131127 John 15:9-11

Last Updated on Wednesday, 27 November 2013 Written by Pastor Schmidt

Sermon Text:  John 15:9-11

Sermon Theme:  Offer Thanksgiving to the Savior-God!

"As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father's commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete."

Once again it's that time of year. It's thanksgiving. A time for us to remember all those blessings from the Lord we are thankful for. It is fitting for us this Thanksgiving to give thanks to the Lord for our health, for our families, and for the many material blessings that we enjoy. But the greatest blessing we enjoy is one which we don't always take time to say thank you for on Thanksgiving Day. Tonight, God's Word encourages you and me to look beyond the material blessings we enjoy, to look beyond the blessing of our health and even the blessing of our families. This Thanksgiving, you and I are encouraged to offer thanksgiving to the Savior-God for the blessing of his love.

Jesus begins, "As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you." Stop and think about this statement for a moment. This is an amazing fact! Jesus Christ says that he loves you and me. Could you or I stand before the Lord and say that we deserve his love? Before you and I start thinking too highly of ourselves, remember that the holy and just God demands that we be perfect, that is, without any sin at all. We must not break the Law even at one point, or, the Bible tells us, we are guilty of breaking all of it. When you and I take a close look at ourselves and the lives we live, each and everyone of us must confess that we are sinners in God's eyes. Not only do we commit sin upon sin, day after day, but we are all sinful from the time we are conceived in the womb of our mothers'. God's Word is clear. The One True God has every right to hate you and me. The punishment that we deserve for our sins is death; not only physical death, but spiritual death -- that is, a never-ending life in the fires of hell.

Yet our Savior says to you and me, "As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you." Why does God the Father love his Son, Jesus? Because Jesus Christ, the one and only Son of God, was willing to come to this earth to live a perfect life in the place of you and me. Jesus willingly suffered the very pains of hell, which you and I deserved because of our sin. Jesus Christ died the death we were supposed to die. Why was our Savior willing to endure all this for us? The answer is found in that one, single word, "love". The love Jesus has for sinners is greater than any love a human being can have. It is God's great and perfect love. This thanksgiving, offer thanks to the Savior-God for his love which won for you the forgiveness of all of your sins. Give thanks to the Lord that in love he showers you with blessings after blessings. Give thanks to the Savior for his love that won your place at his side in heaven.

Thanksgiving is an opportunity for us to pause in our daily lives, and remember that we are greatly loved by our gracious Savior in heaven. It is in response to that love that we are willing to show love to others. As John writes in his first letter, "We love, because he first loved us.' How do you and I show others that we are loving? The first answer Jesus gives to that question in the verses before us is this, "If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father's commands and remain in his love." While you and I are not able to keep the commands of our God perfectly, children of the Father in heaven show that they love him as they make every effort, with the help of God the Holy Spirit, to obey what he commands. The Law of God, summarized for us in the Ten Commandments, is not a way to earn our place in heaven, but it serves as a guide for our daily lives. In response to the love of our Savior, Jesus Christ, we desire to live lives that offer him our loving obedience in return.

A second way we are able to respond to our Savior-God's love for us is by showing love to other people. We can do this in a number of ways. The most loving thing you and I are able to do for others is to share God's Word with them. Maybe you know of someone who has cut themselves off from the Word of God. In love, reach out to that person. Do not wait for someone else to do it, thinking that it is someone else's job. When you see a fellow believer caught in sin's trap, reach out to that person in love. The most loving thing you are able to do for someone is to proclaim God's Law to point out sin, and to share his Gospel to comfort those burdened by their sins. Responding to the love of our Savior-God and empowered by his love for us, you and I are also able to show our love for others as we care for their physical needs. Perhaps they need clothing, or food or a warm place to stay. Maybe they just need that shoulder to lean on during a difficult time in their lives. These are just a few ways that you and I can show our thankfulness for the love that we enjoy as members of the body of Christ.

It was in 1863 that President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed the last Thursday in November as a national day of thanksgiving. In part, President Lincoln wrote:

"We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of heaven. We have been preserved, the many years, in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth and power, as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own.

Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to God that made us! It behooves us, then, to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for mercy and forgiveness."

This thanksgiving, offer thanksgiving to the Savior-God for showering you with his forgiving love. Strengthened and motivated by that love, search out ways to show that same love to others. Amen.



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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St. Matthew's Lutheran Church
818 West Wisconsin Avenue
Oconomowoc, WI 53066




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