151011 Acts 9:36-43

Text: Acts 9:36-43
Theme: Use Your God-Given Gifts

In my hand is a copy of this month's newsletter, and on the front page is my lead article. If you have already seen what I wrote, this will be review for you. And if this is on your stack of things you still need to read (I call mine my guilt stack), you can consider this a small favor. The purpose of the article was to introduce our October stewardship sermon series (which began last Sunday) and to encourage you to sign up for our every member stewardship visits. The theme of that program and the title of this article are the same, "Freely You Have Received, Freely Give." What follows is an excerpt from the article...

When you hear the word "stewardship," when you consider Jesus' encouragement to be as generous as God has been to you, some of you might be tempted to stop reading because you think this is going to be another article about the church needing money. But you might be surprised to know that when Jesus told his disciples: "Freely you have received, freely give" (Matthew 10:8), he wasn't talking about money at all.

The Lord was about to send out the Twelve on their first mission trips, but before he did he gave them the following instructions (this is from today's gospel lesson): "Go...to the lost sheep of Israel. As you go, preach this message: 'The kingdom of heaven is near.' Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give" (Matthew 10:6-8).

First and foremost, Jesus wanted his disciples to be good stewards of the gospel. It had been their privilege to sit at the feet of the Master Teacher. They listened to his sermons. They learned from his parables. They had come to know God's grace directly from the lips of God's one and only Son. And Jesus wanted them to share what they had learned, to proclaim the good news, to announce the coming kingdom of God. The Lord also gave the Twelve the authority to perform miracles in his name. In other words, God had given them special gifts and abilities, and he commanded them to use those gifts to help others, to heal sicknesses and cure diseases and even raise the dead.

The focus of our worship can be found in the last sentence. Before the Lord sent them out, he gave his disciples gifts. He did the same for the disciples in the early church; we will see some specific examples in our sermon text for today. And because we are disciples of Jesus too, God has promised to do the same for us. When it comes to spiritual gifts, this congregation has been richly blessed. Every member is a part of the body. Every person plays an important role. Every believer has been given unique gifts and abilities, and our Lord wants us to use them...

USE YOUR GOD-GIVEN GIFTS

I. To serve God's people
II. To give God glory

Read more: 151011 Acts 9:36-43

151004 Matthew 24:36-44

Sermon Text: Matthew 24:36-44

Sermon Theme: Freely You Have Received, Freely Give Your Time

At the end of Matthew chapter 9, the Lord of the Church says to his disciples, ""The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field." Then, at the beginning of Matthew chapter 10, we read how, in answer to that prayer for workers, Jesus sent out his own 12 disciples into the harvest fields. In addition to healing the sick and raising the dead, the disciples were to share the Word of God with those people they came into contact with. The Savior told the disciples, "Freely you have received, freely give." The disciples had enjoyed the opportunity to sit at the feet of Jesus and hear him proclaim the wonderful Good News that he is the promised Savior. Now they were to go out and use their time and talents to share that message with others. This October, we are going to use our weekly worship opportunities to review what our God says in his Word to you and me about the stewardship of, that is the management of or the use of all the gifts that he freely gives to you and me. We are using as a general theme for these services the very words Jesus spoke to his disciples: "Freely you have received, freely give." Today, the encouragement from God's Word for you and me is: FREELY YOU HAVE RECEIVED, FREELY GIVE YOUR TIME.

Read more: 151004 Matthew 24:36-44

150927 Jeremiah 11:18-20

Text: Jeremiah 11:18-20
Theme: Commit Your Cause To The Lord

407. That's the number of days remaining until the 2016 presidential election, but you wouldn't know it by watching the news. Just last week there was another debate with sixteen Republican candidates in the race (if you are from Wisconsin you probably know that number is now fifteen). Maybe you are interested in politics. Maybe you are still deciding who you want to be our next president. Or maybe you are like a good number of Republicans and Democrats whose minds are already made up.

Ultimately the presidential race will come down to a small percentage of people in the middle, a group that has the ability to swing the vote either way. The candidates will campaign non-stop to win over these undecided voters, to get these people to commit to their cause.

Under the present political system voters are given a number of candidates and parties to choose from, but when it comes to spiritual things there are really only two choices. Jesus said: "He who is not with me is against me" (Luke 11:23). Either you serve the Lord or your serve the devil. There is no middle ground. There are no other options.

No political analyst would have ever labeled Jeremiah as a spiritual undecided. His allegiance didn't change. His loyalties never wavered. Throughout his life, throughout his ministry, Jeremiah served the Lord. Jeremiah was a model of faithfulness for the people he served, and he continues to serve as a role model for believers today.

This morning God himself speaks to us through the inspired pen of Jeremiah. This morning God also encourages us through the example of Jeremiah. And as we work through these verses, it is my prayer that, like Jeremiah, the Holy Spirit will lead you to...

Commit Your Cause to the Lord

I. Devote yourself to the Lord's work
II. Put your life in the Lord's hands

Read more: 150927 Jeremiah 11:18-20

150920 Mark 8:27-35

Text: Mark 8:27-38

Theme: Who is Jesus Christ?

Picture this scene: you are talking with a friend, who wonders why you go to Church week after week. You answer, "To learn more about Jesus Christ." Then your friend asks you, "Who is Jesus Christ?" How would you answer your friend? Have you ever had to explain who Jesus is to someone who has absolutely no knowledge of him at all? Where would you start? God's Word before us this weekend gives you and me help in answering the question, "Who is Jesus Christ?"

Read more: 150920 Mark 8:27-35

More Articles...

  1. 150913 Isaiah 35:4

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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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Sunday
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