Sermon summaries and audio files
The Apostle's admonition to put on the Lord Jesus Christ (Rom. 13) suggests that he is a garment. This makes one think of the garments that the Lord made for Adam and Eve in the Garden, garments made of skins which replaced their inadequate self-made fig leaves. And a garment of skins must be the result of sacrifice. So it is that Christ is our Garment, who was also himself the sacrifice for our sins. This is our Holy Baptism, for we were clothed with Christ therein, and as a result, we stand purified before God in his perfect righteousness. Since this is so, it behooves us to behave as those who know it, and to seek to live piously and uprightly, following the example of him who so clothed us. Sermon for First Tuesday vespers.
The thrill of seeing King Solomon in his coach was magnified by the royal appearance and grandeur. But a greater than Solomon is here, for Christ our Lord is the Incarnate God. Yet his coming is in humility, which is a stunning change. He comes thus in order to redeem his people. Not only in Jerusalem but here, in the Blessed Sacrament. And the palm branches betoken the future of the saints in glory with palm branches in their hands. Hosanna! God save the King! Blessed is he that comes! Sermon for Advent I.
Thanksgiving is an official designated time to thank Almighty God, so designated by the United States government; and we are happy to oblige, for we know the importance of thanking him for all our benefits of body and soul; yet our feeble thank offerings are insufficient. So in his mercy he sent his Son, who as man, in our stead, gave thanks on the night when he was betrayed. His thank offering was not only in words but in the offering of his holy body into death for the sin of the world. And so in our stead he gave thanks to the eternal Father; and so when we give thanks, it must be in him, and we will do well to receive the very offering he gave, in partaking in the Holy Supper, and so to dedicate our lives to serving him, for his mercy endures forever. Sermon for Thanksgiving.
All ten virgins looked and acted alike; the impostors were good imitations. The only difference was the oil that no one could see. This is terrifying, for when we look inwardly we see our sin and unworthiness. Where is our own oil? We can't see it. So the wise cry out (they ever cry out), Go to them that sell, and buy. Where? Hear the Prophet who says, Come, buy without money and without price. Here in the holy place is an infinitely valuable Gift, purchased with the lifeblood of the Savior. Here in the preaching of the Gospel, at the altar, and at the font: here we receive this Gift freely, and the forgiveness of sins. When we look to Christ we have no doubt of the value in his blood; all doubts vanish when we behold him and not ourselves. And here is wisdom; here we gain the precious oil of everlasting salvation. Behold, the Bridegroom cometh! Sermon for the Last Sunday after Trinity.
We are living in the latter days, when perilous times have come, as the Apostle said they would. But when we consider the requirements David lists for the one who dwell in the tabernacle of the Lord, even we ourselves become uneasy, haunted by the notion that we do not have the requisite purity. Only Christ has this; that is why his invitation 'come unto me' is so sweet to our ears, for his meekness and purity of heart are sufficient, and he has given himself that we might access God through him. And since this is so, and since we find rest in him for our souls, since he has been so good to us, it falls to us to seek to be good as he is, and to follow his humility in heart and life. Sermon for Trinity XXVI Midweek.
It is good to be hungry, thirsty, a stranger, naked, sick, and imprisoned for righteousness' sake, for then Jesus will identify with you as he does in this Gospel (St. Matthew 25:31ff). And it is not good to be proud, filled, satisfied, and fat, for then, needing nothing, you shall receive nothing from him. Then you will be one who passes by the man beside the road who is half dead, or then you will not notice poor Lazarus laid at your gate, full of sores. Then, you will not like the crucifix, for there you see Jesus himself in his abject humility. But he did this to redeem us; therefore in humility let us confess our unworthiness. For then we shall be with him in his glory at the end. We shall be on his right hand, the place of highest honor and glory. So now, let us not be offended at his humility, and let us identify with the poor persecuted Christians around the world, and weep with them, and pray for them, and count ourselves one with them. And then let us rejoice in the fact that we are heirs of glory, being given this mindset by grace. Then let us begin to rejoice even now in our hope and expectation. Sermon for Trinity XXVI.
Jesus' admonition about the Last Day is unmistakable and undeniable. In particular, he calls our attention to Lot and the two 'angels' who rescued him and his family. Actually those 'angels' were, mysteriously, two of the three who had visited Abraham, that is, two of the three Persons of the Holy Trinity. Two sent by the other, that is, the Son and the Spirit. And so today those two have been sent to rescue us from this fallen and dying world; for Christ came to give his life and to rise from the dead for us, and the Spirit came to preach Christ to us, to baptize us, and to feed us, that we might believe in Christ and be rescued. But as Lot's wife turned back and perished, so let us remember to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, and not hold to anything on earth in the idle thought that true happiness can be found there; for all those things then become idols. But in Christ we shall be saved and gain eternal glory. Sermon on St. Luke 17, for Midweek of Trinity XXV.
The Apostle Paul, in I Thessalonians 4, announces that the Lord shall descend from heaven with a shout, and a trumpet sound, and the elect shall be caught up to meet him in the clouds. The shout and the trumpet signify the Gospel by which he has been gathering his elect through the ages; the cloud signifies the presence of God, and our union with him in everlasting bliss and glory. Sermon for Vespers.
The Circuit Conference was held here on Tuesday. The sermon, whose basis was the same readings as on Sunday, was tailored for pastors. Here's the audio.
St. Paul's proclamation that the dead in Christ shall rise, and we with them, on the Last Day is immeasurably good news for us Christians. We have a glorious future to look forward to, that is unspeakably beyond our capacity for wonder, and this ought to comfort us in all our earthly sorrows. Moreover, we have an earnest of that day in the day on which Jerusalem was destroyed in A.D. 70. For although the citizens of that city were miserably destroyed on that day, none of the Christians was there, for they had heeded Jesus' warnings about its coming, and had already left for the hills. So they were all spared. And so shall we be spared the destruction of the Last Day, though we deserve the same fate as they. But Christ has redeemed us by his blood, and has been raised from the dead, and has ascended into heaven, from which he shall surely return in the same way as the apostles saw him go. Wherefore comfort one another with these words. Sermon for the Third-Last Sunday after Trinity.