160131 Luke 4:20-32

Text: Luke 4:20-32
Theme: When Jesus Talks, People Listen

The atmosphere in the upscale restaurant is lively. Thanks to the lunch crowd, every chair in the place is filled. The clicking of silverware and the buzz of conversation make it very difficult to distinguish individual words. But it is possible to pick up on a conversation at a table in the middle of the dining area where the discussion is about financial matters.

A businessman tells his friend that you'll never regret the purchase of a good stock, and that his broker told him this particular stock was a very good buy. When he asks his friend what his broker says, the other man leans over the table and says: "Well, my broker is E.F. Hutton, and Hutton says..." At that moment, everything in the room stops. People stop talking. Waiters stop serving. The only movement comes from people stretching and leaning over as far as possible to hear what this man is about to say.

Maybe some of you recognize this commercial or others like it from the late 70s and early 80s. If you remember the ad campaign, there is a good chance you also remember the slogan that went along with it: "When E.F. Hutton talks, people listen."

It was the beginning of Jesus' public ministry. He had just completed a successful preaching tour of Galilee. Everyone praised this new teacher and his new teaching, and he was beginning to attract a following. When Jesus returned to his hometown of Nazareth, the excitement continued to build. People were proud of their hometown hero. They wanted to hear him too, and so they invited him to speak in the synagogue on the Sabbath.

As Jesus stood up, he was handed the scroll of the prophet Isaiah. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written: "The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor" (Luke 4:18-19).

As Jesus took his seat, the room was completely silent. Every eye was fixed on him. Every ear was eager to hear him. But this was no commercial. This was real. And the anticipation of the people of Nazareth demonstrates this important spiritual truth...

WHEN JESUS TALKS, PEOPLE LISTEN

I. His message brings initial popularity
II. His message creates intense hostility
III. His message possesses divine authority

Read more: 160131 Luke 4:20-32

160124 1 Corinthians 12:12-21; 26-27

Text: 1 Corinthians 12:12-21; 26-27
Theme: ARE YOU EXCITED TO BE A MEMBER OF CHRIST'S TEAM?

I want you to think of your favorite athlete. How successful do you think that athlete would be, if they didn't have any teammates? If your favorite athlete plays golf or is a boxer, maybe then they don't rely on teammates to win. But, how many games would Lebron James win if it was just him playing against the 5 players from the other team night after night? How successful would Aaron Rogers be if he didn't have someone to throw to or teammates that play defense to stop the other team from scoring? Could Ryan Bruan play every position, each inning, by himself and still hope to win? Of course, the answer to all these questions is that having teammates is important to have success. This is true in the Ministry of the Lord's Church as well. So my question for you today is this: "Are you excited to be a member of Christ's team?" God's Word before us from 1 Corinthians chapter 12 answers this question in two ways. First, we will see that it is the Holy Spirit who makes you part of Christ's team; and, as part of Christ's team, you have an important position on this team.

Read more: 160124 1 Corinthians 12:12-21; 26-27

160117 John 2:1-11

Text: John 2:1-11
Theme: No Matter What You Do, Make Sure To Invite Jesus

More than a few years ago when Johnny Carson (and not Jimmy Fallon) was the host of The Tonight Show, he interviewed an eight year old boy. The young man was invited to appear on the show because he had rescued two friends in a coal mine outside of his hometown in West Virginia.

After Johnny asked the boy a few questions, it became apparent to him and to the audience that the young man was a Christian. So Johnny asked him if he attended Sunday School. When the boy said that he did Johnny inquired, "So what are you learning about in Sunday School?" "Last week," the boy replied, "our lesson was about when Jesus went to a wedding and turned water into wine."

The audience roared, but Johnny tried to keep a straight face. And then the host asked, "And what was the point of that story?" The boy shifted around in his chair uneasily as he struggled to come up with an answer. But then in a moment of discovery his face relaxed and he replied with confidence, "If you are going to have a wedding, make sure you invite Jesus!"

I didn't see that particular episode of The Tonight Show. I actually found the story on the internet, so I can't verify if it is true. But there is a great deal of truth in the words of that young boy. And what he said isn't limited to weddings either. If you are about to take a test, if you are about to take a new job, if you are planning to move across the country or meet your future in-laws, if you are confronted by a great challenge or presented with a great opportunity, it remains good advice for Christians in any and every situation...

NO MATTER WHAT YOU DO, MAKE SURE TO INVITE JESUS

I. He has compassion on people in need
II. He has the power to meet every need

Read more: 160117 John 2:1-11

160110 Psalm 2:1-6

Text: Psalm 2:1 – 6

Theme: What Does the Baptism of Jesus Mean for Me?

"Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the LORD and against his Anointed One. 'Let us break their chains,' they say, 'and throw off their fetters.' The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord scoffs at them. Then he rebukes them in his anger and terrifies them in his wrath, saying, 'I have installed my King on Zion, my holy hill.'"

I once had a conversation with someone about why they stopped coming to worship. This person's first answer was, "When I went to Church, I didn't hear things that applied to me and my life. All the preachers did was talk about Jesus, and what he has done for us. I want to hear more of what I can do, how I can live my life for Jesus." In a way, this individual does have a point. Preachers and teachers of God's Word do need to use the time and the energy it takes to apply God's Word to the day-to-day lives of people. But, there are far too many Churches today that are ignoring what the Bible tells us about Jesus and focusing only on what we should be doing for Jesus. We have to be careful that we don't fall into the trap of "putting the cart before the horse." Before we are able to talk about living our lives for our Savior, we need to read and study what Jesus our Savior has done for us.

Read more: 160110 Psalm 2:1-6

More Articles...

  1. 160103 Ephesians 3:2-12

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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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