160619 Revelation 2:1-7

Text: Revelation 2:1-7
Theme: From The Savior With Love

When was the last time you wrote a letter, when you actually sat down with a blank piece of paper, filled up the page (and maybe even went on to the backside), addressed the envelope, affixed a stamp and put the letter in the outgoing mail? Because of rapid advances in communication technology, because of the speed and convenience of email and text messages and social media, letter writing has become a lost art form. I don't know about you, but the rare times when I hand write a letter are reserved for what I consider to be very special occasions.

The apostle John did not have internet access while he was in exile on the island of Patmos. He didn't have an email address or a Twitter account or a smart phone either. When John lived two thousand years ago letter writing was the most advanced and most common form of communication, but the letters Jesus dictated to him are still very special.

In the opening chapters of Revelation the Lord used a series of seven letters to communicate with seven congregations in Asia Minor (modern day Turkey), and through this inspired correspondence the Spirit still speaks to the church today. That means you and I need to read these letters carefully. We need to accept their pointed criticisms. We need to hold on to the encouragements to remain faithful. And we need to remember that every word of our Savior is motivated by love.

"From The Savior With Love" will serve as the theme of our summer sermon series, and we begin today with the letter Jesus wrote to the Christian congregation in Ephesus...

FROM THE SAVIOR WITH LOVE: EPHESUS

Read more: 160619 Revelation 2:1-7

160605 Philippians 1:18b-27

Text: Philippians 1:18b-27

Theme: The Christian's Motto
1. To Live is Christ
2. To Die is Gain

Clothing companies, restaurants and even cities make use of mottos. For example: Did you know that the city of Oconomowoc makes use of several different slogans or mottos? On the city's web site, the slogan tells us "Life Come Naturally Here." But there is another slogan that I see it each time I come into town from Ixonia on Wisconsin Avenue. Attached to the sign that states the population of Oconomowoc, there is another sign that tells us that our city is "Bird City." Nike has been encouraging you and me to get out and exercise with their motto: "Just do it!" And for years, Kentucky Fried Chicken has told us that their chicken is: "Finger Linkin' Good!" This morning we have a motto before us from God's Word. Today we consider "The Christian's Motto." From our look into God's Word, we will see that this motto is simply divided into two parts. The Apostle Paul, led by God the Holy Spirit, states the Christian's motto when he writes in verse 21 of the opening chapter in his letter to the Philippians, "To Live is Christ and To Die is Gain."

Read more: 160605 Philippians 1:18b-27

160529 Luke 7:1-10

Text: Luke 7:1-10
Theme: What Makes Faith Amazing?

Today's text takes us to the town of Capernaum, the home base of Jesus' Galilean ministry. The Lord had just finished preaching his Sermon on the Plain. He healed sicknesses and cured diseases and drove out evil spirits, and every time he performed a miracle the people were amazed.

But on this particular day the tables were turned. The One who routinely amazed others was himself amazed. By what, you might ask? What made Jesus stop and take notice? What could possibly cause this kind of reaction in the all-powerful Son of God? Nothing really, at least not anything that can be seen on the outside. What amazed Jesus was something he found in here. What amazed Jesus was the faith he found in a certain man's heart.

Because faith is the key that unlocks the door to heaven, because God's Word clearly and emphatically states that sinners are saved sola fide (by faith alone), it is always a good use of our time to review what faith is and what faith does. And using the Lord's interaction with a soldier as our guide, today we will discover Luke's answer to this important question...

WHAT MAKES FAITH AMAZING?

I. It's humble
II. It's hopeful

Read more: 160529 Luke 7:1-10

160522 Numbers 6:22-27

Text: Numbers 6:22-27
Theme: We Are Blessed By The Lord

How are you? I don't have any statistics to back this up, but my guess is that this is one of the most asked questions in the English language. And when people ask it, they expect certain responses, like "Fine" or "Okay" or "Good. How are you?" If you're like me, you might be tempted to not pay attention to the response...unless it is something that is way out of the ordinary.

I can remember having an experience like that at my previous congregation. Thursday was printing day at the church, and for the thirteen years I served there a volunteer by the name of Ed came in every Thursday morning to print and fold the weekly service folders.

One day I came out of my office while he was at work and without a whole lot of thought I asked him the question: "How are you?" I will never forget his reply. He didn't say: "Fine." He didn't say: "Okay." He didn't say: "Good. How are you?" Without any hesitation this was his response: "Blessed by the Lord."

There is a part of me that misses hearing those words every Thursday, but they don't apply only on Thursdays. Any Christian can make the same confession on any day of the week, and those words have special significance for us on this Trinity Sunday.

Today we marvel at the mystery that is the Trinity, the truth that God reveals himself as three distinct persons and one indivisible God. Today we thank our triune God for everything he has done for us and for the many things he continues to do for us. And this morning the inspired instructions God gave to Moses will help us remember something about ourselves too. We are blessed...

We Are Blessed By The Lord

Read more: 160522 Numbers 6:22-27

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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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