people,” Paul says at the very beginning of today’s sermon text.  Paul presents the ministry of public prayer as a number one priority in the church.  The church has a mediator role, just as Christ has a mediator role.

We are called to bring the joys, sorrows, and needs of the world into the presence of Christ.  Prayer should not be the only thing we do, but it should be the first order of business.  We are especially called to pray for our leaders.  We cannot have a Christian society unless society is answerable to Christian principles.

Thus, Paul urges us to pray for political leaders that we may have a society where there is peace and righteousness.  We must have a government which will prohibit the abuses mentioned in our Old Testament text from Amos, — such as greed, dishonesty, enslaving people, marketing inferior products, and so on. Continue reading

Sermonette for September 11, 2016

Sermonette for St. Paul’s annual Fund-Raiser

Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost, September 11, 2016

Sermonette Text:  Luke 15:1-10

Sermonette Theme:  “Lost and Found”

 (Sources: Concordia Pulpit Resources, Volume 26, Part 4, Series C; Anderson’s Cycle C Preaching Workbook; original ideas; Brokhoff, Series C, Preaching Workbook; Christian Jokes Online)

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

           An old drunk stumbles across a baptismal service one Sunday afternoon down by the river, back in the days when they used to have river baptisms.  He proceeds to walk into the water and stands next the preacher.  The minister sees the drunk and says to him, “Mister, are you ready to find Jesus?”

The drunk says, “Yes, Preacher , I sure am.”

The minister then submerges the fellow under the water and pulls him right back up.  “Have you found Jesus?”  the preacher asks.

“Nooo, I didn’t,” says the drunk.

The preacher gently immerses him under for quite a bit longer, brings him up, and says, “Now, brother, have you found Jesus?”

“Nooo, I have not, Reverend.”

The preacher, with prayers on his lips holds the man under for at least thirty seconds this time, brings him out of the water, and says softly, “Sir, have you found Jesus yet?”

The drunk wipes his eyes and says to the preacher, “Are you sure this is where he fell in?”

I discovered that there are hundreds of jokes about finding Jesus, but according to our sermon text, when we’re lost, we don’t find Jesus, He finds us!

In our sermon text for today, Jesus tells a story about a woman who goes looking for a coin she’s lost.  She has nine other coins, but she still really wants that one.  Jesus also tells about a shepherd who leaves ninety-nine sheep in the open country to look for just one lost sheep.  When He finds that sheep, He carries it home on His shoulders in great joy.

That’s the way God works.  Of course, God goes out looking for something far more valuable than money or sheep.  God goes out looking for people.  The people He made, — including you and me – were lost.  You and I were lost because we had separated ourselves from God by our sins.  So God went out looking for us – for every sinner, for every one of us.

He didn’t look only for sinners who had broken just one of the Ten Commandments.  He didn’t look only for sinners who seemed like pretty nice people.  No, God went looking for every sinner – even the very worst, and even for just one sinner.  He had faithful people, but even that one sinner – you, me – was really valuable to Him.  So He kept looking!

That’s the whole reason Jesus came among us.  Jesus said, “The Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”  By His perfect life, death, and resurrection, Jesus has won forgiveness, life, and salvation for us lost sinners.

He finds us today by the Word, which we hear in church, in Sunday School, and by reading the Bible.  He finds us in Holy Baptism, where He makes us lost sinners the children of God.  He finds us in the Sacrament of Holy Communion, where He gives His own body and blood to eat and drink.  That’s how God works.  He never stops looking, but sends Jesus to find us lost sinners – every one of us – and bring us to our eternal home in great joy!

Twice our sermon text tells us of the joy in heaven when a sinner repents.  We can see the smile on the Father’s face.  The choirs of angels are singing.  The archangels’ trumpets are blaring.  That’s in heaven.  How much joy is indicated when sinners repent in the average church?  In our church?

Is there a party spirit of great joy when a person is baptized or confirmed or renews His faith?  Evangelism is Happy Time at the church, because it is an echo of what goes on in heaven.  Because God’s will is fulfilled.  Because God wants everyone to return to Him.

So, why does God not find all of His lost sheep before they perish?  Because they do not want to be found or refuse to be found; they persist in rebellion.  But there is always hope.  How many times haven’t we judged a lost sinner by saying, “He’ll never change!”  Like the shepherd in our parable, God never gives up on us.  Why does God continue the search?  Because each one of His children is precious to Him.

Jesus isn’t lost, so we don’t need to find Him.  When we are lost, the Holy Spirit renews faith in our hearts so that Jesus will find us!  Amen.

The peace of God which passes all understanding, keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Sermon for September 04, 2016

Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost, Sept. 4, 2016

St. Paul Lutheran Church, Wallis, Texas

Sermon Text:  Philemon 1-21

Sermon Theme:  “Slavery and the Christian”

(Sources:  Anderson’s Cycle C Preaching Workbook; The Westminster Dictionary of the Bible; The New Harper’s Bible Dictionary; original ideas; The Parables of Peanuts; Footnotes, Concordia Self-Study Bible; Life Application Study Bible;  Believer’s Commentary; Church History in Plain Language by Bruce L. Shelley)

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

Flawed human nature after the Fall of Adam and Eve developed a bullying system that no doubt began with Cain and Abel and led to the institution of slavery, wherein one human being ruled the life of another.

It seems to be a flawed human trait for some people to want to lord it over others.  In the microcosm world of Charlie Brown and his friends, we see the rudiments of slavery in the bullying tactics of Lucy Van Pelt.  Not only did she lord it over Charlie and his friends, but her precocious little brother Linus always caught the brunt of her bullying.

In one cartoon strip, Lucy hands Linus a script for the Christmas play, and tells him to start learning it.  He reads aloud from the script, “So the words spoken through Jeremiah the Prophet were fulfilled:  A voice was heard in Rama, wailing and loud laments, it was Rachel, weeping for her children and refusing all consolation because they were no more.”  “Good grief!” Linus says after reading it.

Lucy says loudly, “Memorize it and be ready to recite it by next Sunday.”

Linus responds, “I can’t memorize something like this in a week!  This is going to take research!  Who was Jeremiah?  Where was Rama?  Why was Rachel so upset?  You can’t recite something until you know the ‘who,” the “where,” and the “why”!

Lucy shoves her face in Linus’ face and shouts, “I’ll tell you the ‘who,’ the ‘where,’ and the ‘why!’”  She shakes her fist at him and continues, “You start memorizing right now or you’ll know WHO is going to slug you and you’ll know WHERE she’s going to slug you and you’ll know WHY she slugged you!”

As Lucy leaves the room, Linus says to himself, “Christmas is not only getting too commercial, it’s getting too dangerous!”

Sometimes when you read the Old and the New Testament, you begin to wonder whether or not God approved of slavery.  No doubt the Confederate States of America used the Bible in an attempt to justify their ownership of slaves.  Continue reading