160918 Amos 8:4-7

Text: Amos 8:4-7

Theme: The LORD Will Never Forget!

Hear this, you who trample the needy and do away with the poor of the land, saying, "When will the New Moon be over that we may sell grain, and the Sabbath be ended that we may market wheat?"-- skimping the measure, boosting the price and cheating with dishonest scales, buying the poor with silver and the needy for a pair of sandals, selling even the sweepings with the wheat. The LORD has sworn by the Pride of Jacob: "I will never forget anything they have done."

Do the words that I just read for you bring you fear or comfort? When we think about the fact that the Lord never forgets and that he demands perfection of us, but sees how time after time we fail to live perfect lives, we have fear. We will have fear as we hear the Lord tell us that all of those sins that he has seen have earned for us eternal damnation to hell. But for us as Christians, there is also a great amount of comfort knowing who it is that says he will never forget. It is the LORD. The loving, compassionate and merciful LORD will never forget what Jesus accomplished while here on this earth. You and I enjoy comfort knowing that our gracious LORD will never forget the forgiveness of all our sins through the blood of our Savior. You and I are able to have comfort as we go about our day-to-day personal lives, as we carry out our congregation's ministry, knowing that the Lord will never forget about us, but that he is watching over us day after day. The readings from God's Word before us this weekend are giving us an opportunity to consider our stewardship, our management, of all the gifts the Lord gives to us. As you use the gifts that the Lord has given to you, remember that the Lord will never forget.

Read more: 160918 Amos 8:4-7

160911 2 Corinthians 2:5-11

Text: 2 Corinthians 2:5-11
Theme: Love The Lost Like Christ

A host of problems was plaguing the church in Corinth, but this one might have been the worst. Actually it was a full blown scandal, and it was threatening to destroy the congregation. The sin was sexual in nature, the kind of sin that was uncommon even among pagans. A member of the congregation was engaged in a relationship with his stepmother (1 Corinthians 5).

This case of incest was bad enough, but the reaction of the rest of the congregation made it even worse. Instead of condemning the man's behavior for the sin that it was, the other members were filled with pride. Paul doesn't tell us why they were so proud, but if the first century was anything like the twenty first century, we can make some educated guesses. Perhaps they applauded the man's actions as a way to embrace diversity. Maybe they insisted that they had no right to judge. Or maybe they kept telling each other that as long as no one got hurt it was none of their business.

If any of the Corinthian Christians tried out any of these weak arguments on Paul, they didn't work. Even though he was not with them, even though a large body of water separated him from them, Paul knew exactly what needed to be done: put this man out of your fellowship (2), pass judgment on him (3), "hand this man over to Satan" (5).

Paul's instructions sound a bit harsh, don't they? Especially the last one. What would make Paul say something like that? Why would he tell the Corinthians to hand the guilty party over to the devil? To make him pay for what he had done? So that the bad apple wouldn't spoil the rest of the bunch? As a warning for the rest of the flock to fall in behind the shepherd...or else?

Paul's command was not intended to be purely punitive, and he wasn't being vindictive either. He told the Corinthians to "hand this man over to Satan so that the sinful nature may be destroyed and his spirit saved on the day of the Lord" (1 Corinthians 5:5). Paul wasn't trying to get rid of this man. He was trying to save him. And he didn't hate the sheep that had wandered from the fold. He loved him. He loved him because Jesus loved him.

We can learn some valuable lessons from this account, and not just because it has a happy ending. You and I are also the objects of God's undeserved love. We are sinners who rub shoulders with other sinners every day. There are times when we need to point out sin. There are times when we need to forgive and times when we need to be forgiven. And I pray that Paul's inspired words will inspire each of us to love the lost...

LOVE THE LOST LIKE CHRIST

Read more: 160911 2 Corinthians 2:5-11

160828 Proverbs 25:6-7

Sermon Text: Proverbs 25:6-7
Sermon Theme: Be Humble!

Do not exalt yourself in the king's presence, and do not claim a place among great men; it is better for him to say to you, "Come up here," than for him to humiliate you before a nobleman.

Did you watch much of the Olympics coverage this year? It is always amazing to me the talent that these athletes have been given. But what stood out to me during this year's games, was the humble attitude that many of the athletes showed after winning their particular event. And some of the athletes, when they were interviewed, even took advantage of the opportunity to offer praise and glory to God. For example, Brianna Rollins won the gold medal in the 100 meter hurdles. Afterwards she said, "I just kept God first and just continued to let Him guide me throughout the rounds...I'm just so excited; we are blessed...I'm grateful to God." Before she competed in Rio, Brianna sent out this tweet: "I want to break world records and win gold medals, but I also want to be known as the athlete who glorified God..." The bio on her Twitter account simply reads, "Glorifying God through the talent He blessed me with! Professional Hurdler ... God is Love."

Read more: 160828 Proverbs 25:6-7

160821 Judges 7:1-8

Text: Judges 7:1-8
Theme: God Gives The Victory!

Some people call me Jerub-Baal, but you probably know me by another name. And there is a good chance that at some point you have seen it stamped on a Bible in your hotel room. I am Gideon, which literally means "striker," but I wasn't given that name because of my aggressive personality. Far from it. In fact, the biographical information recorded about me in the Bible gives the impression that in my younger years I was quite timid.

It was a dark time in the history of my people. We had done evil in the eyes of the Lord. We had forsaken the true God to worship idols. And God did not let our sins go unpunished. He allowed our enemies to attack us and oppress us. I say "enemies" plural because there was more than one. A coalition of nomadic tribes, Midianites and Amalekites and other eastern peoples, swarmed over the Promised Land like locusts. They destroyed our crops and slaughtered our animals and invaded our homes, so that we were literally forced to run for the hills.

That explains why I was threshing wheat in a wine press. I was hiding to protect what little food we had. I was hiding to preserve my life. And along with the rest of my countrymen who were buckling under the weight of Midianite oppression I cried out to the Lord for help.

Read more: 160821 Judges 7:1-8

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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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