170910 Matthew 16:13-20

Sermon Text: Matthew 16:13-20
Sermon Theme: Confidently Confess Christ!

Two professional football players both kneel before their game. One kneels to protest during the national anthem, and he is praised and celebrated for expressing what he believes in. The other kneels to offer a prayer before taking the field, and he is mocked and ridiculed for expressing what he believes in. This shouldn't come as a surprise to us. Our Lord Jesus knew that, in a sinful world, his followers would be hated. In John chapter 15 our Savior tells you and me, "If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember the words I spoke to you: 'No servant is greater than his master.' If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also...They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the One who sent me." Despite the hatred of the sinful world, you and I are to share with others what we know to be true about the Lord Jesus: that he is the world's one and only Savior. Based on our Gospel Lesson for this Sunday morning, you and I hear the encouragement: CONFIDENTLY CONFESS CHRIST!

Read more: 170910 Matthew 16:13-20

170903 Romans 11:13-15, 28-32

Text: Romans 11:13-15, 28-32
Theme: Amazing Mercy, How Sweet The Sound

"That really spoke to me." On more than one occasion a member has said something to that effect to me on the way out of church. Usually it is a reference to something in the sermon that made the person feel like the pastor was talking directly to him/her. Maybe it was an illustration or a life application or the sermon text itself, but the message proclaimed from the pulpit that day was exactly what the person needed to hear.

As we come to the end of our sermon series based on Scripture lessons from Paul's letter to the Romans, I hope that the same thought crossed your mind more than once this summer. I hope that God's Word spoke to you through the inspired pen of Paul. And I pray that these ancient truths will remain relevant for God's people for generations to come. For example...

When Paul wrote: "For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law (3:28), he wasn't speaking exclusively to the Christian church in Rome. He was addressing Christians in Oconomowoc too. He wants us to understand that there was and is and always will be one way to heaven, and it has nothing to do with human performance. Faith in Jesus is the way. Trusting in Jesus is the only way, and every other path leads to a dead end.

When Paul wrote: "What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! (7:24, 25), he wasn't just talking about his own life. He was speaking to and about our lives too! We have been diagnosed with the same wretched condition...and we have been given the same divine cure. Thanks be to God!

And when Paul wrote that "neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (8:38, 39), God's promise didn't come with an expiration date. Even though thousands of years and thousands of miles separate us from those words, we have the same conviction that nothing can separate us from our Savior's love.

I can't say for sure if it will happen again this morning. I don't know if you will feel like this sermon is speaking directly to you. But I do know that Paul is speaking to you because he says so in the opening words of our text. He wrote: "I am talking to you Gentiles" (13). These words are aimed specifically at non-Jews, at Gentiles believers like you and me. And as the apostle speaks to us, that Word will lead us to respond. We will respond with joy and thanksgiving, with a deep appreciation for the gospel, and perhaps with an exclamation like this...

AMAZING MERCY, HOW SWEET THE SOUND

Read more: 170903 Romans 11:13-15, 28-32

170827 Romans 9:1-5

Sermon Text: Romans 9:1 – 5

Theme: Speak the Truth in Christ!

There is a story that is told about a family who went on a picnic. While relaxing after their meal, they noticed an ant crawling on the table and headed for some sugar that had spilled. As they watched the ant, they saw it leave and a short time later two ants appeared. They watched those two ants leave, and a little while later a whole colony of ants returned to enjoy that sweet pile of sugar that had spilled on the table. You see, the one ant found something sweet to eat, so it went out and found other ants so that they, too, could enjoy the sweet sugar.

By the grace of God, you and I have heard the sweet message of the Gospel. God the Holy Spirit has led you and me to believe that Jesus is our one and only Savior. Having tasted the sweet message of God's forgiving love in Christ for ourselves, we want to find many others to share with them the Good News of our Savior-God's amazing grace. As we continue our summer sermon series, "A summer in Rome", the encouragement for you and me is to SPEAK THE TRUTH IN CHRIST.

Read more: 170827 Romans 9:1-5

170820 Romans 8:35-39

Text: Romans 8:35-39
Theme: We Are Super-Victorious

Maybe the movie industry is all out of ideas. Maybe the well of new story lines has run dry. Maybe producers have decided that people are more likely to go to movies about someone or something they already know. Or perhaps executives have figured out that making a comic book into a movie is a formula for box office success.

In my memory it started with Superman, then Superman II, then Superman III and IV. Yet another Spiderman movie came out this summer, and I have to confess that I have lost track of how many Batman movies have been made. And did you know that "Wonder Woman" brought in over $100 million in its opening weekend back in June?

All of the films that have been made, all of the hype that has been created, all of the dollars that have been spent, make one thing perfectly clear. We love our superheroes. We love the way they leap tall buildings in a single bound. We love the way they get themselves out of the most dangerous situations. We love the way they overcome the most difficult challenges. We love them because they are able to do things that regular people can't do.

We don't always save the day. We don't always get the girl. We live in a world where good does not always triumph over evil. Instead of black and white, our world often resembles a hazy shade of gray.

Life is not a movie. Sometimes life is hard. Sometimes life isn't fair. And Paul knew that. He knew that Rome was not an easy place for Christians to live. He understood that this sinful world is not an easy place for any Christian to live.

But that didn't stop Paul. That didn't keep words of confidence and conviction from flowing from his pen. That didn't stop him from praising his God and Savior. That didn't stop him from encouraging others to do the same.

We may not possess any supernatural abilities. We may not have superhuman strength. Let's face it. We are not superheroes, but according to Paul we are something even better. Through Jesus...

WE ARE SUPER-VICTORIOUS

I. We face powerful enemies
II. We have a more powerful ally

Read more: 170820 Romans 8:35-39

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  1. 170813Romans 8:28-30

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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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