Sermon teaser for John 11:17-44

This week I get the privilege of preaching on John 11:17-44, twice; this Sunday and then again on Tuesday during our last midweek Lenten worship service. The following is the opening paragraph for Sunday. For more, keep an eye on my congregation’s website:
http://www.livingwordlutheranchurch.com

The raising of Lazarus gives us a sneak peek into the death-destroying, Satan-stomping, sin-eradicating power of God through Jesus Christ. The disciples knew Jesus as someone who could do amazing miracles, but really had no idea the length and depth of his power. Martha had an idea as she says to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you.” Martha dared to believe that if Jesus asked God for the life of Lazarus, that God would grant his request. That is a bold faith, but even Martha had no idea the lengths that Jesus would truly go to destroy death’s grip. In this story, Jesus overcame death’s hold on Lazarus, but through his own resurrection, Jesus would proclaim his victory over death and death’s hold over all those who believe in him.

The Pastor -|—

 

Sermon Teaser for John 9:24-41

Jesus says of himself that he is the Light of the World; that all who follow him will not walk in darkness. One would think that would be enough to clue people in that maybe Jesus is worth following especially considering the dark world in which we live. Liberalism is constantly telling us that we are evil and bigoted and therefore demand that we be tolerant or shut up. The forces of evil seem to be ramping up their fear tactics. Satan’s prowling is ever more present. Darkness is darker than ever. But Jesus came to reveal the Truth by opening people’s eyes, but if you refuse to acknowledge that Truth then you are truly blind. Unless you acknowledge that you are as dependent as sheep, and trust him with all your heart, you will never truly know the peace that can only come from Jesus. May we truly open our eyes.

The story of the man born blind is one plump full of Gospel truth for a messed up world. Jesus is the Truth, period. I look forward to unpacking this text more over the next few days.

The Pastor -|—

Lenten Sermon Teaser ~ The Good Shepherd

Sermon teaser for our midweek Lenten worship tonight…

The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.
[John 10:3-4]

As followers of Jesus Christ, it is our joy to hear the beautiful voice of our Shepherd; knowing that that voice is one of peace and love and compassion. It is a voice of Truth. It is a voice that can be trusted. It is a voice the beckons. It is a voice that soothes. To ignore that voice is foolish and dangerous; not because our Shepherd is vengeful; but rather to follow another voice means following unto our death. The Good Shepherd is the only one who loves us unto death and beyond; for he lays his life down for his sheep. The Good Shepherd is the only one who true cares about you. And therefore it behooves us to drown out the competing voices and listen to THE Shepherd and joyfully follow him…

The Pastor -|—

Righteousness

Holy God,
through Jesus Christ
you have made us righteous in your eyes
and thus redeemed us from the pit of death
through the forgiveness of our sins.
You have given us a new hope
as we look forward to and long for the paradise prepared for us.
You are an awesome God
and thus you are worthy of all
praise
and glory
and worship.
Help us to understand what it means
to bring You glory through the practicing of our righteousness.
May we not fall to the temptation of glorifying ourselves.
May we not steal the praise that is due Your wonderful name.
Now may the words of my mouth
and the meditation of our hearts
be acceptable in Your sight,
oh God,
our Rock and redeemer,
Amen.

The Pastor -|—

The Mission

Holy God,
what a relief it is that my
strength,
abilities,
knowledge,
credentials,
and the like
are not what you are looking for
to advance the kingdom of heaven.
As Luther said in his sacristy prayer,
“if it were left up to me I would surely bring it all to ruin”.
That is so true.
Rather,
you call the unqualified to proclaim Your Good News;
qualifying us through the Holy Spirit.
May we keep our eyes on You
and not turn inward; thinking either
“I am not qualified” and thus turn away from the mission,
or think,
“I am pretty good” and thus focus on our abilities; derailing the mission.
Holy God,
through Jesus Christ You redeemed us and empowered us.
May we not abandon the mission
but rather proclaim from the mountain top,
“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand”.
All praise, honor, glory and worship be unto You,
oh God,
through Christ Jesus our Lord.
Amen!

The Pastor -|—

Bearing Fruit

The follow is a sermon teaser for tomorrow (Dec 18) on Matthew 3:1-12.

Bear fruit in keeping with repentance is John’s call for an authentic Jesus following life. It’s one thing to come to worship, confess your sins, put an envelope in the offering plate, and serve in the presence of others, but is your life bearing fruit in keeping with repentance. Do you abhor sin? Does what happened in the garden sadden you or are you enjoying the temporary freedom that Satan gifts you with? Bearing fruit in keeping with repentance is about turning away from sin, not just in words but also in deed. It is making a 180 degree turn and fleeing from that which draws you away from God. The fruit is a God-glorifying, Jesus-exalting life that leads people to the throne of God; where the true treasure lies, not some fool’s gold.

May the Gospel of Jesus Christ transform your life to the glory of God our Father through Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.

The Pastor -|—

To Follow

Holy God,
through Jesus Christ You call us to action,
as You call us to follow.
But road is not easy
and the task is daunting.
We are tempted to give up
or take shortcuts so not to offend people.

May we never do so.
May we always be faithful.

Grant us Your Spirit
that we may fix our gaze upon Jesus,
so much so,
that his glory is reflected in the world
through our faithfulness.
May our actions shed light
in a dark world
and
may our words speak peace and hope.

You call us to follow,
may we do so now without hesitation.
All praise, glory and honor
be unto You,
Creator God,
through Christ Jesus our Lord,

Amen.

The Pastor -|—