130317 Philippians 3:8-11

Text: Philippians 3:8 – 11
Theme: "It is Not By Luck That You Are Saved!"

I am going to guess that most of you here this morning know that today is St. Patrick's Day. While many people use today as an excuse to eat corned beef and cabbage, and then wash that down with a green colored beer, March 17 is an official, religious holiday in many Christian churches. "The Feast of St. Patrick", as it is called, celebrates the arrival of Christianity in Ireland. What are some of the other things that we often times associate with St. Patrick's Day? Maybe three leaf clovers, or leprechauns, or the phrase "the luck of the Irish." From what I have been able to gather, the phrase "the luck of the Irish" does not have its origin in Ireland but in America. Professor Edward T. O'Donnell, who is a Professor of History at the College of the Holy Cross College in Massachusetts and the author of the book 1001 Things Everyone Should Know About Irish American History, writes this: "During the gold and silver rush years in the second half of the 19th century, a number of the most famous and successful miners were of Irish and Irish-American birth. . . .Over time this association of the Irish with mining fortunes led to the expression 'luck of the Irish.' Of course, it carried with it a certain tone of disrespect, as if to say, 'It is only by sheer luck, as opposed to brains, that these fools could succeed.'" There are those who think that it is only by sheer luck that people will succeed in getting into heaven. Someone may say, "It is only by luck that you were born into a Christian family." Someone else may think, "If I am lucky, maybe God will let me into heaven when I die." Today, as we take a closer look at several verses from our Second Lesson for our Worship Service today, we will see that IT IS NOT BY LUCK THAT YOU ARE SAVED. I invite you to hear again verses 8 – 11 of Philippians chapter 3:

What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ--the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.

Read more: 130317 Philippians 3:8-11

130310 Luke 15:11-24

Text: Luke 15:11-24
Theme: Redeemed, Restored, Forgiven!

It was a long, long time ago in a land far, far away. Somewhere in that land was a field, and somewhere in that field was a young man feeding pigs. Pigs weren't just dirty animals. They were ceremonially unclean (Leviticus 11:7), and coming into contact with them made him unclean too. And yet this man was jealous. He was so poor, so destitute, so hungry that he longed to fill his stomach with the pods the pigs were eating.

But it wasn't just the hunger pangs that kept this man awake at night. He also felt the pangs of a guilty conscience. Night after night he relived the events that had ultimately brought him to this place. And it all started with a brief exchange with his father.

One day this son had gone up to his father and demanded: "Father, give me my share of the estate" (12). There was no: "Dad, can I talk to you about something?" or "This might sound sort of strange, but I have a favor to ask." The son couldn't wait to get his greedy hands on the inheritance he believed was rightfully his, and he didn't even have the decency to wait for his father to die before he took it.

As soon as the father honored his son's request, the son dishonored his father again. He packed up his belongings and left for a distant country. As he started out on this new and exciting adventure he thought to himself: "I am finally free, free from my father's rules, free to go wherever I want, free to do whatever I want."

Read more: 130310 Luke 15:11-24

130303 Exodus 3:1-10

Text: Exodus 3:1 – 8, 10 – 15

Theme: What Has God Done for You Lately?
1. It is He Who Chose You
2. It is He Who will be with You

From time to time we will hear people complaining about God. You and I give in to the temptation to question God from time to time and either say or think things like: "Why did the almighty God allow this to happen to my loved one?" "How could a loving God allow all this trouble to come into my life?" Some people may even make claims that God owes them something. They will think, "I have lived a pretty good life, in fact just yesterday I went out of my way to help someone. God will have to reward me in some way." Believers in our Savior, Jesus Christ know that there is a great deal that our gracious God in heaven does for us, his children. Each day is a day of his grace as he forgives our sins and provides all that we need for our body and life. This morning, based on this portion of Scripture from the book of Exodus, we will answer the question: WHAT HAS GOD DONE FOR YOU LATELY? Exodus chapter 3 offers two answers to that question: It is He Who Chose You; and It is He Who will be with You.

Read more: 130303 Exodus 3:1-10

130224 Philippians 3:17-4:1

Guest preacher: Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary student, Matthew Rothe
Text: Philippians 3:17-4:1
Theme: Your Citizenship Is In Heaven!

Maybe it's your close friend from Michigan, or your relative who grew up in Southern California. Maybe you're that person; you know, somebody who is extremely proud of where they come from. You know, one of those people! I'm talking about someone who struggles to even call the current place they're living, 'home'. I have someone in mind that longs to go back home someday, and not just for a visit, but to settle down and one day retire there. This is someone who by their speech, their actions, their life reflects an understanding that their citizenship is not where they are living right now, but it is back home, where ever that might be.

The Apostle Paul was one of those people. He had that inner struggle. Sure, he loved what he was doing here on earth. Whether Paul was in Jerusalem or Macedonia or even under house arrest in Rome, Paul was reaching lost souls with the gospel. Yet, in his desire to go back home to heaven he went so far as to say that to die and go to heaven is gain...for to be with Christ is far better. Paul knew where his real home was. He wanted everybody who hears and reads his letters to have the same longing for home also. "Your citizenship is in heaven" he tells you and me. So, while you are away, while you are in this world, follow Christ's examples and as you do anticipate Christ's return!

Read more: 130224 Philippians 3:17-4:1

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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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