140209 Matthew 5:13-16

Text: Matthew 5:13-16
Theme: A Good Reason For Doing Good Works

Right now I am looking out at a church full of seasoned sermon listeners. Most of you have been on the listening end of hundreds of sermons. Many of you have heard thousands of sermons. And if you grew up in the Lutheran church, or if you have been a member of this congregation for any length of time, there is a good chance that you have noticed a trend.

The sermon text changes from week to week, but the focus remains the same. The vast majority of Lutheran sermons stress the importance of what God has done for us and place a secondary emphasis on what we as Christians do for God. And there is a good reason for that.

Preachers (and I include myself in that group) never want to give the impression that our salvation depends on human performance. No matter how many good things a person does, those good things will never be able to cancel out the bad. No matter how good people try to be, on their own they can never be good enough.

Salvation is a gift of God's grace. Undeserved love. Unconditional love. A love that motivated God the Father to sacrifice his one and only Son. A love that moved Jesus to sacrifice his life for his friends, for his enemies, for the sins of the world, for you. You are saved because your Savior saved you. Period.

Unfortunately that is where a fair share of Lutheran sermons end. Maybe preachers are afraid that the precious truths rediscovered by Luther will somehow be lost again. Maybe our sermons are so focused on the work of Christ that we sometimes forget to talk about the grateful response of the Christian.

It doesn't have to be that way. It really shouldn't be that way because good works play an important role in the life of a believer. And it shouldn't surprise us that Jesus mentions good works early and often in his Sermon on the Mount. Addressing the disciples who had gathered around him that day, preaching to his followers who are gathered here today, the Lord provides us with...


Read more: 140209 Matthew 5:13-16

140202 I Peter 1:6-9

Lutheran Education Sunday

Text: I Peter 1:6-9

Theme: Joy In The Darkness

Guest Preacher: Pastor Don Schultz, Lakeside Lutheran High School


I Peter 1:6-9 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith-- of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire--may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.


What is the greatest gift you can give someone? If you're a parent or a grandparent, what's the greatest gift you can give a child? What's the greatest gift you can give to yourself?

Today, we are going to talk about something we will call "joy in the darkness." Of all the things you can give someone, of all the things you can give yourself, the best thing, is "joy in the darkness" - what is it? And how do you get it? Today God will speak to us through the book of 1 Peter chapter 1, and teach us about the gift of joy in the darkness.

Read more: 140202 I Peter 1:6-9

140126 Psalm 27

Sermon Text: Psalm 27

Most of you know that back in November 2010, my family and I received news that we never expected to hear: I was diagnosed as having Hodgkin's Lymphoma. At a time when you receive that news, you are so very thankful for the kind words of love and support that you receive from people. Many of you, as well as many people I didn't even know, were contacting my through e-mail or Facebook, calling me up on the phone, sending cards through the mail, all to offer me and my family their encouragement and support. After hearing the news, I wanted to read through some of the Psalms. So I remember that I took hold of my Bible, with my fingers placed in the middle of the Bible, and opened it. Some may want to tell me that it was just coincidence or chance, but I truly believe it was the Lord himself directing me to the exact portion of Scripture that he wanted me and my family to hear at that exact moment. My Bible opened up to Psalm 27 and there I read the comfort that only a gracious God is able to provide: "The LORD is my light and my salvation--whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life-- of whom shall I be afraid?" Ever since that particular moment, Psalm 27 has been one of my most favorite sections of Scripture. Because of Jesus, our Savior, you and I are children of our loving Father in heaven. Because of Jesus, you and I have no fear! It is Jesus who has called you and me out of darkness and into his marvelous light. So, as we sang just a few moments ago, you and I WALK AS A CHILD OF THE LIGHT!

Read more: 140126 Psalm 27

140119 John 1:29-41

Text: John 1:29-41
Theme: God Builds His Church One Soul At A Time

Perhaps you have noticed something special about this Sunday. The second Sunday after Epiphany has an obvious outreach emphasis. The closing hymn for today comes from the "Missions" section of the hymnal. In the Prayer of the Day we asked God: "Grant that your people, illumined by your Word and sacraments, may shine with the radiance of Christ's glory, that he may be known, worshiped and believed to the ends of the earth."

This mission theme also comes out in the lessons for today. The next-to-last verse of the First Lesson (from Isaiah 49) has been called the Great Commission of the Old Testament, where the Lord says to his servant (Jesus): "It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles that you may bring my salvation to the ends of the earth" (6).

Today we can look back and see how God's promise has come true. There are an estimated two billion Christians in the world. The Bible has been translated into dozens of languages. We can look at the evidence and conclude that the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ has been carried to every corner of the globe.

And this morning it is our privilege to see where it all began. It began on the east side of the Jordan River. It began where John the Baptist was baptizing. It began when John pointed to Jesus and proclaimed: "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world" (29).

There were no mass conversions that day. There is no record of a single person coming to faith that day. But the Holy Spirit was there doing his work, planting the seed, building the church. And that makes this gospel account more than just a recounting of events. In these inspired words John gives us the comforting reminder that...


I. Through public proclamation
II. Through personal conversations

Read more: 140119 John 1:29-41

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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.


Worship Schedule

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

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

Monday at 7:00 P.M.

Television Broadcast
Thursday at Noon & 7:00 P.M.
Sunday at 10:00 A.M.
on Charter Cable Station 985 or on-line


St. Matthew's Lutheran Church
818 West Wisconsin Avenue
Oconomowoc, WI 53066




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