Posts Tagged ‘Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod’

Sermon 05-28-17: “What Is Jesus Worth to You?”

June 22, 2017

“Long for the pure spiritual milk,” Peter writes—by which he means the “milk of the word,” as the King James puts it. In other words, as God’s children, we should long for the gospel, for God’s Word, and for God’s kingdom. As I discuss in this sermon, we can’t fake “longing for” something. Either we do or we don’t. And if we don’t, then that’s a symptom of a spiritual problem. See, when Peter tells us to “put away” these various sins in verse 1, my temptation is to preach a “try harder”-type sermon: “Try harder to be a better Christian. Work harder on the ‘spiritual disciplines.’ Pray more. Study the Bible more.” But as I make clear in this sermon, our problem isn’t that we’re not trying hard enough; our problem is that we’re not believing the gospel wholeheartedly enough. We need to learn to apply the gospel to the problems in our lives. This sermon talks about how to do that.

Sermon Text: 1 Peter 2:1-10

My sermons are now being podcast! My podcast is available in iTunes, Google Play, and Stitcher.

There was a lot of heartbreaking news last week: First, there was the terrorist bombing at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England—an attack designed to kill children, and  teenagers, and their parents. Twenty-two people died. Many more were injured. President Trump referred to the terrorists as “evil losers,” and I couldn’t agree more! Evil losers. I like that. When we hear about this sort of thing, it is perfectly good and even Christian for us to remind ourselves of Paul’s words in Romans 12: “Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord.”[1] We can thank God for that.

We can also thank God, especially on this Memorial Day weekend, that God has called men and women in our armed forces to be what Paul describes in Romans 13 as “God’s servants”—avengers, he says—who carry out God’s wrath on wrongdoers.[2] And on this weekend especially we thank God for those who gave “the last full measure of devotion.”

By all means, we Christians are supposed to live our lives as peace-loving and peace-making, inasmuch as it depends on us, but we do so with the certain knowledge that in the end, God will ensure that no sin, no evil, will ultimately go unpunished. There will be a Day when justice will be done—completely and perfectly. God will see to it! And for those of us who have trusted in Christ, we are thankful that on the cross, God in Christ has taken the punishment that we deserve for our sin and our evil. Read the rest of this entry »

What’s at stake in a pastor’s denying the Virgin Birth?

December 9, 2014
Sorry, Horus, you can't ruin our Christmas celebration.

Sorry, Horus, you can’t ruin our Christmas celebration with phony parallels between your birth and Christ’s birth.

Yesterday, I received a lengthy email from a United Methodist pastor, sent to a group of undisclosed recipients, complaining about what he perceives to be “a serious problem for the future of the United Methodist Church,” which “needs to be addressed”: “Biblicism,” or biblical literalism, one example of which, apparently, is believing that the Virgin Birth actually happened.

He writes: “Living so closely to Southern Baptists and various fundamentalist churches, and having so many folks who approach the Bible from this perspective in our congregations, we have danced around this issue much too long.  Fearing conflict with influential lay members, the loss of those members and the revenue they contribute, we let misinformation and cultural bias to cloud the way the Bible is read and heard in the congregations we serve.”

“What do you mean ‘we,’ Kemo Sabe?”

Read the rest of this entry »

The real reason the church isn’t reaching the Millennials

July 25, 2014

In this YouTube video from 1897, Mr. Thompson and his local vicar complain about the church’s inability to reach young people.

VICAR: Say, Mr. Thompson, do you remember how you’ve spent countless hours in the past month taking your children to the local cricket games but haven’t spent more than five minutes in the past decade praying with your children or reading the Bible to them or talking with them about Jesus?

MR. THOMPSON: Yes.

VICAR: Well, perhaps the reason your children are dreadfully uninterested in the church is because you’ve never given them any indication that the church is worth their interest.

MR. THOMPSON: Pish-posh!

VICAR: Yes, you’re right, positively poppycock! I can’t believe I suggested it. Surely another reason must be to blame for the mass apostasy of modern youth.

MR. THOMPSON: Say, Vicar, do you recall how in the last year of your sermons you’ve devoted 2,832 minutes to chiding us for not loving the Lord as much as he desires and spent a mere five minutes to telling us that God loves us so much that he gave us the forgiving blood of Jesus?

VICAR: Oh, yes, I’m quite proud of that ratio!

MR. THOMPSON: Well, perhaps the reason our youth don’t come to hear you preach the gospel is because you never actually preach the gospel.

VICAR: Balderdash!

MR. THOMPSON: Yes, flimmity-flammity-flim-flam of the first degree! Can’t believe the thought even crossed my mind. Therefore only one option remains to explain the pestilential spiritual indifference of our youth.

VICAR: You mean…?

MR. THOMPSON: Yes, Vicar, this is clearly the first generation in the history of the world that is incapable of believing the gospel unless it is presented to them within the context of the day’s popular secular music.

VICAR: Great sausage pudding, Mr. Thompson, I believe you’re correct!

This video comes to us by way of the Lutheran Satire channel.