Sermon summaries and audio files
Jesus' parable of the unjust steward teaches us to be wary of the allurements of the world and not to serve them but rather to make them serve us. That is the shrewdness of the steward who used the world's goods to prepare for his life after his was put out of the stewardship. So also let us put the world's goods to good use rather than to let them take us down and away from Christ. Christ himself did this, using even evil men to arrange his crucifixion by which he redeemed the world. So daily repent and turn from the world's enticements and pray for God to protect you. Here in worship the world's goods are put to the best use, as bread and wine are pressed into service to become the elements of Christ's sacrifice for us. Sermon for Trinity IX. The video is here.
Perhaps the reason the church's response to the tyranny of the government's lockdowns was that not enough time is spent remembering the courageous martyrs against a far more tyrannical government. Laurence was the chief deacon in Rome during the persecution under Valerian, and he was arrested by the wicked prefect who hoped both to gain for his own pockets the treasures of the church and for his hatred for Christendom a denial of Christ in the face of suffering. But on both these trials the wicked was confounded, because Laurence had quickly distributed the church's goods to the poor, and because he was then stalwartly faithful in his confession of faith to the very end, a torturous martyrdom on a gridiron. Laurence is remembered to this day as a shining jewel in the church's history, to encourage all of us. For the fire of love he felt within himself for his Lord who had redeemed him made the external fires seem cold by comparison. He was glad to suffer for his Lord who had first suffered crucifixion for our salvation. Sermon for St. Laurence Day. The video is here.
Jesus' warnings about the enemies of faith and their ferocious threats and murderous intent did not seem so urgent a mere generation ago as they are becoming today. Sexual perversions and grotesque alterations now abound in our society, and there is an increasing sense among those elites that whoever disagrees is unworthy to participate in our society at all. Their watchwords of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (with new meanings!) signal a culture battle against traditional Christian values regarding male and female and all traditional ethics. And those watchwords are all over: in colleges, in business, even in the medical world. They seek to encroach even our Lutheran schools. And if we should oppose, we are to be ostracized, shunned, cancelled, and sometimes even--if they had the power--put to death. But Jesus declares against our enemies, Fear them not! You are of more value than sparrows, whom God watches. Your value is measured by the blood of Christ that was shed to win you, an infinite value. And he is still very much in charge. Fear not! Sermon for midweek of Trinity VII. The video is here.
Jesus says he has compassion, thereby declaring himself the almighty God in the flesh, whose compassion is infinite. It is the reason he made us, became incarnate for us, and redeemed us by his blood. For he gave everything for us, showing his love to be infinite. And so also his compassion involves causing his followers to fast. Here, three days in the wilderness with nothing to eat, until he miraculously breaks the fast. And also when his disciples saw him die; how miserable their fast! Yet he broke the three day fast by his resurrection. And in both of these cases the fast was due to the fact that they voluntarily followed him. So let us voluntarily follow him, as sheep to the Shepherd, into our wilderness, confident that he will likewise break our fast. In the meantime let us receive a more miraculous Bread, his holy Body, and his Blood, in the foretaste of the fast's breaking, here in the Sacrament. Sermon for Trinity VII.
The rich young man who approached Jesus was not tempting him like the Pharisees did; he seemed sincerely seeking, but was confused. So Jesus bids him to sell everything, give to the poor, and follow him. This seems a call of an apostle. Was this man Matthew? If so, then though the rich man went away sorrowful, he did come back later, as Jesus even suggested he would, saying, With God all things are possible. Sermon for Midweek of Trinity VI. The video is here.
Not only must your righteousness exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees; it must be of a different kind. For theirs was an abomination to Christ. They trusted themselves, and took stock in what they did, thinking that thereby they were pleasing to God. But Jesus unpacks the law and shows that it condemns all. And thus he himself, who is the judge, has become your adversary. Therefore agree with him about this, as also David did; confess your sins, and look away from yourself for righteousness. Find it only in him, trusting in his works and his merit. And then are you freed to do good and love your neighbor not to gain the favor of God, but rather because you have already been given that favor in Christ. Sermon for Trinity VI. The video is here.
The prodigal son wasted his father's living with riotous living. So have you, O man, and this is vanity. The prodigal left his own father and joined himself to another, who did nothing good for him. So have you, O man, and this too is vanity. But see how good is the father, rejoicing at your return anyhow. And all this is come to pass because of another Son who left his Father's house to purchase this inheritance for you. And the household rejoices because he was dead, and is alive again. So let us rejoice as well, and feast here, and sing and dance and make merry. Sermon and video for Wednesday of Trinity III.
Jesus receive sinners indeed. The Pharisees scoffed about this, but Jesus instead invites them to rejoice. For he receives only sinners, namely sinners who repent of their sins. So good it is to know this. There is no sin so great, no life so miserable, that Jesus would not receive. Only let us turn from our sins and repent, every one. For such as these Jesus receives and eats with. The very body he gave into death and the sacred blood he shed are given now to us, that he may eat with us and bring us to everlasting salvation. Video of the Third Sunday after Trinity.
The invitation to the great supper was made light of by people whose minds were darkened; they were blind. So also the people who fail to understand why the Supreme Court's reversal of Roe v Wade is a cause for rejoicing. But blindly they rebel, for they fail to see that a life in the womb is a precious person who should be defended. Blindness abounds, both in that case and in the case of the people who made light of God's gracious invitation to receive his mercy, grace, and forgiveness. But lest we boast, let us remember that the only reason we are not blind is the grace of God, and let us pray that he help us in our weakness, and let us ever be humble and never proud. And let us receive the invitation to the Supper gladly, for it is Christ's true Body and Blood given and shed for us. Sermon for the Second Sunday after Trinity. The video is here.
The rich man's riches could not help him, and he had no use for the one thing that could, the word of God. To this he said No, when Abraham had said his brothers could hear it and be saved. He said No, evidently because he had been saying No to it all his life. But Lazarus desired it as a crumb which fell from the rich man's table, and Lazarus was a friend of Abraham, the father of the faithful. Sermon for the Octave of Trinity. The video is here.