140824 John 3:16

 

Text: John 3:16
Theme: The Greatest Story Ever Told

From very humble beginnings as a half hour radio series inspired by the gospels, it eventually grew into a major motion picture. It took two years to write the screenplay, and budget overruns threatened to kill the project, but the film was finally released in 1965.

The Greatest Story Ever Told tells the story of Jesus from his birth to his resurrection, and it boasts a cast of Hollywood icons including John Wayne and Charlton Heston. The original running time was four hours and twenty minutes, and even though that time was cut in half for its U.S. release the movie received mixed reviews. The film did receive five Academy Award nominations, but critics complained that it was too long and too boring.

Long and boring are common complaints about church too, and there are times when those criticisms are valid. I can't make any guarantees about today, but I can tell you this. This service will not be four hours and twenty minutes long, and this sermon did not take two years to write.

This morning we will focus our attention on just twenty six words, words that were a part of an intimate conversation, words that are filled with comfort and hope, words that prove whoever it was who came up with the title of that movie, they got it right. And at the end of the day I pray that you will agree that within this single verse lies...

THE GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD

I. The greatest gift
II. The greatest miracle
III. The greatest promise

Read more: 140824 John 3:16

140817 Matthew 13:44-52

Text: Matthew 13:44-52
Theme: Closing Thoughts About The Kingdom Of Heaven

For the third consecutive Sunday our gospel lesson comes from Matthew 13, and for the third consecutive Sunday the Lord speaks to us in parables. Two weeks ago it was the parable of the sower and the seed. Last Sunday it was the parable of the weeds sown among the wheat.

Today we will focus our attention on three more parables of Jesus. Each parable is unique, but they do have something in common. In fact, they have something in common with last Sunday's parable as well as two short parables in between (see Matthew 13:31-33). Jesus introduces them all with the same six-word phrase: "The kingdom of heaven is like..."

"The kingdom of heaven" is not exactly easy to define. It means different things to different people. It can mean different things depending on the context. And perhaps that's why Jesus used it. That little phrase is broad enough to cover the many and varied aspects of God's saving activity, including two spiritual truths in our text for today, truths that we will discover as we consider our Savior's...

CLOSING THOUGHTS ABOUT THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN

I. It has infinite value
II. It anticipates a final verdict

Read more: 140817 Matthew 13:44-52

140803 Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23

Text: Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23
Theme: A Simple Story About Seeds

"That's been one of my mantras—focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it's worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains."

Can you guess who was responsible for the preceding quote? The "moving mountains" reference might have you thinking that it was a pastor or a well-known Christian author, but it wasn't. Actually those words were spoken by a man who had grown up in a Lutheran church and at a young age renounced his Christian faith. The billionaire entrepreneur/ inventor/visionary who was driven by those twin principles of focus and simplicity was the same man who made Apple a household name.

Even though Steve Jobs wasn't a Christian, you could make the case that his business philosophy was based on principles that can be found in the Bible. When Jesus was born into the world, he came with a singular focus. He came to seek and to save what was lost (Luke 19:10). He did not come to be served, but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many (Mark 10:45).

And even though there are some things in the Bible that are difficult for human beings to understand, at its heart and core the message of the Bible is quite simple. You are a sinner. You need a Savior. God loves you. God sent his one and only Son to save you, and whoever believes in him will have eternal life (John 3:16).

Focus and simplicity. What is true of the Bible as a whole can also be applied to today's sermon text. Jesus often spoke to people in parables, using activities they knew (like farming and fishing) and situations they could relate to (like losing something) to communicate basic Bible truths. And this morning Jesus focuses our attention on God's Word, specifically the power of God's Word, by sharing with us...

A SIMPLE STORY ABOUT SEEDS

Read more: 140803 Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23

140727 Matthew 11:28-30

Sermon Text:  Matthew 11:28-30

Sermon Theme:  REJOICE THAT JESUS CAME TO GIVE YOU REST!

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

This is the Word of the Lord.

I would like to begin by asking you a question: Raise your hand if you have already taken a vacation this summer or plan to take a vacation yet some time this summer. Most of us use this time of year to "get away" for a little while. We may use this time to see friends or family that we haven't visited with for some time. Some may use a vacation to visit historical places around our country. But one of the key reasons why most people take a vacation is to take some time away from their regular day-to-day schedules. For most, vacation is a time for rest. In our worship service today, we have gathered around the Word of our God and heard our Lord offer us his rest. While physical rest is important for our bodies, the spiritual rest our Savior gives to us is the most important rest we enjoy. As we as a congregation celebrate our Annual "Christmas in July" this weekend, as we hear our Savior, Jesus, speak to us in Matthew chapter 11, REJOICE THAT JESUS CAME TO GIVE YOU REST!

Read more: 140727 Matthew 11:28-30

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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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Sunday
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