171203 Mark 1:1-8

Text: Mark 1:1-8
Theme: Listen To The Baptist's Cry

Let's face it. John the Baptist would have a hard time making a go of it in the Christian world today. His style and strategy could make up a list of "don'ts" for someone who wants to start a church. Instead of compiling statistical data and studying demographics trends to find the perfect location, instead of selecting a site based on its potential for growth, John chose to do his work in the wilderness.

John's outward appearance wasn't exactly polished either. How many people would open the door for someone dressed in camel's hair? What kind of person would be willing to sit down and talk with someone whose diet consisted of nothing but locusts and wild honey?

And even if he could overcome those two obstacles, John would still have a difficult time building a church today because of his message. Standing on the banks of the Jordan River, John called people to repentance. He wasn't afraid to talk about sin. He even compared some of his critics to poisonous snakes, not exactly the preferred method to win friends and influence people.

John would probably never be held up as a model for modern ministry, but he was extremely effective. He didn't have to go to the people because the people came to him. He didn't change the tone of his message because it wasn't his message to change. And even though much of his preaching consisted of fire and brimstone, people listened.

We know why John the Baptist was so successful. It wasn't because of where he worked. It wasn't because of what he looked like. And it wasn't because of the way he spoke. John the Baptist spoke with authority because his authority came from God.

That is why we are here today. Like the people who came from far and wide to hear John the Baptist, we have come to hear God's Word. And in that Word the Lord tells us to...

LISTEN TO THE BAPTIST'S CRY

I. John came to fulfill the words of the prophets
II. John came to carry out the work of a prophet

Read more: 171203 Mark 1:1-8

171123 Colossians 3:15-17

Text: Colossians 3:15-17
Theme: Be Thankful!

There are a number of indelible images that we almost automatically associate with the Thanksgiving holiday: Pilgrims with their bonnets and black hats and buckles sitting down with Native Americans for a feast; a plump, juicy turkey cooked to a perfect golden brown; and for some families a decoration at the center of the Thanksgiving dinner table, a large, overflowing cornucopia.

If you aren't 100% sure what a cornucopia looks like, there is a clip art image of one on page five of the service folder. "Cornucopia" literally means "horn of plenty," and that is a pretty good definition of what a cornucopia is. It is a large basket filled with the bounty of the year's harvest, with fruits and vegetables and grains.

Today's sermon text could be called a cornucopia too, a cornucopia of divine commands. In the span of six short verses Paul encourages us to clothe ourselves with all kinds of Christian virtues, to bear with each other, to forgive one another, to put on love and put love before everything else, to let Christ's peace rule in our hearts and let Christ's Word dwell in us richly, to do everything we do in the name of our Savior.

Tucked away in the middle of all these imperatives is one more. It is so short and so simple that it would be easy to skip right over it. But not today, not on the day we celebrate our national day of Thanksgiving. These two little words remind us why we are here today, why we sing God's praises today, and what our Lord calls us to do every day...

BE THANKFUL!

I. For everything you have
II. In everything you do

Read more: 171123 Colossians 3:15-17

171119 Ezekiel 34:11-16; 23-24

Text: Ezekiel 34:11-16, 23-24
Theme: The Shepherd King will Look After His Sheep

This weekend, in our schedule of worship services that we are using here at St. Matthew's, we are bringing another Church Year to a close. As we conclude another Church year, it is good for us to be here in God's house, gathered together around his Word. It is good for us to be here in God's house, singing his praises. As we spend time together in our Lord's Word today, we hear the comforting and assuring message that only comes from the Word of our God. For it is only in the Word of our God that we read that Jesus, our one and only Savior, is the King of kings and the Lord of lords. It is only in the Word of God, and specifically here in Ezekiel chapter 34, that we hear the promise that Jesus Christ, the Shepherd-King, will look after his sheep. He will reign over them. He will rescue them. I invite you to listen now to the Old Testament Lesson appointed for this "Christ the King Sunday", taken from Ezekiel chapter 34, we begin reading at verse 11:

"'For this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I myself will search for my sheep and look after them. As a shepherd looks after his scattered flock when he is with them, so will I look after my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on a day of clouds and darkness. I will bring them out from the nations and gather them from the countries, and I will bring them into their own land. I will pasture them on the mountains of Israel, in the ravines and in all the settlements in the land. I will tend them in a good pasture, and the mountain heights of Israel will be their grazing land. There they will lie down in good grazing land, and there they will feed in a rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. I myself will tend my sheep and have them lie down, declares the Sovereign LORD. I will search for the lost and bring back the strays. I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak, but the sleek and the strong I will destroy. I will shepherd the flock with justice...I will place over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he will tend them; he will tend them and be their shepherd. I the LORD will be their God, and my servant David will be prince among them. I the LORD have spoken.'"

Read more: 171119 Ezekiel 34:11-16; 23-24

171112 Matthew 25:1-13

Text: Matthew 25:1-13
Theme: What It Takes To Become A Triumphant Saint

What a difference a week makes! The focus of our worship last Sunday was the Last Judgment, a day that could be described as the most sobering Sunday of the Church Year. The dominant color of the day was red. We usually associate red with the Holy Spirit, but last Sunday red was also a visual reminder of the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his demons (Matthew 25:41).

Today is drastically different. The mood is different. The music is different. And you probably noticed that the color is different too. White is symbolic of holiness and purity. White reminds us that even though our sins are like scarlet they shall be as white as snow (Isaiah 1:18). White represents the white robes worn by the righteous in the book of Revelation (7:9).

And on this Saints Triumphant Sunday white reminds us of our loved ones who have finished their lives in faith and now rest from their labors. They are the ones who are wearing white robes. They are worshiping with the angels. Even now they are basking in the glow of eternal glory.

It's an amazing picture, isn't it? It is a picture of perfection. In fact, there is only one thing that could possibly make that picture better, and that would be if you and I were in it. If it sounds too good to be true, it's not. It's not just wishful thinking. A heavenly reunion is possible, and in the parable of the ten virgins Jesus tells us how to make this possibility a reality. Listen and learn from our Savior as he explains...

WHAT IT TAKES TO BECOME A TRIUMPHANT SAINT

Read more: 171112 Matthew 25:1-13

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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
8:00 A.M. & 10:30 A.M.

9:15 A.M. Bible Study for All Ages

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818 West Wisconsin Avenue
Oconomowoc, WI 53066
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