170813Romans 8:28-30

Sermon Text: Romans 8:28 – 30

Sermon Theme: Why Can You Be a Confident Christian?

There is a saying which tells us that there are only two things you and I can be certain of: death and taxes. Today, as we continue our summer sermon series, "A Summer in Rome" we will answer the question: WHY CAN YOU BE A CONFIDENT CHRISTIAN? I invite you to listen as I read once again our Second Lesson for our worship today from Paul's letter to the Romans, chapter 8, where we read this comfort in verses 28-30:

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.

Read more: 170813Romans 8:28-30

170807 Romans 8:26-27

Text: Romans 8:26, 27
Theme: Give Thanks For Holy Groans

Worship has been described as a conversation. When we gather in God's house, the Lord speaks to us through his Word, and we respond with our prayers and songs of thanks and praise. But before the church bell rings, before that divine dialogue begins, there are many other conversations that take place outside of this sanctuary.

As a pastor, I have lots of little conversations like that every Sunday. Some are trivial, chatting about the weather or wondering how the Brewers could lose a 5 game lead in the division in two weeks. Other discussions are more personal, like when someone is wrestling with a problem and comes to me for some advice and spiritual encouragement. And some pre-service powwows are theological, like a conversation I had with a member before church last weekend.

We were talking about Bible class the previous Sunday, specifically the truth revealed in the Bible and rediscovered in the Reformation that believers have direct access to God. You don't have to go through saints or angels or a clergyman like me to approach God's throne of grace. Christians can talk to God anywhere, anytime, about anything.

Prayer is a privilege. The ability to take our petitions directly to God is a great blessing. But as wonderful as that gift is there is still a problem, and Paul identifies it in our text for today. Because we are weak, our prayers are weak too. Because sin clouds our thinking, there are times when we don't know what or how to pray.

When you are conflicted, when you are confused, when you forget to pray, when you don't know what to say, what should you do? Paul tells you what to do. Don't get frustrated. Don't give up. Give thanks...

Give Thanks For Holy Groans

Read more: 170807 Romans 8:26-27

170730 Romans 8:18

Sermon Text: Romans 8:18

Sermon Theme: There's Just No Comparison

I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.

Some critics of Christianity tell us that our religion is such a "downer" religion. What they mean by saying this is that it seems all we ever talk about is how bad life is. That all we focus on are the troubles and difficulties of life. Perhaps you and I do need the reminder from time to time to not lose sight of the many, MANY blessings we enjoy from our gracious Savior-God. Of course, the greatest blessings you and I enjoy are our spiritual blessings: the blessings of faith in Jesus as our one and only Savior and the forgiveness of all our sins that he won for us.

But, you and I know that we also enjoy so many physical blessings from our Lord. Family and friends whom we love and care about certainly are one of the greatest, earthly blessings that the Lord gives to us. Other blessings that come to mind are good health and the ability to get around from place to place. As we live out our days in one of the wealthiest nations on our planet, the gracious Lord who promises to give us our daily bread, gives us so much more! We read in Psalm 145, "The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food at the proper time. You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing. The LORD is righteous in all his ways and loving toward all he has made. The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them."

Read more: 170730 Romans 8:18

170723 Romans 7:15-25a

Text: Romans 7:15-25a
Theme: Thanks Be To God!

Quick quiz. How many of you think you can name the four U.S. presidents whose faces are carved in granite on Mount Rushmore? Let's list them chronologically. First there was George Washington, then Thomas Jefferson, then Abraham Lincoln, and finally Theodore Roosevelt. These four men are memorialized in this unique way because of their achievements, because of their commitment, because they stand among the greatest leaders our country has ever known.

The standard that sets apart our nation's greatest presidents can be applied to other rankings that are less than presidential. For example, I can remember watching a group of sports personalities on ESPN argue about who belongs on the Mount Rushmore of NFL quarterbacks. And a quick Google search listed results for the Mount Rushmore of actors and rock bands and video games.

What if we applied the same standard to spiritual things? What if you were asked to come up with a list of people in the Bible who belong on the Mount Rushmore of believers? Who would make the cut? Noah? Abraham? Moses? David? Mary? Peter? John? Would your short list include the man who wrote the letter we have been studying this summer? What about the apostle Paul?

Paul wrote roughly half the books of the New Testament. After his conversion Paul dedicated his life to world mission work. Paul traveled thousands of miles and preached to thousands of people. If you look at the evidence, you might ask yourself: who wouldn't include Paul on their Mount Rushmore of believers?

Today's text from Romans 7 reveals a surprising answer: Paul. Paul didn't see himself as some kind of spiritual super hero. Instead he confessed that he was sinner. He lamented the fact that he couldn't stop sinning. He knew that no matter how hard he tried he couldn't make up for a single sin. When Paul looked back at his track record of mistakes and missteps and missed opportunities, he concluded that he was...wretched (his word choice, not mine).

But at the end of the day, and at the end of today's text, Paul doesn't sound at all defeated. He is at peace. He is filled with confidence, and we can be too. In spite of what we have done, in spite of what our sins deserve, we can lift up our heads and our voices and declare with Paul...

THANKS BE TO GOD!

1. He knows us intimately
2. He loves us anyway

Read more: 170723 Romans 7:15-25a

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  1. 170717 Romans 6:1b-4

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Compelled by the love of Christ, St. Matthew’s Evangelical Lutheran Church and School seek to reach out to our families, community and world, using Law and Gospel to make disciples, growing and nurturing them in their Christian faith and life.

 

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