150705 Romans 13:1-7

Text: Romans 13:1-7

Theme: Proud to be a Citizen of Heaven!

On July 4th weekend, we don't have to look very far to hear and to see people expressing their pride in America. We hear it in songs played on the radio, we see it on bumper-stickers, on social media web sites like Facebook and even on tee-shirts. People all across our country want others to know that they are proud to be a citizen of the United States of America. But, recent events have made many in our country not very proud to be a citizen of America. In God's Word before us this weekend, the Apostle Paul discusses another citizenship that you and I enjoy as Christians. It is a citizenship that we can always be proud of and that we want to tell others about. Through the forgiveness of sins won for us by our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, you and I enjoy a dual citizenship. We are citizens not only in this world, but citizens of heaven as well. Because of Jesus, you and I are able to say that we are PROUD TO BE A CITIZEN OF HEAVEN!

Read more: 150705 Romans 13:1-7

150628 Mark 4:35-41

Text: Mark 4:35-41
Theme: The Lord Has The Last Word

This past week I was reminded that the Lord has an amazing sense of timing (and a bit of a sense of humor too). It was Monday morning, and I was in the office putting some thoughts down on paper for this weekend's sermon. I started the way I always start my sermon preparation, by reading the Scripture lessons for the day, and it didn't take me long to make the connection. In the first lesson the Lord spoke to Job from an ominous storm cloud. In the second lesson (recorded in Acts 27) Paul and his traveling companions were caught up in a storm on the Mediterranean Sea. And in today's gospel lesson Jesus and his disciples were tossed and turned by a squall on the Sea of Galilee.

As soon as I finished reading the lessons I heard the thunder. And then I looked out my office window and saw that it looked more like midnight than mid-morning. And then I put down my pen and wondered if God might be making a suggestion about the direction of my sermon.

This Sunday could be called "Storm Sunday," but the weather is not the only thing today's readings have in common. God wanted Paul and Job to know, the Lord wanted his disciples to know, and our Savior wants us to know that he is in control. He is always in control. And he demonstrated his power over nature in a miraculous way in the fourth chapter of Mark's gospel.

If you have ever been dragged down by doubts, if you sometimes feel like your faith is weak, if there are things in your life that you can't control, if there is anything in your life that makes you afraid, you need to listen to this sermon. You need to see your Savior in action. You and I need to hear the authority and the compassion in Jesus' voice, and we need the constant comforting reminder that...

THE LORD HAS THE LAST WORD

Read more: 150628 Mark 4:35-41

150621 Jonah 3:1-10

TEXT: Jonah 3:1 – 10

THEME: How Are You Like Jonah?

I would like to begin with a question for all of us to think about this morning: whom in the Bible do you look to as a pattern for your life? Certainly, as Christians, in response to the full and free forgiveness of all our sins, we desire to live the life our Savior lived while on this earth. But what other people of the Bible do you look to as an example for your life? Perhaps you look to Peter. Not the Peter who denied his Savior, but the Peter who boldly confessed his Savior on the day of Pentecost. A name which comes to mind for many of us is the Apostle Paul. We desire to be filled with the energy, the zeal, and the love for God's Word that the Apostle Paul showed in his life. As you think about which person in the Bible you would like to pattern your life after, does the name "Jonah" come to mind? If not, why do think that is? Do we look to Jonah as a pattern for our lives? If you tell someone, "You remind me a lot of Jonah", would you take that as a criticism or a complement? This morning all of us are asked the question: How Are You Like Jonah? Based on this section of Scripture we will arrive at two answers to that question. First: You are Sent by the LORD; and secondly: You Proclaim the Word of the LORD.

Read more: 150621 Jonah 3:1-10

150614 2 Corinthians 4:13-18

Text: 2 Corinthians 4:13-18
Theme: We Believe, Therefore We Speak

Every sermon has a theme. The purpose of a sermon theme is to engage the person in the pew, to stimulate thought, to leave God's people with something memorable, something meaningful, something they can take home with them when they leave.

Because the preacher attaches so much significance to his sermon theme, he will try to be creative as he develops it. The theme can take the form of a question or a statement or a command. It can rhyme. It can be alliterative. It can even sound like poetry.

The theme of this sermon is not poetic. It isn't very clever or creative. It isn't even original. I took it almost word-for-word from today's text. And you can see it printed in black and white in the bulletin: "We Believe, Therefore We Speak." But I will not apologize to the apostle Paul for stealing the theme because it didn't originate with him either. When Paul wrote these words to the Christians at Corinth, he was quoting the Old Testament, specifically Psalm 116.

The psalmist composed these verses after he had gone through a time of great affliction: "The cords of death entangled me, the anguish of the grave came upon me; I was overcome by trouble and sorrow" (3). This time of trouble was followed by a great deliverance: "You, O Lord, have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling" (8).

And then the writer went on to express his gratitude for God's grace and mercy: "How can I repay the Lord for all his goodness to me" (12)? "I will sacrifice a thank offering to you and call on the name of the Lord" (17).

Paul didn't write Psalm 166, but he knew exactly how the writer felt. He had been stoned. He had been flogged. He had been thrown in jail. And time after time, the Lord had delivered him. In spite of all his troubles, in spite of the dangers, even in the midst of the most severe trials, Paul trusted in God. That is why he was proud to make the words of the psalmist his own: "'I believed; therefore I have spoken.' With the same spirit of faith, we also believe and therefore speak" (4:13).

Because there are days when we feel the same way, because our faith is built on the same solid foundation, maybe this isn't such a bad sermon theme after all. Along with the psalmist, along with Paul, with the same spirit of faith...

WE BELIEVE, THEREFORE WE SPEAK

I. Death will give way to life
II. Trouble will give way to glory
III. Time will give way to eternity

Read more: 150614 2 Corinthians 4:13-18

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