141012 Matthew 20:1-16

Text: Matthew 20:1-16
Theme: I Will Give You What Is Right

"A man reaps what he sows." I don't know if Paul coined the phrase, but he did quote it in his letter to the Galatians (6:7). "A man reaps what he sows" can be used positively or negatively. Stated positively, it means that a person is rewarded on the basis of what he/she does.

This way of thinking appeals to the sense of fairness in us. If you perform meaningful labor, you deserve to be compensated for your efforts. If you work less, you have less coming to you. And if you do nothing, you probably don't deserve anything.

This logic doesn't sound quite as good when we apply it to our relationship with God. If God allowed us to reap what we sow, if our future depended on what we do in the present, if God treated us as our deeds deserve, the harvest wouldn't be pretty.

This is why it is so comforting to know that God doesn't think like you or me. This is why it is so important to remember that God's ways are higher than our ways. He isn't bound by our narrow human reason. He doesn't give us what we deserve. Instead he gives us a promise. In the parable set before us this morning God promises...

I WILL GIVE YOU WHAT IS RIGHT

I. We might think we know better
II. God always knows what is best

Read more: 141012 Matthew 20:1-16

141005 Matthew 18:15-20

Text: MATTHEW 18:15-20
Theme: AM I MY BROTHER'S KEEPER?

"If your brother sins against you, go and show him His fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that 'every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.' If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector. "I tell you the truth, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. "Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them."

This is the Word of the Lord.

"Am I my brother's keeper?" For 1,000's of years, people have used this phrase as an excuse to say that they are not responsible for someone else. In fact, we are able to trace this excuse all the way back to the very first family. Remember Adam and Eve's sons, Cain and Abel? Both of them brought sacrifices to the Lord. The Lord was pleased with the sacrifice of Abel, but not Cain. This made Cain angry; so angry, that he killed his brother Abel. The Lord then asked Cain, "Where is your brother Abel?" Cain snapped back to God himself and answered, "I don't know. Am I my brother's keeper?' The Lord knew what Cain had done. He wanted Cain to take responsibility, yet Cain refused. "Am I my brother's keeper?" Perhaps you have used this phrase yourself from time to time. "Am I my brother's keeper?" God's Word before us this morning will help us answer this age old question.

Read more: 141005 Matthew 18:15-20

140928 Isaiah 51:4-6

Guest preacher: Rev. Larry Schlomer
Text: Isaiah 51:4-6
Theme: Give The Nations What Never Fails

Technology can give you an insight into the world that is amazing. We can see what is going on in different parts of the world instantly. As the Administrator of WELS World Missions I have to pay attention to what is going on in countries where we have missionaries residing or traveling. I don't know if you have discovered this yet, but Google has a simple way to keep in touch with the news form a certain area. All you have to do is go to the Google web page and sign up for news alerts. Google will ask what key words they should search for to provide you news and then they email you a page with links to news stories on that topic from around the world.

For example, one of the alerts I have set is for our missionaries who travel into Nigeria. I entered the key words Nigeria and Ebola. The deadliest outbreak of this scary disease has made its way into Nigeria. Another alert I have set for that same area uses the key words Nigeria and Boko Haram. That is to receive alerts about what this terrorist group is doing. The name means Western Education is Evil and they are active in the north part of Nigeria. Another alert I have set is to follow the key words China and Christian to see what the news brings about how the government there is reacting to the growing churches there.

One thing becomes clear quickly as I get these reports and others. The world is a mess. The news is full of reports. Fathers murdering their own children, civil wars and terrorist attacks, the move of extremists who are butchering people who wear the name Christian - the list could go on and on. The world is a mess. We want justice. We want God to step in. This morning we are going to talk about what we can do about it.

Read more: 140928 Isaiah 51:4-6

140921 Matthew 16:21-26

Text: Matthew 16:21-26
Theme: Christianity Comes Down To The Cross

The Christian faith is rich in symbolism. If you want proof, look no farther than this sanctuary. Without a word, Bible doctrines are being taught here. The triangle on the banner over my shoulder represents the triune God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Three sides equal three persons. One shape equals one God.

The symbol hanging from the lectern is much smaller, but it is no less significant. The anchor brings to mind last Sunday's sermon and the inspired words of Hebrews that compare our hope to an anchor for the soul, firm and secure (6:19).

Symbols like these are important. They have meaning. They enhance our understanding of God and God's Word. But no image is able to capture the essence of our faith like Christianity's most popular symbol.

We see it when our worship begins and ends. It stands over us at the communion rail and the baptismal font. And it has a permanent home above our altar. Originally this symbol was formed when two pieces of wood were fastened together, but now it is not unusual to see it in gold or silver or polished brass.

The cross is a powerful symbol, but it has no power in and of itself. It is not an idol to be worshiped. It is not a relic to be adored. The cross is important to us only because of what it represents. The cross is something Christians display in their churches and homes because of the world-changing events that took place there.

As Jesus began to prepare his disciples for his suffering and death on Good Friday, he also wanted them to be ready for the hardships they would have to endure as his followers. The words he shared with them serve as a timely reminder for followers of Jesus today.

Our faith, our confidence, our lives in the present, our hope for the future, everything we hold near and dear to us as disciples of Jesus comes down to this...

CHRISTIANITY COMES DOWN TO THE CROSS

I. Christ carried a cross to his death
II. Christians carry a cross in life

Read more: 140921 Matthew 16:21-26

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  1. 140914 Hebrews 6:19

Our Mission Statement:

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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9:15 A.M. Bible Study for All Ages

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Oconomowoc, WI 53066
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